2016 has been the year of the underdog in many ways.
On the sporting field, we witnessed the first AFL premiership for the Western Bulldogs since 1954, and first ever premierships to Cronulla Sharks in the NRL and Leicester City in the English Premier League.
Politically, we witnessed the rejuvenation of right-of-centre politics, with the historic Brexit vote in the UK and the Trump election victory in the US. France and Holland seem set to follow in 2017, with conservative candidates leading in the polls.
Here in Australia, however, conservatives could be forgiven for feeling a little short-changed by the political establishment.
From radical gender ideology in schools to talk of an emissions trading scheme, and from the blocked same-sex marriage plebiscite to the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, 2016 has certainly been a frustrating year.
To add insult to injury, Cabinet ignored widespread calls for 18C reform – despite its overwhelming support from the Coalition backbench, almost all cross-bench Senators, and the general public.
Complaint lodged against war monument
The latest 18C complaint is yet another example of why the Racial Discrimination Act needs reform.
Advocacy group Australia-Japan Community Network has lodged a complaint against a WW2 monument, claiming it “offends” and “insults” Japanese people.
The monument reflects on the plight of the 200,000 women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army.
We need to stand united against this latest threat to our history, values and freedom of speech.
Senator Cory Bernardi’s 18C petition has over 25,000 signatures to date, but more are needed! If you haven’t yet signed it, please do so here.
Set for a massive 2017
Time has flown by since July, when we first put out the call to join our Australian Conservatives movement.
Over 60,000 Australians have now signed up to our mailing list, despite the fact we have been operating with modest staff numbers and a bare bones website up to this point.
This is all set to change in 2017.
Our new state-of-the-art website is almost ready to go, and we will be launching it early next year, along with a number of important campaigns. Please watch this space for further updates.
In the meantime, our office will close on Thursday, December 22 for the Christmas and New Year period, and will re-open in late January. Please be aware that we will not respond to emails during this time.
On behalf of the team at Australian Conservatives, we wish you and your family a joyful, safe and blessed Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.
Only a week after denying the Australian people their democratic vote on same-sex marriage by blocking the Government’s plebiscite bill, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has launched a nefarious attack on our freedom of speech.
Seemingly unable to allow genuine debate over reforming Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Labor is resorting to name-calling and accusations – as they did during the plebiscite debate.
Their latest petition calls for 20,000 signatures to reject “Hate speech, racism and bigotry, and changing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.”
This is, quite simply, intolerance masquerading as tolerance. The ALP is unashamedly turning freedom of speech into a political football. And while there can be no winners of this game, respect and common sense are set to be the real losers.
On Tuesday, Labor’s newest senator, Kimberley Kitching, effectively broke ranks with her party, implying that the 2011 racial discrimination case against conservative columnist Andrew Bolt was a Labor stitch-up.
She told The Bolt Report that the judge in the case, Justice Mordecai Bromberg, was an ALP factional player who actively sought preselection for the former federal seat of Burke in 2001.
“Obviously he would have had some views about you, and perhaps he was not the best person to hear your case,” she told Bolt.
Enough is enough of the Left’s duplicitous tactics and intolerance.
We have seen some promising developments toward reforming Section 18C in recent weeks.
The ridiculous case against three QUT students who spoke out some three years ago after being asked to leave an unsigned Indigenous computer lab was finally thrown out of court.
And the equally ridiculous case against cartoonist Bill Leak looks set to be dropped, after both solicited parties indicated they no longer want to pursue legal action.
Indications also point towards the Prime Minister softening his stance, with the announcement of an inquiry in the Racial Discrimination Act to determine whether it places “unreasonable limits on free speech”.
Labor’s petition, then, is a desperate attempt to stall momentum and place a roadblock on any legislative reform.
We cannot allow this to happen.
We must redouble our efforts to ensure free speech is protected and Labor’s divisive and intolerant tactics are exposed.
In collaboration with the Institute for Public Affairs and Senator Cory Bernardi, we’re joining forces to send a strong message for freedom of speech.
Senator Cory Bernardi has already collected 22,000 signatures on his petition, demanding the terms “offend” and “insult” be removed from Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. But we feel we can do much better that that.
If you haven’t yet signed, please add your name here.
If you have, forward this email to friends and family, or share the page on Facebook, Twitter or other social-media channels. Let’s get as many people on board as we can!
The fight for freedom of speech is still very much alive. Together, we can stand up to the Left and make a real difference.
The past month has repeatedly demonstrated why there is a need for Australian Conservatives to have a united voice. The assaults on our freedoms, the intransigence of our politics and the globally coordinated action of the political left serve as a warning to us all.
We are grateful for the suggestions from many of you, proposing ideas for the AC movement and seeking further information about how the AC plans are developing.
Some of you have also been in touch about a group with a similar domain name (ours is www.conservatives.org.au) seeking membership of a political party. It is important to know that this group is in no way affiliated or associated with the AC movement.
While we have tried to respond to as many of your emails as possible, our small team is working tirelessly behind the scenes to lay the foundations for 2017. This is set to be a very important year for our movement.
With everything that’s going on in need of a strong conservative voice, the extended startup phase of AC must be a little frustrating. We perfectly understand that, but it is important to get the foundations right if we are to create a movement that will grow into a considerable force.
Our website architects have finished the initial design, and are now working on making it operational on our IT platform. We are still on schedule to have it completed by the end of the year.
We also don’t want to over-extend our limited resources. Even at our current level of operation, the establishment costs and personnel costs are significant.
Australian Conservatives’ humble beginnings were as an initiative of the CLF, in response to the lack of representation of conservative issues in the public sphere. We are grateful for what the CLF (and many of you who have assisted them) have provided in getting us to this stage, but from next year AC will be going it alone. We will still be based at CLF House, in Adelaide, where we enjoy rent-free space and amenities, but our challenge will be to fund ongoing staff and activism programs.
If even a fraction of our tens of thousands of supporters regularly give as little as $9 per month, the AC movement will thrive and prosper for years to come.
If you’d like to be part of that pledge, you can do so here.
Growing support for 18C reform
Finally, it seems that the AC initiative to support reform of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is starting to catch on. The misuse of this section is becoming apparent to the media, politicians and the public alike. Even the Human Rights Commissioner thinks it could do with some reform.
Our petition to the Senate and the Bill that Senator Bernardi introduced on the first day of parliament seem to have got the ball rolling.
There are now two things that stand in the way of reform: the Government and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT). It might be an opportune time to let them know how you feel about this vital protection of free speech and urge them to support the proposed changes. The NXT’s contact details are:
You can also contact Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging him to support the proposed changes to 18C. Click here to send him this important message. Additionally, get in touch with your local MP. You can find their contact details here.
A recent news poll shows a majority of Australians support 18C reform. If you’d like some more information about the detail of the reform we are proposing, you can find out here. The reforms have already gathered significant support in the Senate, particularly after the plight of the QUT students hit the media. You can find out more about their case here.
Thanks again for your support. We have a long way to go to counter the forces against us, but for the sake of the country we can never give up.
There is a saying in political activism that you only take flak when you are near the target.
Australian Conservatives must be getting close because sections of the media and some social activist organisations seem desperate to discredit our fledgling movement.
Our critics appear unable to grasp that we are a movement of individuals, united by conservative principles, seeking to support each other and the ideas and values we share.
In the weeks since our last update, our foundations continue to develop. The design of the Australian Conservatives website has been agreed and the important architecture that will deliver cutting edge communications is now being built. We are aiming to have it ready for launch in 2017.
We have also been active on the political front.
Working with South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, over 15,000 Australian Conservatives signed a petition calling for reform of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. The petition was tabled in the Senate on the same day that a Bill seeking to make these reforms was introduced. The Bill was co-sponsored by 20 Senators representing six different political parties.
According to research conducted by an AC intern, this is the largest number of Senators attaching their names to an individual Bill in the recent history of the Senate. It also proves that good ideas and sound principles will unite conservatives regardless of their party-political allegiance.
The Bill seeks to remove the words ‘insult’ and ‘offend’ from the Act which would help stop the misuse and abuse of the RDA by activists. The plight of students attending the QUT who have become the true victims of these unconscionable provisions is strong evidence of why reform is necessary.
Friends, our work has only just begun and we have much to do ahead of our 2017 launch program. A focus of the months ahead will be to build the team that will drive AC into the future.
One key position we will be looking to fill is that of Federal Director of Australian Conservatives. That role will require an outstanding self-motivated candidate who understands the importance of uniting Australia’s Conservatives. They’ll need top flight communication skills, the ability to manage staff, volunteers and finances whilst maintaining a good sense of humour.
If you know of someone who might fit the bill, please feel free to send a detailed resume through.
Our success will be shaped by the people, policies and procedures we establish now. We have had many, many offers of physical and financial support for which we are grateful.
As soon as we have finalised the personnel and the battle plan for the path ahead we shall call on every bit of help we can muster.
Thanks again for being part of Australian Conservatives.
The 45th Parliament has started with a bang.
Today Senator Bernardi will introduce a Bill to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by removing the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the list of offences. This hurt-feelings test has been misused and abused to shut down differing opinions in taxpayer-funded lawfare.
The Bill was signed by 20 Senators including seven crossbenchers and, with one exception, all the Liberal backbench. These modest and sensible reforms have been supported by a cross-section of political and social commentators including Warren Mundine, Julian Burnside QC, journalist David Marr, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.
The numbers aren’t currently there to pass the amendments through the Parliament but we are hopeful the government and some more crossbenchers will see the merit of these very modest reforms.
Senator Bernardi has also lodged a petition signed by over 15,000 Australians asking the government to support the Bill. If you haven’t already done so, you can add your name here. Such a show of strength illustrates the power of conservatives when brought together for a common cause.
The appetite for strengthening the Conservative voice in public life is only growing; the Australian Conservatives movement has now signed up over 60,000 people, with more adding their names every day.
The movement’s first steps have scared the left-wing Getup!, who have gone to their membership base seeking funds to counter our formative influence. Dr Jennifer Oriel recently had an extraordinary column in The Australian detailing the sinister funding model the political left utilise to pursue their aims.
In perhaps the biggest political scandal since WikiLeaks, a group of hackers has dumped hundreds of files exposing the influence of socialist billionaire George Soros on Western politics.
The files show Soros has established a transnational network that pressures governments to adopt high immigration targets and porous border policies that could pose a challenge to legitimate state sovereignty. His Open Society Foundations target individuals who criticise Islamism and seek to influence the outcome of national elections by undermining Right-leaning politicians. The Australian arm of the Soros network is GetUp!.
GetUp! was established by activists Jeremy Heimans and David Madden with funding from Soros…
…GetUp! has engaged in an effective reframing of politics by rebranding conservatives as the hard Right while recasting the Left as moderate or progressive. Many sections of the media have uncritically adopted GetUp!’s rhetoric, which effectively divides the Coalition by aligning conservatives falsely with a range of hard-Right views that they abhor.
…Documents uncovered by Soros leaks reveal a pattern of funding for programs that prosecute porous borders, mass immigration into the West nations from Islamist regions, and overt campaigns against dissenters.
Such a determined and well-funded effort to subvert mainstream values and national sovereignty by the agents of international billionaires should concern us all.
Quite clearly we need to make the Australian Conservative movement even stronger and better resourced than originally anticipated. We need your commitment, your ideas and your support if we are to effectively counter our well established opponents.
The Bill Senator Bernardi is introducing today shows how effective conservatives can be when we work together. We united those with many different views under the common bond of freedom of speech and common sense. Although we are just commencing our campaign to restore confidence in our body politic and conservatism as the foundation for progress, it is a good beginning.
The months ahead should see us complete the base we need to create future success but we should be under no illusion as to the battle we face. Our rivals are better funded and have institutional support. We will beat them through the actions and contributions of tens of thousands of people who see a better way forward for our country.
Your support has been critical to get us to where we are and will be critical to our future.
There has been a lot going on behind the scenes with the Australian Conservatives movement.
Whilst our website has commenced construction, our office facilities are now firmly established and this week our dedicated communications officer, Ian Miller, has started in his role.
Ian is experienced in writing about conservative issues and is passionate about upholding freedoms and traditional values in our society.
He’ll be responsible for our outreach via traditional and new media whilst also working on our internal documentation. He joins our administrative team member, Ania, who has been working tirelessly these past few weeks responding to the thousands of supporter enquiries.
As our movement grows (hopefully our available resources will too), we will be looking to engage other enthusiastic conservatives in our HQ in Adelaide.
We’ve also had a number of supporters express an interest in establishing state divisions of Australian Conservatives. That is certainly on our agenda for 2017, but our immediate focus has to be creating a robust and sustainable foundation on which to build future success.
Already Making an Impact
It's clear we are already making an impact, with the extreme-left lobbying organisation GetUp! asking their registered members to donate to counter our growing supporter base.
It’s a good sign that we have our opponents worried. While we don’t have GetUp!’s multi-million dollar budget, Australian Conservatives will always seek to be more efficient and more effective than our opponents.
Our movement is all about helping other conservatives to get ahead. Whilst we are only just beginning, there are political opportunities where you can make a difference.
Northern Territory Election
The Adam Giles government is under the pump in the NT. There are many reasons for that but right now they need all the help they can get.
You can get in touch and offer your support through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/countryliberals.
Also contesting the NT election is the former Chief Minister Terry Mills. Terry is a decent man who, after standing down from the parliament in 2014, is now seeking election as an independent. His website is www.terrymillsforblain.com.au.
Thanks for being part of the movement that is uniting the conservative voice.