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Bligh slams 'extremist' candidate

EXPELLED: Peter Watson was expelled from Labor yesterday.
EXPELLED: Peter Watson was expelled from Labor yesterday. Georja Ryan

WHAT started as a query from the Daily News has spiralled into a national issue.

Warwick man Peter Watson, 19, was forced to resign from his position as Southern Downs Labor candidate for his involvement with white supremacist propaganda and homophobic rants, and was yesterday expelled from the ALP.

Premier Anna Bligh said she was furious Mr Watson had ever been endorsed and would not accept his neo-Nazism and homophobic beliefs in the ALP.

"I'm certainly very, very angry about this man's endorsement in the first place," Ms Bligh said.

"This man was very determined to get into the Australian Labor Party, hiding his views and then to make them known to embarrass the party.

"This guy is not a run of the mill - this is an extremist."

Mr Watson has since told the Daily News he was glad to have the publicity and was considering joining the Australia First Party.

"It's good that I have a platform to express my views," Mr Watson said.

"I am not a neo-Nazi, I am an Australian nativist."

Those who read his newsletter and blogs may think otherwise.

Sydney gay rights activist Gary Burns has called Premier Anna Bligh a "boofhead" for leading a team that would endorse a white supremacist and homophobe to run for Southern Downs.

He said the comments made by Mr Watson would have a serious impact on the rest of society.

"The comments made by Mr Watson to the effect that homosexuality and pedophilia go hand in hand, have the potential to incite violence against gay men in particular," Mr Burns said.

"I myself have been bashed and nearly murdered in the past by people who have made that link."

He said he had received numerous calls yesterday from the gay community about the debacle.

And he said he was concerned with the way the ALP had carried out their candidacy process.

"Who are they going to endorse next - someone wearing white cape and a hood?" Mr Burns said.

Mr Watson's father, Dudley, is a former Warwick Shire Council candidate.

He was also a former Australian Workers' Union local representative.

And he also helped found the local Warwick branch of the ALP several years ago and was the first chairman of the branch.

Topics:  anna bligh candidate labor peter watson



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