Your Exclusive Guide to the Candidates for Wentworth.

The joy and excitement of a federal election is upon us, and our letterboxes will soon overflow with messages and promises from candidates fighting to represent the good people of the Eastern Suburbs in the steam-cleaned halls of power.

The Beast used its exclusive access to sources within each campaign to put together this guide on what to look forward to until decision day.

Incumbent Dave Sharma remains our tremendous eastern representative. Turrramurra’s excellent ring-in used his teal emulating resume to boast of his truly enviable results in the HSC, and to distance himself from his own party.

Was the dependent independent distancing himself from the Coalition’s targeted electoral rorting or their toxic economic recovery which guarantees total environmental ruin? Was our Dave expunging from our minds Australia’s terrible extinction rates and Gladys’ treeless earth rampage, or his party’s efforts to tirelessly erase rape incidents occurring in the country’s erstwhile institutions?

Let’s not be too harsh on him though. Let’s cast our minds back to simpler times when the tragically erroneous romantic showed his tender, enduring respect for women by handing out tokenism epitomising roses.

But what of Dave’s opponents in the big dance?

Allegra Spender – Independent

Spender’s pamphlets will also lie on the blue spectrum and will cleverly differentiate her from other independents. Astute residents will notice a tendency to use upper case L throughout the Literature in recognition of the tradition of Wentworth. Before you accuse ALLegra of poor grammar though, remember that it also serves to differentiate her from our Dave.

Tim Murray – Labor

Murray’s pamphlet is still a blank piece of paper. He had initially opted for Labor red but feared accusations of communism from News Corp. Green was suggested until it was pointed out that Easts rugby fans maintain a healthy hatred of the Galloping Greens, before an eager volunteer suggested red and green to reflect the party’s policy stance and to appeal to Rabbitohs fans. Links to Anthony Albanese were then discussed, before a junior staffer suggested using black to further accentuate Albo’s weight loss. Ultimately, they will likely settle on grey to reflect the party’s convictions.

Dominic Wy Kanak – The Greens

The Greens are different. They will forego the traditional paper pamphlets, in order to avoid felling the remaining trees that Gladys didn’t prune before saying YES! They can’t afford a Tesla, so they will instead deliver messages with solar-powered red-winged parrots. Parrots that don’t get eaten by pet cats will deliver a policy outline painstakingly inscribed on the seaweed that washed up on our beaches during the recent storms. Residents are encouraged to reuse the seaweed. Sushi anyone?

Natalie Dumer – United Australia Party.

Dumer also did away with pamphlets. Instead, Clive Palmer’s loyal servant will erect huge yellow billboards on everyone’s lawn with promises as big as the billboards themselves; promises she’ll never have to keep.  The billboards will make historically-inaccurate claims that previous prime ministers belonged to the current UAP, and will launch attacks on the mainstream parties that are far more vitriolic than any satirical article. She will also vow to Save Australia…from someone or something.

Enjoy the ride and the democracy sausage!

Image: Aditya Joshi

First published in The Beast magazine, May 2022.

Protect Australia from foreign ownership.

Clive Palmer wants to protect Australia from foreign powers and to save Australia. He makes this promise in advertisements on TV, online, in the print media and on massive billboards throughout the country.

However, while he promises voters that his United Australia Party will protect Australia from foreign ownership and foreign interference, he himself has benefitted enormously from foreign companies operating in Australia.

The UAP website states:

“Our precious assets including our hospitals, ports, schools and power companies cannot be in the firing line, they need to be protected. We cannot have the Chinese government or any foreign government deciding how much we pay for essential services and how we live,’’

On a side note, does any foreign government or company want to buy an Australian school?

The UAP also boasts about preventing the sale of Australian assets to Chinese state owned companies, including a campaign launched in January 2015 to stop the potential sale of $50 billion in Queensland and NSW assets to the foreign government.

The UAP statements are true on the surface.

But dig a little deeper and it’s clear to see how Palmer himself has benefitted from foreign ownership in Australia, and used that money to fund the United Australia Party. The UAP website lists only one country specifically: China. This is interesting because China made Clive Palmer one of the richest people in Australia, and the world.

Economics experts claim that Palmer’s Mineralogy company was at one stage earning a million dollars a day from a Chinese mining company. According to Australian Financial Review, Palmer did a deal with Chinese company CITIC in 2006 in which he sold a series of mining claims for $415 million with ongoing royalties payable on every tonne of ore mined.

Despite earning so much money from a deal with a foreign company, Palmer did not pay many of his own employees. As a result, the Commonwealth Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme, funded by the taxpayer, paid $65.6 million to workers. Logic tells us that Palmer, their employer, will repay the money to the government, and to the taxpayer, but he indicated on numerous occasions that he was reluctant to do so.

Palmer’s business deal also allows a Chinese company, and thus a foreign company, to expand its iron ore mining activities in Australia.

Where does that money go?

How much of that mining money goes to the ‘foreigners’ Palmer and his UAP are trying to warn us against?

A lot of it. Foreign companies do employ a certain percentage of Australians in their operations on Australian soil, in accordance with Australian laws, but they also employ their own people. Mining operations make millions and millions of dollars per year, and when this much money is at stake, companies don’t take a risk when hiring employees. They won’t take a risk on hiring an Australian who may or may not be the best person for the job. They bring in their own people, and often those people are foreigners, who send the majority of their earnings back home.

This sobering statistic applies not only to Clive Palmer and his comany. It applies to the entire mining industry in Australia.

86% of Australia’s mining industry is foreign owned.

BHP, for example, is 76% foreign owned and Rio Tinto is 83% foreign owned. Furthermore, according to the Australia Institute:

“A 2016 Treasury paper on Foreign Investment in Australia stated that less than 10% of mining projects currently underway is solely owned by Australian owned companies, while over 90% have some level of foreign ownership.”

Thus, if Palmer plans to save Australia and protect it from foreign ownership, he might first need to warn his colleagues in the mining industry.

What does this all mean?

If you’re Australian, and if you’re eligible to vote, it matters. If you vote for the UAP, for any of their candidates, you are voting for increased foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, and you are voting for Aussie money to be taken overseas.

How to beat the Liberals and the Loonies.

The Liberal National Party could be removed from government at the next federal election if all Australians were required to be double vaccinated in order to enter a polling booth.

Currently this is not the case. At the recent local government elections, voters were allowed to enter polling booths without showing proof of vaccination. If voters were required to show proof of vaccination, or proof of legitimate exemption, this would prohibit many people from voting and cost the Liberal National Party (LNP) many votes.

Do loonies vote Liberal?

Not necessarily. But anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protestors are more likely to vote for the loonie parties upon which the LNP relies. The Coalition accepts preferences from many of the fringe parties and rely on these preferences in order to win elections at state and federal level.

Political analysts tell us that the Coalition won the unwinnable federal election in 2019 thanks largely to the preferences from Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) in Queensland. Palmer is one of the loonies challenging pandemic laws and has recruited Craig Kelly from the Coalition. Kelly is a famous opponent of vaccines, vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related rules, and is the most high profile candidate in the UAP. Ironically, if Kelly attracts many votes, he could help his former party to win the election.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has also sided with those opposing pandemic laws and some of her candidates direct their preferences to the LNP. Consequently, Scott Morrison has failed to publicly and unequivocally condemn anti-lockdown and anti-vaxxer protests because his operatives know that his party needs their vote.

At the recent local government elections, one voter was overheard commenting,

“You can’t get into a cafe without proof of vaccination, but you can get into a polling booth.”

Why is this?

If an unvaccinated person can spread COVID-19 in a cafe, surely they can spread COVID-19 in a polling booth. This presents a significant medical risk in a country in which voting is compulsory. Some voters could be immunocompromised and thus face the risk of contracting COVID-19, or being issued with a fine if they don’t vote.

They can vote online.

Yes, the loonies could vote online. Australians can register for ivote and the anti-vaxxers could still vote for the fringe parties via online voting. This, however, requires voters to take the initiative and complete this process well in advance of the upcoming election. If the loonies don’t vote at all, without a legitimate exemption, they would be issued with a fine in accordance with Australian law. Perhaps the threat of a significant fine would convince some people to get jabbed.

Is it lawful?

I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer or an expert in constitutional law. However, news from around the world suggest that other countries have prohibited unvaccinated people from entering certain places or enjoying certain rights that are available to vaccinated people. Thus, it should be possible to act according to the same principles in Australia. If loonies can vote online, they are not technically being denied the right to vote in a democratic country.

A dangerous precedent?

Have the local government elections established a dangerous precedent? When people find out that unvaccinated people were allowed into polling booths, will they demand access to other indoor spaces which currently require proof of vaccination? Many business owners publicly stated their intention to reject the ruling and to allow everyone to enter their premises whether vaccinated or not. If these owners cited the polling booth example, surely they would have a case…

Therefore, if people make a conscious choice not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, should they be prevented from entering a polling booth? And, if so, would this harm the LNP which relies heavily on the preferences of the fringe parties which are likely to attract the anti-vaxxer vote?

Will it happen?

Probably not. The people who would make this law are the very people who rely on the loonie vote for their political survival.

We could change the law, or we could allow double vaccinated people to vote twice.

Image: Darren England

Tim Paine in high demand after sexting scandal.

Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer are locked in an epic battle to secure the services of Tim Paine after the cricketer was recently sacked for sexting. The prime minister and the leader of the United Australia Party are desperate for the former national captain to run as a candidate for their respective political parties at the next federal election.

“Tim is perfect for contemporary Australian politics,” announced Morrison as he pitched the Coalition to Paine.

“He is adept at scandalous sexting and mistreating women. Furthermore, he managed to keep it hidden for so many years and this is what impressed us the most. He epitomises the behaviour of the modern Liberal Party member, and he is a sporting hero, so Australians will support him no matter what he does.”

Paine was recently sacked as captain of the Australian test cricket team, which is a more important position than that of prime minister according to many Australians. He was caught sexting lewd, consensual messages to a female administrative colleague – before he was made national captain, but while he was married. Ironically, he was appointed captain due to his clean-cut public image, after the ‘sandpapergate’ scandal resulted in the sacking of the previous captain Steve Smith.

Palmer, the leader of the influential fringe party, believes Paine is better suited to his party.

“Tim’s a great Aussie. He’s a great cricketer, he’s a patriot, he wore the baggy green and he loves his country – and that’s what the UAP is all about. We’re making Australia great again and that’s what Tim did. He improved Australia’s international reputation. It was just a bit of harmless flirting on his phone, just like Warney did – and Warney’s a national hero as well.”

“People say my party’s just a bunch of crazy misfits – but Tim will fit right in here. Plus, if he’s caught mistreating women and sexting as a politician, he won’t be sacked, he’ll be promoted.”

Morrison went on to say that Paine should join the LNP because they can actually form government, before Palmer reminded Morrison that it was the UAP which greatly assisted Morrison to win the unwinnable election in 2019.

“Without me, ScoMo’s nothing,” Palmer declared.

Morrison then reminded Palmer that almost every member of the current LNP government has been involved in some form of corruption or scandalous behaviour, and not one of them has been dismissed, so Paine will be protected.

Paine has so far declined to comment on the offers as he has switched off his phone. Rumours also persist that he has received offers from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Bob Katter.

Image: Getty Images