Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Freedom Party

Summary

Website: freedomparty.net.au
Social Media: FacebookRumble
Slogans: Protecting Victorian Jobs – Homes – Families
Themes: We are so oppressed, we must jail Dan and Protect The Kiddies
Electorates: Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: Albert Park, Ashwood, Bass, Bayswater, Bellarine, Bendigo West, Box Hill, Bulleen, Bundoora, Carrum, Clarinda, Cranbourne, Dandenong, Essendon, Eureka, Euroa, Frankston, Gippsland East, Gippsland South, Glen Waverley, Greenvale, Hastings, Laverton, Macedon, Melbourne, Melton, Mildura, Mill Park, Monbulk, Mornington, Morwell, Murray Plains, Narracan, Northcote, Oakley, Ovens Valley, Pakenham, Point Cook, Preston, Ringwood, Rowville, Shepparton, South Barwon, St Albans, Syndenham, Tarneit, Werribee, Williamstown, Yan Yean
Preferences: Across the board, FPV have preferenced, in this order: Family First, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Angry Victorians Party, and the United Australia Party. Which tells you everything you need to know.
Previous Reviews: none

Policies & Commentary

It’s always a sad thing when a party reveals it actually knows nothing about the electoral process. It’s even sadder when that goes hand in hand with faux righteous indignation and claims of “truth-telling”. Actually, that’s not quite right. It’s not sad. It’s infuriating. In the case of the Freedom Party of Victoria (hereafter referred to as FPV), it’s also downright suspicious, because the people at its heart are hardly political novices. It beggars belief that they don’t know what they’re saying is – to be blunt – bunkum.

And who are these people? Front and centre is Morgan C. Jonas, who ran as an Independent candidate in the Federal election, backed by Reignite Democracy Australia. You may remember him from anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne back in the early years of the pandemic, where protesters hurled abuse at police, government, and media, and encouraged people to break the emergency rules that the government had put into effect to curb the spread of COVID-19. Jonas took to the stage at many of these protests. Here’s an example of just one of those from Jonas’ own Rumble channel. He rails against the “traitorous government,” accuses police of “assaulting my Victorian brothers and sisters,” and warns police that they had better join the protesters when “a million people will take to the streets.

Riding a wave of anti-lockdown sentiment, he ran unsuccessfully in the federal election along with then-partner Monica Smith (founder and spokesperson of Reignite Democracy Australia). This time around, he’s decided to set up his own party, and attracted the support of one Aidan McLindon.

McLindon is another one who’s no stranger to politics or elections. A Queenslander, he was elected to the state government initially as a member of the Liberal National Party, before becoming – in rapid succession over just three years – an Independent, the founder of the Queensland Party, and a member of Katter’s Australian Party. After losing office in 2012, he became a political consultant until this year, when he joined up with Jonas.

Neither of these people are inexperienced. So why, then, are they giving their prospective voters completely incorrect information?

FPV’s campaign strategy is primarily focused on turning up at Dan Andrews’ electoral office in Mulgrave almost every day – an event they call “High Noon @ Noble” – and expressing surprise that the Premier is not there to meet with them. 1Apparently, the leader of the state government has no business being in his Parliamentary office. You can find videos of these on Jonas’ Facebook page.

Once they’ve established that Dan’s not home, they go on to lecture anyone who’ll listen (almost exclusively party faithful) about how Andrews isn’t legitimately the leader. How do they know? Well, because there are 4 million people eligible to vote in Victoria, and – according to FPV – only 0.0004% of them actually voted for Andrews. Therefore the majority of the people didn’t want Andrews, therefore he’s not legitimately the Premier.

Now, I’m no Antony Green, but even I can see how ridiculous this is. (And honestly, I can’t believe I’m having to say this). We do not live in a state where we vote to directly elect our leader. We elect a party, the party nominates a leader, and that leader becomes Premier. Of course the majority of Victorians didn’t vote for Dan Andrews – if they didn’t live in Mulgrave, they never had the option.

It’s frankly unbelievable that Jonas and McLindon don’t know this, but they have hammered this point. Why? I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that they are trying to make a hamfisted point about direct election vs party nomination, but nothing they’ve actually said could back this up. This looks like rather stupid propaganda at best, or at worse, a deliberate attempt to mislead voters.

FPV also have quite a bit to say about the validity of the upcoming election itself. Jonas has made much of the ballot draw for Mulgrave, in which Andrews secured the top spot, and McLindon unfortunately drew the bottom. Mind you, Jonas doesn’t come right out and say that this is evidence of corruption. He just suggests that it’s strange, convenient, something to think about and look into.

Then there’s McLindon’s claim that the writs for the election have not been properly published, because it is our “right” as Victorians to see them. He suggests that this indicates the fix is in, which is a dire thing – except it’s not true. The writs were properly gazetted, exactly as they are supposed to be, on November 1st. So why would McLindon claim something that’s so easily disprovable?

On the subject of preference deals, however, FPV are unequivocal. It’s corrupt! It’s wrong! It must be stopped! And, thanks to recent revelations from the Animal Justice and Angry Victorian Parties, the entire election should be called off! McLindon backs up these calls with furious scribbling on the party’s whiteboard that, well, looks a little like that conspiracy gif:

Look. We all have opinions about Victoria’s Group Voting Ticket system, most of them negative. Personally, I think it’s stupid and unrepresentative, and needs to be done away with as soon as possible. And I think those parties who attempted to game the system, and who are now screaming about Animal Justice pulling a swift one on them, deserved exactly what they got. Maybe it will teach everyone a lesson.

But here’s the salient point – it’s legal. LEGAL. Under our current system, there’s nothing to stop parties being stupid enough to pay a so-called ‘preference whisperer’ to arrange deals in the hope that they might secure a seat in Parliament with a tiny percentage of the vote. That’s what FVP isn’t telling you. Instead, they’re trying to cloak themselves in righteous fury, while simultaneously complaining that parties assigning preferences away from them unfairly damages their chances of being elected. Which is exactly what preferences do. Even without the GVT system, parties are going to preference those who align with their own positions.

The other thing FVP aren’t saying is that there is a simple way to defeat any party’s preference deals – by voting below the line and numbering at least 5 boxes. If you do that, you control your vote.

Why am I spending so much time on FPV’s background and campaign claims? Because these are what underpin everything they do. Their policies only really make sense when the context is considered. With this in mind, let’s now look at those policies.

The first thing of note is that these policies are… spare. Really, really spare. Most of them aren’t more than a few brief dot points, with little elaboration.

Take Health, for instance. FPV wants any health care worker who lost their job because they refused COVID-19 vaccinations to be reinstated. Sadly, in a state that has largely done away with mandates, and where health care workers are sometimes not even masking up anymore, this comes across as at least consistent. It begs the question, though, of whether this situation is, in fact, a good thing. With cases skyrocketing and hospitalisations increasing, perhaps the question should be whether we need to strengthen mandates, mask rules, etc.

FPV also advocate incorporating “holistic and complementary medicines” into the Health portfolio. They attempt to sell this as a way to take the load off the hospital system, but offer no evidence whatsoever to support this. Even leaving aside the fact that the efficacy of many complementary medicines is largely unproven – and sometimes downright dangerous, there are some things that only hospitals can do. Surgery. Emergency Care. Cancer treatment. Etc. Maybe if people decided to go see their naturopath when they had a cold, rather than turn up at an Emergency Department, it would have a small effect on hospital loads. But – and here’s what FPV hasn’t said – so would going to see a GP, who is medically trained and has access to prescription information for properly trialed medicines.

Tangentially related to health is Drug Rehabilitation. This is riddled with inconsistencies. On the one hand, FPV call for limited decriminalisation of illicit drugs and rehabilitation for those found with “a supply of illicit drugs.” On the other, they want all “government-provided” injecting rooms immediately closed. This is curious phrasing, since there is only one such room in Victoria, and including “government-provided” suggests that there may be a difference between the current room and hypothetical privately-funded future rooms.

Closing the Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) shuts off an avenue of contact for drug users to find information about rehabilitation options, should they seek it. Crucially, it also places users in danger. A Victorian Health Department review found that over 2500 overdoses were quickly and safely managed in the MSIR, with no overdose deaths taking place on the premises. Modelling suggests that “at least 21-27” further deaths may have occurred without it. Additionally, people who use MSIR services can also be assessed for possible blood-borne infections, and treatment initiated. It seems, then, that FPV’s policy might have less to do with actual rehabilitation than it does with taking the strain off the prison system. (And, ironically, potentially increasing the strain on the ambulance and hospital system.)

Moving on, we come to this:

3. Gender Transition for Minors

  • Remove the ability for the ‘Doctors in Schools’ program to recommend or commence Gender Transition of Minors.
  • Criminalise and classify gender transition therapy and surgery for minors under the category of Child Abuse and be legally treated in this regard.

How can I put this delicately? I can’t. This policy is based on lies. It is an unconscionable deception based on nothing more than prejudice.

It starts with the assertion that doctors can merrily run around coercing Our Precious and Vulnerable Kids into thinking they might be trans, and pumping evil drugs into their bodies. All without the parents knowing. This is rubbish. The Doctors in Schools program is aimed at giving secondary school students the ability to access primary health care, with the aim of early identification of health problems. It’s predicated on the idea that working parents can often not get an appointment with a GP that fits in with their work schedule. It says nothing about students who might identify as trans. It says nothing about health care workers in this program being able to unilaterally decide to start gender-affirming care. Here are the facts from the Departments of Health and Education.

As for the notion of criminalising gender-affirming care – well, this too is riddled with lies. Surgery is not an option for minors, for a start. Just what is “gender transition therapy” anyway? Puberty blockers? Hormone treatment? News flash, these are often prescribed for reasons having nothing to do with gender identity. Counselling, maybe? Again, not exactly exclusive to gender-affirming care. Is FPV seriously suggesting here that people’s privacy should be violated just in case their social worker is supporting them as a non-cis person? That healthcare workers need to be hauled off to jail to stop some rampant epidemic of transness?

And if the situation is that dire, why only consider gender-affirming care as child abuse? Why not suggest that parents be spied upon, interrogated, and possibly jailed if they support their kids in seeking such care? I’ll tell you why not. Because the FPV can’t acknowledge that parents might not all be in lockstep with the idea that kids can’t be allowed to identify as trans. Because they build this outrageous policy on the idea that parental rights are somehow being violated by the mere suggestion that a secondary school student might have any autonomy, and that parents must be able to make all decisions for them. 2Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated in their rhetoric about vaccinations. FPV are just fine with parents refusing to let their kids be protected against COVID-19. Because they know that “hypocrisy” would be the least of the accusations flung at them if they did call for parental prosecution.

So, instead, they spin lies to demonise the very health care workers they claim to champion.

Enough of that. Let’s get on to the policies about government.

Unsurprisingly, FPV want to see people like Glenn Druery put out of business. To accomplish this, they want it to be a criminal offence to pay someone to organise preference deals for you, with suggested penalties of “up to $400,000 or 12 months jail.

Government spending will be slapped with a “5% reduction target.” No word on how quickly that target is to be met, or whether any areas of government expenditure are exempt. Hand in hand with this, FPV have ported across Jonas’ policy from the federal election calling for a razor gang to rip through “deemed to be outside of approved spending targets and limits” and make cuts.

Deemed by whom? Targets and limited approved by whom? There’s a vague reference to a “third party,” but no details.

Aaaaaand then there’s pandemic management. Here’s where FPV gets both vindictive and incredibly short-sighted. Every piece of legislation instituted by the Andrews government to deal with both the current and future pandemics must go. No future lockdowns, mandates, or restrictions on employment and movement. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions. No matter what might happen, no matter how much danger we might be in. Let’s not forget, the founder of this party was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea that we should just sacrifice older and vulnerable people so that others could get on with our lives. This is an astonishingly stupid policy that demonstrates how little FPV have really thought about the implications of their proposals.

FPV also call for a full inquiry into the Labor government’s pandemic response “with full accountabilities and any relevant penalties to be the outcome,” To quote Jonas: #freedompartyvic will seek a formal COVID-19 investigation proceeded (sic) by criminal charges.

Did you catch that? FPV are not just saying that they want an inquiry. They want one with criminal charges. Kind of suggests they’ve already made up their mind as to the “guilt” or “innocence” of the Andrews government, doesn’t it? Kind of raises the suspicion that what FPV really want is a show trial at which they can condemn Dan Andrews. You only have to look at some of Jonas’ Rumble videos or McLindon’s “High Noon” rants to see this. Both of them have explicitly called, multiple times for Dan Andrews to be jailed. They haven’t quite set up the gallows or the guillotine in front of the Victorian Parliament, but make no mistake. FPV don’t want a real inquiry. They want a witch hunt.

I’m all for a proper independent inquiry in pandemic responses throughout the whole country. That inquiry, though, has to proceed from a carefully designed set of guidelines and objectives that are not purely about giving a sop of legitimacy to the condemnations of a minority voice that isn’t the slightest bit interested in the truth.

FPV does attempt to cover itself with a thin veneer of sensible policy here, but it comes with caveats and, ultimately, is a meaningless motherhood statement:
In the event of a health crisis, care for the vulnerable will be made available, with recommended directions to be given but not mandated.

Moving on. FPV want guns. In fact, the gun policy is by far the largest one on their website, more than double the size of any other. It’s our “right” to have guns. It’s our “divine right” to go hunting. 3Yes, that is a direct quote. Don’t ask me what it means. We should be able to use guns against “foreign and domestic incursions.” We should be allowed to carry handguns! Paintball and airsoft for everyone!

This isn’t quite “y’all should let me keep down the varmints with mah machine-gun,” but it’s close.

On Energy, FPV targets Andrews again. He’s such a meanie poopoohead that he’s closing power stations and won’t let us have gas-fired power.

Really, you’d think that there was no government, just this one guy in his North Face jacket cackling evilly as he rules with absolute power and an iron fist. Weirdly, that’s exactly what the FPV’s target audience believe, and the party is happy to play up to it. According to the FPV, we live in a state of tyranny. Victoria is a dictatorship run by a power-mad Dan Andrews, where our rights are completely abrogated, where our lives are micromanaged, and where we are harshly punished for stepping out of line.

This is the same party who stands, unmolested, in front of Dan Andrews’ electoral office day after day, telling lies, advocating persecution, and breaking any number of laws. This is the same party who support the “Freedom” protesters who march in the streets of Melbourne every weekend (including right now as I write this) without being thrown en masse in jail.

The “Freedom” that the FPV claim they’re fighting for isn’t so that all of us can live our lives. It’s the “Freedom” not to be called out on their lies, not to be expected to give a damn about anyone else’s safety, to be able to say and do what they want, when they want, regardless of the consequences. The important thing is that they are not even slightly inconvenienced. They want free rein to make the Labor government and anyone who supports them pay for the imagined slights they’ve suffered, no matter how many lies they have to tell or how many laws they break.

As I write this, Jonas and a small crowd of his supporters are blocking access to Flinders Street Station, opining that the Andrews government is “like the early days of Nazi Germany”, and warning that lockdowns could return any time. Andrews, he says, will “step on your neck even tighter”. He’s also engaging in more lying – claims that children are being forcibly transitioned, that “hundreds of thousands of people on the streets” protesting lockdowns “got shot at, they got trampled over”. 4This is an oft-repeated cooker lie. At one protest at the Shrine of Remembrance, police used pepper spray and non-lethal rounds to disperse the illegal assembly of a few hundred people who were – among other things – urinating on the Shrine. Protesters scattered in all directions, some tripped over. No one was seriously hurt. The raw footage is out there. And he’s complaining that Andrews doesn’t want to talk to him, for some strange reason.

Curiously – given their repeated assertions that Victorians live in a “dictatorship” – there are no brute squads there to oppress them.

The FPV and their followers like to cast themselves as persecuted martyrs standing up for all of us poor oppressed, deluded people. They are not. Their methods are deceptive, their motives transparently selfish and vindictive, and they do not deserve anyone’s vote.

3 Comments

  1. LSN

    To accomplish this, they want it to be a criminal offence to pay someone to organise preference deals for you, with suggested penalties of “up to $400,000 or 12 months jail.”

    Hm… wonder if Druery’s price was too high for them or something.

    Freedom from consequences are all this mob want – find them an island and let them at it.

  2. SJ

    In amongst all their horrific policies, the drug rehabilitation policy was oddly appealing, despite the short-sighted closure of injecting rooms. Felt like it belonged to another party’s platform.

  3. peregrine1989

    So fun fact, I was doing so research about this party in the leadup to the election and up until the very last minute they had even MORE policies that made literally no sense.

    We are talking about refunding the GST to all small businesses, done by putting a levy on big business (Ignoring the fact that GST is 100% passed onto consumers and thats the point AND ALSO isn’t collected by the state government)

    And Super Negative gearing (giving an income tax cut to landlords who lower rental prices)

    Its incredible that while they are insane, this isn’t even the worst they have ever been.

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