A Breakaway Conservative Party? Perhaps, But Questions Abound

WITH THE ELECTION result remaining unclear, much of the political discussion yesterday turned to the initiative of controversial Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to start a group — the Australian Conservatives — to “unite Australian conservatives;” the initiative, supposedly able to exist inside the Liberal Party, may have merit, but questions regarding its breadth, depth, policy objectives and personnel are all concerns that must be resolved.

We have only ever discussed controversial conservative Liberal Party Senator Cory Bernardi twice in this column; once, four years ago, when I ripped into him over comments about gay marriage leading to sex and marriage with horses and goats and so forth, and once last year, in the aftermath of the majority decision of the US Supreme Court to legalise gay marriage and following the publication of an essay (which can also be accessed through that link) in a respected political journal advocating “group marriage” (and God only knows what else at some later juncture), in which I published an unsolicited retraction of my attack on Bernardi, and an apology. He had been proven right.

I begin my remarks thus this morning because Bernardi has emerged — having correctly described the Liberal Party’s federal election campaign as “a disaster” — as the latest individual to the Right of Australian politics to set forth on some kind of adventure in creating a new conservative party; the objective is nothing new, and all too often has seen narrow, personality-based, cult-like organisations spring up that are nothing more than complaint amplification devices, vehicles for the indulgence of personal megalomania, or both.

Too often, they gravitate toward agendas based on guns and the wholesale vilification of Muslims, and whilst responsible gun ownership and the insidious rise of radical Islam are matters that concern genuine conservatives, they do not of themselves constitute an agenda for a mainstream party, or anything remotely approaching it.

Whilst the Liberal Party received votes from me in both Houses on Saturday, for the first time in my life (and this was my 10th federal election as a voter) it did not receive them by way of a primary vote; under its present leadership, the Liberal Party has come to project an image resembling an encounter group that would interact pleasantly with the Labor Right, or even some elements within the Greens, and this latte-swilling, inner-city focus on people totally into themselves simply because of who they are and where they live is a culture with which I have no truck: and the campaign which may yet cost the Coalition government was notable only for its excited screeching of empty messages that would appeal to such a trendy, with-it funky bunch. It was an exciting time, all right. The name of Tony Blair also comes involuntarily to mind.

Yet in the end, and certainly in the lower house where any vote in my local seat was ultimately a choice between the Liberal Party and Labor, the Liberals still offered the lesser of two evils; but others — those uninterested in seeing the party recover and prosper, or those who couldn’t really care less, or those who think the Liberals should be taught a lesson and who instead voted Labor to try to teach them one — deserted the Coalition in droves, balancing it finely upon the precipice of defeat as a result.

I don’t think there is any problem in having a conservative forum within the Liberal Party as a starting point; after all, the party is home to other sub-groupings based on business, women, young people, regional centres and so forth, and bringing like-minded people together within the famed “broad tent” is no bad thing: contrary to the view it can erect barriers between different elements within the party, I actually think it can break them down, as the like-minded network with each other, and people in each of the sub-groups network into other sub-groups with the effect that new and deeper connections between them can be forged.

Bernardi has set up a website for people to “register interest” in his Australian Conservatives; out of interest, I’ve registered: and a little disconcertingly, the first thing I received from it was an email thanking me for “joining.” We will see what is forthcoming as the days and weeks pass, and I will share this information with readers as it becomes available, but I haven’t “joined” anything, and the presumption I have is perhaps a sign that the Australian Conservatives are something other than what they say they are.

But it takes little insight to realise the end destination of this exercise — an attempt to form a new conservative party — and in that sense, Bernardi has some questions to answer.

A check of the website requesting registrations stated that Australian Conservatives was “an initiative of the Conservative Leadership Foundation;” a quick search revealed (surprise, surprise) that the Conservative Leadership Foundation is headed by “Chairman and Founder” Cory Bernardi, and the uneasy feeling that this might be another Clive Palmer/Jacqui Lambie/Pauline Hanson enterprise was heightened by the fact the “Conservative Shop” (accessible through another tab on the CLF website) is selling five books authored by Cory Bernardi in addition to a “Hardcore Conservative” T-Shirt range.

Readers know I have little time for the cult of personality, and it is perhaps poetic to report back today on a nauseating flower whom we noted last year was attempting to shanghai the noble principles of conservatism to legitimise an undeserving, personality-based bid for the Senate, which — in a happy takeout from Saturday’s election — received the sum total of 57 Senate votes out of more than three million cast in NSW, which is at least 56 more than it deserved.

Yet in that piece, I also set out many of the preconditions it failed to address for the establishment not just of a new conservative party, but of any new party at all.

As I opined at the time:

“Any new, mass-based party — conservative or otherwise — would need to spring from multiple figureheads spanning a raft of prominent roles in business, politics, commerce, industry, and other spheres like the armed forces and interest groups like pensioners…there is an agenda a conservative party — a proper conservative party — could easily win mass backing for: one fashioned around opportunity and reward for effort; built on the family, the business community, strong national defences and a sense of national identity; looking after the vulnerable, whilst rewarding the entrepreneurial; and modernising the entire outdated structure of the pillars of the so-called “Australian settlement” that still see unions controlling whatever they like in this country, despite less than one in six Australians belonging to a union, and which see anyone who wants to sit on their arses doing nothing protected by the populist outrage of anyone with a political point to gain from letting them do so.”

And as I also pointed out, I’m not closed to the idea of a Conservative Party of Australia, but there is an awful lot it would have to do and get right in the formative stages that no new party, to my mind, has managed and/or even bothered to do and get right since Bob Menzies founded the Liberal Party in 1944.

Bernardi is right to note that 1.7 million Australians cast their votes for “right-of-centre or conservative parties rather than the Liberal Party” on Saturday, and probably at least substantially right to suggest a large number of these people were disaffected Liberal voters who simply felt unable, for whatever reason or reasons, to support their party this time.

But caution is also required, for that 1.7 million also includes those who voted for blatantly and unapologetically racist outfits like the Australian Liberty Alliance, and divisive troublemakers like Pauline Hanson with her One Nation party, who (and this is an old story) is just great at whipping up a furore around race-based problems, but never advocates anything rational or substantial as a solution to them: it’s just stir the punters up into a frenzy, grab their votes (and the election funding they yield), and skip off somewhere else to make more noise.

Neither of these entities could be called “conservative:” they are bastions of the far Right, and there is a distinction between mainstream conservatism and the lunatic fringe that must be drawn — just like there is a difference between the mainstream social democrats of the Left and their insidious brethren at its ultra-socialist, ultra-statist extreme.

Disturbingly, though, the “comments” section of Bernardi’s call to arms on his personal website shows an awful lot of interest from people openly identifying with the ALA, nutcase religious fringe outfit the Rise Up! Australia Party, and One Nation: and as soon as you build these types of far-Right influences into a political party, it can hardly be characterised as “mainstream.”

On the other hand, were current conservative Liberal voters to be coalesced into a single organisation with those from the National Party, Family First, the Shooters and Fishers party, perhaps the Liberal Democrats, and maybe some of the more reasonable Christian Democrat-style parties floating around the place, then a solid base from which to advocate proper conservative policies might be assembled.

It would have to be mass-based; none of the personality bullshit that every lunchtime legend seems to think Australians are desperate for a slice of.

It would have to be truly democratic; no management committees to rule by decree, or state executive-type delegates to turn up to every preselection to overturn the wishes of local members in favour of predetermined outcomes; some degree of veto is always mandatory of course, as the slew of candidates who slipped through vetting processes on both sides of the political divide showed repeatedly during the election campaign that has just concluded. But the criteria for vetoing candidates would have to be codified, and things like “pissed off such-and-such an MP x years ago” or “doesn’t belong to the right bunch of mates” simply wouldn’t cut it, and existing parties which engage in some or all of this behaviour should contemplate their actions when next the issue of permanently declining membership numbers comes up.

It would have to develop policies that cater to both urban and regional conservatives; there is no point in a new party that caters to one to the exclusion of the other, and such a suite of policies would probably take the form of a series of separate measures targeted to each constituency that are complementary rather than contradictory. But good luck getting the balance right.

And whilst small government, low tax, personal responsibility, incentive for effort, reward for success and an emphasis on family and traditional values — coupled with strong national defences, strong national identity, and a strong safety net for those genuinely in need of it — are all bedrock principles of mainstream conservative governance, great care would need to be taken to ensure the agenda of any new conservative party isn’t hijacked by the “string ’em up” anti-Muslim brigade, or by others whose voices are much further to the Right of an orthodox policy platform.

I don’t know how Bernardi proposes to reconcile and resolve these problems; it is heartening to see he is casting the net to form a movement rather than a party as a first step, and apparently sounding out significant figures of conservative inclination as to whether they might be involved.

But at some point, it seems inevitable that the bullet will have to be bitten: as I said earlier, it takes little imagination to see that what Bernardi is doing is taking the first, very tentative steps to form a new conservative party (or at least to try to facilitate the formation of one by mass participation), and it’s an endeavour I will most certainly be monitoring, if nothing else.

It is a process that is far from straightforward, and throws up far more questions than Bernardi has to date volunteered any answers to. At some point I may attempt to contact him to discuss his intentions, and if I do — subject to any strictures around confidentiality upon which he might insist — I will share this with readers as well.

But I am most interested in feedback from readers: what do you think? Is there a place for a new, mass-based conservative party in Australia? What do you think it should incorporate in its platform, and who should it — and shouldn’t it — open its doors to? Or do you think, as many do, that the Liberal Party, imperfect as it is, still represents the best ongoing vehicle for the advancement of conservatism in Australia?

As we ever do, we will wait and see, but I encourage all conservatively minded readers to share their views in the comment section today; the typical comment rate for this site is 1-2% of all readers, and this totemic issue presents one occasion when the views of all — if they describe themselves as conservative, or find they align with the values I have outlined here as conservative values — really should be shared, debated, and given further thought.

 

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21 thoughts on “A Breakaway Conservative Party? Perhaps, But Questions Abound

  1. Yale, it is spooky that we were discussing just this issue of Bernardi as a leader just the other day.
    I think this is a good thing for as long as M.T remains leader ,there is no conservative ear or guardian for his overtly leftist views.
    I must admit I did not see your blog on Bernardi and gay marriage – but I do recall his comments and I have to say, when looked at in the way he was describing, he is right. When you alter the Marriage Act for one group, the others (no matter how revolting) will demand the same and a precedent will have been set to support them.
    I am uncertain whether your comment on the “wholesale vilification of Muslims” is factitious or whether you truly believe this is what being a conservative stands for.
    Pauline Hanson and the ALA are certainly not racist parties, and those who know the true meaning of that word would agree, they simply want to put the brakes on the immigration of people from an ideology (Islam is an ideology, not a religion) that refuses to assimilate and uphold the laws of this nation; thereby causing the division we are seeing.
    The leaders of Islam in Australia have quite plainly pointed out, that there is no difference between moderate and radical Islam as their goals are the same, the worldwide conversion to Islam and Sharia Law.
    I do not want my granddaughters and great granddaughters subjected to this barbaric way of life, being seen as lower class citizens because of their gender. I do not want them to be subjected to female mutilation because sexual pleasure is a man only domain, I do not want them stoned on the whisper of adultery (true or otherwise), if my grandson is gay, I do not want him thrown off a tall building, I do not want animals subjected to unimaginable torture in their treatment and the way they are killed to appease some revolting custom.
    These are all truths that Kirralee and Pauline stand up against and I, one of many, am with them.
    If a Moslem cannot abide by our culture, then I ask that they go back.
    No other country in the world tolerates this kind of rubbish, not even the Moslem countries themselves – if you go there and do not obey their laws – you can die!
    On the subject of gay marriage – even though it is a very insignificant issue when you look at our debt, I do not care if gays marry; however, I very much disagree with our Constitution having to be altered to appease this group. It has nothing to do with love – they can love and live together and if they truly want to marry, NZ is a short flight away.
    They want mainstream Australia to change for them – plain and simple.
    It would take no time at all for a Gay Marriage Act 2016 to be prepared and presented to Parliament and they would have their wish.
    We must all try and not let emotion cloud the deeper issues with much of what is being demanded in this country – much of it is dangerous and should not be allowed to happen.
    That goes for the Aboriginal recognition in the Constitution – look deeper. They were not even the first Australians and this (just one point) diminishes the rights of people born here – we are real Australians too.
    Leave our Constitution alone.

  2. I think your categorisation of small parties like One Nation, ALA and Rise Up as ‘extreme right’ or ‘far right’ is completely wrong. They may have conservative social policies such as an emphasis on immigration but a look at their economic policies will show they are all protectionist to one degree or another; in other words, they are Leftists. Hanson even gives you a clue with her preferences in the election; most went to Labor.

    The only party we have that could possibly be called ‘far right’ would be the LDP. They believe in free trade, free movement of people and gay marrriage. Most people are not in the least interested in this type of politics but they are very interested in keeping their country safe from uncontrolled immigration. Both major parties have vacated this area hence the rise in niche parties like One Nation. It is the same reasons for the rise of Trump in the US and UKIP and indeed Brexit in the UK. Howard was the last politician to understand these things must be managed.

    I expect both major parties in Australia to carry on exactly as they have in the UK and US. Turnbull and the Photios Faction have no idea because they are about as conservative as Cameron’s Tories. In fact it is so bad we have two major soft left parties in Australia right now, both absolutely certain that society has moved left when the only thing that has moved is them.

    A genuine conservative party, one that believed in thrift, balanced budgets and the promotion of business as well as the above would be very welcome. It will be something new, something not seen for many years.

  3. I have to disagree with you on ALA and One Nation being racist. My wife is Asian and she doesn’t think ALA and One Nation are racist. In fact, she thinks Pauline Hanson are honest and forthright. And yes, we do need Conservative Party. I have seen the interview of Cory Bernardi on 7.30. It was a great interview and he answered the questions directly without sugar coating. He’s well thought, spoke well and well-mannered. I didn’t vote for Liberal Party this time because of Malcolm. Liberal Party really lost its soul. The only difference between Liberal and Labor is immigration policy- that’s it,nothing else. Liberal loves giving hand-out , makes Muslim community happy etc… just like Labor and stupid Greens. I support Cory Bernardi.

  4. I absolutely believe there is room for a new conservative party in Australia. The ones we have now are broken and damaged beyond repair. When you place a negative vote to minimise the damage rather than placing a positive vote for growth and prosperity for our country then something is very wrong. Having said that, we have to be careful. When you’re driving a car and you find yourself wandering off the road, the worst thing you can do is overcorrect. It’s far better to slow down and drive out of it. If we can find the right level headed people who really have the betterment of the nation at heart, we may still recover before our car is upside down in the gutter with its wheels spinning.

  5. Quote
    But caution is also required, for that 1.7 million also includes those who voted for blatantly and unapologetically racist outfits like the Australian Liberty Alliance, and divisive troublemakers like Pauline Hanson with her One Nation party.
    Unquote

    Sorry but this is total and utter nonsense, this is exactly how the elite “born to rule” political class want you to think.
    Perhaps instead of researching the minutia of the local politics and the ups and downs of the Liberal Party, you may want to look at what the likes of George Soros, Peter Sutherland have planned for local politics and immigration on many continents.
    And the very fact that you use the word “racist” when Islam in particular is an ideology…not a race, and its a very dangerous ideology held together by fear and sectarianism. Try reading the Koran, Sira, Hadith…educate yourself, then see what you think about all of this.
    There is not much point in prattling on about the economy, jobs, the future etc…when the economy is being eroded by massive scams in the form of Halal, so called Islamic charities (hundreds of them) and a whole generation of so called refugees that get welfare and their extended families also
    As an example..if you are setting up a table, you dont worry about wether the butter is properly placed, or the lettuce is green enough or whatever else, when there is a growing infestation of ants crawling up the tables legs ready to get stuck into the food thats there.

    Its very simple really Donald Trump gets it, Nigel Farrage gets it, Pauline Hansen gets it, ALA gets it, you apparently don’t get it because you are too focused on wether the butter is in the right place on the local political table.

    I can almost guarantee that future elections (if democracy lasts that long) will be won from the right, not the left or the center. Why because the bigger problem (Islam and the NWO) is not going to go away, it will get worse, until people confront it head on, its really that simple.
    Thats what happened in India, read about the Islamic invasion there, the only difference is now they do it by stealth.

    As far as the LNP…well Turnbull hosted a dinner for all the Imams …he will never get my vote…ever, the LNP are gone, with him at the helm, he is beyond useless and stands for nothing at all except himself, not unlike Shorten and the rest of them.
    Elite politicians love to paint anyone who sees the truth about Islam as being ignorant, racist, divisive, under informed etc….etc.. they are cunning and that bigot branding approach worked for a while, but people are slowly waking up, and speaking out.

  6. “unapologetically racist outfits like the Australian Liberty Alliance, and divisive troublemakers like Pauline Hanson with her One Nation party”
    This propaganda pretty well destroys any credibility this blog has or had. There is nothing whatsoever “racist” about either the ALA or One Nation. Neither one discusses the differentiation of Homo Sapiens into “races”, unless it is opposition to the blatant racism exhibited in proposed modifications to the constitution to define exceptional treatment of persons of a particular race. Calling for control over defining who is and who is not invited to join in citizenship is perfectly within the rights of a sovereign state. Indignation over a lack of control exhibited by the major parties in entertaining radically different cultures and ideologies that mix with Western Democracy is not “racist”. Expecting people to assimilate who have no such intention, and never had nor never will have such intention, is just plain stupid.

  7. Exactly right karabar, agree 100%
    Never mind tho…Yale has obviously bought into the Obama, Clintoon, Turnball world view pf whats racist and whats not racist.
    Opposing a dangerous ideology like Islam is racist? Go figure…
    Interestingly the very man who creaed the phrase Islamaphobia that the misguided left loves to use, admits he got it wrong.
    http://100percentfedup.com/the-man-who-coined-the-term-islamophobia-changes-his-mind-and-warns-us-all-but-will-we-listen-video/

    • Thanks RP_Man
      This video pretty much provides a view from Europe. Why can’t Australians observe the situation in Europe as an inkling of what we can expect?

      • No, chaps, I haven’t bought into anything of the sort. But ALA and One Nation do not offer a program for conservative governance; they are concerned primarily with stopping immigration from a single group — perhaps “racism” per se might find a better world to take its place, but these parties exist solely to exclude Muslims (or at the very least, this is the only aspect of their platforms upon which they seek votes) and therefore fit the bill.

        Karabar, you spent a great deal of time trying to attempt to convince me during the year to support the ALA, and whilst I respect your judgement in supporting it yourself, I was never going to support a party that is not interested in the full stale of governance.

        That said, both of you know I have deep concerns about the level and nature of Muslim immigration into this country. It is a fact most of them don’t want to hurt anyone but it is also a fact that those countries with the highest numbers of them in their midst also experience the worst levels of religiously-motivated violence and other social troubles.

        The point is that these parties (and One Nation especially) are designed to harvest votes from xenophobes and rednecks — Hanson is great at stirring people up with the “problems,” but there is never a “solution” in sight. It’s just create the storm, let it brew, then pocket the election funding and skip off somewhere else.

        I grant you, this time she has put some measures on the table — like CCTV in mosques — that are so preposterous as to barely warrant acknowledgement. If there really is something going on in a mosque that shouldn’t be, forcing CCTV monitoring of it will merely encourage the perpetrators to relocate their activities elsewhere.

        So don’t accuse me of selling out to this-and-that, and on no account to the effronterous triumvirate of Obama, Clinton and Turnbull. In fact, I had a go at MT over that dinner he hosted at Kirribilli, which aside from anything else was provocatively divisive, and sent the clear message that contentious minorities could win the ear of the Prime Minister but ordinary people could not.

        The ALA and One Nation were and are no vehicles to address this problem, that’s all. Back to square one on that one, fellows.

        • I see. The ALA has these key policy areas which can be further researched on the web site.
          Part 2 – Our Key Policy Areas

          Smarter Smaller Government
          Integration over Separation
          Stop the Islamisation of Australia
          Real Reconciliation: No place for Apartheid in Australia.
          For a Liveable Australia
          Affordable Energy for a Cleaner Australia
          Focus on Citizenship and Community Spirit
          Improving Health Care and Ageing in Dignity
          Smarter Learning: Brighter Future
          Freedom of Information
          A Free Press and ‘Back to Basics’ for Public Broadcasting
          Fairer Trade and Securing Australian Jobs
          Restoring Civil Society
          Advancing the Natural Family
          Protecting More Than Our Environment
          Foreign Affairs
          Defending Australia
          No Need for Constitutional Change
          Broader and Fairer Taxes means less Taxes for All
          The Controversial Debates

          One Nation key policy areas:
          FEDERAL

          Affordable Energy Solutions – Climate Change
          Aged Pension Increase
          Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development)
          Apprenticeships Scheme
          Asset Sales & Leasing
          Citizens Initiated Referendum
          Economics & Tax Policy
          Employment
          Euthanasia
          Family Law: Child Support Scheme
          Firearms & Gun Control
          Halal Certification
          Home Ownership for young Australians
          Housing
          Ice Epidemic
          Identity Proof – Taxpayer Funded Services
          Illegal Immigrants & People Smugglers
          Immigration
          Islam
          Manufacturing
          Medicinal Cannabis
          Multiculturalism
          New Zealand Citizenship
          Primary Industries
          Product Labelling – Assisting Australians to Buy Aussie Made
          University Students’ Allowance
          Voting – Minimising Fraudulent Votes
          Water

          STATE

          Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development)
          Asset Sales & Leasing
          Apprenticeships Scheme
          CSG Mining
          Halal Certification
          Housing
          Nurses to be trained in Hospitals
          Medicinal Cannabis
          Politicians – Reductions
          Water

          And the liberal’s key policy areas?
          Agility (underfined)
          Innovation (undefined)
          Pursuit of the imaginary hob-goblin “global warming”

          I rest my case.

  8. Well perhaps Yale if you read the Koran…you would have a better idea, because saying you do not buy into Obamas or any placating lefties world view is not a solution either.
    Yes there are some nice Muslims, but the fact remains that its a totalitarian pholosphy and completely politically motivated.
    The Koran and Sira teaches
    1. Muslim males are the most superior human beings.
    2. Muslim woman a distant second
    3 People of the book (Christians and Jews) 3rd class citizens, and are to be humiliated and charged the jizya.
    4. Polytheists ( such as Hindus…even though the Vedas,Puranas and Upanishads do not teach idolitary or polytheism)
    Anyway in the eyes of Islam they aee the lowest infidels and should be killed.
    Thats why over 50 million Hindus were slaughtered during the Muslim invasion of India over a period of 600 to 800 years.
    They (Islam) has a singular goal, thats a worldwide caliphate, and thats why they control the vote in parts of Western Sydney, they are not like Christians, Buddhists or Hindus, in fact it is not a religion, its more of a totalitarian philosophy.
    They are commanded in the Koran (when outnumbered) to pretend to be the friend of the infidel, but hate them in your heart.
    Thats why they never can be trusted …ever.
    So…yeah a nicely rounded political party is a good thing obviously, in times of peace.
    But the rise of the Nazis bought about Churchill, to push the people along, without him they may have laid down and rolled over and let the Nazis do their thing.
    Now…wether you know it or not, we are in a war right now, but its a slow war, a war by stealth, a gradual eroding of values of the West, and Islam has many allies (knowingly or unknowingly)
    It doesnt matter wether ALA, or Pauline Hansen can give solutions, what matters is “they are speaking out” that will encourage others to speak out..and that alone will make more difference than 100 pieces of legislation passed by a spineless sellout like Turnbull or Shorten.
    Do you think this problem will go away by ignoring it?
    Do you think it will go away, by well balanced policies in Govt?
    Do you think the problem will be lessened by calling anyone who opposes Islam as a Xenaphobe, or racist or whatever else, it may make you feel a bit more civilised, maybe more intelligent.
    But I can tell you 100%… It wont solve anything, we need parties that will address this problem, because the LNP and ALP never will.
    As far as the ALA etc…only attracting Rednecks and Xenophobes…thats laughable, and once again, I can only say…you have bought into the rhetoric and narrative that the MSM and the political elite want you to buy into…
    As I said earlier, read the Koran, read the Sira, read about their history…then maybe you may understand who are the “real xenophobes, racists, and rednecks”

    • The ALA won 0.7% of the vote on Saturday. I would call that fringe support if ever there was.

      Look, just back off: in some respects, the tone of the comments being posted here is every bit as bad as what you are accusing the Obamas and the Clintons and God knows who else of this world of: because I have not meekly capitulated to a 100% acquiescence to 100% of what you are saying, all these accusatory and finger-shaking declarations of the de-merits of Islam are your idea of how to get me to change my mind?

      Let me put this very simply.

      I did not disagree with you that there is a problem.

      I did not disagree with you that it must be dealt with.

      I did not disagree with you that the current policies of the major parties are failing to address it.

      And I have, myself, repeatedly stated in this column (and elsewhere) that unless either the rule of Australian law is enforced on the Muslim community and/or a far stricter screening process to stop the extreme elements coming in and/or to get rid of them when they start claiming “persecution” as a shield from behind which to collude to commit atrocities (in Australia or anywhere else) then what is going on in places like Paris and Belgium is going to start to look like kids’ play.

      BUT…

      It is NOT the only issue this country faces; it is NOT appropriate that all other targets of governance be abandoned to deal with it; and it is NOT, contrary to what you insultingly suggest, a problem that will “go away, by balanced policies (sic)” — I don’t believe in the tooth fairy and i don’t think you do either.

      The point is that all parties that exclusively play the race card do is to whip up the rednecks and the bigots (lovely term) into a fury which, if unchecked, could lead to vigilante groups on the streets and heaven knows what else.

      It isn’t enough (as Karabar tried to do) to point to a slate of “policies” on the ALA site as “proof” of how mainstream they are when the ONLY issue they tried to talk about during the campaign was Muslim immigration.

      Bottom line — the disagreement here isn’t about the problem, or its existence. It is about methods. Don’t insult my intelligence by telling me to go off and read the Qu’ran (have already read enough of it to know it is an evil book) and don’t try to drag me into a straw case about being complicit with Turnbull and Shorten — individuals whom this column has gone to inordinate lengths to try to prevent from ever holding office and to crucify respectively — because the rest of what you are doing isn’t working.

      If you want to have a discussion based on all the issues Australia faces (and yes, the Islam problem is one of them, and it’s about time the Turnbulls and Shortens et al faced up to it) then fine.

      But if you think this column should become a mouthpiece exclusively for anti-Islam propaganda, to the exclusion of everything else, because you believe that’s the most important (or even the only) issue facing the country today, then I can’t help you.

      And frankly, voting for the ALA or One Nation for any other reason than a protest vote — given an objective assessment in how those organisations conducted themselves, as opposed to unspoken material hidden in websites as a contingency defence — is, I am sorry to say, a vote for single-issue obsession with Islam to the exclusion of everything else and given Karabar at least REPEATEDLY tried to recruit me to the ALA over the last two years, I am more than entitled (now you are both making a big thing of it) to call it out as nothing more than a fringe anti-Islam group with NOTHING of tangible substance to it beyond that.

      • Hi Yale,
        Thank you for this blog and sharing your insights and allowing a debate to develop.

        I do not believe you fully appreciate where Karabar (and others) are coming from, or like all electronic communication there is a misunderstanding due the use and perceived meaning of certain words.

        When you threw in the term racist you signalled to them that you are in the “Canberra bubble” in that you used the term quite inappropriately to denigrate another party. (Racist has become a bogey man word that is thrown around like confetti, usually by the left to stop debate) One Nation cannot be defined as racist as their policy allows anyone to come to this country, or join their party, on the sole proviso they accept our laws and way of life (whatever that means).

        One Nation (in Queensland) can hardly be termed fringe (for now). ALA, on their results, are, however if you look at the swing away from major parties to these alternatives, the support for their ideology in general is growing, purely on the basis that the majors no longer have any conservative (or national) values. The election results would have been very interesting had we had optional preferential voting.

        This is your blog, however when you say “The point is that these parties (and One Nation especially) are designed to harvest votes from xenophobes and rednecks” you must realise you are insulting folk who really care about this country and believe that this country has no future under the current majors. I do not know if you have ever done so, but perhaps you should sit down with Pauline Hanson and have a chat about her world views. and what exactly is a redneck?

        When you implied that these parties were single issue parties Karabar replied with their stated policies (or good intentions), you then replied “…which is why they campaigned almost exclusively on Muslim immigration, eh?”

        The two majors campaigned on what exactly.

        I agree with you that this country faces serious social and economic issues that are not being discussed, let alone addressed. The labor party campaigned on mediscare, the liberals campaigned on Mr Turnbull’s ego. Neither party spoke to us as adults, explained where we and where we are going and how to get their. So targeting these alternate parties campaigns as being almost single issue compares favourably with the majors, at least they have one issue:)

        I believe, at this time, the two majors are broken, the labor party irreversibly so. The liberals may have a chance, but not under Mr Turnbull. So I am desperate for an alternative, someone who says they stand for values I generally agree with. I am hoping that with the majors losing their voters, self preservation will kick in and they will come back to us, but until then I will continue to support alternatives, and should horror of horrors they actually form government it could hardly be worse (McCabe PM not withstanding).

        On a side note. The reason I believe that labor are in terminal decline is that they are chasing the greens, so are alienating their base also the level of corruption of individuals and process is so endemic as to be irreversible. Further the union movement has figured they don’t necessarily need the labor party any more as they can buy politicians. The greens are being financed so the unions have their support. But they have also started funding the “independents” , Mr Katter has already shown his hand, in that he will not support Union Bashing.

        🙂

  9. Fair enough..
    I haven’t tried to recruit you to ALA tho, and I wouldn’t…voting is a personal decision.
    I am not trying to insult your intelligence by saying read the Koran, educating oneself about certain things does not mean that someone lacks intelligence, it only means they lack the information…(and information is constantly updated in many things to do with politics, ideology etc..)if you feel you know enough, your information is complete, then thats fine.
    I don’t disagree with you on a lot of points, you run a blog that can interesting at times, so good on you for that.
    ALA will probably grow in vote, they barely got their message out there, hardly anyone I know had even heard of them,
    they got barely any media focus from what I could see…so I would not say they are doomed to be a fringe party just yet…time will tell.
    After all Geert Wilders freedom party has grown exponentially since 2005, and now is in a position where he could possibly become the next leader in the Netherlands.
    Like I said…we will see, dont write them off just yet..

    Now you say…back off…don’t insult my intelligence etc…I don’t disagree with that totally, everyone deserves some respect, especially on forums where you don’t know what that persons capabilities or abilities are.

    But to reverse the situation…You claimed “blatantly and unapologetically racist outfits like the Australian Liberty Alliance” Do you think that’s not an insult? and when Karaba pointed out, they have other policies you basically laughed him off and almost belittled him,
    Also do you think stating that parties such as these attract rednecks and far right fanatics etc…is not an insult?
    I would inform you I know many people that agree with their stance that are definitely not rednecks, most are the opposite..vegetarians, non drinkers etc..pretty refined people in general, I would repeat you have bought into the narrative that rednecks, neo nazis are the main types that support these parties.
    Also I would point out…that practically none of the comments on this thread agreed with you on that, is there a slight possibility you could be wrong or misinformed?
    I am not suggesting that this column should become should become completely anti Islam, you are your own person, at the end of the day I don’t really care what you write in this column, its your column after all…I only read it occasionally,
    all I did was respond and say that one issue Islam is more important than many other political issues in this thread…and I gave some simple examples (in reference to this particular thread…not your column overall)
    But really responding by saying things like “If you want this column to be etc…etc…I cant help you…if that’s what you want” that’s pretty condescending don’t you agree , maybe lighten up a bit and don’t insult others intelligence.

    No wonder this column has so few people making comments, you tell me to lighten up, but you need to as well.
    I probably wont bother posting here again tho…
    However I will say…I do admire the fact that you that you even post the negative response comments (like mine) that’s a good sign I guess.

    • RP_Man, my objection isn’t to you blokes having your opinion, but to being told what mine is (which quite a few people – not you – seem to want to do when they comment here) but to trying to play the kind of semantic games that are such a symptom of what is wrong with politics in this country in the first place.

      Ergo, karabar — who has in fact tried repeatedly to recruit me to the ALA — pointing to a stack of material on the ALA website as proof it is a mainstream outfit when all it wants to talk about is Muslim immigration.

      It is a converse to the Greens, who increasingly don’t bother to hide what they are all about, but nonetheless still have a lot of people hoodwinked that they are some harmless tree-hugging spot to park a protest vote.

      I actually think the ALA should have been able to run the TVCs and radio ads it wanted during the election campaign so others could make up their own minds — instead, nanny state with its regulation decided they were noxious and offensive (and perhaps a breach of S18C of course) and they weren’t run.

      I hope that with an additional 24hrs under our belt it is possible to make a calmer response, and so will try.

      At the very bottom line, organisations like the ALA and One nation would have little attraction to almost all people if the major parties worked properly (as they did, by and large, until about 10-15 years ago).

      As i said to you last night, I don’t deny there is a problem with Islam and I agree it needs to be dealt with.

      But this should be the preserve of a conservative party, which — whilst maintaining the fences of low taxes, opportunity and reward, running a tight ship, ensuring solid national defences etc — should also be ensuring that people coming to this country are a suitable fit with the people already here.

      The grotesque spectre of Malcolm Turnbull having a dinner with a room full of Muslims when it’s well known he doesn’t like meeting “ordinary” people underlines the point. To me, it was reminiscent of a stunt British Labour pulled a few days out from last year’s general election in Britain, when it segregated everyone at one of its functions by gender and invited the BBC in to broadcast its handiwork: the truth be told, it was likely the final impetus for the Conservatives winning the election there outright.

      But in my view (and remember, this is an opinion column) as important as the Muslim issue is, it CANNOT be the only issue of governance a party deals with — and it is for this reason I have the dim view of ON, the ALA et al that I have. One way or another, it is the only issue they campaign on.

      It it therefore so unreasonable to assert that it is in fact a blatantly racist outfit?

      As it is, I’ve been accused of all sorts of things since starting this column — that I myself am some kind of bigoted redneck for raising the issue of Islam from time to time. The problem with the Left is that ANYONE who raises it is a “bigot.” It’s like anyone who doesn’t support gay marriage (and I don’t) must be a “homophobe” (which is quaint, given I’m not remotely frightened of gay people, although you can rely on the Left to get its insults in a twist). I have been vehement, for example, that sharia law, the routine sale of halal goods and ANY moves to be “culturally sensitive” (like abolishing Christmas in schools and having “happy holidays” instead) are out of line in Australia…and from time to time cop it from visitors right across the other side of the spectrum. In some ways, you’re damned if you speak out about these things and damned if you don’t.

      People who comment here are more than entitled to disagree with me, but I should point out that one at least tried to give me a lecture by telling me that because I wasn’t arguing in absolute terms for the eviction of Muslims from Australia as “the greatest threat it faces” I didn’t “understand” what a “conservative” is. Of course I publish dissenting opinion — I have only ever blocked two visitors to this site; one who had four registered personas on the go and who thought I hadn’t noticed the astroturfing effort, and one which was about the most vitriolically abusive individual I have ever come across. Normal people are more than welcome to comment, even if we do think each other wrong from time to time.

      Oh, and regarding your comment on the response rate — 1-2% of visitors commenting is actually quite normal for this form of media. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I have been a contributor to it over the past 12 months insofar as being too busy to maintain the regularity of content posted here. Earlier this year I considered shutting the forum down altogether on account of other demands on my time and whilst I won’t do that, the fact is that the more you post, the more people visit and the more they comment. Sounds silly but it is true — a decent piece will attract no attention (in round terms) if it immediately follows a period of inactivity…

      I am sorry if I was rather strident last night, but being instructed as to what I think or what I should publish does get a little wearing from time to time, and rightly or wrongly, your comment was the one that elicited both barrels. I would observe however that when tempers get heated in this forum, very often the Muslim issue is right in the middle of it. That doesn’t really surprise you, does it?

      • Several times on this thread you have insisted that I try to “recruit” you to the ALA. I have mentioned it a couple of times thinking that inquisitive types might be interested in exploring alternatives to the hopelessly progressive Liberal party. I realise that you are so wedded to it that you will still be with it when it is completely Green. There are alternatives, and one of the most innovative is VoteFlux, for which I campaigned at this election just past. I doubt that you would be interested in anything other than the tired old Liberals and frankly, Yale, I don’t give a damn.

        • Actually, you inability to give a damn has extended to:

          – repeated suggestions the ALA was a perfect fit for me personally;
          – repeatedly posting links in this forum to the ALA website (which I permitted, on the basis of allowing readers to post what they wish to, within the bounds of my comment policy);
          – repeated suggestions historically that I have “much in common” with Pauline Hanson; and
          – on one occasion I can recall, ripping right into me in the mistaken belief I had accused David Leyonhjelm of some cataclysmic transgression (which even after clarification you didn’t withdraw).

          If you were honest, karabar, you would realise that this column has been scathing about the Liberal Party, and whilst I mightn’t be so far over the top about it to satisfy some who want it crucified altogether, I’m certainly not likely to be on Malcolm’s Christmas card list. And just as you might accuse me of being “wedded” to it, you obviously didn’t notice during the week that I didn’t vote for it either.

          The Liberal Party as it stands — remembering Malcolm will not be leading it forever — still, imperfect as it might be, is the best prospective vehicle from which to advance solutions to some of these problems we are discussing, even if that isn’t right here and right now under its present leadership.

          I am not particularly enjoying what is turning into a brawl with regular readers here, but if you genuinely believe what you have written in this latest comment, then you haven’t paid much attention in all the time you’ve read my stuff.

  10. No problems with your response Yale.
    Quite reasonable …most of it, in any case civilized society and people respect that others have opinions that differ from their own.
    Totalitarian persons and societies do not, they shut down opinions totally, wether it be the rabid left, the devious global warming alarmists, or the more violent Klu Klux Klan, Islam radicals, Nazi Germany and others..
    People always have free will, and therefore can act in any way they wish, believe in what they want…good or bad, but its the duty of responsible societies to identify when oppressive and bad social elements are starting to flourish…to try and slow them down or stop them altogether, for the greater populations good.
    History teaches us that, over and over.

    But I must correct and disagree with one thing you said
    “It it therefore so unreasonable to assert that it is in fact a blatantly racist outfit?

    Actually as mentioned before Islam is not a race, its an ideology…so therefore the term “racist” does not fit at all.
    Anti-Ideology maybe… or anti Islamic immigration…or anti Islamic teachings…could apply, but not racist …on any level.
    We don’t call Pol Pot a race, or the Nazis a race…yet they were more socially confined to certain countries than Islam is, but somehow the term racist has been used to describe any anti Islamic sentiment, and it simply doesn’t fit.

    Other than that…I totally agree with most else you have mentioned.
    Lets just hope chairman Mal gets the boot before too long, maybe if he goes there will be some chance for the Liberals, its one of those “we will see what happens” situations.

    • Now I think we are near the mark. Absolutely, yes, it is an ideology; and I will plead guilty to the common catch-all of describing it as “racist.” Even so, in the case of One Nation at least, it is worth remembering the original targets there were Aborigines and Asian people…neither of which have inflicted the wholesale carnage on civilisation Ms Hanson seemed to suggest back in the 90s that they would. I was at Liberal Party HQ in Brisbane the night she was disendorsed — in the next room, separated by a thin wall — and believe me, the tenor of what could be heard was enough to peel paint. Even so, is it possible we have been fighting over different degrees of the same thing here?

      I will continue to take a (renewed) “wait and see” approach with Malcolm — notwithstanding the fact the original incarnation of this was more “wait” than “see” — and don’t forget, i was highly critical of him after about the first three months of his tenure. Once the misjudgements and the dithering and the waffle all resurfaced. I don’t think the Coalition win was a triumph (as it has been described) and I think that whilst the current term of Parliament will run three years, all manner of unforeseeable mischief might occur in that time.

      As to karabar, despite the strident terms used, I don’t actually have a problem with him either, although he seems convinced that I’m peachy keen with the way things are at the Liberal Party at the moment. I don’t think this is going to be a very edifying period for the party or the country, and I do think (as I have said here earlier) that it might have been better to lose this election, as there is a walloping coming next time that it will take a miracle to avert. If Malcolm has the cojones to do so then we had better start seeing evidence of it — and this means addressing some of the issues we are bickering over — but if not it would be better, as you suggest, that he be given the flick.

  11. I agree with you about Pauline Hanson somewhat, definitely.
    However its good to see someone at least giving sovereignty and some sense of nationalism a voice in a world that’s more or less being bullied into open borders and globalism, blindly accepting Islam and all the rest of it, and its also good to see someone taking a few seats and therefore diminishing the Greens influence in the Senate.
    I admit to really enjoying seeing that happen.

    She seems an honest person in many ways, and definitely appeals to more than just rednecks, however ALA are far more informed than she is, its a pity they did not cut through…and it appears they did not run an effective solid campaign…so time will tell how they will learn from that and maybe do better in the future.

    But all that said, there are any number of bloggers, columnists, researchers and even general members of the public that have a far greater knowledge of the dangers of open borders, and Islam and a whole lot of other things, than Pauline does.

    She is passionate…yes! But she is just not across the facts, she just hasn’t done the research…and is therefore largely uninformed, that means if she ever gets in a debate…she will probably lose because she does not know enough.
    There is a saying “The truth has a certain ring to it”, and to convey certain relative truths you need to know what you are talking about, and hve some hard facts to back you up, simply relying on sentiment is not going to make a dent on globalism, or Islam forcing their views on host nations..its just not enough.
    So in that sense…she may do more damage than good, her arguments could easily fall apart under scrutiny from rabid leftists that have an opposite agenda, if I was her I would avoid lengthy interviews or any kind of debate, she doesn’t have the ammunition to carry this off.
    But on the positive side, if she helps give others a voice, that is a good thing, my gut feeling however is she cannot be “the voice” when she doesn’t really have a strong narrative or argument for her stance, unless she starts doing some serious homework from this day on.

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