The Far-right in Election 2019
Apr 24, 2019 | Sharyn Mittelman
While far-right parties were once largely a minor feature of Australian politics, today their popularity appears to be rising amid populism and concerns over globalisation, immigration and terrorism. There are a number of far-right parties to be cautious of in the 2019 federal election including some whose extreme views are masked by their name. Here is the AIR’s pre-election guide to identifying the key political parties of the far right.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (One Nation)
One Nation’s 2019 campaign policies include a “Trump-style ban on travel and migration from known extremist countries”, lowering the immigration target and reducing the refugee intake. Ostensibly in response to Islamist terrorism, its policies include breaking up “enclave suburbs”, radicalised schools to be closed down and “the offending students placed in juvenile detention”, a government role in “urging Islamic leaders to modernise their faith,” and a “penalties regime for anti-white racism, on equal standing with other forms of racism.”
Its leader Pauline Hanson has an infamous record of anti-multicultural, anti-immigration, anti-Asian and anti-Muslim rhetoric, which has been well documented. In her 1996 maiden speech Hanson said Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Asians”. When she returned to federal parliament as a senator in 2016, Hanson said that Australia was now being “swamped by Muslims”. She has also worn a burqa into parliament to make a political point.
In October last year One Nation tried to get an “It’s OK to be white” motion passed in the Senate to acknowledge the “deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation”. The motion failed but many Coalition senators voted in favour of it, which was later blamed on an “administrative process failure.” Despite this record, Hanson claims that she is not racist, and One Nation has had Asian and Muslim candidates.
One Nation was founded in 1997, after Hanson was disendorsed as a federal candidate for the Liberal Party just before the 1996 election after writing a letter to the editor that criticised welfare for Aboriginal people. She sat as an independent before forming the party with David Oldfield and David Ettridge in 1997.
In federal politics, One Nation was initially not very successful, receiving only one Senate seat in 1998. However, in 2016 it returned with a vengeance, gaining four senators – Pauline Hanson (Qld), Malcolm Roberts (Qld), Brian Burston (NSW) and Rod Culleton (WA). Over the years, the party has been more successful in state politics, especially in Queensland. In November 2018, former Labor Party leader Mark Latham joined the party as leader for NSW and successfully contested a seat in the Legislative Council in March 2019.
Since returning to federal parliament, One Nation has been plagued by controversies. All of the original One Nation senators except Hanson have been replaced due to resignations or being kicked out of the party. As a result, One Nation currently retains only two Senate seats, which has diminished its political weight.
In its early years, One Nation-affliated publications often featured anti-Jewish material, but in recent years Hanson has been hosted by some marginal right-wing Jewish groups, and has made some pro-Israel statements.
In March, One Nation was back in the headlines after an undercover expose by Al Jazeera reported that party officials were considering taking donations from the US National Rifle Association in order to lobby against Australian gun control laws. Undercover footage also appeared to show Senator Hanson endorsing a conspiracy theory about a government role in the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.
Explaining herself to the media, Ms Hanson claimed she had read a “blue book” but could not remember its title. Journalist Tim Blair recently provided more detail on this “blue book”, noting it was Deadly Deception At Port Arthur, written by Australian conspiracy theorist Joe Vialls, who placed Israel and Jews at the centre of most of his claims.
Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA)
The ALA was founded by members of the right-wing Q Society and was launched by far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The ALA seeks to “stop the Islamisation of Australia and end divisive multiculturalism.” Its policy proposals to “stop Islamisation” include “a 10-year moratorium on all resident visa categories for applicants from member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Exceptions shall apply to the humanitarian intake of persecuted non-Islamic minorities from OIC countries,” requiring “accredited Islamic organisations in Australia to accept formally the supremacy of Australian law and universal human rights over Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. For example full-face coverings in public spaces shall be prohibited,” and preventing “the implementation of any aspect of Sharia finance, Sharia courts and the influence of local or foreign Sharia councils over Australian institutions, our economic system and our supply chain” including “the mandatory labelling of products and services from companies that have taken out halal certification.”
Australia First Party (AFP)
AFP is a far-right party founded in 1996 by former maverick ALP MP Graeme Campbell and currently led by Jim Saleam. Mr Saleam is a convicted criminal, a former member of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Socialist Party of Australia as a teenager, and founder of the militant Australian white supremacist group National Action.
The AFP’s policies include abolishing multiculturalism, which it views, echoing the ideology of Christchurch mass-murder Brenton Tarrant, as a “genocidal white population replacement”, and the repeal of the Racial Discrimination Act. It calls for limiting immigration and re-introducing “the White Australia policy of 1901.” The party’s website and Facebook page also often refer to “globalists” and “Zionists” – known code words for “Jews”. For example, on its website it states: “Beware that there are a number of fake Australian patriot groups out that that secretly have allegiances to other political parties and various globalist and foreign interest groups. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is a stooge for the Liberal Party. Other so-called patriots have links and funding from the New World Order, multinationals, foreign nations and Zionists.”
In April, Mr Saleam unsuccessfully contested the seat of Cootamundra at the NSW state election and received one percent of the vote.
Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party
Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party was registered in April this year, following brief stints as a senator for One Nation and then Katter’s Australian Party (KAP). Senator Anning was elected to fill the vacancy left by the disqualification of One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, but immediately left the party and briefly joined Katter’s Australia Party until he was kicked out following his infamous “final solution speech” in which he called for a return to a “European Christian” immigration system. On April 2 Senator Anning was overwhelmingly censured in parliament for his comments linking the Christchurch terrorist attack to Muslim immigration.
Senator Anning also appeared alongside known neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell at a far-right rally in Melbourne in January. The rally was organised by the United Patriots Front, with some attendees making Nazi salutes and wearing Nazi insignia. Senator Anning said he went to the demonstration to protest against violence committed by “African gangs”. He told Channel Nine: “I’m a supporter of the Jewish community and I fight hard for the Israelis, as everyone knows.” The party’s policies include for Australia to be an English-speaking predominantly European Christian society, traditional family values and rights to own firearms.
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
Formed in 1988, the Citizens Electoral Council is part of the international movement that propagates the views of American “physical economist” and convicted fraudster Lyndon LaRouche – who died in February this year. A Washington Post obituary by Timothy Smith notes that the former Presidential candidate “built a worldwide following based on conspiracy theories, economic doom, anti-Semitism, homophobia and racism.” LaRouche conspiracies include that England’s Queen Elizabeth II was a drug trafficker and that the International Monetary Fund created and spread the AIDS virus. Smith writes in the obituary, “Mr. LaRouche denounced those he deemed a danger to his cause – a rotating list of alleged villains that included prosecutors, politicians, bankers and Zionists.”
Love Australia or Leave
The Love Australia or Leave political party was founded in 2016 by Kim Vuga who appeared on the Australian television documentary in 2015 “Go Back To Where You Came From”. Its policy platform includes withdrawing Australia from the United Nations, amending section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and gun rights. Regarding its policy on “combatting extremism and Islamism in Australia”, according to its website this includes “forming a government body that will oversee and control what is to be preached in the mosques,” “random auditing and inspection of mosques,” “no more mosque or Islamic developments permitted in Australia,” “removal of halal certification” in Australia, banning the burqa, and a “national profiling program that would be implemented at the ages of 10 and 14 to determine, if any, antisocial behaviours or disposition towards violence are present.”
Rise Up Australia Party
Rise Up Australia Party was formed by Sri Lankan-born Pastor Daniel Nalliah of the evangelical religious group Catch the Fire Ministries in 2010. Mr Nallia has spoken out against Islam. In 2014 he described the term “Islamic terrorism” as too narrow a description, asserting instead that the religion itself is a terrorist group. Rise Up Australia’s policy platform includes opposition to multiculturalism and same-sex marriage, and the repeal of all religious vilification legislation including section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.