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
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT