Alrighty. It’s time to take off our Eurovision costumes, don our Personal Protective Gear, and wade into the pit of dubiously directed enthusiasm that is the Australia First Party.
This post might turn out to be a little bit incoherent, because I keep starting to write this post and then stopping because I spot something else on their site which kind of stuns me into silence. There is a LOT on this site – policies, rallies, campaigns, questions about Australia’s future, national restoration. So many articles. And the articles have brilliant titles like ‘ABC Fairfax Leftie Communists’, ‘Elitist Aristocratic Entitlement’, ‘Economic eggs in one China basket case’, ‘Government Fritter and Waste’, ‘Leftists hate our sovereignty’, ‘Mining Industry Fascism’, ‘Laberal merry-go-round sapping Australia’s wealth’ (yes, they have coined the word ‘Laberal’) ‘Offshoring is Fully Imported Scabs’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Australian farmers may be forced to plant rice and noodles’. (Think about that one for a moment.)
I already have an inkling that I’m not going to like their policies, but whoever is writing their headlines deserves a payrise, because each and every one of these links makes me want to click on it (or at least yell it out in a horrified and dramatic voice to my husband, who is trying to do other things with his life right now, but no, he is out of luck, because this whole website cries out to be… cried out).
I cannot possibly cover everything on Australia First’s website – their media people are clearly very hardworking, so I’ll stick mostly to their policies, unless I become irresistibly tempted to click on something that is guaranteed to raise my blood pressure.
At first glance, this party looks very clearly nationalist, more than a little bit racist, very anti-Muslim, and also unexpectedly hard-left/trade unionist/maybe even a little bit old school communist…? Which they obviously are not, given the aforementioned headlines about lefties. But are red flags and Eureka flags everywhere (though I think the painting on the right of their site is a riff on one from the 1830 French revolution) – is this the super-nationalist branch of the Union movement? They do feel that Liberal and Labor are basically the same – a complaint that is quite justified in my view – and they are campaigning to have the Eureka Flag as their election logo (which, no. No, no, no, and I had no idea I felt so strongly about this).
Evidently, Islamophobia can unite people from all sides of the political spectrum. It’s bringing people together, just like Eurovision!
They do, helpfully, outline their preferencing: “Our policy is ‘Sitting Member Last’, so whichever LibLab globalist holds the seat, number them last on the ballot to boot ’em out!”. They also hate the Greens, who will apparently bring back the boats, so I’m guessing they will not get a high place on the ballot.
Look, I know I’m being kind of frivolous here, but it’s basically a coping mechanism – headlines aside, there is nothing funny about this party. Here are some other memes and headlines on this site: “Muslims on Aussie Welfare by the thousands!”, “Rapefugee Epidemic!”, “Allah told me to kill my child”, “Victims of Gay Bullies”, “Third World Envious Hate Grows Against the First World White Race”.
Maybe I don’t want to give those headline writers a pay rise after all.
This is nasty, nasty stuff.
The Australia First Party stands for ‘Identity, Independence, Freedom’, and their tagline is ‘Restoring Nationhood and Wealth for Australians’. They have eight core policies:
- Ensure Australia Retains Full Independence
- Rebuild Australian Manufacturing Industries
- Control Foreign Ownership
- Reduce and Limit Immigration
- Abolish Multiculturalism
- Introduce Citizen’s Initiated Referenda
- Strengthen the Family
- Strive to Rebuild a United Australia
Not all of these policies are terrible. (This is me, clutching at straws.)
Full Independence has not been fully fleshed out (they have a note saying ‘for discussion TBA’, so if this is something you are passionate about, you will need to revisit the site closer to the election). They want to strengthen our military and look after our veterans (points for being logically consistent here), be compassionate and fair in our international dealings (promising, but could mean many things), and protect Australia’s sovereignty, including commercial trade, intellectual and personal. That last one is one place where I do agree with them, at least in principle – we are a small country, in terms of population, and deals like the TPP do us no favours.
Rebuilding our manufacturing industry is also a pretty good policy. They want to rebuild our infrastructure and make us more self-sufficient, and they point out that this would increase jobs. They have nods to small business and want to increase the ‘practicality and relevance’ of our educational systems (I suspect my beloved extra arts courses are not among the things they would like to fund here – but to be fair, nobody much wants to fund the arts, so this is not something to hold against the AFP), and provide support to industry. I see a ‘for discussion TBA’ here too – obviously, I am once again too early in the election campaign to get the full joy of these policies. Maybe take it as read that this will be the case all down the line for the AFP.
Control Foreign Ownership is very brief, but again, I’m somewhat on board with this. I do think Australian land and businesses should be owned by Australians. One of the problems in the housing market at present is overseas investors buying up houses as investment properties, and helping price first home buyers out of the market. And we need to own the land we grow our food on! It’s not that I’m particularly paranoid about foreign invasions, but I do feel we should make sure we can feed and house ourselves, and let Australians profit from Australian lands. Of course, this leads us to the question of what makes us Australian, bringing us neatly to our next two policies…
Reduce and Limit Immigration really doesn’t say much more than that. They do say that immigration policy should take into account ‘social cohesian, employment opportunities, urbanisation and environmental issues’. I agree with this sentence, but I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with the meaning behind it – there is a decided whiff of ‘immigrants are taking our jobs and filling our cities and stealing our Eurovision song contest win (OK, maybe not that last bit. Humour me, I was up at 5am today, and no, I’m not telling you whether we won or not. If you need spoilers, try the rest of the internet. Which is mostly trying to understand how Australia is in Europe, but I digress, because I really am not enjoying this political party. I imagine they don’t like me, much, either, if they are reading this, lefty greenie scum that I am. It’s the circle of life!)
They have gone to some effort on their bit about Abolishing Multiculturalism, which they blame squarely on “Labor’s eccentric Gough Whitlam in 1973 and his biased ethnic Minister for Immigration, Al Grassby”. So not Labor True Believers then. I am so very surprised to learn this. They feel that Multiculturalism is ‘divisive, government-funded, and institutionalised.’ I’m not even sure what that means, but suspect a veiled reference to Muslims and their alleged dole-bludging and criminal ways. (Oh God, I didn’t even notice that pun. But now I have noticed it, I like it far too much to delete it.)
They want to facilitate a series of public debates about multiculturalism, with a public campaign to abolish it, with ‘selective international contributions’. I’m desperately hoping that by this they mean Trump and his Mexican Wall. Please tell me they do!
OK, now it gets hardcore – they want to “Repeal the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and all legislation condoning the multicultural ideology”, and require ‘Australian Cultural Loyalty’, which sounds sinister. They want an Australian Values Standard, but sadly the link to this is broken, so I don’t get to find out what it is about. I suspect Mateship and Judeo-Christian Values will be heavily featured. They want conditional citizenship, an end to working holiday and other working visas (them foreigners are stealing our jobs!), student working visas, family reunion visitors, etc. Incidentally, this will basically destroy scientific research in Australia – we are very dependent on both importing and exporting our scientists – there is an expectation that researchers will spend a portion of their career in other countries and laboratories, and this is vital for the exchange of ideas and techniques. I reckon this legislation would kick out about 1/3 of the people I currently work with, including most of my laboratory heads, and never mind that research done in Australia tends to benefits Australians first. I’m pretty sure this section is intended to protect Australian jobs (among many less savory things), but this would actually make Australia poorer and less self-sufficient.
Also, it’s just a mean-spirited Bill. Let’s see, we also have no more family reunion visas, withdrawal from the Refugee convention, no refugees for six years, and deport everyone currently waiting back to their nation of origin to die. Those last two words were mine, not theirs. That is, however, what they are advocating for. And now I’m getting angry. Oh, and this deportation should be paid for by the country of origin – how are they even going to enforce that?
No more dual citizenships, either. Citizenship would also come with an Australian general knowledge test and a language test at Year Ten standard, written and verbal, no multiple choice. (Australian newspapers are required to write for a Grade 5 reading level, incidentally. You do not need Grade 10 English to function well in our society. You do need English, and I’m in favour of an English test, though there does need to be access to lessons, but Grade 10 is excessive) Also, once again, you’ve just kicked out a lot of overseas-born researchers who are curing diseases, building technologies that we need, and basically are people we definitely want in the country. And you’ve probably just lost people with learning disabilities (and other disabilities, but I have a nasty feeling that they would view that as a feature, not a bug).
Applicants would need to “voluntarily and unconditionally undertakes to personally relinquish and repudiate all foreign laws, foreign standards, foreign values, social mores and behaviours that are contemporaneously considered by most Australians to be contrary, harmful or disrespectful to those Australian”.
Translation: We’ll have none of your Muslimic Shariah Halal Vegemite Law here, matey. (Note: we don’t, actually, allow Shariah law here. Why are so many people convinced we do?)
There would also be numerous other conditions, including an oath of allegiance, and you’d be kicked out if you ever committed a crime. You can’t own a gun, either, which normally I’d be in favour of, but I have a feeling that in the AFP’s preferred world, Real True Australian Citizens own guns and are part of the militia. This is definitely a second-class citizenship, and intentionally so.
But here’s something a bit interesting:
“Applicant voluntarily and unconditionally undertakes to learn, respect and at all times comply with Australian Work Health and Safety standards in principle and practice as an ordinary worker in Australia (requires legal specification)”
I mean, these are important things, and I think that’s a good idea and possibly the only thing on this ENTIRE SITE that I’d like to add to a citizenship pledge, but I find the choice to highlight this fascinating, as it definitely speaks to the working class roots of this party. And to be very clear here, this is not an insult – while I am absolutely willing to insult this party six ways to Sunday (and hey, it’s Sunday today!), their clear concern for the working class and for jobs is one of the few things I like about them.
OK, we are STILL busy abolishing multiculturalism, in case you’ve lost track. This is their most fleshed-out policy so far. Here’s how it ends:
- Keep legislating and deporting until true Australian identity is assured across Australia
- End immigration
- Other methods to be employed as the need arises.
Am I the only one who finds that last line a touch sinister?
(This is probably because they are on the verge of deporting me, even though I was born here. But my parents weren’t, so out go they! And my brother has dual citizenship – bad luck, boyo! Oh my God, I’m the only one left, and I’m writing suspect political blogs! I probably even know some Muslims! I am definitely in trouble!)
I’m going to quote the next policy in full, because while I think this could lead to an incredible number of strange and appalling referenda, I find the wording adorable.
- Amend the Australian Constitution so that the people can initiate constitutional referendums which, if approved by the Australian people, will amend the Australian Constitution.
- This simple step will confirm the political authority of voters and make politicians aware that they are the servants of the Australian people, not their masters.
I don’t think this policy would work very well, but I’d much rather they adopted this one than most of their others.
Now we’d better gird our loins because the next policy is to Strengthen The Family (but not mine, because we all just got deported. Whee!). There’s nothing on the policy page except a link to this article, with the extremely restrained and unbiased title ‘Outlaw Deviant Marriage’.
I wonder how they feel about marriage equality? Do you think you can guess?
What we have here is an article by Traditional Family Property Student Action, Pennsylvania, providing ten ‘reasons’ why deviant marriage is harmful and needs to be outlawed in Australia. There is absolutely nothing there that you haven’t seen before. It is all based explicitly on Catholic Christian theology, and yes, they are praying for you. Whether you like it or not. I’m not going to give this any more of a platform.
Last policy, and thank God for that. (See, they have me praying now, too. Well, it is a Sunday…) They want to strive to rebuild a united Australia. I find it telling that of all their policies, this is the shortest.
- Promote policies that recognise the interdependence of city and country across all of Australia.
That’s all you get.
Look, I think you know how I feel about this party by now. And I do apologise for making frivolous jokes about some seriously terrible things, but I am geniunely horrified by the AFP and it was terrible jokes or an infuriated screed.
Essentially, the AFP’s policies seem to amount to ‘Peter Dutton hasn’t gone far enough’, and I find that utterly appalling.
I do recognise that this comes from a place of fear – both fear of difference and, I think, fear of poverty. There really is quite a strong whiff of “they’re stealing our jobs” about a lot of these policies, and with youth unemployment as high as it is, this is a very reasonable thing to feel upset about it. But immigrants create more jobs than they take – and it’s the Government we need to hold to account for job creation, not refugees.
This reviewer gives the AFP nul points.