The Greenway candidate for Bob Katter's fledgling political party declared his preference for buying ''guaranteed non-halal meat'' so his money does not ''go to the Muslim community''.
Jamie Cavanough, who is standing for Katter's Australian Party in Sydney's most marginal federal seat, Greenway, which takes in suburbs including Kellyville Ridge, Seven Hills, Girraween and others is under fire for the apparently divisive comments he made to a community forum in one of the city's most ethnically diverse areas.
What do you think of his comments? Tell us below.
They emerged a day after a Katter candidate in Victoria, Tess Corbett, sparked outrage by likening homosexuals to paedophiles, saying they should be kept out of the classroom.
Mr Cavanough made his comments on Saturday, less than a fortnight after controversy in the Greenway community over plans for a supposed Muslim enclave, dubbed ''Halal housing'', in Riverstone.
Mr Cavanough posted on the Riverstone Community Group forum, which has 732 members on Facebook: ''Can anyone advise me where I can buy Guaranteed NON halal lamb for Australia day.''
When a forum user suggested he might try a butcher, Mr Cavanough replied: ''have not asked yet, just wondering if anyone new [sic] of any, I would prefer to always buy non halal as proceeds of halal goes to the Muslim community.''
In a separate post, he called on people to sign a petition against a supposed plan by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to scrap the name Australia Day in favour of Harmony Day, saying ''the Muslim church is in favour of this''. The Prime Minister's office confirmed there was no such proposal.
Mr Cavanough told Fairfax Media he was simply looking for a better deal on meat and his comments were not racially motivated.
''In my view, and it's not the view of any party, I want to be able to purchase a product that has not been faced to a god that I don't believe in and blessed,'' he said.
''Every time something is deemed halal they pay for the right. I have no problem with Muslims; I breed sheep and cattle and sell them to Muslims. I don't care what they do with them, I was just simply asking where I can purchase [non-halal meat].''
Labor's Michelle Rowland, the sitting MP for Greenway, which covers parts of Blacktown, Seven Hills and Parklea, said ''my jaw has just dropped'' when told of Mr Cavanough's comments.
''I think those comments are bizarre, I think they are out of line and I think they are totally inappropriate for someone seeking to represent the seat of Greenway, which is a diverse part of Australia,'' she said.
Mr Cavanough has been courting the conservative vote in the absence of a Liberal candidate in Greenway. Fairfax Media revealed recently that Liberal Party officials were waiting for Tony Abbott to give his blessing to one of a list of candidates in the must-win seat, with concern growing at the delay in choosing a candidate.