The One Nation candidate ridiculed after referring to Islam as a country in a television interview has withdrawn from the election campaign.
Stephanie Banister, 27, was running for the seat of Rankin in Queensland but One Nation leader Jim Savage told reporters on Saturday Ms Banister has decided to withdraw following the fallout from her interview with the Seven Network.
During the interview, which Mr Savage says was misrepresentative, Ms Banister referred to Islam as a country as well as referring to the Koran as “haram”. She also said the national disability insurance scheme was “working at the moment”, when it does not begin until 2016.
“She continues to have the full support of the One Nation executive, and contrary to reports on the media last night and in the newspapers today, Stephanie has not been disendorsed and will not be disendorsed,” Mr Savage said.
“However, due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin. We have accepted it with regret.”
Ms Banister had only been in politics for 48 hours at the time of the interview and made a short statement alongside Mr Savage but wasn’t allowed to answer any questions on Saturday.
“With the way Channel Seven edited my interview, I was left quite the fool,” Ms Banister said.
“I’d like to apologise to One Nation, to my friends and family, for any embarrassment this has brought to them.”
Mr Savage said it was his responsibility such a novice candidate had been allowed to conduct an interview without appropriate preparation but also claimed Channel Seven had unfairly targeted Ms Banister.
He said it was unclear at this stage if One Nation would nominate a replacement candidate for Rankin with the deadline for nominations on Thursday.