A smack­down for Xenophon hope­ful

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - ADAM LANGENBERG

NICK Xenophon has promised an ur­gent re­view of his party’s vet­ting pro­cesses af­ter he was forced to sack a can­di­date and re­view the Face­book page of an­other just one day af­ter an­nounc­ing their can­di­dacy.

SA Best can­di­date Rhys Adams has been sacked over a 2015 Face­book post, less than 24 hours af­ter he an­nounced he would run in the seat of Fin­niss in the state elec­tion next March.

Se­na­tor Xenophon told the Sun­day Mail he ter­mi­nated Mr Adams’s can­di­dacy as soon as he was made aware of the post, which ap­pears to show him hold­ing his fist to the face of a wax model of pop star Ri­hanna.

The im­age, taken at Madame Tus­sauds in Syd­ney, was cap­tioned “It’s Chris baby”.

Ri­hanna was phys­i­cally as­saulted by her boyfriend, pop star Chris Brown.

“I spoke to Rhys and said it isn’t ac­cept­able. He is no longer a can­di­date. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is a se­ri­ous is­sue that can­not be made fun of,” Se­na­tor Xenophon said.

He said a post from Ham­mond can­di­date Kelly Gladi­gau, which ac­cused AFL player Adam Goodes of be­ing “soft” for his re­ac­tion to be­ing called an ape by a 13-year-old girl, was not made by her and he de­nied the post was racist.

The 2013 post, from an ac­count Ms Gladi­gau shares with her hus­band Travis, read: Se­ri­ously ... don’t you think it’s rather soft to be up­set that a young girl called you a APE??? Per­haps if you didn’t look like one! Also aren’t we all de­scen­dants of the APE ???? Just say­ing!!”

Se­na­tor Xenophon was un­aware of the post un­til con­tacted by the Sun­day Mail, but said Ms Gladi­gau did not make “footy posts” on the ac­count and the com­ment had been made by her hus­band.

“I think this is a dis­cus­sion about whether a 13-year-old girl meant to be racist and this was a na­tional dis­cus­sion at the time,” he said.

“Both Kelly and her hus­band have close links with the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity and they don’t have any racist views.”

The post was taken down from the Face­book page within hours of Se­na­tor Xenophon and Ms Gladi­gau be­ing con­tacted by the Sun­day Mail.

Se­na­tor Xenophon said he wanted to find out why Mr Adams’s post had not come up dur­ing his party’s vet­ting process. “Ab­so­lutely there will be a re­view (of the vet­ting process),” he said. “I will pur­sue this as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

“The vet­ting process is sound but this was a so­cial me­dia post that should not have been missed, it was missed and it was dealt with as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Mr Adams’s sack­ing comes just one day af­ter Se­na­tor Xenophon said he would de­liver a bet­ter can­di­date-vet­ting process this time around, con­ced­ing he had not ap­plied suf­fi­cient rigour when se­lect­ing can­di­dates in the past.

Mr Adams could not be con­tacted for com­ment.

HANDS ON: Sacked can­di­date Rhys Adams’s posts fea­tur­ing wax mod­els of Ri­hanna and Toni Col­lette. BOT­TOM: A Face­book post from an ac­count shared by can­di­date Kelly Gladi­gau and her hus­band.

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