Australia’s Dumbest Politician

Stephanie Bannister is running for a seat in the Australian Parliament and appears to be so mind-numbingly ignorant that the Huffington Post is calling her the Australian Sarah Palin. But this may outstrip even Palin’s infamous dimwittedness.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country,” Banister, who is running in the Queensland electoral district of Rankin, said in an interview Wednesday night. “But I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia.”

“Less than two percent of Australians follow haram,” Banister told Channel 7 reporter Erin Edwards, apparently meaning to say “the Quran” instead of “haram,” a word that means “forbidden” in Arabic.

Banister also wants halal food banned in Australia, Channel 7 reports. But kosher food is apparently fine, she said.

“Jews aren’t under haram,” Banister explained. “They have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ.” (Jews do not follow the teachings of Jesus.)

Yeah, she has nothing against the country of Islam. In fact, she can see it from her back porch.

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  • eric

    I knew it was Queensland before I looked below the fold. Its like the US’ upper Florida; nice coast, great place to be a tourist, but lots of crazy behind the scenes.

  • scienceavenger

    Eric – that’s affectionately known as “Florabama”.

    “I don’t oppose Islam as a country” – well at least we agree on something.

  • DaveL

    Jews aren’t under haram

    Does that mean it’s okay for Muslims to eat Jews?

  • Alverant

    This has to be a Poe. No one can be this dense. At least now there’s someone Palin can feel smart when compared against.

  • blf

    According to The Grauniad, she also “admitted not knowing the names of the candidates she was running against”.

  • steve oberski

    I don’t oppose Islam as a country

    But can she see Islam from her house ?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    scienceavenger @ # 2 – Further east, we call it Florgia.

  • blf

    This has to be a Poe.

    No (probably, I haven’t listened to it myself): The Grauniad I linked to in @5 has the interview video.

  • demonhauntedworld

    I lived in north Queensland for 4 years. They don’t call it the Deep North for nothing.

    Also, wrap your head around this: in Queensland, prostitution is legal, but abortion is effectively illegal (women need a letter from two doctors saying that the abortion is for medical reasons).

  • Enkidum

    She’s already withdrawn from the race.

  • laurentweppe

    To be fair, know-nothing-know-it-all politicians and pundits who don’t bother to differenciate between religion, idéology and ethnicity are already several dimes a dozen, so why not adding country in the mix

  • gertzedek

    Nobody tell her that most Muslims consider kosher food to be halal.

  • dukeofomnium

    She’s only 27. Think how ignorant she can become with a few more years of non-education

  • theschwa

    Yeah, she has nothing against the country of Islam.

    In fact, some of her best friends are Islamese.

  • Area Man

    I feel sorry for The Onion.

  • Gwynnyd

    Did she perhaps mean halal instead of haram? That would make a whole lot more send than a misreading of Quran.

  • John Pieret

    “They have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ.”

    The nonsensical “Judeo-Christian” meme strikes again.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Check out Jaymes Diaz who is contesting the seat of Greenway:

  • jws1

    How long before her supporters deny she said this stuff? Because that’s what happens here in the US.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I feel sorry for The Onion.

    Remember: Poe’s Law teaches us that it’s impossible to do real parody (The Onion’s stock in trade) without reality (pick a wingnut) going even farther over the top.

  • eric

    @17: “Judeo-Christian. (n): word developed by western Christians to describe their culture once their efforts to exile, torture, or forcefully convert all Jews had been stymied.” 😉

  • Modusoperandi

    The Onion is not satire. It’s news from the future. Unfortunately for them, the present is moving faster than it used to.

  • jamessweet

    It’s not a Poe. The explanation here lies in the fact that it’s debatable whether she’s “really” a politician, either. This is just some random right-wing-email-forwarding lady who made grand (and racist) gesture against halal meat and was targeted by an overzealous prosecutor, thus ensuring she’d become a martyr for racist causes.

    It should not be a surprise to anyone that there are people out there who are this ignorant. It might be surprising if someone managed to remain this ignorant while putting together a career in politics, but she hasn’t: she’s been in the public eye all of two weeks. During that time, it has become (ahem) abundantly clear that she’s just not going to be able to hold her own in the public arena. Bit too ignorant for that (I’m intentionally avoiding “stupid”, because we don’t really actually know; but clearly she lacks some basic knowledge that most any adult ought to have, so “ignorant” it is).

  • Alverant

    I thought halal were those things that look like hush puppies but made of chick peas.


  • steve oberski


    it’s debatable whether she’s “really” a politician, either. This is just some random right-wing-email-forwarding lady

    If it weren’t for random right wing nutjobs, legislative assemblies around the (nominally) free world would be largely empty (not that this would be a bad thing).

  • Erk12

    In addition to being even dumber than Palin, she’s also faster. She’s already quit:

  • meg

    Not a Poe, though she claims that the first comment about Islam being a country was poorly edited – she had corrected herself. I wouldn’t put it past the station to do so.

    However, it wasn’t clear if she could run, as she was facing charges for putting stickers on food products saying ‘Halal funds terrorism’.

    Personally, I’m still waiting for Clive Palmer to make this election interesting.

  • exdrone

    She did mean to say haram. If asked, she would tell you it’s the moral precepts and religious laws passed along by the Muslim prophet Haram-al-ama-ding-dong, which is the Islamic name form of the Jewish prophet, Jesus Christ.

  • Michael Heath

    Enkidum writes:

    She’s already withdrawn from the race.

    And whose the stupid ones? Our idiot was unanimously nominated at the 2008 GOP nomination to run for VP, after it was revealed Ms. Palin was an idiot, along with possessing a whole host of other incredibly negative attributes.

  • leni

    But can she see Islam from her house ?

    I bwahahahad. Quietly, to myself. But it was definitely more than a lol.

    The Onion is not satire. It’s news from the future.

    Get you’re own blog already you thread-stealing bastard!

    Or twitter or something 😀

  • hrafn

    She’s running as a candidate for the One Nation Party, a notoriously knee-jerk xenophobe Australian party that hasn’t held a single seat in the Queensland state parliament (its main stronghold) since 2009 and polls at less than 1% both at state and federal levels.

    Yes, their clueless nuttiness was a genuine threat in the late-90s to early 2000s, but not any more.

  • dingojack

    A) She not a politician – she’s a would-be politician. (she holds no political office)

    B) She’ a former would-be politican. After this balls up she had the decency to quit, vowing to educate herself on these issues. (Hah!)

    C) She’s from Queensland (think – the Alabama or Florida of the Southern Hemisphere)

    D) She’s from rural Queensland (see point C above. Take the dumb, multiply it by the largest extremely large positive integer you can think of, and you’ll be getting close (ish))

    E) She’s from One Nation. The party who brought you Pauline Hanson, Member for Oxley (affectionately known as ‘the Oxley Moron’).

    F) Don’t forget such greats as Clive ‘Titanic’ Palmer and Bob ‘The Mad Hatter ‘ Katter*. Look ’em up, if you need loons to make yourselves feel better..

    That is all.



    * Also see Jaymes Diaz (#18 above). That’s why the conservatives are sticking to three-word slogans. It’s about as much as their candidates can handle (almost).

  • Robert B.

    Man, Australian politics has all the good nicknames. I am instantly jealous that someone got to call a politician “The Oxley Moron” and it wasn’t me.

    It’s not that we don’t have any morons, of course, quite the opposite. But we don’t have any Oxleys. All in favor of renaming Texas?

  • Modusoperandi

    You’ve all been had. Australia doesn’t even have elections.

  • Aliasalpha

    I wonder if anyone has done a comparative study of stereotypes in relation to the equator. In america it seems the further south you go the stupider the stereotype gets, the same is true in australia only going north

  • iangould

    A quick discourse on the Australian political system.

    We use a voting system known as preferential voting (you number the candidates in order of preference, if your first choice gets the least votes they’ve eliminated and your vote is transferred to your second choice and so on until one candidate has a majority,

    In lower house seats this tends to produce a Parliament dominated by the two major parties. In our Senate where we elect 12 senators for each state it’s relatively easy for minor parties to get elected.

    We have a system of public election funding where if a candidate gets above a certain number of votes their party receives a bit over $1per vote.

    Minor parties run candidates in lower house seats not because they expect to win but to get the funding and hopefully boost their Senate vote.

    There’s a significant number of disaffected former Labor voters who don;t want to vote for the right-wing Liberal Party and are susceptible to pitches from minor parties.

    Logan, the area where Bannister was running isn’t rural at all. It’s a primarily mostly working-class outer-urban area lying between Queensland’s capital of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

    For the past several years, the Australian dollar has been extremely high, due in part to massive expansion in our mining industries driven by growing Chinese demand. That’s made it incredibly hard for local manufacturers to compete with imports. Areas like Logan have unemployment rates of 20% or higher as a result. At the same time, governments have been cutting back on infrastructure spending and services which hits outer suburban areas especially hard.

    Southerners like to make Queenslander jokes and sneer at people up here as hicks and rednecks. That’s not completely unfair but the same factors at work in places like Logan can also be seen in, for example, western Sydney.

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    The ignorance and ineptitude of these two women is unfathomable. On the other hand, as a woman myself (of 71), I’m happy that a woman in politics no longer needs to be a poster-person for every virtue. A woman can have a career in politics even if she’s just as stupid and in fact repulsive as are so many male politicians.

    In other words, a woman (or a black or gay person, or any other group) has just as much right to be stupid and ignorant as does anybody else!

  • yoav

    Maybe she could look for a job for another Queenslander known for being a fucking moron but I understand his “museum” is not doing that well.

  • Suido

    To be fair on the Liberal party (excuse me as I vomit), Jaymes Diaz won the preselection for his electorate because his family controls the local Liberal party branch. Abbott apparently knew it was a time bomb, but didn’t want to spend the political capital within his party to force the local branch to preselect a better candidate.

    And I will chortle with glee at the Libs misfortune if Diaz fails to win the seat in a region where the Libs are expected to win up to 5 seats back from Labor.

  • eric


    I wonder if anyone has done a comparative study of stereotypes in relation to the equator. In america it seems the further south you go the stupider the stereotype gets, the same is true in australia only going north

    Proximity to the equator…or to Texas? Queensland IS the Aussi state closest to them. 😉

  • eurosid

    I find it very funny the reporter wants to blast Bannister for the stupidity of these remarks while still feeling the need to tell the reader just WHY the remarks are stupid.


    “Jews aren’t under haram,” Banister explained. “They have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ.” (Jews do not follow the teachings of Jesus.)

    Um, if reporter doesn’t expect the reader to know that Jews don’t visit Jesusville, why is OK to laugh at Bannister for saying so? Or is HuffPo just acknowledging that its readers are as dumb as Bannister?

  • dingojack

    Ian – Thank you for pointing out that the only thing worse than a Sydney Bogan is a Queensland Bogan*.



    * they’re marginally better than a Territorian, I guess. 😉

    Robert B. – Another famous Queenslander was Senator Dr. Mal Colston, a Labor member (the lmid-left party) of the upper house (described contemptuously by PM P.J. Keating as ‘unrepresentative swill’) who left the party (thus depriving Labor of an upper house majority) to become firstly an Independent and then a creature of of the Liberal-National Coalition (the mid-right party). He was wonderfully described by Senator Robert Ray as: ‘that quisling quasimodo from Queensland’.

  • Matt G

    Is she being called the “Australian Sarah Palin” because she’s female? Just askin’….

  • alyosha

    As a former resident of a little backwater on the central Queensland coast, many of the stereotypes of our ignorance are fairly apt in general.

    But it doesn’t take ignorance on the scale above to elect ignorant and moralising nationalists. And I suspect this happens to be due to the fact that voters mostly have more articulate rationalisations for believing shit.

    Tory pollies are well-spoken bogans.

  • democommie

    She may be a shithead but the most egregious sin ever committed by Australia was one of omission. They let that scumbag Murdoch emigrate.