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
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0434 GMT (1234 HKT)
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 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