Skip to main content

Australian politician mistakes Islam for country; gaffes go viral

By Faith Karimi, CNN
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
Stephanie Banister had been running as a candidate in the parliamentary elections in Australia next month.
Stephanie Banister had been running as a candidate in the parliamentary elections in Australia next month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stephanie Banister was a candidate for a seat in Rankin, Queensland
  • Not anymore -- after she made religious and political gaffes
  • She later accused a television station of editing out her comments

(CNN) -- A candidate in Australia's parliamentary elections referred to Islam as a country. As a result, she's now referred to as a former candidate.

Stephanie Banister, a 27-year-old welder running for a seat in Rankin, Queensland, unleashed a series of blunders during an interview with CNN affiliate 7 News.

"I don't oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia," Banister said.

Then she added: "Less than 2% of Australians follow haram." It is unclear whether she meant the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Haram refers to things that are forbidden under Islamic law.

As if that's not enough, she got her religions all mixed up.

Australia's Abbott makes 'suppository of all wisdom' gaffe

"Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ," she said.

Kevin Rudd sworn in as Australian PM
Australia's first female PM ousted
The rise and fall of Julia Gillard

Judaism is based on the old testament, which predates the birth of Jesus Christ.

Her blunders, though, were not limited to religion.

She said the Australian national disability insurance scheme was "working at the moment." It is not set to begin until 2016, according to 7 News.

Banister was a candidate for the anti-immigration One Nation party in next month's elections. The interview gained her worldwide notoriety -- with commentators describing her as the "Australian Sarah Palin."

Palin, who was on Republican John McCain's ticket in the 2008 presidential election and is a former governor of Alaska, is known for her blunders. During the campaign, she once cited Russia's proximity to Alaska as bolstering her foreign policy credentials.

It's unclear when Banister's interview was aired, but it went viral soon after. She accused the affiliate of editing out numerous phrases where she corrected herself and said "Islamic countries."

"With the way Channel Seven edited my interview, I was left quite the fool," Banister said.

On Saturday, the mother of two withdrew from the race, citing threats to her family.

Her campaign lasted a total of 48 hours.

Opinion: Why gaffes are good for us

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT