|At one point, the New Zealand National Party argued that they regarded the Exclusive Brethren as a liability to their urban electorate chances. Well, something similar may be happening in Australia right now...
Courtesy of the ex-Exclusive Brethren Peebs Net website, it's now possible to track the self-inflicted misfortunes of the shadowy right-wing sect on their forum newspage. At the moment, the Liberal Party may be wishing it had never heard of them, as they did their usual pamphlet drop in Malcolm Turnball's Wentworth, Eastern Sydney electorate. Now, Turnball is an unusual fellow for the Liberals- one, he's a moderate on abortion and stem cell research, and not a social conservative. Two, he's the former head of the Australian Republican Movement in a staunchly monarchist centre-right party.
Anyway, the pamphlets read that in order for Australia to stay a "Christian nation", one "must" vote for John Howard, so one can avert the dreadful concept of a "Labor/Green coalition." Unfortunately for the Liberals and Turnball, Wentworth is one of the most marginal electorates in New South Wales, and it also has largest pockets of Jewish voters. Not unreasonably, the latter have taken offence. Howard values Turnball's input - so much so that he recently appointed him federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources, in a country suffering the ravages of climate change and severe national drought.
It doesn't look good, and it demonstrates the sheer inexperience and ineptitude that the Exclusive Brethren display over mainstream politics. If I were the federal ALP, I'd look very hard at following New Zealand and tightening their federal election financing laws after they win the forthcoming general election on November 24.
Speaking of which, as well as ABC Network's Four Corners, the Exclusive Brethren were also featured on Channel Nine's "A Current Affair" and Channel Seven's equivalent Prime Time programmes over the last fortnight. Why haven't Television New Zealand or TV3 screened any of the aforementioned here, given the relevance of those stories to our own recent political history and the ongoing Electoral Finance Bill debate?
Ex- Exclusive Brethren website. Especially, check out their excellent Forum page on ongoing Australasian news about the sect. Craig Young - 1st November 2007