------------------------------------------- A periodic publication of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc ADC SPECIAL REPORT No. 2, May 2001 ------------------------------------------- GRAEME CAMPBELL: AN AMBITIOUS POLITICAL ASPIRANT & SUPPORTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE OF RIGHTS Introduction 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 2/10/1993) * “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, 18/5/2001). 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 factors: 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 15/11/1994). * 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 email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------- 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 Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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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