Former election candidate Jack Lyons says there is “a big possibility” he will contest the next state election, despite having resigned his 2014 candidacy as a result of a series of offensive social media posts.
Mr Lyons stepped down as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Bendigo West after it was revealed he had made racist and sexist comments on Facebook, including referring to Bendigo’s Dai Gum San Chinese precinct as the “ching chong gardens”.
In another post, Mr Lyons wrote that his favourite pick up line was “Hey, does this rag smell like chloroform to you?”.
On Monday Mr Lyons said he was still involved with the Liberal Party and “would like to stand again”, saying he had learnt from his mistakes.
He said the “immature” posts did not reflect his views or beliefs and he hoped voters would be able to see past the “light-hearted” comments made under his own name.
“I haven’t murdered anyone or robbed anyone or anything like that, I do accept they were wrong and did offend some people but they weren’t intended for that nature, they were supposed to be light-hearted,” he said.
“They were shared on social media but in no way were they my views, beliefs or opinions, they were just shared on social media.”
Despite his past candidacy, Mr Lyons said he had “100 per cent support from the party from [Victorian Liberal Party president] Michael Kroger down.”
Mr Lyons said he had since used the experience to teach others about the responsible use of social media.
“I know they’ll resurface and that’s fine, but I’ve been going around to schools and things teaching students about the dos and don’ts of social media and being responsible for your own actions,” he said.
“I’ve actually been bringing it to the forefront, teaching other people from my own mistakes.”
While Mr Lyons said it was too early to say what issues would inform his election platform, he criticised incumbent Maree Edwards as “unseeen” and the government more generally for wasting taxpayers’ money.
“We’ve just had a brand new hospital open in Bendigo West and Maree Edwards, the sitting member, hasn’t even been there for the opening of it,” he said.
“The only way to remove the Andrews government is to actually start at the bottom with all the individual members, they need to be removed from office.
“How about the two blokes in the last week wasting all that money on their travel allowances, and Steve Herbert having his dog ferried around the state, how much have we got to put up with?”
Ms Edwards rejected Mr Lyons criticisms as “out of touch”, but would not comment on his potential candidacy, saying it was a matter for the Liberal Party.
“My constituents know me very well and know that I’m very active in my communities all the time,” she said.
A spokesman for the Liberal Party declined to comment on Mr Lyons’ political ambitions.
“The Liberal Party looks forward to a strong field of candidates nominating for preselection in central Victoria when applications open later this year,” he said.
“For too long Labor has taken the region for granted and Bendigo communities need a much stronger voice in state Parliament.”