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Policies & Commentary
When is a party not a party … but might be a party? But isn’t a party? But is?
When it’s not registered with the Australian Electoral Commission and has no candidates appearing under its name on the ballot – and yet self-described “independent” candidates claim membership of said party, use its logos and wear its merchandise, and adhere to the principles outlined on this party-not-party’s website. This is the confusing situation that presented itself when I started to look at Australia One (hereafter referred to as A1).
Now, this situation isn’t illegal. According to the AEC, it’s fine for someone to claim membership of an unregistered party, but that party has to conform to authorisation and financial disclosure rules. It is, however, more than a tad deceptive. And in A1’s case, it wasn’t a case of not getting around to registering in time for the cut-off. It’s a deliberate strategy. And I have to ask why this party would want to deliberately employ this strategy.
The answer lies in A1’s conviction that the Australian political system is both corrupt and unconstitutional, and needs to be torn down and rebuilt from Federation. Running for office, it appears, is simply a means to an end: get enough people into Parliament, and A1 can enact this demolition. Why go to all the trouble, then, of registering a political party?
Well. Because it would be honest. But anyway.
Here’s the list of A1’s “Independent” candidates:
- Riccardo Bosi (A1’s leader and spokesperson)
- Darren Bergwerf
- Paul Bussuti
- Craig Cole (more of him later)
- Steve Crothers
- Madeline Fry
- James Lawrie
- Dominique Murphy
- Vince Pannell
- Lindsay Temple
- Ashley Williams
A1’s mainstream media presence is non-existent. On social media, however, particularly “alternative” sites like Telegram, it has a huge footprint. Its other main forum for getting the word out is by making appearances at so-called “freedom” rallies that have been taking place in Canberra for several months now. Usually, it’s Riccardo Bosi doing the talking, but every now and then you’ll see another candidate. If you’re really interested, you can find videos of these appearances at their social media links or on YouTube. The rhetoric is alarming. Apart from assertions of unconsitutionality and some extremely tortured interpretations of the Magna Carta, A1’s main talking points centre around a belief that virtually everyone in power in Australia is part of an enormous paedophile ring that trafficks and harvests children for sex, has an enormous network of underground tunnels where it hides said children, and is part of a global conspiracy conducted by the Freemasons.
I’ll let you take a moment there to process the sheer ridiculousness of that.
A1, it seems, has adopted and adapted Qanon talking points to suit its political message. No proof is ever offered to support the allegations. The sheer inconsistency of claims is breath-taking, and would take far more time and effort than is worth spending on this nonsense. Suffice it to say that A1’s foundational messages are a tissue of lies.
There is also a disturbing violent streak on display. Bosi frequently talks about hanging politicians (read: paedophile Freemasons) for treason, and Craig Cole gave rally attendees a promise that – if elected – he’d “get out the M60 and mow every single one of them down” in lieu of giving a maiden speech. Bear this in mind as we dive into their policy platform.
Under the heading “Australian Sovereignty” are policies that range from the esoteric to the downright disturbing. A1 calls for nothing less than a complete repudiation of every constitutional reform, and a reversion to the original 1901 Constitution. Along with this, ”all incompatible legislation” would be repealed.
This is a truly astonishing policy, and I have to wonder if A1 has really considered the ramifications of what they propose. Leaving aside for the moment the technical near-impossibility of unravelling over a century of referenda and legislation, A1’s “reform” would wipe away some of the most fundamental aspects of modern society:
- Medicare: gone
- Social Security control: gone
- Women’s voting rights: gone
- Simultaneous elections: gone
- Indigenous voting rights: gone
- Conscription: restored
- Australian self-determination: lost
To say that this particular policy is an ill-thought out recipe for chaos… would be an understatement.
Once that’s done, A1 wants Australia to withdraw from the United Nations and “renegotiate all agreements injurious to Australia’s interests.” That’s wonderfully vague, isn’t it? Potentially, it covers everything from the Paris Climate Accords to the Refugee Convention to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, as well as every trade agreement or alliance. A1’s not interested in telling us what’s on the chopping block, though, so we’ll have to work it out from the rest of their policies.
And it gets worse. All members of political parties must be Australian citizens only, no dual citizenship here, thank you very much. Sorry about that, Mr Newly-Emigrated Person, renounce your obviously inferior country of origin or you don’t get to actively participate in democracy. Photo ID would be required to vote. Sorry about that, Mrs Non-Driving Pensioner, you don’t get a say in who governs you. Mandatory imprisonment for electoral fraud; you know, that rarely-occurring phenomenon that’s nonetheless a bugbear for the politically right-wing?
Oh, and the death penalty would be back as a punishment for treason. Presumably so that Bosi can carry out his stated wish to hang all the paedophile politicians that infest Canberra.
Sounds like a Utopia so far, doesn’t it?
“Australian Self-Reliance” is a policy category that sounds good when you first hear it. There’s a lot of talk about “restoring” – food and energy independence, transport independence, water rights, and ”an objective, transparent K-12 education and sport grading system”. But what does all that actually mean in practice?
In short: not much. There’s a dogwhistle buried in all those grand statements that basically says “Look at the furriners taking all of our stuff! We are dependent on people who are Not Us! The sky is falling!” A1 would have you believe that Australia as a country is in thrall to Hostile Powers bent on nothing less than our complete subjugation. It hardly needs pointing out that we are a net exporter of energy, and more than capable of supporting our population food-wise. The crisis A1 hints at simply doesn’t exist, but boy, does it fit their narrative.
And what about that notion of “objective, transparent” education? I’m sure you can work it out – it’s the great principle of ‘Don’t Be Woke’, as we’ll see as we dive further in.
Lastly, under “Self-Reliance” we have A1’s commitment to making welfare a “short-term safety net… recognising that free enterprise is the key to prosperity.” No dole bludgers here, thank you. Apparently, also no support for elderly and disabled people. Productive members of society only, and let the market sort it out. Callous in the extreme, and would achieve nothing but a huge increase in homelessness, serious illness, and death. But I guess the loss of such people wouldn’t matter in the A1 Utopia.
“Australian Economic Power” is where A1 really starts to show its far-right beliefs. All taxes to be repealed except a flat 2% “expenditure tax!” Complete deregulation of the power industry! No grants or subsidies for renewable power! More fossil fuels! Let the market reign supreme!
With a little judicious help from government coffers for our friends in the oil and gas industries, of course. Hang on. With all those taxes gone, where does A1 think the money is going to come from to support these industries? And just what is an “expenditure tax,” anyway? Well, bluntly put, it’s a tax on spending, and it benefits the top income earners, while having a disproportionately disastrous effect on low income earners. It also doesn’t come close to meeting the revenue generated by our existing tax system, so it’s a little difficult to see how A1 can possibly fund all its promises.
Let’s move on to “Australian Political Freedom.” This can’t be too awful, can it?
Actually, it can.
“Freedom,” for A1 is very specific. It means no anti-discrimination laws, no restrictions on speech or “self-defence,” fewer government organisations, and – you guessed it – no mandatory vaccination. In the A1 Utopia, you won’t have to worry about those pesky gays getting upset when you call them disgusting names and tell them they’re going to hell. You can call an indigenous person a… well, you get the idea. Anything goes.
You happen to be Muslim. Or trans. Or same-sex attracted.
Because now we’ve come to the last big policy category: “Australian Social Cohesion.” And this is where I drop the flippant tone completely, because this is the heart of A1. Mean-spirited, bigoted, and vicious.
“Political Islam” has to be banned in the A1 Utopia. What does that even mean? Of course, we know what it means, and what it leads to. This is post-9/11 hysteria resurrected. It’s the type of thinking that leads to people picketing mosques, spitting on women wearing hijabs or burqas, and speculating hysterically about people being stealthily fed halal meat (thank you, Pauline Hanson, among others). And it’s based on utter nonsense. “Political Islam“ doesn’t exist. There are extremists who justify their actions through the religion of Islam, just as there are those who do the same with Christianity. But you don’t see A1 banning “Political Christianity,” do you?
Of course not. A1’s philosophy is all about creating a “sovereign, self-reliant, Judeo-Christian western democracy.”
Not content with demonising Muslims, A1 wants to legislate gender. Yeah, you read that right. In the A1 Utopia, people will be defined as “male” or “female.” based on their “biological” sex. Just to make sure no one tries any sneaky trans stuff, that “natural biological sex” will be enshrined on the birth certificate for ever, along with the names of both the “natural, biological” mother and father.
Where the hell do I start? How about with the utter absurdity of making two legal genders, and forcing everyone into those boxes? Intersex people already suffer socially from being ‘assigned’ a gender at birth based on what doctors and parents think it “should” be; under A1, they would be force to live a legal lie. Gender, for A1 is all about the genitals – or perhaps the chromosomes, who knows. In any case, it’s a bigoted, blinkered ideology that would have the effect of appeasing a minority of other bigots, and hurting many innocent people.
And what about that birth certificate? What if you want to adopt a child? What if you can’t have children without help from donor sperm or eggs? Just imagine explaining it to your kid in later years. “Sorry, sweetheart, I know I’m your Dad but I can’t be on your birth certificate. The person who donated sperm to your Mum is there instead of me.” Or children of rape or family sexual abuse? Is A1 really suggesting that a woman raped by her father or uncle should have to have his name on the birth certificate of the child she’s trying to raise in spite of the horrific circumstances that led to her becoming pregnant in the first place?
Not content with that, A1 wants to “conduct a lawful referendum to determine the Australian definition of marriage.” Look very closely at the wording here. “Lawful.”. Yes, that’s right, A1 believes that the postal vote and resulting legislation allowing marriage equality was illegal. In line with its commitment to so-called “Judeo-Christian values” (a meaningless statement if ever there was one), God didn’t create Adam and Steve. And to make sure Australia gets that message, A1 isn’t content with simply repealing legislation and reverting to the definition shoe-horned into the Marriage Act in 2004 by former Prime Minister John Howard. No, it wants nothing less than a referendum, to make marriage a constitutionally defined thing, so it can’t be changed again without another referendum.
This isn’t just marginalisation. It’s an attempt to ensure that no same-sex couple can ever be married in the eyes of the law.
Finally, we get to two policies that, at first glance, don’t look related. A1 wants to end transnational human trafficking. It also wants to end “full-term abortion” and the “sale of baby body parts and tissue.”
Leaving aside the hysterical lies, this comes down to A1’s subscription to the Qanon-adjacent conspiracy rubbish that speakers like Bosi rant about at the ever-less-relevant protests about vaccine mandates. Both these policies stem from the lie that there is a massive, global network of paedophiles who are not only snatching children off the street and hiding them in tunnels for their nefarious purposes, but are also arranging pregnancies, aborting the foetuses, and using the remains to manufacture a drug that keeps them young and virile.
I’m sorry, I really am. There really shouldn’t be any need to give oxygen to this dangerous, deluded nonsense, but these are people who want to hold seats in Parliament and employ whatever power they can gain towards ruining lives in the name of utter fiction.
But hey. Maybe none of that will happen. Because, you see, A1’s first priority, if it gets any of its members-not-members-just-independents-really elected, would be to call for the Governor-General to immediately dissolve Parliament and issue writs for fresh elections. Presumably, they think this will endear them to the Australian people so much that more A1 not-members and their sympathisers would be elected next time round, and then the A1 Utopia agenda can commence.
To quote Bosi, from a speech to anti-vax protesters in Canberra on 30/04/2022: “Our job is to get into the parliament, tear the place down … and kick the doors open and let you in.”
I can’t say this strongly enough. In an earlier post, I wrote that the policies of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation were evil, and had bought themselves a place at the bottom of my ballot. They are, but what A1 wants to do with electoral power, however, goes far, far beyond One Nation’s xenophobia. It wants nothing less than to tear down every aspect of Australian society, destroy countless people’s lives, and cause environmental disaster. All in the name of a crusade built upon lies, hysteria, and complete stupidity.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Go and look at the videos of Bosi relishing the idea of hanging everyone in Parliament House. Listen to Craig Cole laugh about the idea of shooting politicians. Watch how they assure their followers that those of us who don’t subscribe to their delusions will be devastated and in need of guidance after we realise that we’ve killed our children by getting them vaccinated, and how gleeful they are at the idea we’ll commit suicide out of grief and guilt.
A1 is deceptive, deluded, and dangerous. And my only comfort is my belief that Australians, for all our faults, are smart enough to see A1 for what it is, and consign it to its rightful place in history – a curious little footnote that, ultimately, had no real impact on our society.
Just a reminder that Loki and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂
Thanks for this. I was doing a little research on the candidates for Chisolm and couldn’t find anything on Dominique Murphy’s policies or affiliations—thankfully I now know who to put last on the ticket. The clandestine affiliation does seem extremely deceptive, but I suppose it dovetails with the nutjob policies….
I would have thought that if there was machinery capably of making long, deep tunnels quickly and quietly, they would be in constant use by mining companies and the UK would have cross-channel tunnels to the Netherlands and Portugal? Nobody would be able to resist the money they could make from those machines! The more I read this stuff, the more I wonder if we do need to scrap the political system we have, and put the 3-to-16-year-olds in charge. They evidently have more logic, more empathy and better social skills than the apparent adults.
They also tend to be better at admitting mistakes 🙂