16 May 2011

More on the Palerang success -- the story behind John McGrath's 6.1% result

Farmers, Truckies, Young Workers Targets Of The  Campaign

The Australia First Party campaign followed the political line of the party. It set out to target specific social sectors which we call Real Australia, or those parts of our community who have, in one way or another, stepped outside of the globalising norms of the present anti Australian economic and political system either to vote for something new or wage their economic struggles: some farmers challenged by the Murray Darling Basic Authority water legislation and who have opted to resist outside of the usual sell-out farmers organisations and the National Party; truck owner-drivers who are pushed to the wall by bureaucracy at the service of the big companies, citizens who have rejected the big parties and the Greens on immigration and young workers under the gun of contract labour and who see no party willing to say no. In ways specific to local conditions, these groups were the ‘targets’ of the McGrath campaign

Importantly too, Australia First publicly campaigned for People’s Referendum or  Citizens’ Initiated Referendum where it is the people who may propose directly local rules and ‘laws’. This resonated in chaotic Palerang.

There is another aspect of the Real Australia strategy. Because the party targets Real Australia for support, Australia First leaves the ‘mainstream’ people behind at this stage: sadly, the majority of our fellow Australians accept their lot and relish its rewards and comforts; they may grumble at this or that, but are psychically bound to a ‘comfort zone’ of political normality and so consequently support the candidates and parties that actually undermine them too. This truth is the truth and it is not changed by wishful thinking. These folks are not the agents of change at this point in time. Essentially, our strategy is the logical one: build where we can, with whom we must, at this crucial phase of party and community network construction. That same big-picture logic plays out at local level politics also.

John McGrath’s thirty five years of political experience, served him well in doing what needed to be done at a local level and he was witness to how all these sobering strategic facts work themselves out.

Hard Work Yields Results

John McGrath campaigned very hard in Palerang. John spoke at the three community meetings and was received well and his candidature and the party name were mentioned at length in the Bungendore Mirror, the Braidwood Times and community newsletters. The Queanbeyan Age (which covers a part of the council area) referred to him as “arguably the most controversial candidate”. Indeed, the latter paper reported on a growing community angst across Palerang at the “plan” to explode the Shire’s population by nearly 70% by 2036 – and noted what our candidate was saying. Had we tapped a growing consciousness? We think so.

The party mobilised some Australia First members in Canberra and in Palerang Shire to assist on polling day with how to vote cards. Most booths were covered. Ironically, in the only booth where we have no worker (the isolated area of Nerriga), we polled 20%. These same members earlier letterboxed streets and spoke with residents and gave the party ‘name-recognition’. John campaigned personally in Captain’s Flat, Burra and Bungendore, meeting local residents and soliciting votes.

A Statement Of Position

Despite the candidates against John McGrath all running as ‘independents’, there were party allegiances in the poll. One candidate had Labor Party connections and another is active in the National Party, whilst yet another had some Green input to his support-base. What is equally clear is that a layer of voters in Palerang have also made a statement of position in voting for Australia First.

This statement is an ideological statement of Real Australia. It is a rock base of support that will be expanded, but only by the party being involved directly in community politics, if the party markets itself as a protest and defence organisation for issues that affect the lives of people.

Underground name recognition helps Australia First. As the polling booth workers attest, our party has a name that travels by pubs, clubs, workplaces, cafeterias, truck-stops, from brothers to sisters and mothers to fathers. The thousands of people across different States who have voted for Australia First in the last three years carry the name of the party to other Australians and the same process has now commenced in Palerang Shire.

Australia First Party thanks all who assisted in any way on this campaign and we look forward to further electoral successes in New South Wales.

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