FORMER Wannon Katter party candidate Tess Corbett is facing a legal challenge from a New South Wales gay rights activist for alleged discrimination after her remarks in January comparing gays to paedophiles.
Prominent Sydney-based campaigner Gary Burns has filed a vilification complaint with New South Wale’s Anti-Discrimination Board against the former candidate, with the application to be heard on Thursday.
Mr Burns told The Standard he was launching the civil action with the aim of forcing Ms Corbett to make a retraction and public apology but was not seeking financial damages from the claim.
“If you’re seeking public office you can’t hold these views,” Mr Burns said.
“I’m a male homosexual. I’ve been bashed three times and nearly murdered.
“Everyone in the electorate of Wannon will know someone who is a homosexual.”
Mr Burns said his brother had taken his own life at Sydney’s notorious suicide spot, The Gap, after he was “systematically raped by a priest”.
The controversial campaigner is seen by some as a divisive figure in the gay community and has a long history of filing vilification complaints against everyone from taxi drivers to celebrities.
“What I’m showing is that people who run for office and to represent people are responsible to the state and territory anti-discriminatory acts and equal opportunity commissions,” he said.
“She (Ms Corbett) won’t talk to me … but she is aware that the case is on.
“I’m confident it will be substantiated. It’s an interesting case I’ve got.”
The Standard was unable to reach Ms Corbett, who lives in Lake Bolac, yesterday to comment on the case.
In January she told The Standard she put homosexuals and paedophiles “in the same category as moral issues”.
Some elements of society “like to bring in their own agenda and change long-lasting laws”, she said.
Ms Corbett pulled out of the Katter Party following the controversy but re-entered the political race after she was approached by the Australian Christians Party.
Throughout the election campaign Ms Corbett said the media had misinterpreted her comments but did not deny them and made similar suggestions at a political debate in Warrnambool weeks before the federal election.
She polled the lowest out of the seven candidates, scoring 1.32 per cent of the vote.