news.com.au, April 26, 2019
Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party has entered the federal election race with a supporter of far-right action group United Patriots, a convicted criminal and an ineligible bankrupt ex-councillor among his candidates.
Senator Anning, who entered Parliament after receiving just 19 votes in late 2017, is running his new party on a far-right anti-immigration platform.
A total of 70 Conservative National Party candidates across the nation will be campaigning for a seat in Parliament.
THE FOCUS OF ANNING’S PARTY
Senator Anning — who was globally condemned after blaming “Muslim immigration” for a white supremacist’s deadly terror attack on a Christchurch mosque last month — will contest the election on a platform of fighting against immigration, relaxing Australia’s gun restrictions and creating a not-for-profit government bank.
The party’s constitution, seen by news.com.au, lays out a vision for Australia “as an English speaking, predominantly European Christian Commonwealth, as originally described in 1901 when Australia as a nation was founded”.
It also calls for “an immigration program that gives preference to those best able to integrate and assimilate”, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports freedom of speech, the loosening of gun laws and moving away from international treaties.
The party also appears to believe in The Great Replacement, a conspiracy theory prevalent among far-right nationalists that the white Christian European population is gradually being replaced by African and Middle Eastern populations through mass migration.
Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch attacks, appeared to have been heavily influenced by this theory before opening fire on two mosques killing 50 unarmed worshippers.
He made similar arguments in a 74-page document he released ahead of his attacks, which was also entitled “The Great Replacement”.
WHO ARE ANNING’S CANDIDATES?
A total of 70 candidates will represent the Conservative National Party.
Senator Anning’s lead Senate candidate in the ACT is Shane Van Duren, a veteran with a criminal history that includes assaulting a police officer and choking an RSPCA inspector.
Mr Van Duren, 44, was charged in 2017 after a physical altercation in which police and animal inspectors attempted to collect his dog from his house.
The dog had been given to Mr Van Duren to help with post-traumatic stress disorder, but was handed to the RSPCA after it was found to be a stray.
In December 2015, Mr Van Duren broke into the RSPCA’s Weston headquarters to get the dog back.
When two police officers and two RSPCA inspectors went to his house to retrieve the animal, he punched one of the police officers and strangled an RSPCA inspector.
Speaking about the incident earlier this week, Mr Van Duren said the case wasn’t relevant to his Senate run, telling The Canberra Times he was “only charged with assault because there’s no self-defence for police brutality”.
“If no one in the Senate brings a malicious case and steals my dog in front of my children, I probably won’t choke anybody there,” he said.
Senator Anning’s candidate for the Victorian electorate of Bendigo is Julie Hoskin, a former councillor whose undischarged bankruptcy has already made her ineligible to serve in Parliament.
Ms Hoskin, 54, went bankrupt after she led an unsuccessful legal campaign against the construction of a mosque in Bendigo.
The proposal to build a mosque in 2014 saw the city turned into a rallying point for far-right groups across Australia, and attracted counter-protests from anti-fascist groups.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Hoskin still owes more than $92,000 in unpaid legal fees after her anti-mosque campaign, which means she cannot sit in Parliament even if she is elected.
Section 44 of the Constitution states that anyone who is an “undischarged bankrupt or insolvent … shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives”.
But a spokesman for the Australian Electoral Commission told the newspaper Ms Hoskin’s nomination would still stand and her name would still appear on the ballot paper, as the AEC is not authorised to determine candidates’ eligibility to run, even if they’re ineligible to sit in Parliament.
In an email to all those who expressed an interest in running with him, Senator Anning stressed the importance of campaign costs.
“Campaign costs are variable depending on what you choose to invest in and how much you decide to spend, but don’t expect to be able to run a credible campaign with less than $5000,” he wrote.
In the Queensland seat of Oxley, where One Nation leader Pauline Hanson began her political career in 1996, Scott Moerland will represent Senator Anning’s party.
Scott Moerland speaking at a United Patriots Front rally in 2016.Source:Supplied
Before his election run, Mr Moerland was a senior United Patriots Front figure, a leading far-right organisation in Australia.
In 2016, he issued a furious response to the Australian media after anti-halal campaigner Blair Cottrell was photographed ordering a meal at a halal-certified kebab store in Melbourne.
“I am more anti-Islam than Blair, I am more anti-Halal than Blair and I eat kebabs,” he said in a statement to the Daily Mail at the time.
“Yeah that’s right do you know of any non halal kebabs shops? I don’t and as much as I hate the halal certification rort let’s not get carried away!
“Kebabs taste f***en nice especially at 3am when you’re blind rotten drunk.”
On his public Facebook page, Mr Moerland has defended Senator Anning from white supremacist allegations.