Candidate quits over race hate

Fraser Coast Chronicle, Australia/February 21, 2012

As the State Government election lingers on the parameter, Labor candidate for the Southern Downs Peter Watson is making his presence known - or at least he was.

It seems the 19-year-old Warwick traffic controller may have had a different platter of ideologies to bring to the table; and after the Daily News questioned his involvement with white supremacist propaganda yesterday, he resigned from candidacy.

Mr Watson said he had a "traditional" take on the Labor party and was an "old-fashioned" Labor supporter - going back to the White Australia policy days.

"Australia should be a white country; this country was founded on the White Australia Policy," Mr Watson said.

He is the editor of The Spearhead, a "Rights for Whites" newsletter that has been floating around the region's letterboxes, and said if elected, he was going to encourage others to accept his beliefs.

"In a sense yes. If I do believe that stuff, of course I would (encourage others to believe his views)," he said.

Current member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg said if Mr Watson had continued to run for the seat, the Labor Party would have to consider their policies.

"I had to disendorse a candidate from my party in 2004 for something he did when he was a young guy - admitted to going to a meeting in a Nazi uniform," Mr Springborg said.

"So (I would have hoped) Anna Bligh would have done the same thing," he said.

A spokeswoman for Labor said they were unaware of Mr Watson's political history.

"We were unaware of these allegations or the alleged activities of Mr Watson when he was endorsed for Southern Downs late last year," she said.

"(Yesterday) Mr Watson tendered his resignation as the candidate for Southern Downs.

"We look forward to announcing a new Labor candidate for this seat as soon as is possible."

Blast from Bligh

Premier Anna Bligh labelled Mr Watson as an extremist at a press conference in Brisbane earlier today and said she believed his motive was to embarrass the ALP. -->-->-->

"We are dealing with someone who is an extremist and a dishonest one," Ms Bligh told reporters.

"The views of this man have no place in the ALP. Frankly they are despicable and they have no place in the Australian community.

"That's why when these views became known to the party. He was asked to resign and this morning he was expelled.

"I am certainly very, very angry about this man's endorsement in the first place.

"From what I understand this man was very determined to get into the ALP. Hiding his views, then making them know to embarrass the party."

Mr Watson's father Dudley is a former Warwick Shire Council candidate, as well as being a former Australian Workers' Union local representative. He also helped found the local Warwick branch of the ALP several years ago and was its first chairman.

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