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Foreign influence in Australian politics

We hear a lot about Russia and China trying to influence politics in other countries, including in Australia, when sitting in plain sight are blatant attempts by the US and the UK to do the same.

Next week, Australia will host its first Australian Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.  The organiser says the event will “not be a one-off” and that its US backers, the American Conservative Union (ACU), had committed to holding the event long-term.

“We’re all looking at having this event running many, many years down the track,” Andrew Cooper told Guardian Australia, “and we have a vision for this that has thousands and thousands of attendees, not hundreds and hundreds.”

When Kristina Keneally called on the government to block the visa of one speaker, Raheem Kassam, a former chief adviser to Nigel Farage and editor-in-chief of Breitbart, Donald Trump Jr weighed in saying Labor was trying to silence conservative voices.

Who the hell does this turkey think he is?  An infantile narcissist whose grasp of politics extends to posting nasty memes, who has done nothing except be a front man for his daddy’s businesses while he plays president, has the effrontery to try and tell us who we should allow into our country.

Kassam has called the Koran “fundamentally evil” and has written online he “can’t stand Islam” saying it had become “the de facto state ­religion” in Britain.  He tweeted that the Scottish National party leader Nicola Sturgeon should have her legs taped shut “so she can’t reproduce”.  He also asked on Twitter if former British Labour minister Angela Eagle was “in the special needs class” and called German Chancellor Angela Merkel “a dumpy old hag”.

In order to hear this jerk’s pearls of wisdom, you can pay $599 for a “Reagan VIP pass”, an “Iron Lady general pass” for $349, or a “Menzies three-day pass” for $149. They throw in an “activism bootcamp” on the final day of the conference.  I wonder if it will include marching?

You also get to hear from ACU’s executive director Dan Schneider and their chairman, Trump fundraiser Matt Schlapp, whose wife Mercedes is Trump’s Director of Strategic Communications.  In his role as vice president of federal affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Schlapp directed the major federal public policy strategies on anti-environmental and energy policies, financial markets, legal reform, and international and domestic tax issues.

For your entertainment, you can also listen to Nigel Farage – the man who so desperately wanted Brexit and then had no idea what to do with it when he got it.

Home grown contributions will come from luminaries like Craig Kelly, Mark Latham, Tony Abbott and Amanda Stoker as well as Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and sundry kids from the IPA.

The ACU have been involved with some shady fundraising practices in the past.  Asked whether they saw an Australian conference as a financial opportunity, Cooper disagreed. “My perception of the ACU is that they are looking to spread their message,” he said.  “If anything they are going to be investing in us for a long, long time.”

Considering how the government is going in the US and the UK, I fail to see what advice we could get from this bunch of tossers.

Unless it’s on how to put a fool in power.

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16 comments

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  1. Christopher J. Ward

    I agree generally with your views on Kassam and the meeting probably is, as you say, a collection of tossers. The last time I saw a collection of toxins it was during a mathematics class when we were looking at probability. Of course, the UK and US have influence in this country but if you can’t see the difference between those two countries and Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China, I think it’s time for you to consider retirement

  2. Jack Cade

    Australia is a vassal state. Has always been and looks like it’s the limit of Australia’s ambition. New Zealand has more balls than Australia.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Christopher,

    I see a great difference between all those countries and what they are trying to do here. Each goes about exerting their influence in different ways. I am not for one second endorsing the methods or rule of Putin or Xi.

    But as far as I am aware, neither Russia nor China have had a direct influence in overthrowing a democratically elected government here as the UK and US did in 1975.

    My point is more that the US and UK have made an absolute debacle of their own governments. Them offering us advice on how to do things is laughable.

    But worse, this collection of tossers trade in deliberate disinformation and division. They are dangerous.

  4. New England Cocky

    @Jack Cade: Agreed. NZ PM Piggy Muldoon had the NZAF fire upon Japanese fishing boats breaching the 200 nautical mile territorial zone and received the exclusive rights to export butter and dairy products to Japan about 12 months later.

    Whitlam was the last PM to stand up to the USA (United States of Apartheid) foreign policy and was overturned by News Ltd and CIA moles.

    Minister Richard Alston (Liarbals) exposed the involvement of “American Embassy people” in organising the Cunningham bye-election and changed careers into diplomacy.

    @KL: Menzies used the Petrov Affair to regain power in the 50s.

  5. Henry Rodrigues

    Another sign that business and the conservatives, here there and everywhere, plus the brutal nasty dictators of the east, hellbent on staying power no matter how blood they spill, and all aided and abetted by the fucken media, led by that sob, Murdoch. If Alexei Navalny in Russia and the millions of democracy protestors in Hongkong, are not proof enough, and Ivanka Trump setting her sights on the US presidential race in 2024, then we are indeed in dire straits.

  6. Karen Kyle

    Whitlam was sacked during the Cold War when thinking about international politics was different. There was the doctrine of Containment which was the policy of the US and Allies to stop the spread of Communism. And I might add that most peope in the West supported this policy. But not hard line Lefties…….of course not.They were more likely to line up with Russia.

    Whitlam was a tad ahead of his time which was a tragedy.

    As for the right wing brain dead coming here to spread their poison, well, they are using free speech and there is not much we can do about it except grit our teeth and be damned glad when they have gone. Chances are there will be demos and trouble I hope

    And it might be no bad thing to let ordinary Australians hear what they have to say, so we like Americans are given a lesson on what proto Fasciam looks like

  7. Aortic

    Aw C’mon Kaye, who wouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars with the chance of sitting next to Craig Kelly, Mark Latham and Amanda Stoker. Added to this utopian experience you get to listen to Tony Abbott, Nigel Farage, Raheem Kassam and even perhaps some worthies form that bastion of impartiality and trickle down the IPA. I am truly flabbergasted that they have a venue big enough to house the projected thousands expected to attend. I am unable but am earnestly hoping they have a transcript of proceedings as the budgie cage is in dire need of new flooring.

  8. New England Cocky

    @Henry Rodrigues: There is a Russian in the White House. Has been since 2016. The name is …..???

    @Karen Kyle: The policy of containment was an abysmal failure because Whitlam had been to China in 1973(?) to discuss trade with the PRC government. Nixon went later with much hullaballoo from US media.

    @Aortic: Now then, do you really want a disturbed budgie?

  9. Andrew Smith

    Good example of transnational political/cultural PR, whether people agree or not, an effective way to message into MSM.

    What has been missed was post Christchurch, blaming social media for radicalising white nationalism.

    Now, see how it has been a central tenet of conservative political tactics, white nationalism has already been mainstreamed.

    Kassam is a useful idiot to add a veneer of legitimacy aka astro turfing. However, he would be thrown under a bus without hesitation by his present colleagues, if push came to shove.

  10. Patricia

    “Considering how the government is going in the US and the UK, I fail to see what advice we could get from this bunch of tossers.

    Unless it’s on how to put a fool in power.”

    Too late Kaye Lee, the UK, US and Aus already know how to put a fool in power, voters in these three countries have already done it, we certainly don’t need any lessons on how to do it.

  11. Aortic

    New England Cocky, appreciate your concern but our budgie is already disturbed after watching the election campaign all he says is ” how good is Australia” He also believes in miracles now and claps his wings and speaks in tongues I have never heard before. Scary stuff but I am seeing the seeds of gradual change as I introduce more AIMN in his diet.

  12. Karen Kyle

    New England Cocky……….The policy of containment aimed to stop the spread of Communism around the world. Not trade. Gough also went to the Soviet Union. He was greeted by a beaming official who suggested that talks begin on a trade agreement. “Never mind a trade agreement said Gough…..what happened to the Grand Duchess Anastasia?” Demonstrates pretty much what Gough thought of the Soviets.

    As for China, they were not recognised by Western countries which was just plain silly. At least Gough helped to end that.

  13. pierre wilkinson

    meanwhile, the biggest foreign influence on Australian politics gets almost $1 billion in tax relief from our government

  14. Aortic

    Anning probably gone back to the NRA asking his mates to donate to his cause and get him out of the pooh. I note the female in charge of the said NRA is a kreestian who carries a gun to church as does her pastor. I presume if fired it is to get gods attention or perhaps they threaten those parishioners who have not tithed to their satisfaction. This in the land of the “free” they say. She has also attacked our gun laws as being discriminatory whatever the hell that means. Meanwhile Donald doesn’t want to kill ten million people in the Middle East. What a philanthropist.

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