Liberal candidate Aaron Lane resigns

Western Victoria candidate Aaron Lane.

Western Victoria candidate Aaron Lane.

LIBERAL Party candidate for Western Victoria Aaron Lane has stood down after a set of homophobic and off-colour social media messages were revealed on Friday. 

Lane, who was almost guaranteed to be the region's next upper house MP, has been exposed using Twitter to attack homosexuals, referring to former Labor leader Simon Crean as a "big C" and former speaker Peter Slipper as "a giant C".

In tweets made between 2011 and 2012, Mr Lane liberally used derogatory terms.

The decision could open the door for City of Ballarat Councillor Sam Macintosh to take Lane's place on the ballot in this year's election.

When Lane's place on the ballot was announced in May it was not revealed where on the ballot Macintosh, Terang solicitor Ian Pugh and former Howard government advisor Rod Nockles were placed. 

Labor's state candidates were vocal in the condemnation of Lane's actions on Friday. 

However, despite being contacted before midday, The Courier was told both the Liberal candidate for Wendouree Craig Coltman and Buninyong Ben Taylor would be unavailable to comment on this issue for the entire day.

Premier Denis Napthine said early in the afternoon he believed Mr Lane should stand down. 

Mr Lane was endorsed by the Liberal Party in May and has previously spoken about his religious conservative values.

Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight hit out at the Western Victoria candidate this morning calling the tweets "appalling."

"There is a really bad to side to this, I know from my days at Lifeline, that young people have a lot of barriers to coming out," she said.

"It is really offensive."

Ms Knight also called on local Liberal candidates to condemn the comments.

Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard also went on the offensive saying he expected Mr Lane to stand down as a result.

"It is very unfortunate that a member of any political party would make comments in such bad taste," he said.

Mr Howard said it appeared Mr Lane was even attempting to "show off" by posting the comments on social media.

Greens Western Victoria candidate Lloyd Davies also labelled the tweets appalling.

"It clearly shows how out of touch the Liberal government is with parts of Victoria," he said.

The Courier has contacted Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay for comment. 

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