Yesterday BuzzFeed News revealed Rogers, the One Nation candidate for the Queensland state seat of Mulgrave, had written a blog post claiming pictures of three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi lying face down on a Turkish beach were "fabricated" and a "lie that changed the world".
"The whole photo thing was fabricated, as it turns out this kid was alive and well," Rogers wrote.
He argued that world leaders are to blame for giving credit to the "farcical drowned boy story", and for opening the floodgates for “fraudsters” (refugees) to be resettled in Australia.
Rogers, whose campaign slogan is “Clean The Swamp”, says former prime minister Tony Abbott was duped by the fake photo into bringing "tens of thousands of refugees" to Australia.
Rogers doesn’t provide evidence for how he thinks the photo was faked.
Acting Queensland premier Jackie Trad is calling on One Nation to dump Rogers as a candidate in the upcoming state election.
"One Nation candidate Peter Rogers’ comments are just plain kooky," Trad told BuzzFeed News. "Alan Kurdi’s father, Abdullah, who held his dead boy’s body, knows that he no longer has a family."
Trad said Queenslanders expect better than "kooks" like Rogers to represent them in state parliament and has asked Pauline Hanson to reconsider his candidacy.
Greens immigration spokesperson Nick McKim told BuzzFeed News that Rogers is a far right, anti-immigration conspiracy theorist who shouldn't be allowed to run for political office.
"Peter Rogers appears to be an amalgam of all the worst of One Nation’s traits – a post-truth conspiracy theorist with an irrational hatred of [refugees]," McKim told BuzzFeed News. "Peddling these disgraceful smears against a dead child and his family should disqualify him from elected office and even candidacy."
McKim thinks Pauline Hanson "or whoever is running the shambles that is One Nation" needs to immediately reject Rogers’ "bullshit" and disendorse him as a candidate.
Since announcing its Queensland team in late-December,One Nation has lost two candidates over their online commentary - Shan Ju Lin for posting on Facebook that gay people “should be treated as patients” and Andy Semple for tweeting an offensive comment about an LGBTI t-shirt.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at email@example.com.
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