The federal Liberal candidate for Fremantle Sherry Sufi has resigned after details emerged of an expletive-ridden, sexually explicit impersonation of his former boss.
Mr Sufi had already received negative publicity over his comments opposing same-sex marriage and indigenous recognition and was surprisingly not present when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the Fremantle electorate earlier this week.
But it was his role as the alleged instigator in an earlier incident involving the now speaker of the WA parliament that finally prompted his resignation ahead of the July election.
The Fremantle Herald revealed that Mr Sufi, working as a staffer for Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland in 2013, mocked his boss using graphic sexual references.
During a social function the former liberal candidate for Fremantle was said to have adopted Mr Sutherland’s South African accent to describe a series of sexual adventures at the University of Johannesburg:
“When I was a freshman in college, you know, I f–ed, you know, every f—ing hot bitch in the University of Johannesburg,” Mr Sufi is alleged to have said.
“I shoved the old member up her flute.”
The incident was apparently recorded – as was a subsequent prank call to office volunteers.
Mr Sufi resigned after being confronted with the recordings.
Mr Sutherland told the independent newspaper he hadn’t alerted the Liberal Party’s state council when Mr Sufi’s pre-selection came up because he felt the issue was closed.
The WA speaker has been contacted for further comment.
A spokesman for Mr Sufi confirmed that his resignation had been prompted by this revelation.
“I am doing this in light of continued focus on events from my history,” Mr Sufi said in a statement on Friday.
The former candidate apologised for his comments:
“I have taken the decision to resign my position as Liberal Candidate for Fremantle at this Federal election,” he said.
“This is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have also resigned my post as chair of the Liberal Party’s Policy Committee.
“I am doing this in light of continued focus on events from my history.
“I apologise if my words and actions have caused offence to anyone. This was never my intent.
“I am disappointed that I will not be seeing this campaign through, but I am putting the interests of the Liberal Party first.
“I want to avoid further distraction from the good work being done by the prime minister and his Liberal team.”
A few days earlier a report in The West Australian alleged that Mr Sufi embellished his curriculum vitae in his preselection application, claiming to have worked for the premier and finance departments when he actually worked for state MPs.
Mr Sufi was also snubbed by the Prime Minister in his recent visit to the electorate of Fremantle, with Malcolm Turnbull saying he disagreed with his Liberal candidate’s views on a range of issues, including his criticism of the apology to the Stolen Generations, claims same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy and his objection to constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Labor has also had preselection problems in Fremantle: original candidate Chris Brown was disendorsed and replaced in the first week of the campaign after it emerged he had not disclosed an assault conviction from the 1980s.