Australia First Party Claims Success In 2008 New South Wales Councils' Poll - Article Updated September 27.
The Australia First Party has concluded that its participation in the 2008 Councils’ poll in New South Wales – was a success that can only further enhance the growth of the party ideologically, politically and organizationally.
This was the party’s first foray under its own name into the New South Wales electoral arena since the days when Graeme Campbell was the leader of the party nationally and an upper-house team was run in the 1999 State election.
Much has happened since then. Other efforts by Australia First, such as when we ran as ‘independents’ in the 2004 Council poll and the 2004 and 2007 State elections, turned up small or moderate figures. The nationalist and patriotic vote (only partly perhaps) represented by One Nation, had continued to decline federally and finally hit rock bottom last year, when that party’s average electoral support was 1.8%.
This time around, we knew we could start over. Australia First Party is now rebuilding an electoral base for a genuine Australian nationalism. Australia First received extensive publicity in local and major papers and on radio and television in the last several weeks. Our name was ‘broadcast’ to hundreds of thousands of Australians. Taken overall across the areas we contested, we have almost doubled the One Nation voting average of 2007.
Of course, our party links the construction of an electoral base to two other tasks: building a new organization which operates not only in the electoral arena, but in the community generally - and further via the joint struggles to protect the Australian cultural inheritance whilst building a new system of nationalist political thought. These three tasks are integrated together in what we have dubbed ‘the three tier method’. In the current situation, we had to prove there was, a least, a popular clientele for a nationalist party. We succeeded.
Our best result was a 5.62% vote in Blacktown’s Ward 5. We now stand on 1471 votes and have won back the candidates’ deposits. Lead candidate, Tony Pettitt, who has been a candidate in the Blacktown City area before, knew this to have been a good result. His new profile certainly built upon a State-poll lower-percentage result in the Riverstone area in 2007.
The Blacktown result certainly tripled the One Nation percentage score in this general area of Western Sydney for the 2007 Federal poll.
It is the collective opinion that Australia First could receive a similar result in any council ward or electorate in Western Sydney. The campaign introduced us to tens of thousands of people who had never received a piece of Australia First literature before. We were received well at the polling booths. In the depressed areas of Western Sydney where Aussie families battle to cope with high rents and mortgages, the ethnic crime and labour pressures, we can expect a favourable reception. It is here that Real Australia can be found.
In Sutherland Shire Ward A, we received 957 votes. We came in just under the 4% line and therefore we failed to win back our deposits. John Newton, the lead candidate, concluded that our performance suffered – clearly – for one very particular physical reason: we failed to man all booths, all day. We were beaten by the new Australian workplace-reality – too many of us work Saturdays, full or part time. The booth-by-booth analysis proved that conclusively. Beaten to the barrier by the lack of a few campaign workers with a few hours to spare!
Nonetheless, we have formally improved on John Moffat’s 2.7% in 2007, but of course, the former AAFI won 2.8% then – and we have not yet regrouped all those votes. A wide field and the campaigning by others on the desalination plant issue may have ‘cost’ us a little there too.
Yet, we are a fixture now in Shire politics. We have essentially maintained support and a high profile. This tells us we have a sure base in the Shire and it needs now to be directed into activist pathways. We have announced our commitment to enviro-patriotism and we have indicated our opposition to false ‘development’ and the desalination plant disaster. A branch has re-formed in the Shire and we now prepare to move on.
We can also note that Australia First received very positive publicity in the Shire Leader paper, when it became clear that the Electoral Commission, which had temporarily ‘banned’ our Newcastle ‘How To Vote Card, might also ban our Shire card. It seems our stand on refugees and crime was “offensive”. But as it was – the Electoral Commission wisely backed down.
Our results in Newcastle Ward 2 brought 359 votes. Australia First Party – Hunter Branch kicked off its Council campaign by receiving some much needed and also very positive press in the Newcastle Herald after holding a Save History park rally after Newcastle Council voted to change the name of a local park, all in the name of “reconciliation”.
Throughout the campaign, a local neighbourhood paper The Star Newspaper chose to speak to Australia First candidates on numerous local issues with reports printed in three of the four campaign issues.
In the last two weeks of the campaign, the lead candidate - Nathan Clarke - attended two local community forums in their “Meet The Candidates” nights. The responses at these forums were positive. The policies discussed went over well with all in attendance and a round of applause greeted the candidate at the end of the speeches.
We failed to man all booths. Interestingly, Australia First had 3 polling stations manned by Labor Party members (!) who found some common cause with us, but who were subsequently sent home by their party for crossing over to the wrong side! That was the only hiccup for polling day where most responses were positive. All other polling station workers were very friendly and it was a busy but enjoyable day.
The Newcastle activists believe it is time to build nationalism in their city. A new website has gone up and we can now build upon a better ‘name-recognition’.
In Coffs Harbour City we won 619 votes. The Coffs team showed great initiative with everything from a public ‘truck’ moving about town through to well-delivered speeches at candidates’ meetings and newspaper advertising. Darrell Wallbridge, our lead candidate, said that we were well received by many voters and our party status (only two parties, us and the Greens) were mentioned on the ballot paper has given us a new status in the area. This will be built upon in coming months by initiatives to develop new party contacts over northern New South Wales.
Our lead candidates, John Newtown, Tony Pettitt, Nathan Clarke and Darrell Wallbridge would like to thank everyone who did leafleting and polling day work and who contributed in any way to the campaign. Their efforts were greatly appreciated. We can reasonably expect that these committed nationalists will be candidates again for Australia First.
Australia First Party aims to take charge of the nationalist movement in New South Wales. Most certainly, in every area contested, the quality and intensity of Australia First organization will now improve. Certainly, we will see Australia First develop in other areas too over the coming year.
Australia First Initiatives Will See Party Grow Over The Next Few Months:
There are several initiatives Australia First will undertake over the next few months that will not only see us grow in numbers and professional, but improve our overall political presentation.
1. Australia First will be contesting Maroondah Council Poll in Greater Melbourne in November.
The party committee in Victoria has resolved to contest the poll for Maroondah Council. The Victorian council elections in November are not conducted in the same way as the New South Wales ones. They feature no polling booth voting days and are all conducted as postal ballots.
Of course, the party must ‘campaign’ in the normal manner to attract public attention; but ultimately, all voters are provided with a postal ballot.
2. Australia First will be holding a NSW party organizational forum in November.
It will feature guest speakers, reports and lay plans for 2009. This organizational forum will follow the same formula of our June 2008 meeting.
It is expected the lead candidates in yesterday’s poll will speak there.
3. Australia First has set December 3 (Eureka Stockade Day) as the day we will have the membership to apply for Federal party registration.
The party will now resume the Federal registration drive in earnest. Many members have rightly urged us on to complete the necessary preparations to get on with this.
It is expected that by December 3 2008, Eureka Stockade Day, we shall be ready to apply for Federal registration. Help us to achieve that goal.
4. Australia First will upgrade international relations with Continental-European parties of nationalism.
Recently, Australia First Party has explored a major initiative with the Continental-European parties of nationalism about which a separate statement will soon be made. Expect surprises.