LNP candidate sorry for insulting reporter

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A Queensland policeman selected to run for the Liberal National Party says he’s sorry for hurling insults at a female journalist on Facebook.

Jim Bellos, a former Queenslander of the Year, has issued an apology after calling a Nine network journalist a cow and a stupid sour bitch.

It’s the second major snag to hit his campaign for the state seat of Stretton after the death of popular Labor member Duncan Pegg earlier this year.

In a statement sent to AAP, Mr Bellos expressed regret over comments he made on Facebook in 2017 in relation to the Nine network’s so-called “jacketgate” affair.

The affair involved video footage of presenter and journalist Amber Sherlock berating her colleague Julie Snook over what she was wearing for three-way panel discussion.

Ms Snook turned up wearing all white, as were Ms Sherlock and her guest. The presenter then embarked on a lengthy rant, repeatedly ordering Ms Snook to “put on a jacket”.

Mr Bellos said his online conduct back then did not reflect his dedication to community service.

“I apologise for these Facebook posts. They don’t reflect my 30 years of protecting vulnerable people and serving our community,” he said.

“My life and work is focused on bringing people together, and this is a valuable reminder of how important it is to carefully consider what I post on social media.”

Deputy Premier Steven Miles has told AAP the comments “are entirely inappropriate for anyone, let alone a police officer or someone who aspires to public office”.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey took to Twitter saying Mr Bellos had been exposed for his “sexist, nasty” comments, and included an emoji of a woman face-palming.

Soon after Mr Pegg died from cancer earlier this year, his grieving family said photos of him were being “misused” in a brochure for Mr Bellos.

The family said the use of the images implied the late MP endorsed the police officer’s candidacy.

But Mr Bellos said Mr Pegg was a friend, and the brochure also carried a tribute to him. Regardless, he complied with the family’s call to stop using the photos.

The Stretton by-election will be held on July 24. Mr Pegg’s long-time staffer James Martin is running for Labor.

Mr Bellos is not the only candidate that has sparked criticism of the LNP in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, it chose Henry Pike as its candidate for the federal seat of Bowen despite reported claims of fat-shaming and sexist comments.

Mr Pike said he was a changed person after messages in a group chat from more than a decade ago were published.

In one message he wrote: “(It) states quite clearly in the Bible that f****** a fat chick is a sin beyond redemption.”

Mr Pike later said his comments were made within a private group and don’t reflect the person he is now.

Mr Pike is hoping to replace Andrew Laming, who is resigning from federal parliament after the prime minister forced him to apologise to two women who accused him of harassment. Mr Laming has denied the claim.

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