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Byron Shire
October 8, 2022

National Party Lismore candidate claims homophobic smear

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Rod Bruem. Photo YouTube
Rod Bruem. Photo YouTube

One of the unsuccessful candidates in the first-stage preselection for the state seat of Lismore believes homophobia was behind a series of ‘bizarre’ and ‘inappropriate’ questions that he was asked during a party meeting on Saturday.

Rod Bruem was one of three candidates ‘interviewed’ at a meeting of around 80 party faithful who were not selected to be part of a community-wide preselection process on November 18.

A further three candidates have gone through to the second round.

But Mr Bruem has appealed to the Party’s State Director to suspend the result pending an investigation by the National Party Ethics Committee.

‘Very personal’

Mr Bruem told Echonetdaily that the format of the meeting involved five set questions that every candidate was asked, after which it was thrown open to the floor ‘for people to ask whatever questions they liked.’

‘Each candidate was asked whether there was anything that could be embarrassing the party in their past, which I answered,’ he said.

‘But then I kept getting a series of more questions along those lines, one of which was “there is something in your past that you’re not revealing, will you tell us about it?”

‘Another one was “I received a phone call from someone saying you know this Mr Big in Sydney. Would you mind telling us who he is and what your relationship is?”

‘Then there was a question along the lines of, “Your gay male partner is not a member of the National Party, why not? How are you going to be able to rely on your partner to support you?”

‘It was very personal and I’ve had several members call me since the meeting to say that the personal line that was taken was over the top and wasn’t fair in what really should have been a discussion around policy and my views on policy.’

‘Corrupted from the start’

Mr Bruem said he believed the community preselection process had been ‘corrupted from the start’.

‘We were under firm instructions not to speak to the media but one of the candidates has been giving regular updates to the media throughout the whole thing. I raised this with head office. They said they would take action but they did not.

‘I believe they were side-tracked by having to run by-elections in the seats of Cootamundra and Murray, which they were not expecting, so they dropped the ball on the community preselection,’ he said.

Fit to be a candidate

State Director Nathan Quigley told ABC radio this morning that he did not believe there were undue problems with the preselection process.

Mr Quigley said he had sat in on the meeting and that the line of questioning, while tough, was within the normal range of questions that candidates get asked.

‘A lot of unsuccessful candidates do feel a bit bruised by the process,’ he said. ‘It’s quite tough but it has to be.’

Mr Quigley denied that homophobia was an issue within the National Party.

He added that Mr Bruem did get through the initial vote on whether he was considered ‘fit to be a candidate’ but that he believed the ‘three best candidates’ got the thumbs up from the party meeting to go through to the community vote next month.

Missing email

Mr Quigley also expressed surprise that Mr Bruem claimed to have contacted him, saying he had not seen the email.

Mr Bruem told Echonetdaily the email had been resent this morning.

‘Why he is not getting or not opening his emails I don’t know,’ he said.

Mr Bruem has also accused Lismore ALP Secretary Mark Bailey of facilitating some of the rumours via a Facebook page he hosts called Lismore Info.

‘Yesterday, rather mysteriously, all the defamatory comments on the site were removed,’ Mr Bruem said.

Mr Bailey declined to comment on Mr Bruem’s allegations, other than to strenuously deny that any of the comments ever appeared on the page.

Regardless of the outcome of any party investigation Mr Bruem said he very much doubted he would be involved in politics any further.

‘It’s a nasty game, Saturday was an example of that and, frankly, I’m not a nasty person. I don’t think I’m nasty enough for this game.’


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4 COMMENTS

  1. So there were no female candidates. There were no non-white candidates. And now we hear of discrimination against a gay candidate. The moral of the story? Unless you’re a white, straight male, the National Party is just not for you.

  2. They’re still trying to create a red herring out of people’s logical connection between a YES campaign and the Safe Schools program which is being pushed in our schools. People can see through their tactics and will not be swayed.

  3. Sorry you had to experience this mate! And well done for speaking out about it. It sounds clear that other people were not receiving personal enquiries of this nature.
    Its really important, and serves the community in itself by highlighting this behaviour for people to make up their own minds about the values and ethics of the National Party.

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