AFQ: Australia First has on its hands a real fight for ‘political space’ in Queensland with Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation. Do you agree with that and what’s the solution?
Jim Saleam: True. The political market for parties espousing any sort of pro-Australian position, let alone nationalist economics and politics, is now cluttered. As we move on with getting the numbers to register ourselves as a political party in Queensland, many ordinary folks might say – ‘why another party?’ Yet, we are not being sectarian. These other parties say some of the things we say, but they have one over-riding DNA-marker that says they are not us. They both represent the Liberal National Party membership in a pressure cooker. That means two things: firstly, they are really Lib-Nats under stress and like water subjected to heat they turn to volatile steam, but if circumstances change they go back to water – and secondly, that they are political satellites of the Liberal National Party; they give some ideological and political loyalty to it despite critical words and might go back there under certain circumstances. The answer for us is an independent politics that stresses not only the people’s interest but raises issues and fights for things that the system parties have betrayed and fought against – national independence, European-Australia, popular democracy, an end to free trade and globalisation. The Lib-Nats are just one face of the same globalist politics. They are not the ‘better’ alternative to anything.
Jim Saleam: This is not a difficult idea to grasp. And it is a revolutionary tool to understand how politics works. A satellite structure is one that shares many ideological and political positions with a system major party. It might mouth off a bit more, or talk about something the major party won’t because the major party is ‘floating’ policy options first through the mouth of someone else. But they corral all the support that has moved out from a major party on certain critical grounds into a type of holding pen. There they can froth and scream, but seldom do they become completely independent. They ‘preference’ backwards at election time; they demand the major party ‘reforms’ itself; their policies reflect that they are a ‘tougher’ version of the major party. If the major party is clever (as it is), it’ll make a few noises in the direction of the satellite, holding out the idea that there is big support left inside them if the satellite will stick around. On occasion, the major party will appear to ‘adopt’ the programme of the satellite (it doesn’t say too much for the policy if it can), frustrating the satellite but still holding out the delusion that the system can be ‘reformed’. The satellite also attracts new and genuine people who continue to orbit around the major party. So, we think that both the Katterites and One Nation are basically satellites. Do not even take their words for what they say; look at what they do. And remember one qualification: some of the recruits to a satellite are indeed fair dinkum in every way and may seek to move on as political circumstances develop. The Liberal Party’s management of One Nation for the last 15 years has followed the satellite pattern.
AFQ: What do you specifically object to in the policies of Katter’s Australian Party and what do you support?
Jim Saleam: I can’t understand why Bob wants to keep immigration high. Immigration has had its day. He has this vision of settling northern Queensland – which we could do by getting people to move from the big cities – but he imagines that immigrants are the answer. Sustainability for Australia is not part of his ethos. But more importantly, I ask – who are these immigrants? In fairness, I rang Bob’s office and was told that Australia should skew a little more towards “ancestral” sources, but then I was also told that there’d be no discrimination on race. That means – Asia, South Asia, Africa, wherever. In my view, this multi-racialist perspective poisons the Katter party. It means that many good points in his programme – like protecting our agricultural produce from overseas competition and saving our farmers from the mining multinationals, are overridden. Immigration is a key element of globalisation. Of course, in the short term many ordinary folks won’t see the downside and rally on the positives. I understand that. They are desperate – but the denial of heritage and identity will tell in the end. We will make sure that it does. We will pick up the pieces from what will be the contradictions of Katterism.
AFQ: What do you specifically object to in the policies of the One Nation party and what do you specifically support?
Jim Saleam: One Nation has some policies that are nationalist-inspired. Like us, they object to free trade, espouse the defence of Australian farming and manufactures and they stand up for a type of patriotism. Many people are attracted to it on that basis. However, One Nation has made it very clear in Queensland that it is working to elect a “conservative government”, “where we have some say”. The bottom line is that they will have no say and they have sold out to the Lib-Nats. One Nation is an electoralist party. That means everything they say and everything they do is tailored to electorates and electoral policy and running in elections, meeting only between elections to plan more elections and so on. The idea of a continually activist party, rooted in the soil of the community and conducting popular struggles and initiatives – is not for One Nation. Ironically, the reason they don’t do well in elections – is because they are electoralists!
I say further One Nation has been taken over by a group of people who have changed its stance on immigration. These people want a policy that will change the European basis of the society. They don’t care where immigrants come from as long as they ‘assimilate’ (whatever that means). We say openly that there are some source-pools we don’t want – and whom we don’t wish to ‘assimilate’. It seems too that the only gripe these new One Nation leaders have is with Moslems and this game of jumping up and down about Moslems is also played by the Liberals. Of course, Moslem immigration should never have taken place – but if there is any immigration threat to Australia it is the one from Asia. The new One Nation leadership is just sucking people in to a politics that is not independent of the Lib-Nats. We call on One Nation members to take the road of nationalism – and find Australia First.
AFQ: Do the Katter party and One Nation have any potential to radicalize?
Jim Saleam: Yes. Some of the members have a decided potential to go beyond the limits set for them. Farmers in the ‘Shut The Gate’ movement and similar forces might look to Bob because he’s in parliament and can be a voice for them. But of course, Bob doesn’t stand for popular struggle. He just seeks to channel it electorally. In our case, we see struggle as paramount and electoral activity as second. Nothing will be decided in elections. Indeed, our perspective is that elections are really something that we can use to intensify the people’s struggle in Queensland against the mining multinationals and other foreign corporations and their visa labour. The One Nation members may make a good on-the-ground cadre for branches to organize these types of struggles; once they see One Nation as a ‘conservative’ vehicle bound to satellitize them permanently, they can and should rebel against the leadership. In freeing themselves of electoralist rubbish, they can become activists in their communities, even leading popular initiatives. That is far more productive than sitting around waiting for the next election.
AFQ: Where will Australia First party (Queensland) be in twelve months?
Jim Saleam: Certainly, we will create a registered party to avail ourselves of all the advantages that come with it. I understand from my dealings with your State committee, that the party, if it can get registered in time, will contest the local government polls in September next year. I say this is a far more useful road than the regular State electoral contest. Why? Because on a proportional system, as operates in many councils – we can win. By winning council seats, we will ensconce ourselves in our communities, our councillors being not just the regular councillor, but permanent paid activists who can direct and encourage popular initiatives and people’s struggles.
I believe that Australia First will grow in Queensland. Patriotic people are increasingly looking for something with depth. We are a party with a defined Australian nationalist ideology. This is based upon the Australianist traditions of our original 19th and early 20th century nationalist, labour and patriotic cultural movements, the people who put forward the very idea of Australian Identity and who made Australia the social laboratory and envy of the world. We have a political theory that identifies how power operates in Australia and how we must win Australian independence to establish a real direct democracy. We are a historical party, not something dreamed up with a platform to contest elections. We will begin the process of attracting younger activists. The future of Australia First is bright and we will be the nationalist party Queenslanders can trust to win on the ground, what they have been waiting for since the defeat of Hansonism.
AFQ: Thank you Jim for your time.