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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/australian/anti_defamation_commission/Campbell.0105

A periodic publication of the
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc


No. 2, May 2001




When Graeme Campbell announced his intention in May 2001 to stand as a One
Nation Party candidate in the next Federal election, few people aware of
Campbell and his long association with the racist right were hardly
surprised. After all, Campbell has long utilised the art of self-reinvention
to further his political aspirations. In a political career spanning twenty
years, he has been associated with a diverse range of far-right groups,
including Australians Against Further Immigration (AAFI), Australia First,
One Nation and the Australian League of Rights.

>From 1980 until 1995, Campbell held the Federal electorate of Kalgoorlie -
Australia’s largest - for the Australian Labor Party (ALP). On 30 November
1995, the National Executive of the ALP voted 20-0, with one abstention, to
strip him of the Party’s endorsement following a long and intensive public
debate over Campbell’s association with racist groups.

With the ongoing assistance of AAFI, the one-off support of One Nation, and
the backing of the League of Rights, Campbell formed “Australia First”,
which became a national party with branches in most States and stood
candidates in most elections. However, the Party never gathered the momentum
that Campbell so desperately desired and the Party’s potential as a
far-right political force was soon overshadowed by the meteoric rise of
popularist Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party.

Campbell’s latest foray into the ranks of the One Nation Party represents an
eagerness on his part to overcome personal rivalries, as well as ideological
or pragmatic differences that he may have had previously with One Nation and
its leadership, in order to have a realistic chance of re-entering
Parliament in the forthcoming  election.

This ADC Special Report documents Campbell’s ties with organised racist
groups, his far-right ideology, and his love-hate relationship with the One
Nation Party.

Forging ties with the racist right

After becoming increasingly discontented with the ALP, common thinking with
the racist right provided a basis for Campbell forging ties with the League
of Rights from 1993 and AAFI from 1994.

The Australian League of Rights is Australia’s oldest racist group and
espouses anti-Asian, anti-Aboriginal, antisemitic, anti-Immigration and
homophobic rhetoric. Since his involvement with this secretive organisation
began in 1993, Campbell has addressed the League of Rights almost on an
annual basis on the role of the Government in undermining Australia’s
freedoms through policies such as multiculturalism and immigration. Some of
his speeches have included:
* “Defending traditional Australia” (League national seminar, Melbourne
* “Policies for better Government” (League Queensland seminar, 27/5/1995)
* “Government and the Australian environment” (League’ Conservative Speakers
’ Club, Perth, 23/3/1999)
* “The struggle for true Australian independence” (League’ Conservative
Speakers’ Club, Sydney, 30/5/2000)
* “Is there a way out for Australia?” (League Conservative Speakers’ Club,
Sydney, scheduled for 26/6/2001)

Campbell’s admiration for the League of Rights is unambiguous, proudly
telling The Australian that the League was simply “an odd bunch who just
happen to believe in God, Queen and country” (8/5/2001). When questioned
about its racism, Campbell stated, “There are all sorts of books in the
(League’s) Heritage bookshops. People can read them or not as they wish. I’m
not interested in what they have to say or think”. (Australian Jewish News,

The League has reciprocated Campbell’s admiration with its strident support
for his political endeavours. League founder Eric Butler has described his
candidature as offering “the prospect of a constructive revolt”, being “the
first step in building a political movement to move Australia off the
present disaster course" (On Target 9/2/1996). League publications have
urged readers to assist Campbell in his election campaigning and they have
also promoted his book, Australia betrayed: How Australian democracy has
been undermined and our naïve trust betrayed.

The other major far-right group to have voiced unequivocal support for
Campbell throughout his political career has been AAFI. In 1994, while
Campbell was still an ALP MP, AAFI’s spokesman and political researcher
Denis McCormack was employed in Campbell’s office. In an open letter of
introduction for McCormack, dated 9/2/1994, Campbell announced his “high
regard” for McCormack, acclaiming McCormack’s views on issues of immigration
as being “similar to my own”, for “we believe current policy in the areas of
immigration and multiculturalism to be dangerously misguided”.

Whilst still an ALP MP, Campbell sent a personal letter to voters in the
seat of Warringah supporting the candidature of AAFI member Robyn Spencer,
and handed out fliers in support of AAFI in Federal by-elections in two
Sydney seats.

Following his disendorsement by the ALP in 1995, Campbell became bolder in
his public proclamations on behalf of AAFI, including tabling in Parliament
on 28 October 1996 Denis McCormack’s paper, The Grand Plan: Asianisation of
Australia - Race, Place and Power. The paper was later disseminated by
Australia First with a cover note by Campbell which championed the paper as
essential in demolishing the “orthodox drivel” on immigration. In a
postscript to the paper, McCormack describes the “rising popularity of
Campbell’s nascent ‘Australia First’ folk movement”, which he believes is “a
promising sign of heightening awareness of, and apprehension about, the
direction in which Australia is heading”.

Creation of Australia First

Following his re-election in 1996 as an Independent MP (largely as a result
of preferences), Campbell set out to establish a strategy for a newly
conceived party which would unite the disparate far-right groups. To this
effect he convened a three day meeting at a bush retreat near Lithgow, NSW,
coincidentally on the same weekend as the Port Arthur massacre. Held in
secret, the meeting was reportedly attended by: League of Rights leader Eric
Butler and other supporters; members of the Lyndon LaRouche fascist
political cult, the Citizens Electoral Council; members of AAFI, including
Denis McCormack; Robert Balgarnie, the convenor of the Inverell Forum (an
annual gathering of far-right leaders in Inverell, NSW); members of
Independent EFF (Independent Enterprise, Independent Freedom and Independent
Family); representatives of gun organisations; ASIO operatives; and
Scientologist Ian Bruce Bell. Newly-elected Independent MP Pauline Hanson
and Ted Drane of the Sporting Shooters Association had been invited but
declined to attend.

Despite the failure of Drane and Hanson to support his initiative, Campbell
eventually established the “Australia First” Party, with policies embodying
a synthesis of League of Rights ideology, AAFI policy and his own personal
philosophy. The party platform included:
1. Ensure Australia Retains Full Independence
2. Rebuild Australian Manufacturing Industries
3. Limit Foreign Ownership
4. Reduce Immigration
5. Abolish Multiculturalism
6. Introduce Citizen’s Initiated Referenda
7. Promote the traditional family
8. Rebuild a united Australia

Forging ties with One Nation

Perceiving Australia First not as a party in the “conventional sense”, but
rather as an “alliance of like-minded independents”, Campbell sought to
forge parliamentary ties with fellow Independents, including Pauline Hanson.
For almost a year Campbell and Hanson had a good working relationship; he
made available his parliamentary staffer, John Pasquarelli, to assist her.
Campbell believed Hanson’s ideology to be akin to his own, particularly with
regard to Aborigines: “She was attacking the Aboriginal industry, which I’ve
been doing repeatedly for years” (Daily Telegraph 10/3/1996) and “a lot of
what she says has been taken out of context… she is a victim of political
correctness… she is criticising the Aboriginal industry and she is right
because the money is not getting down to Aboriginal people” (The Age
11/3/1996). Hanson was honoured as the guest speaker at Australia First’s
launch on 28 February 1997, where she received a standing ovation from a
crowd of 300 at the Albury showground in NSW.

Fall-out with One Nation

By mid-1997 however, the alliance began to weaken as the relationship became
characterised by differences and rivalry, which can be explained by several
1. Campbell’s belief that Hanson was stealing his policies which were
“years, months, weeks and days behind what Australia First and I have said”
(letter to The Australian, 11/6/1998).
2. His concern that, while she espoused his line, she was naive and
dangerously simplistic, accusing her of identifying problems, but failing to
offer solutions.
3. A realisation that Hanson had the potential to undermine his own
political aspirations.
4. Both were targetting the same potential constituency.
5. A sense of deep mistrust between Campbell and Hanson’s senior staffers,
David Oldfield and David Ettridge.

In addition, there were important differences in both policy and style.
While both rejected the judiciary’s interventionist approach, especially in
relation to land rights, while Hanson suggested electing judges, Campbell
was careful to stress that he did not want to undermine independence of the
judiciary. While both Campbell and Hanson supported the introduction of
tariffs, Campbell, describing his approach as an “intelligent,
outward-looking nationalism”, recognised that Australia needed to have and
therefore advocated trade with Asia and the world. They also had a different
approach to achieving their goals.

Eventually, these one time allies became arch rivals. In a memo to One
Nation members, David Ettridge reminded them that Australia First were their
competitors and enemy number one. The two Davids identified Australia First
as infiltrating and establishing One Nation branches in order to spread
discontent about Oldfield’s and Ettridge’s role in the Party and calls for
greater democracy within One Nation.

Forging ties with One Nation (again)

In 2000, Australia First was plagued by interfactional fighting,
particularly amongst the leadership of the various State branches. This
factor, together with the Party’s failure to engender the type of public
support achieved by One Nation, has led Campbell to look to merge Australia
First with other far-right parties. Such a merger would achieve a broader
and stronger party and supporter base, and would provide Campbell with a
viable chance of election. For example, in late April 2000 Campbell
reportedly met with officials of the One Nation Queensland breakaway, the
City Country Alliance, to discuss the possibility of a merger, but this did
not eventuate.

By May 2001, after acknowledging that Australia First was truly an impotent
political force, Campbell decided to bury the hatchet and return to the One
Nation fold, declaring his intention to stand as a One Nation candidate.
This is unlikely to be the last of Campbell’s political incarnations. With
the backing of the League of Rights and other like-minded groups, Campbell
will continue to find succour in far-right circles. He will also undoubtedly
use whatever political position he attains as a vehicle for promoting the
racist ideas and policies of the League.

Campbell’s ideology

* Anti-Aboriginal: Campbell opposes assistance for Aborigines, instead
suggesting that “The more tribal the Aboriginals are the less trouble you’re
likely to have” (ABC Four Corners, 20/3/2000). In relation to land rights he
contends, “This idea of land being absolutely germaine to Aboriginals is
just nonsense” (ibid.) and give Aborigines land, he argues, and “off-pay
week they’d sell it for a strawberry sandwich” (Weekend Australian
22-23/11/1997). He also ridicules the Stolen Generation debate as “a massive
part of the guilt industry” (ibid.).

* Anti-Muslim: In 1990 Campbell called for a ban on immigration from
countries with a fundamentalist Islamic population and urged for funding to
Islamic and ethnic schools to be stopped (Truth, 29/9/1990).

* Anti-Asian: Arguing that “we must have the faith to invest in our own
people and resources”, Campbell opposes any form of “integration” with Asia,
for that “will ensure that we are eternally a colony” (Australia Betrayed,
1995, p.200). In addition, immigrants from Vietnam are allegedly responsible
for Sydney’s reef and marine life devastation (ibid., p.92).

* Anti-multicultural: Campbell rejects immigration because multiculturalism
is its inevitable consequence and it is imperative that Australia “must
remain a predominantly white society” (Courier Mail 1/9/1998). He claims
that “ethnic and racial diversity retards economic growth” and “it tends to
destabilise countries politically” (ibid.).

* Antisemitic: Campbell maintains that there was a direct nexus between
Jewish funding for the ALP and War Crimes legislation: “The Zionist lobby
can command half the Cabinet, or half the shadow Cabinet for that matter,
any time it feels like it” (West Australian 21/9/1994). In relation to the
Racial Vilification Bill, he argues that: “Due to a combination of money,
power, relentless lobbying and manipulation of their victim status, they
have a very powerful influence, both in Australia and abroad” (Hansard

* Anti-environmental: Campbell believes that environmental issues have been
exploited by the Government as a tool to subjugate the Australian populace.
The Government supposedly welcomes the “nonsense of Green rhetoric” for “the
fear and uncertainty it engenders creates the ideal environment to burden us
with more taxes, draconian legislation, and reduce our expectation of
improved living standards”. He further argues that there is no such thing as
finite natural resources (“the more we look the more we will find”) and
rising fuel prices stem from the Government and Australian people having
been “conditioned by the Green movement to believe that liquid hydrocarbon
resources were finite”. (Australia First Review, 2/2001)

* Copyright © May 2001, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc.
Prepared by Dr Danny Ben-Moshe, Executive Director, and Mr Benseon Apple,
Director of Research & Public Affairs, with assistance provided by Mrs
Annette Gladwin, Research Officer. For comment on issues addressed in this
ADC Special Report, please telephone (03) 9527 1228 or email

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc. (ADC)
is a national organisation dedicated to researching
and combatting all forms of racism.

PO Box 450, Caulfield South, Vic 3162, Australia.
Phone 61-3-9527-1228 Fax 61-3-9525-9127

Chairman: Mr Kerry Klineberg
Executive Director: Dr Danny Ben-Moshe

ADC Board of Advisers:
The Rt Hon Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC DCL (pres.),
Sir Walter Campbell AC,
The Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH,
The Hon RJL Hawke AC,
Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE,
The Rt Hon Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE,
The Hon Neville Wran AC QC

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