THE Tasmanian Liberal party has preferenced an anti-muslim far-right party denounced by federal leader Tony Abbott.
The Rise Up Australia party, which features former state Liberal candidate Phillip Lamont as the lead Senate candidate, has been placed ahead of Labor and the Greens on the Liberals' Tasmanian Senate group voting ticket, despite Mr Abbott calling a number of parties, including Rise Up and One Nation, "frankly racist" yesterday.
Rise Up, running with the slogans of "Keep Australia Australian" and "Multi-Ethnic, One Culture", has a Facebook page asking whether Muslims "can be trusted 24/7?".
Mr Lamont said Rise Up was a "reaction to the Muslim presence in Australia but it's not in Tasmania, there's no problem here".
He defended the party's policies on freedom of religion saying: "I've had so many Muslim friends it's not funny ... I don't have a problem with the Muslim people but if you look at New South Wales, they have a problem."
Mr Lamont, who works as a surgeon and campaigned for funding for the Mersey Hospital, said he agreed to run for the party as it "allows me to move further to the right and be a part of the debate".
Liberal Party state director Sam McQuestin said the party's Senate preferences were decided locally, saying the party started from the worst candidates and worked backwards.
"Clearly we put parties that have got philosophies not consistent with ours last, including the Greens and the ALP, who have sold out to the Greens. So we made those decisions and worked back from there," Mr McQuestin said.
Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said the decision should be based on values and philosophy, but he had not seen the ballot or Rise Up's policies.
Labor has put the right-wing party last in Tasmania.