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Saturday 24 June 2017

Opinion

What Happened To The Conservative Vote?

Paul Zanetti Monday 4 July 2016




The real story of the election is the split of the Conservative vote. The Liberal Party should have won this election hands down, but it chose to dance with the devil, the progressive left Malcolm Turnbull, turning its back on its conservative base.

Liberal party strategist Mark Textor reckons these ‘conservatives-of-no-consequence’….“don’t matter”.

So those conservatives that didn’t matter went marching off elsewhere.

The plotters hoped to replace them with soft left progressives. Ironically, it’s these fickle centrists who never mattered.

Conservatives found some solace in Pauline Hanson, who claims to be Australia’s Donald Trump.

They’ve also found a home in the Liberal Democrats, Family First, Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats, The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Katter’s Australia Party, Australia First, The Country Liberals, Australian Christians, Rise Up Australia, Australian Country Party, Australian Liberty Alliance and CountryMinded.

There are now around 14 conservative parties, including the Libs and Nats.

There’s also talk of conservatives MPs splitting from the Libs to form a new conservative party, possibly lead by Cory Bernardi.

That’s a lot of stray conservative votes.

The big surprise to me was the most alternative conservative party, Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA), didn’t get a Senate seat despite attracting tens of thousands of online and on ground supporters.

What happened?

Pauline Hanson happened.

ALA is a party founded on opposition to Islam and halal certification, calling for a restriction on Islamic immigration. ALA's roots go back to online forums 13 years ago.

Six years ago the online group formed the Q Society which became the political party ALA with 20 conservative policies.

Pauline Hanson jumped on the ALA bandwagon hijacking years of hard work of its founders, then taking the ALA homework to the elections.

Kirralie Smith, is the founder of Halal Choices - a consumer website which lists halal certified foods.

Smith is a campaigner, nicknamed the 'accidental activist' by some in the media, who largely uncovered the scams in Australia’s halal certification industry and pushed for a Senate inquiry.

Smith had evidence halal funds were being funneled as ‘donations’ to Australian based Islamic charities. These charities then sent the proceeds to overseas Islamic causes in a complex web of bank accounts, several with links to government listed terrorist organisations.

Kirralie Smith fought hard and got that inquiry.

Smith was asked to appear at the Senate inquiry, which she did. She is regarded by politicians and media as the go-to expert in halal certification in all its forms.

Bernard Gaynor, a returned soldier who has served in the Mid East several times, expert in Arabic language and culture also appeared at the inquiry. Gaynor presented a submission with 6,000 supporters’ signatures. (Both Smith and Gaynor were ALA candidates).

And Pauline Hanson?

Missing in action.

No submissions to the Senate inquiry. No appearance.

Why?

Because she doesn’t have a clue on the topic.

Kirralie Smith has been trying for years to wake up politicians and media on the halal scams. 

Some two years ago Kirralie Smith contacted Hanson’s office to bring her findings to Hanson’s attention. Hanson wasn't interested.

Smith also contacted Jacqui Lambie’s office. Similarly, Lambie wasn't interested.

So Smith turned online, writing for The Pickering Post where her articles were shared by tens of thousands of readers.

Only once Kirralie Smith’s hard work exposing the halal certification scams got attention did Hanson and Lambie begin to take notice.

Lambie has since threatened to introduce a private Senator's bill
to stop 'halal money' funding Islamic State. Headline grabbing stuff but no understanding of how the halal certification system works.

Jacqui Lambie was exposed as an empty vessel on Islam when Barrie Cassidy asked her on Insiders, "What do you understand Sharia Law to mean?".

She stumbled and mumbled through the interview without a clue. You can see the excruciating spectacle here on YouTube. (click)

Fellow empty vessel, Hanson, ever the opportunist, quickly jumped on the halal certification and anti-Islam vote with an eye on the Federal election, shouting ‘halal scams’, having only ever read recently what was online, mostly exposed by Kirralie Smith.

Hanson pretends she’s been warning about Islam for years, but a look at her record shows this to be a huge invention (that’s being polite).

Pauline Hanson’s last tilt at an election was in the 2013 Federal election when she stood in NSW as a Senate candidate.

She bombed out with only 1.77% of the primary vote.

Not a word about halal certification or Islam. Looking back at her previous 20 years, still nothing about halal certification or Islam.

What we do find is Pauline Hanson’s track record of anti-Asian and anti-aboriginal rhetoric - blatant bigotry based on race.

This time around Hanson smelled an opportunity.

Islam is different in that it’s an an ideology, not a race. A minor technicality and easily overcome.

She only needed to shift gears to capitalise on the hard work of others like Smith, Gaynor, Debbie Robinson in WA and many of the other ALA candidates who didn’t have the Pauline Hanson profile.

Hanson is now calling for action on halal certification and Islam. Mmm…where did she get that from?

The fact is, without the Hanson factor, ALA would have secured Senate seats.

I’ve no respect for Pauline Hanson. She’s an empty headed white supremacist opportunist.

Ask her about Islam or halal certification and her reply will be no deeper than “I don’t like it,” without the depth of knowledge, intellect or desire to understand why.

Hanson may have heard of the Qur’an but won’t have read it. Neither will she have read or heard of the Hadith or Sunnah which make up the three pillars of Islamic teachings, nor know which one calls for throwing gays from tall buildings then stoning them to death if they survive.

Yet, she has swept to power (with expectations of 4 Senate sets) based on her dislike of an ideology she knows almost nothing about.

This isn’t much better than Shorten trying to steal the keys to the Lodge on the basis of a lie. 

I do however have enormous respect for the likes of Kirralie Smith, Debbie Robinson and Bernard Gaynor, and their fellow traveller in ALA, Angry Anderson. Each are experts in the topic, and articulate the concerns coherently. Each deserved a Senate seat.

That, in a nutshell, is what happened to ALA and what has happened to the conservative vote.

It’s split.

My last post predicted a reduction of Lib seats in the Senate from 35 to 30 (realised in early counts), 25 for Labor (27 in early counts) and the Greens dropping from 10 to 9 seats (realised). I predicted lost conservative seats to the ALA, and one to Hanson and then to other conservative and independent minor parties shifting to a conservative Upper House.

My only surprise is how many anti-Islam votes went straight to Hanson, not the ALA. Never overestimate the intelligence of voters.

I was right on Hinch, and Xenophon (no surprises). Lazarus came a cropper, surprising many considering the huge amount of last minute union money thrown at campaign ads.  Family First is still in play at last look.

The Liberal Party will now have to appeal to, and rein in, those lost conservatives. They do matter.

It’s the fickle centrist progressives who don’t matter.

Its they - and the conservatives - who have now abandoned Turnbull.

And if Pauline Hanson wants any credibility on the platform on which she ran, she'd be offering Kirralie Smith a job in her office.