Council candidate outlines how to be elected despite abhorrent views

Stephen Wells is running for the City of Busselton Council. In a video podcast he says getting voted on to the council is easy because people don’t check the background of candidates, allowing people’s nationalistic and racist views to be undetected.

Wells has denied that he is hoping to keep his own comments about women, the LGBTIQA+ community, and Jewish people under wraps.

In an online video Wells makes a series of comments which have been labelled as transphobic, homophobic, racist, antisemitic and misogynistic. The video discussions expand upon an article he wrote outlining how easy it is for someone to get elected to local government.

In the video Wells outlines how once on council it would be possible to take a stance against Pride events, install a CEO who agrees with a movement’s political views, and get “our boys decent paying jobs” within the local government machine.

Warning: This story has details of wide-ranging discriminatory comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

In a statement to OUTinPerth the aspiring councillor denied he was keeping his political views a secret.

Wells acknowledged that he has written articles online that outline his view that people can be elected to local government without their wider political views being known, but he says it is irrelevant because local councils seldom have anything to do with global or national issues.

Well says he wrote an article “which encouraged members of the public who were disaffected with the political system to stand for election, rather than simply whinge on the internet.”

“I pointed out that though their chances of being elected at a state or federal level were almost non-existent, anyone has a chance at being elected for local council.”

“I also pointed out that a person’s larger political world view was basically irrelevant in a local council role, because global and national issues very seldom have anything to do with local government.”

Wells denied he was not being upfront with voters about his political views.

“I have been openly speaking and writing my views in many places, it is illogical for anyone to assume I am hiding any of my views.” he said.

While the candidate said he expected if elected he would be focusing on development proposals, funding allocations and providing basic services, in the video discussion he outlines how a spot in local government could be used to stop the “global homo bullshit” and make decision to limit Pride events in the city.

Wells is at the forefront of protests against drag performers 

In a video podcast that is available online, Wells discusses his attendance at a Drag Storytime protest in Maylands in June saying the counter-protesters were “gay degenerates”, while using slurs against transgender and disabled people.

Wells has appeared at protests against drag performances aimed at adults too. In another post, he is documented as being the sole protester at an adult drag event at Margaret River Pride in February. At a protest outside the Perth Library Wells appeared holding a sign calling for children to be protected from an “LGBTQ Agenda”.

In the video discussion, which Wells take part in, one of his fellow panelists says yelling an anti-gay slur in people’s faces is “exhilarating”, while Wells laughs and says during the protests he was chatting with friends and “pointing out that little f****t of there, or that little weirdo over there.”

Following a discussion about linkages between drag performers and paedophilia, Wells says there needs to be a “death penalty”. The panel discussion includes a focus on the biblical passages that call for a death penalty for homosexuality.

He suggests that the LGBTIQA+ acronym will soon have an additional letter added to represent “necrophilia”, while one of his colleagues says there are parts of the queer community who formally add ‘Minor Attracted People” to the acronym.

Candidate has praise for jihadists 

The council candidate goes on to praise jihadists for their commitment to a cause and says, while he does not think protesters against the LGBTIQA+ communities should become terrorists, he admires their conviction.

“It’s that conviction. It’s that determination that I’m not going to step back, you’re going to have to kill me.” Wells says, before adding that Christians need to start embracing a philosophy that it’s not about “this life.”

“This is not about what happens on this earth. It’s about standing for what is true and what is right – whist you are on this earth, regardless of what happens to you or your family or anybody you love,” Wells says in the video podcast.

Stephen Wells outlines plan for getting elected without revealing true political views

The aspiring councillor shares his view that you only need to motivate a small group of people to make a big difference in public policy.

“Democracy is bullshit, democracy is an illusion. It’s never been the majority; it’s always been the fanatical minority.” Wells says. “We just need to get enough fanatics.”

Wells outlines that running for local council rather state or federal parliament gives people an easy chance of being elected and then being able to bring about change based on their agenda.

“The chances of being elected for a local council is much, much, higher. You only need a couple of thousand votes, and you’ll get a lot of people just ticking your name on a box because they don’t know who else to tick.”

Wells says it’s easy for people to get elected to local government without people finding out about a candidate’s nationalist views because little scrutiny is given to candidate’s backgrounds.

“Nobody knows who you are, nobody knows you’re a racist antisemite. Nobody knows anything about you. You’re just a local person standing for council, and you go around and talk about local issues, and you can talk about the water supply, and you can talk about the local arts centre that the council spent too much money on, you can talk about all these things that have absolutely nothing to do with what you really want to get in for.

“Once you’re in you get to decide what the CEO can action, and if the CEO’s contract comes up for renewal – you’re the people who decides who the next CEO is.” Wells said in the video. “Potentially down the track we could be getting our boys decent paying jobs, there’s all kinds of benefits from it.”

Wells says people need to get on to council to fight “global homo bullshit.” and curtail the effect of the “World Economic Forum”, and once elected can make decisions like banning Pride related events.

Wells says if someone is elected and their true political views are later exposed, the news of attempts of their dismissal would also be a big media story that would be seen as a win for their cause.

“You can have a lot of fun with it if you’re ever confronted by the media. If they’re saying you should be dismissed from council because you’re a Nazi, well you can just say ‘How many gas chambers do you think I can achieve from the local council level?'”

In his candidate statement Wells says he is “well suited to represent the views” of his local community but makes no mentioned of his political views or opposition to LGBTIQA+ related events.

Wells describes himself as a local resident who has worked in a range of unspecified professions ranging from low-skilled work to high -skilled roles, including running his own business.

“I understand the lives of many different people and am well suited to represent the views of all the residents of our community.”

The video discussion that runs for over two hours includes homophobic, racist and antisemitic comments about prominent Australians including Senator Penny Wong, Victorian politician Dick Gross, and Voice campaigners Thomas Mayo and Marcia Langton. In the video Wells also describes all women in politics as “whores”.

Calls for state government to take action on vilification laws

Brian Greig, Chair of Busselton Pride Alliance (BPA) said the comments showed the link between the neo-Nazi movement and transphobia. 

“This incident shows once again the direct link between transphobia and neo-Nazis and I call on the State Government to get moving on its long overdue LGBTI+ law reforms that deal with vilification, transgender protections and conversion practice bans.”

Busselton Pride Alliance have also advised they will be sending a short survey to all candidates, asking whether they will commit to supporting Busselton Mardi Gras and lighting up the council chambers to celebrate Pride, and whether they will seek to ban LGBTIQA+ books from local libraries as suggested by the candidate.

The survey will also ask if they support changing council policy and procedure to explicitly mention LGBTIQA+ people among their diversity and inclusion policies. BPA will no longer ask these questions of Wells, certain he has made his views clear.

Nat Latter, Drag Storytime organiser and owner of Rabble Books & Games, who is also running for Bayswater Council, has also addressed Wells’ comments.

“Comments like that are exactly why Drag Storytime is so important and why we need to create spaces where everyone can feel safe and respected, because we don’t want our kids to grow up in a world where they have to deal with hate speech like that.”

Graeme Watson, Leigh Andrew Hill  

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