Our last best hope - my Kenmore address

Yesterday Joanna Lindgren, one of my Senate running mates, and I addressed a gathering of 70 Conservative Party supporters at the Kenmore Hotel in Brisbane. We spoke of why Australia needs a better way and how genuine Conservatives in the Senate can be a force for good. Here is The Brisbane Times' coverage of our speeches. You can read the full text of my address below.

I want to thank Susie Willcocks for her initiative and hard work in organising today.

I also want to thank my running mate Jo Lindgren, who is a former LNP Senator for Queensland with great experience and knowledge. She is a proven conservative but was bizarrely discarded by her party, which says something about the mission drift of the LNP. We are honoured to have you in our movement, Jo.

And thanks to all of your for coming out today. It shows you care deeply for the plight of our nation.

I originally titled this talk Why Australia needs a Conservative Revolution. I believe it does but I have changed my title to “Our Last Best Hope”, for reasons I hope will become clear.

The last decade of utter failure by both sides of politics has delivered an embarrassing revolving door in the Prime Ministers’ office.  But it has done much more than embarrass us. It has given us the following:

  1. Unreliable and expensive electricity in a land with abundant natural resources;

  2. High immigration and under-investment in infrastructure causing gridlock in our major cities;

  3. Stifling political correctness that is landing good people in front of government tribunals for merely causing perceived offence of triggered activists from identity groups whose real agenda is to close down free speech;

  4. Commonwealth debt soaring towards $750 billion with no credible plan from either side of politics to tackle it;

  5. The closure of 10 coal-fired power stations in six years again with no credible plan to replace the lost base-load generation capacity;

  6. Children taught that their gender is fluid and limitless and anyone questioning the wisdom of this is labelled a bigot;

  7. The loss of the true definition of marriage in law and the shut-down of freedom of speech and freedom of religion;

  8. The rejection of Western Civilisation by our major universities who would rather fund Islamic studies with Saudi money, despite the fact that that kingdom applies the death penalty to anyone leaving the faith;

  9. The decision to later this year ban anyone from ever again climbing Ayer’s Rock or Uluru.

Most of this has happened on the watch of a supposedly conservative Coalition Government.  Sadly, the LNP is now a pale imitation of Labor with both major parties captured in large part by green-left cultural Marxism.

Cultural Marxism wants all of the things I just described above – high taxes, state-enforced thought control, the dismantling of the natural family, big government, a globalist world order and the trashing of our western cultural heritage.

It used to be called communism but people didn’t like gulags, tanks on the streets and secret police very much so that fell apart in 1989 after seven decades of genocide and economic failure.

But the same failed ideology is alive and well in our universities, media and cultural institutions and is swallowed by gullible politicians on both sides.

It doesn’t come with tanks and guns anymore but its totalitarian instincts live on in human rights commissions and tribunals and in the virtue signalling of its elites.

It is no wonder that when I go door knocking with Wayne Lyon, a former RAAF F111 technician who suffers poor health to this day from cleaning their fuel tanks, that people are receptive to the conservative party’s message.

Wayne’s opening line is: “I’m a volunteer with the Conservative Party. I’m here because Liberal and Labor have let our nation down.

On several hot Saturday afternoons last year I watched doors immediately open wider and heads nod as people resonated with Wayne’s opening line.

Canberra is broken and the people know it.

They know that the elites in the Canberra bubble are just as arrogant as the elites that despise the British people’s decision to leave the EU and hate Donald Trump’s popular and necessary border wall.

Cultural Marxism is globalist and undemocratic and cultural Marxist elites are triggered when their inferiors don’t vote the right way.

It’s the same here in Australia. Our elites are so virtuous they don’t care how much you pay for your electricity, they are happy to kick the can of debt down the road and steal from the next generation, they want to control your thought and speech with Orwellian human rights commissions, they are globalists who want open borders and unchecked immigration and they despise Australia Day because they despise who we are as the product of Western Civilisation.

It’s time to push back folks. It’s time for a conservative revolution. Things are bad and we are in uncharted waters.

As Cory Bernardi said this week on his podcast, the up-coming May election will be a nation-defining election.

And there are other prominent voices who now get the gravity of our situation.

One of my political heroes, apart from Cory, is the former National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson.

John, in my view left public life far too early but he had been in the Parliament almost 20 years and given some of his best years to public service.

Five of those were at the top of his game as the most successful of John Howard’s three deputies.

Remember those halcyon days of functional government, the likes of which we have not seen for more than a decade?

So concerned about the current state of our nation is John Anderson that he is now making forays back into public life as a commentator.

Like his former boss John Howard, John Anderson is one of the few genuine statesmen this country has.

These days John Anderson contributes to the public discourse by producing professionally filmed conversations on YouTube with public intellectuals discussing how we can stem our decline. You can watch them at Johnanderson.net.au.

His most recent was with the British newspaper columnist and thinker Peter Hitchens, the brother of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens.

Here’s the shocking thing. Peter Hitchens believes there is no hope for Western civilisation, so great has been the trashing of it as a result of the cultural Marxist’s successful long march through our institutions.

This YouTube interview was confronting and sobering viewing because Hitchens is such an intellectual giant and because I have so much respect for John Anderson, who was interviewing him.

When it came to politics, Hitchens was clear. Conservative political parties in countries like Britain and Australia have so lost their way so badly that it doesn’t matter who people vote for anymore they are going to get a variation of Labor-esq cultural Marxism.

And that variation of Labor these days has more than a strong tinge of green, so far Left has politics shifted in so short a time.

Hitchens’ prescription is for parties like the Liberals and Nationals to be dismantled completely and replaced by a truly conservative party – one based on genuine conservative principles.

Unlike Hitchens’ proposed remedy, The Australian Conservatives is not trying to replace the Coalition.

We are simply, through establishing a presence in the Australian Senate, seeking to bring the Coalition back to first principles – to help them be their true selves again.

We are not trying to damage them or kick an own goal by fracturing the conservative vote to the point where Labor is delivered a victory.

One Nation did that at the last Queensland State election by directing preferences to Labor. A truly conservative party would never have done that.

We are not running in lower house seats, our strategy is firmly focussed on establishing a truly conservative Senate cross-bench that can shape and influence this nation for good.

Next month it will have been two years since Senator Cory Bernardi left the Liberal Party to form the Australian Conservatives.

Or, as Cory puts it, he did not leave the Liberal Party but the Liberal Party left him.

The Conservative Party is not a party of the extreme right.

With Labor and Liberal having drifted to the green-left, the Conservative Party is the only party left standing on the centre right.

Fraser Anning has made himself famous by being even too extreme for the extreme right. Bob Katter kicked him out of his Katter’s Australian party for advocating a racist immigration policy – a Europeans only, or white Australia policy.

As much as I sympathise with the rough and often unfair treatment Fraser gets at the hands of the media, I cannot support – and I’m glad our party does not support – a racist approach to immigration policy.

By all means call out the bad behaviour of African gangs or Muslim extremists – none of us should be afraid of debates about anyone’s poor behaviour. And our party has never shirked this.

The Australian Muslim community should be asked about whether or not it agrees that people who leave their faith should face the death penalty. Because that is the law in Saudi Arabia says and that is what is practiced often in Indonesia and Pakistan. We need to know why Australian Islam is so radically different to Islam in these so called moderate Islamic countries and if it intends to stay this way.

And by all means let’s advocate for an immigration program that favours people who believe in our virtues and love our western culture, but let’s make sure it is based on the content of one’s character, not the colour of one’s skin.

Australian Conservatives advocate the halving of our immigration numbers in order to allow the infrastructure in our big cities to catch up.

Has anyone tried to drive to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast lately? Things are even worse in Sydney and Melbourne.

We advocate for free trade but it must be fair trade. Our policy is for all trade agreements to be regularly reviewed to make sure they are in the Australian national interest.

But unlike some parties on the far right we are not advocating fortress Australia. We want iPhones and the consumer goods that come as a result of free and fair trade. And we want fair access for our products in other countries so jobs can be created and people can prosper.

So what is the task for Australian Conservatives at this election?

This will be a half-senate election with six Senate spots from Queensland up for grabs.

Two will most likely go to Labor, two to the LNP, one to the Greens and that leaves one for minor parties like Australian Conservatives to fight out.

For me to be elected I have to beat Fraser Anning, who holds the Senate seat originally won by Malcolm Roberts who in turn won it off the back of Pauline Hanson’s enormous profile.

Roberts won in 2016 with just 77 primary votes and when he fell foul of citizenship laws, Fraser Anning, with just 19 votes, automatically took his place but had a bust up with Pauline on his first day in Canberra.

Now there is going to be a crowded field for that Senate spot.

Katter’s Australian Party, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Fraser Anning’s National Conservative Party (he is shameless about ripping off other parties’ names) will all be vying with Australian Conservatives for that spot.

I’m under no illusions as to how hard this will be for us.

We’re up against big hats, red hair, yellow billboards and titanic egos.

But voters looking for a true conservative home that is based on principle, not a personality cult, should consider the Australian Conservatives.

The best possible scenario would be for me and Jo to both get up because that would mean doing Australia a massive service by knocking out Larissa Waters of the Greens.

It’s nothing personal, but Larissa has put forward a bill to ban thermal coal mining in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

This will destroy tens of thousands of jobs as well as undermine the regional economies of Central and North Queensland.

The Queensland Labor Government, which also hates coal, reaped a record $5 billion in coal tax royalties last year. They are hypocrites.

With our State’s debt at $80 billion, not even a green-left government can afford to forgo that sort of revenue if it wants to keep having hospitals and schools.

Such is the recklessness of climate change ideology, politicians will cut off our noses to save their faces.

So influential are the Greens that even the LNP’s Deb Frecklington says it is LNP policy to have a “future beyond coal”. This is despite Queensland having hundreds of years of supply and there being no evidence that burning coal is causing the planet to warm catastrophically.

The Greens also have led the charge in smuggling programs like “Safe Schools” into our schools.

This is where children as young as four are taught that their gender is fluid and limitless – that no one can tell them if they are a boy or a girl.

It encourages boys to wear dresses and puts kids on a path to puberty blockers cross sex hormones, irreversible surgery on breasts and genitals and a life-time of infertility.

And if you say “wait a minute”, you are labelled a bigot.

Labor has completely capitulated to rainbow ideology with its anti-free speech and anti-freedom of religion agenda.

Again, much of the Coalition has too.

The Greens have been the tail that has wagged the policy dog for too long in Australian politics.

With a green-left leaning Labor government ambling to victory, the best hope for conservatives is the election of conservative party senators to sandbag the Senate.

We obviously prefer a Scott Morrison Government to a Bill Shorten Government but so badly have the Coalition handled their six years in power that I fear the voters have stopped listening.

If we can get at least one Australian Conservative Senator elected from each State to join Cory Bernardi in Canberra we can help shape this nation’s future for the better.

If we held the balance of power, we could actually block Labor’s new taxes, its double-dipping-sticky-fingers into your franking credits, its plans to lower the value of your home by abolishing negative gearing for second-hand properties and of course its green-rainbow-left-PC agenda.

Conservatives can’t rely on One Nation. It has opposed tax cuts and supported euthanasia. It is a personality party, not a true conservative party. Katter is in bed with the militant CFMEU, Fraser Anning has a racist immigration policy and who knows what Clive Palmer stands for.

The only true conservative option left in Australian politics is the Australian Conservatives. Everyone else has left the field.

One of our challenges is people don’t understand what conservativism means as a political philosophy.

This might help. We should think of conservatives as conservationists of all that is good about Australia.

We conserve free speech, we conserve freedom to run a small business and get ahead because we are for low taxes and smaller government, we conserve the building blocks of civil society because we support that radically un-PC family model of mum, dad and the kids, we want to conserve affordable power by making sure it is available and cheap and we want to conserve Australia Day because despite our faults we actually think this is a great country that is worth celebrating on the day Western Civilisation arrived.

Cultural Marxism is the complete opposite of all those good things. It is the enemy within.

It is dressed up as “progressive” politics but it is nothing of the sort. It is regressive and is destroying everything mainstream Australians hold dear.

Pushing back on the green left starts with voting Australian Conservative Senators in at this election.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 address to Congress as he struggled to save the union, I truly believe the Australian Conservatives are our nation’s “last best hope”.

Whether or not freedom knocks off and takes a prolonged smoko will depend in large measure what conservative-minded voters do with their Senate vote at this election.

There’s only one truly conservative party left standing at this point of our nation’s history.

We can’t win government but we can – with your help - be your voice in the Senate to bring back common sense.

Our movement is our nation’s last best hope.

Thanks very much.