Candidate dumped for Twitter post

AN IPSWICH political candidate has been dumped by his party after posting an insensitive comment about murdered Gold Coast police officer Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

Ray Cole – the man who shot to fame after an image of him rescuing a kangaroo from floodwaters in Ipswich was seen across the world – was dumped by the Queensland Party yesterday.

Mr Cole was the candidate for the recently formed party in the state seat of Bundamba.

But that came to an end not long after Mr Cole put a remark on his Twitter account regarding the now deceased Snr Const Leeding.

While the 35-year-old police officer and father of two was still on life support, Mr Cole posted the offending comment on Tuesday.

Mr Cole asked Premier Anna Bligh: “can the qld public... be assured that police won’t take a shoot first ask question (sic) later excuse once the machine gets turned off”.

The premier’s Twitter account was quick to respond: “That’s a disgusting attack on the professionalism of our police service – shame on you Ray.”

Mr Cole then deleted the tweet.

Snr Const Leeding died later that day when his family switched off his life support.

He had suffered extensive wounding when an armed gunman shot him in the head at close range during a bungled break-in at a Gold Coast tavern.

Former Liberal National Party MP and Queensland Party founder Aidan McLindon quickly stood down Mr Cole from the party.

“Detective Senior Constable Damien Leeding has given his life to protect Queenslanders, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Mr McLindon said in a statement.

He said the party executive would immediately terminate Mr Cole’s membership.

Mr Cole said he had lived in Victoria during a spate of police shootings and he had meant to say that he didn’t want that repeated.

“I’ve lived through it before, when they lose one of their own,” he said.

“Let’s hope that the police realise they have got these ... alleged murderers and it doesn’t come to a stage now where they are kicking down doors and shooting.”

Mr Cole admitted the message was inappropriate.

“I shouldn’t have said it. It was probably the wrong time,” he said.

He had previously told The Queensland Times that he would campaign in Bundamba on a number of platforms, including the reintroduction of an upper house to Queensland’s parliament and better support for flood victims.

Snr Const Leeding’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief, with messages of support on social media and a campaign to wear blue ribbons in support of police.



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