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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26054

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (8:46 PM) —There is an election looming in the very foreseeable future, and it is probably as good a time as any to look at some of candidates that are presenting themselves to the people. There are the normal parties; the single issue parties. There are other types of candidates and, of course, there are the more bizarre ones.

Senator Crossin —Talk to us about Telstra, Bozzie!

Senator BOSWELL —Don't be a goose all your life, dear—you really are one.

Senator Sherry —It takes a lot to get under your skin, Bozzie!

Senator BOSWELL —No, she is not getting under my skin but anyone that would sit at the showground and hand out anti-Latham posters to people—they had a picture of Latham on them—is not really bright.

Senator Sherry —Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I want to ask whether that description by Senator Boswell was in fact parliamentary.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Watson)—Senator Boswell, if you would not mind addressing your remarks through the chair, you will not run into these sorts of problems.

Senator BOSWELL —As I was saying, there are a number of people that present themselves to the electorate: the normal parties—the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and The Nationals—the single issue candidates and the absolutely bizarre ones. Let me say that there are none more bizarre than the Citizens Electorate Council, which should be described not as a political party but more as a cult.

Senator BOSWELL —If you are going to continue to interject, I will tell the members of this parliament—and it will go down on record—what documentation you handed out at the Northern Territory show. It will be very embarrassing for you.

Senator Sherry —Me?

Senator BOSWELL —No, not you—your colleague at the back.

Senator Crossin —We handed out balloons.

Senator BOSWELL —No, it had a picture of your leader Latham on it but it was directed at small business. You sat there like a big goose and handed out anti-Latham propaganda on the Labor Party stand. And if that isn't embarrassing—you were sitting there for 45 minutes handing out anti-Latham—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Boswell, if you want to resume your speech, you will address your remarks through the chair.

Senator BOSWELL —I am happy to do so but I do seek protection. If I am provoked, I will retaliate. But if you want to keep order in the House then I suggest you talk to Senator Crossin.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Boswell, the chair will make those decisions.

Senator BOSWELL —Let me continue about the Citizens Electorate Council, because they are already out there campaigning. I do not consider them a political party at all. They are more like a cult. These people follow a person called Lyndon LaRouche, who was a candidate in the US presidential elections of 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. He has certainly been a trier in the American presidential stakes but he has been spectacularly unsuccessful. But that has not stopped him coming to Australia to establish the Citizens Electorate Council as a political party.

About five or six years ago I was on a visit to America and by chance I opened a magazine at an airport—it was the American equivalent of the Australian Women's Weekly—and there was a two-page spread on Lyndon LaRouche describing how he had preyed on the vulnerable and the elderly. The tactic is to tell people that the world is under threat from various types of businesspeople and various organisations and that only his party has the ability to save it. Older people are vulnerable and can fall for this type of idea hook, line and sinker, and that is what it showed in this American Women's Weekly. LaRouche served five years of a 15-year sentence for defrauding the vulnerable, the gullible and the elderly. The LaRouchens decry this and say it was nothing more than a political trial, a politically motivated show trial, a conspiracy to keep him out of the way. In fact, it was straight-out fraud of the worst kind by preying on the most vulnerable—the elderly and the naive.

There are just as many vulnerable people in Australia who actually believe in the LaRouche type voodoo economics. They believe they will actually do something for this nation. Even in Australia, they prey on the elderly and naive with a prepared sales pitch that the country is in terrible trouble and they have the answers—they can save it. They use high-pressure tactics to extract every dollar they can. The CEC mainly operates in rural Australia, and that is why I want to offer some warning tonight.

Senator BOSWELL —You want to shut up. If you shut up, most people do not think you are a fool.

Senator Sherry —That is unparliamentary.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Watson)—Senator Boswell has been provoked continually. Senator Crossin, I ask you to allow the speaker to make his presentation.

Senator Sherry —Mr Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. The description used by Senator Boswell then was unparliamentary and he should be asked to withdraw it.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —It was the result of an interjection.

Senator BOSWELL —I withdraw. Tonight I had a ring from someone in North Queensland which has led to me presenting this speech. There is a CEC candidate running in North Queensland in the seat of Dawson who is already heavily advertising in the local media. I have had a look at the Australian Electoral Commission returns for 2002-03 and they show the total returns to the CEC as $1,462,703, while their media group, CEC services, had $271,592. They are well financed and able to mount these campaigns.

Some of their more bizarre claims are that the world is controlled by an oligopoly led by the Queen and Prince Philip, who also control the drug trade, and that the Ku Klux Klan is controlled by the FBI. Mr Acting Deputy President, you would think that no-one would be able to support claims like that. Yet there are some people that are gullible and they do fall for it.

I want to say this too. The CEC is totally anti-Semitic—possibly even more so than the League of Rights. Many people may have heard—I certainly have in rural Australia—that Martin Bryant was set up as a patsy at Port Arthur to bring more restrictive gun laws into Australia. Those are things that go round and should be absolutely debunked in this parliament. The CEC publication regularly features ludicrous and defamatory attacks on Jewish organisations and leaders such as Mark and Isi Leibler. They claim that the Australian defamation commission and the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council are protecting the world's financial oligopoly. In the past, the Leiblers have falsely been accused of being part of illegal and immoral activity, including having links to the drug trade and pornography. Again, that is a ludicrous claim. The CEC try to peddle their anti-Jewish propaganda in areas with large Jewish populations. They distributed pamphlets outside Jewish community centres when the Premier of Victoria was addressing the Jewish community. The subject was `A recent trip of Steve Bracks to Israel'.

The CEC get a very minor vote—around 0.05, 0.06 or 0.07 per cent. But it is a vote they do not deserve. When you talk about Lyndon LaRouche and the CEC, it is where truth becomes stranger than fiction. (Extension of time granted) I made reference to the CEC being well financed and being able to support a political campaign. Already they are running television ads, and the election has not even started. But we ought to explore some of their fundraising techniques. They are taught by operatives from the LaRouche organisation in the USA and they raise most of their money through the use of younger members. They start by cold calling very vulnerable people, such as the elderly and the naive, with a prepared sales pitch and then they really work on them.

I know that we have a democracy and anyone is entitled to a stand in Australia. I support that. It is a free country and we have a democracy that allows everyone to stand up and present themselves to the people. But I do say that, when organisations like this present themselves, they should be exposed. They should be exposed for the fraud that they are.

I do not know how people actually fall for this stuff. I believe the group is more of a cult than an actual political party. We have seen the CEC exposed on television on numerous occasions, but still it gets out there. The people who actually stand for seats are brainwashed. They stand outside and solicit names on petitions. Let me say this: it deserves absolutely no support from anyone in the Australian electorate.

Senate adjourned at 8.59 p.m.