Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Racist Young Liberals 'not uncommon' -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Racist Young Liberals 'not uncommon'

Reporter: John Stewart

TONY JONES: Being racist, sexist and homophobic isn't something many people would normally be proud
of. But for some Young Liberals it seems it's almost a badge of honour. Tonight, we can bring you a
rare glimpse of the unguarded behaviour of some of those Young Liberals captured on video by a
documentary team at a student conference. Young Liberals from the shrinking moderate faction say
that racist attitudes are now common within the dominant right wing of the movement. And at least
one former Liberal Prime Minister says such behaviour needs to be stopped. John Stewart reports.
And we should warn that his story contains strong language that some might find offensive.

JOHN STEWART: It was a busy day for security guards at last year's National Union of Students
conference in Ballarat. For the second year, members of university Liberal clubs were removed from
the conference.

STUDENT: Yeah, film this, I've just been assaulted, the security guard just punched me in the face,
he's assaulted me, called me a c***!

JOHN STEWART: In 2004, Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett opened the national student conference with a
speech from the land's traditional owners. He says that throughout his speech, Liberal students
sang God Save the Queen.

TED LOVETT, BALLARAT COMMUNITY ELDER: I sort of, you know, I just sort of stopped dead and I let
'em finish their song and when they finished, I said, " alright you've had your national anthem," I
said, "I'll give you mine".

JOHN STEWART: Mr Lovett says the students were later removed.

TED LOVETT: You know how they humiliated me, they not only humiliated me, but they humiliated all
elders right across Australia and all Aboriginal people.

JOHN STEWART: The Aboriginal elder wants an apology and a guarantee that it won't happen again at
this year's conference. In December last year, documentary filmmakers Vanessa Hughes and Jessica
Tyrrell captured these images at the student conference. Here, university Liberal students are
recorded singing racist chants.

STUDENTS (All chant): We're racist, we're sexist, we're homophobic. We're racist, we're sexist,
we're homophobic. (All sing): Glory, glory, Liberal students, in history's page, let every stage -
advance Australia fair...

STUDENT: We will always rule, we will always be over everything.

JOHN HYDE PAGE, AUTHOR: I remember back when I first joined the party, seven years ago, there was a
big spat about Young Liberals singing the national anthem during a minute's silence that was held
for the stolen generation.

JOHN STEWART: John Hyde Page is a current member of the NSW Young Liberals and a member of the
moderate faction, which has been fighting a losing battle with the right wing of the Young Liberal
movement. He's recently published a book detailing systematic branch stacking by the Liberal
Party's right faction, led by NSW Upper House member David Clarke. He claims racist attitudes are
not uncommon throughout the new, dominant right wing of the NSW Liberal Party.

JOHN HYDE PAGE: I think it's a sign of the growing power of bigoted conservatism in the Liberal
Party. I think it's a reflection of the sort of almost militarised operation that's been run by
senior members of the right wing in this state.

JOHN STEWART: For half a century, university Liberal clubs and Young Liberal organisations have
been the traditional recruiting grounds for Liberal politicians. But those days were far more
polite and gentile. The Prime Minister is the current patron of the Australian Liberal Students
Federation and a former member of the Sydney University Liberal Club. John Hyde Page claims that
future Liberal leaders will come from these youth organisations.

JOHN HYDE PAGE: These opinions are espoused every day in the NSW Liberal Party and they're being
heard and said by people who will one day become senior politicians in the Liberal Party.

JOHN STEWART: The president of the peak body which represents Liberal students, Julian Barendse,
refused to be interviewed. The president of the NSW Young Liberals, Noel McCoy, also declined to be
interviewed but said in a statement: "The NSW Young Liberals are against racism, sexism and
homophobia and actively discourage such attitudes. Anyone who behaved badly at the National Union
of Students Conference did so as individuals from university campuses, not as representatives of
the NSW Young Liberals."

JOHN STEWART: Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser said racism anywhere should not be

MALCOLM FRASER FORMER PRIME MINIER: Where people are being racist or discriminatory in their
comments or policies, wherever they are, they ought to be clobbered.

JOHN STEWART: In the meantime, the Aboriginal elder is still waiting for an apology. John Stewart,