When One Nation hopeful Stephanie Banister gave an exclusive interview to 7News on Wednesday, she did not expect it to make headlines around the world.
But the mother-of-two has been labelled the ‘Australian Sarah Palin’ after a series of gaffes over religion and politics.
Ms Banister – the mother accused of an anti-Muslim contamination scare at a Queensland shopping centre – will stand as a One Nation candidate at next month’s federal election.
In an exclusive interview with 7News earlier this week, Ms Banister said Islam ‘was a country’ as well as a series of other gaffes.
At 27, she is described as One Nation’s ‘poster girl’ for Rankin. A trained welder, she is used to the heat. But perhaps not the political heat that has followed following the 7News interview.
Religion is at the centre of her political beliefs. She wants halal food banned, mistakes the haram for the Koran and believes the NDIS is ‘working at the moment’ – it is not due to start until 2016.
Ms Banister, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly placing anti-Muslim stickers on products in a supermarket, claims she was misrepresented in the interview. She told Fairfax ‘they’ve completely twisted my words and made me up to be a stand-up criminal and a moron’.
However, the international media have been quick to ridicule Ms Banister, with The Huffington Post comparing her to Sarah Palin, the one-time Republican candidate for the vice presidency of the United States, who, in one car-crash interview was unable to name a single newspaper she read and used Alaska, and its proximity to Russia, as an example of her foreign policy experience.
“Could this be Australia’s Sarah Palin,” wrote The Huffington Post.
“Stephanie Banister, a 27-year-old politician running for a seat in the Parliament of Australia, got a number of crucial facts about religion horribly wrong during a video interview with Australia's Channel 7 News.”
The Daily Mail called it “an embarrassing interview in which she displayed ignorance of basic facts about Islam.”
UK broadsheet The Telegraph was equally scathing while The Independent called it a ‘car-crash immigration television interview…surely among the worst’.
Watch the video above and judge for yourself.