Title: Brethrengate and Howard Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 23rd August 2007 - 9:11pm1187860260 Article: 4829 Rights
Across the Tasman, the Exclusive Brethren has been conducting secret meetings withfederal PMHoward and Treasurer Costello before this year's Australian general election. And here, the National Party is playing sillybuggers over the Electoral Finance Reform Bill. Coincidence..? As well as the above, federal Health Minister Tony Abbott (a hardcore conservative Catholic antiabortionist) has admitted meeting the shadowy, right-wing anti-gay/anti-union sect, implicated in anonymous smear pamphleteering in New Zealand and Tasmania alike. Later, the sect hired private investigators Wayne Idour and Lew Proctor to try to smear the Prime Minister, her husband and assorted Dunedin Cabinet Ministers. Australian Labor Party Leader of the Opposition Kevin Rudd has responded that the Exclusive Brethren are an 'extremist sect,' and the revelations are attracting considerable interest in the Murdoch and Fairfax owned newspaper chains across the Tasman, particularly the M and H in Victoria. Now that the Exclusive Brethren have resurfaced across the Tasman, would it really do the mainstream media, especially the New Zealand Herald's Audrey Young, to actually do some investigative work about the controversy in Australia and ask searching questions of our own Leader of the Opposition John Key and his Deputy, Bill English? Such as, is their descent into partisan bickering over the Electoral Finance Reform Bill really related to concerns about "free speech?" ("Free?" Maybe for them, but according to Nicky Hager, the Exclusive Brethren smear pamphlets cost the sect about a million dollars to print and distribute, not to mention the costs of hiring the defective detectives.) No, it isn't. According to the M, the federal Parliament has "put off" considering LGBT relationship equality reforms and restoring Australian federal family planning contributions until after the next general election. Funny, that. Meanwhile, New Zealand Christian Right group "Family First" has said that it will target socially liberal MPs in a "Vote for the Family" campaign here in 2008. One wonders about the financial sources for that little number. Does the New Zealand National Party really have the overweening arrogance to assume that one cannot see their strategy here? If the Electoral Finance Reform Bill fails, the Christian Right will be free to exchange dosh for votes as it did over the Civil Union Bill, all over again. I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition and his Deputycall off their cheap trick politicking now, unless they want to be asked some very hard questions. Recommended: Nicky Hager: The Hollow Men: Nelson: Craig Potton: 2006 Melbourne Age (Fairfax) News Corporation papers (including Melbourne Herald-Sun) Craig Young - 23rd August 2007    
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