Saturday, December 5, 2009

One Nation and other whackiness in the Higgins by-election



Pictured: One Nation candidate Steve Raskovy and Sex Party candidate Fiona Patten








I voted in the Higgins by-election today, won by Liberal candidate Kelly O'Dwyer. Given that it has long been a safe Liberal Party stronghold, I never expected a different result, especially since the Labor Party has not bothered to field a candidate, and the Greens candidate doesn't even live in the State.

Of course, there are other candidates to choose from. There's Joseph Toscano, a medical doctor and spokesperson for the Anarchist Media Institute. I'm not sure how well an anarchist thinks he is going to do in a seat containing Melbourne's wealthiest postcodes, but props to him for trying I suppose.

There's also Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party, which seems to advocate rooting as a universal panacea for all society's ills. Patten was pulled over by police in South Yarra this morning because of complaints - she was driving around in the campaign vehicle with "SEX PARTY" emblazoned on the back. While some of her party members were up to some cheekiness this morning, sticking one of their stickers on the campaign vehicle of their Liberal candidate, which said: “Australian Sex Party: You come first.”

Perhaps we need more parties with the chutzpah of the Australian Sex Party, at least it'd make for more interesting erections, um, I mean elections.

And then of course there is the One Nation candidate, Steve Raskovy. The 72-year-old Raskovy is a former Hungarian refugee who has represented Australia in wrestling at the 1956 Olympics. From what little I know of Raskovy, he seems to be a fellow who has made a very valuable contribution to his adopted country. But since he is a One Nation candidate, he is by definition a bit of a fool. And his very position as an immigrant candidate for an anti-immigrant party reflects the contradictory thin line that One Nation are trying to walk, in this nation of immigrants.

Try this quote, on Raskovy's own campaign website. The emphasis is mine.

"One Nation state secretary Pat Loy said Mr Raskovy was endorsed because he was politically minded and had a lot of experience. 'He has a very strong [Hungarian] accent but is very much for Australia and at the moment he's helping a girl to get her citizenship.'"


Catch that? The implication being that someone with a strong accent would not normally be "very much for Australia".

One Nation's campaign platform is primarily about cutting immigration, particularly from Asia and Africa, and particularly refugees. Again from his website:

"One Nation will return all illegal immigrants. A genuine refugee does not travel half way around the world to find a place they know is a soft touch, but goes to the first country available. If illegal immigrants can come here without a passport and get permanent residency, what is the point of having a passport?"


Of course, Raskovy was once a refugee. And it's strangely typical of a substantial proportion of European post-WW2 refugees to Australia that once they got in, they want to bolt the door after them. Of course, this is based on the view that refugees in the old days were somehow of a better quality than those of today:

"Steve came originally from Hungary in 1956 and has joined One Nation because he knows the horrors of living under a totalitarian regime where only one way of thinking is tolerated people can be jailed for speaking their views. When Steve came here migrants blended into the community and didn’t try to impose their culture and values on the rest if the nation."


Indeed, Raskovy's own attitude towards today's refugees stems from his own refugee experiences, strangely enough. This is from a SMH article about his candidacy:

"On a ship to Australia he was shocked to discover that a large proportion of his fellow Hungarian-speaking passengers were not refugees from the failed revolution, but Hungarian-speaking Romanians.
'They weren't in fear of their lives at all. They had tricked immigration officials and were coming here for a better life. None of them were freedom fighters or even outspoken anti-communists.'"


So.. hang on... remember that earlier quote: "A genuine refugee does not travel half way around the world to find a place they know is a soft touch, but goes to the first country available"?

Now I'm no genius, but last time I checked a map, Hungary is not exactly close to Australia. In fact, it's halfway around the world! So it is probably safe to assume that Raskovy could have gone to plenty of other countries other than Australia. Perhaps he regarded Australia as a soft touch.

Oh, and just one other quote from the SMH article:

"He said that some relatives who had come to Australia with him soon packed up and left for Canada, because they did not believe Australia would be able to defend itself against Indonesia."


If like me, you are Indonesian and reading this: I don't know if you got the memo, but the invasion starts next week. Don't tell anyone.

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