Last week news.com.au reported that:
A member of the Young Liberal Executive Team has resigned in disgust, saying the party has “completely betrayed its core principles”. Marguerite Iliescu, 28, has written a frank assessment of the party’s failings in a resignation letter sent on December 1 to the Liberal Party’s Victorian division, criticising its lack of loyalty, its treatment of young people and abandonment of its core principles.
Although not mentioned by name, in her letter Iliescu appears to be referring to the plight of neo-Nazi turned Young Liberal Scott Harrison when she writes that:
… the manner in which you have treated both candidates and party members that have come to media attention has been absolutely appalling and shameful. Any principled organisation must show loyalty to its members.
I have no interest in being associated with a party that doesn’t stick by some of its people when they are unfairly attacked by the media and throws people under a bus for short term political gain.
I believe in second chances, and we know from history that some of the greatest advocates for liberty and freedom have been converts from other unpleasant ideologies. Those who have come to liberalism from repugnant ideologies should be praised and used as advocates for de-radicalisation, not shunned and banished from the party.
In which context, a few things:
1. Obviously, Harrison is not the first person to have junked neo-Nazism or White supremacism for some other ideology, in his case the curious amalgam of conservatism and liberalism that is the Liberal Party. That said, it’s unclear why Harrison’s case merits special pleading, especially given that he lied to Fairfax about the nature and extent of his participation in neo-Nazi and White supremacist activism: “When contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Harrison acknowledged his six-year involvement in the neo-Nazi movement but said it had ceased in 2010 and that he now repudiated his former beliefs.” This is untrue and demonstrably so: Harrison’s last post on Stormfront was in November 2011. Further, according to his former comrades in the Creativity Alliance (formerly known as the White Crusaders of the RAHOWA or WCOTR (where RAHOWA means RAcial HOly WAr)):
Former Reverend Scott Harrison – having joined at age 13 – left the Church of Creativity of his own accord in 2012 at age 21, and went “underground” in an attempt to pursue an education and career. Through 2013 he continued to claim Ministerial Status as an Independent Creator. As of 2014, Mr Harrison’s Ministerial Status has been revoked and he has been forever expelled from the Church of Creativity and affiliated organisations.
2. As detailed elsewhere, Harrison’s commitment to neo-Nazi politics was extensive, beginning in late 2005/early 2006 and extending right through until (at least) 2013. Moreover, it only came to a close upon his public exposure in November this year: the first occasion upon which Harrison made any public indication that he no longer advocates neo-Nazism and White supremacism. During this 8 or perhaps 9 year ‘phase’, Harrison made approximately 1200 posts on the Stormfront website — few of which (presumably) would be considered kosher by other Liberal party hacks, current or former.
3. Iliescu and Harrison have a personal connection through both the Young Liberals and ‘Liberty On The Rocks Australia – a project of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, and part of the international Liberty On The Rocks network’, in which Iliescu serves as the Melbourne organiser and Harrison as the Geelong organiser.
Politics sure makes for strange bedfellows.