‘Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle’
The Australian franchise of the Trumpist ‘Conservative Political Action Conference’ (CPAC) is meeting on August 19–20 at the Star Event Centre in Sydney. ‘One of Australia’s most technologically advanced venues’, the keynote speaker at Star also happens to be one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals: former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Making very good use of his annual $300,000+ pension, Tone Abet spoke at the first CPAC Australia in 2019, skipped 2020, and then popped up again last year. The former PM also took the opportunity in 2019 to praise Hungary’s far-right PM Viktor Orbán, arguing along with other leading political commentators that we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. His foreign sojourn naturally earned him bouquets, brickbats and even a potential listing as a foreign agent.
(See also : Greg Sheridan, Australian conservatives flirt with Orban’s fascistic politics, Lucy Hamilton, Pearls & Irritations, July 29, 2023 | Viktor Orbán’s American apologists, John Ganz, The New Statesman, August 4, 2022: ‘The Hungarian prime minister’s recent address was labelled “pure Nazi speech”, so why do some conservative intellectuals continue to defend him?’.)
The rest of the cast at CPAC (see below) otherwise bears an uncanny resemblance to the regular line-up at Sky News (Australia’s Fox): a mixture of superannuated reactionaries and minor right-wing YouTube personalities. Mostly, it’s grifters, ranging from the fully professional to the aspiring amateur. All the speakers have great stories, though that associated with Jay Aeba — ‘the political head of a Japanese religious cult that promotes nationalism, xenophobia and the belief that its leader is the reincarnation of an alien from Venus who created life on earth millions of years ago’ — is possibly one of my favourites.
Still, whatever its other merits, CPAC does at least provide an opportunity to identify the major pre-occupations of the right in any given year. Thus, in 2023, in addition to the usual climate denialism and lamentations about the pernicious influence of the left on education, media, politics and public discourse generally, the focus this year is upon defeating the referendum on The Voice to parliament, continuing to oppose ‘political correctness’ — for which the American term ‘woke’ is now a substitute — and denouncing ‘trans rights’.
Of course, along with the usual political whining, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, CPAC also represents an important commercial opportunity and a chance to further cultivate the local Boomerwaffen market: one which is niche, affluent, and vewy, vewy angwy. Hence, in addition to The Mad Monk, Pauline ‘It’s OK To Be White’ Hanson and Moira ‘It’s Not OK To Be Trans’ Deeming, included on the guest list of Very Fine People this year are the co-founders of Christian nationalist crowdfunding website GiveSendGo: Heather Wilson and Jacob Wells. You may remember GiveSendGo from its role in fundraising for the ‘Trucker Convoy’ in early 2022 in Canada (which is how their participation is being promoted), or maybe how a smol army of gay cowboys supported the effort. Or, perhaps, from when the site sprung a massive leak, one which revealed the identities of the thousands who made donations to the freedumb-loving ‘truckies’ (see also : Ottawa truckers’ convoy galvanizes far-right worldwide, Mark Scott, Politico, February 6, 2022).
Notably, GiveSendGo is a ‘gold sponsor’ of CPAC Australia and is currently helping to raise money in order to support local neo-Nazi organising.
Blair Cottrell ~vs~ Weight Supremacy
Last Saturday, July 29, members of the ‘European Australian Movement’ (EAM) / ‘National Socialist Network’ (NSN) held an event at their kamerad Tim Lutze’s ‘Legacy Boxing Gym’ in Industrial Drive, Sunshine West. The gathering occasioned protest and some media attention. On Sunday, July 30, the neo-Nazis gathered at Altona RSL in order to hear speeches by the gang’s leader, Thomas Sewell, its NSW organiser Jack Eltis and the cool and normel Joel Davis. Among other things, Sewell heaped praise upon war criminal Ben Roberts-Smith.
Very Fine People, in other words.
Over the course of the last twelve months, GiveSendGo has been raising funds for Sewell, Roberts and Cottrell.
• Thomas Sewell is currently the leader of the EAM/NSN who earlier this week plead guilty to a violent attack on a group of hikers at a Victorian state park. Prior to this, in January, Sewell was found guilty of recklessly causing injury and affray after assaulting a security guard.
In the end, Wilson and Wells managed to raise over $20,000 for the Balwyn Gauleiter via their site.
• Jim Roberts is one of Sewell’s lieutenants and a fairly recent recruit to EAM/NSN. Roberts gained some minor degree of notoriety last year after he pleaded guilty to public nuisance for ‘attaching swastika stickers to the front of businesses, community organisations and the office of Caulfield MP David Southwick, who is Jewish, as well as onto poles in Caulfield Park’ in an act the presiding magistrate described as ‘one of the most disgusting, vile, repugnant acts of anti-Semitism and racial behaviour that I have ever seen’.
Later, after another incident at a pub, Roberts got into a fight and lost: about $8,000 was raised via GiveSendGo in order to aid in the nazi meathead’s recovery.
• Blair Cottrell is another, even more notorious neo-Nazi, not least because of the worshipful attitude the Christchurch killer adopted towards him. Last weekend, the convicted arsonist and stalker took part in the powerlifting competition at the gym in Sunshine West. Unfortunately, there Cottrell discovered the meaning of weight supremacy and, in attempting to show off to the other nazis, managed to do himself a mischief, viz, tear his pectoral muscle from the bone.
To date, GiveSendGo has helped to generate almost $5,000 to help The Frankston Fuehrer get back on his jack-booted feet.
See also : Australian Neo-Nazis Are Livestreaming Their Propaganda To YouTube, Eyes on the Right, May 23, 2023 | Update: Twitter placed ads for USA Today, National Women’s Soccer League, and other major brands on a terrorism-linked neo-Nazi account, Eric Hananoki, Media Matters For America, July 28, 2023.
Does any of this matter? Probably not. Or at least, not to CPAC and its corporate sponsors. That said, when — post-Christchurch massacre — sometime Sky News Australia commentator Lauren ‘The Great Replacement’ Southern was invited to speak at CPAC Australia in 2020, the stench emanating from her grisly body of work was eventually considered simply too powerful to overcome with a mere sprinkling of money. Thus, her invite was rescinded and it — like so much else — was consigned to The Memory Hole. Three years later, the fact that CPAC Australia’s Gold Sponsor is also helping to fund the activities of neo-Nazis — men who actually tried to recruit the killer before his murderous rampage took place, and who celebrate its occurence — is in some ways remarkable. In others, it simply re-confirms the increasing convergence of extreme-, radical- and far-right doctrines under the umbrella of supposed ‘conservatism’.
The World According to CPAC
Below is an incomplete list of the glittering array of talent that has performed or will be performing at the Australian franchise of CPAC.
Tony Abbott • Jay Aeba • John Anderson • Alex Antic • Steve Baxter • Bronwyn Bishop • Matt Camenzuli • Nick Cater • Gordon Chang • Andrew Cooper • Bella d’Abrera • Rowan Dean • Moira Deeming • Sall Grover • Pauline Hanson • Gary Johns • Alan Jones • Barnaby Joyce • Sam Kennard • Michael Kroger • Bridget McKenzie • Tania Mihailuk • Tim Mitchell • Nyunggai Warren Mundine • Maurice Newman • Ted O’Brien • Michelle Pearse • Keith Pitt • Ian Plimer • Jacinta Nampijinpa Price • Matt Schlapp • Matthew Sheahan • Amanda Stoker • Tal Tsfany • Chaim Tsibos [?] • Jacob Wells • Matthew Whitaker • Daniel Wild • Heather Wilson • Rachael Wong
Tony Abbott • Jay Aeba • Jim Allan • Alex Antic • Ross Cameron • Matt Canavan • Nick Cater • Andrew Cooper • Daisy Cousens • Bella d’Abrera • Rowan Dean • Anthony Dillon • Kevin Donnelly • Nigel Farage • Topher Field • Alan Jones • Mark Latham • Johannes Leak • Zion Lights • Teena McQueen • Nataliya Melnyk • Jason Miller • James Morrow • Warren Mundine • Alfred Ngaro • Rita Panahi • Fred Pawle • Ian Plimer • Jacinta Price • Malcolm Roberts • Matt Schlapp • Michael Shellenberger • Amanda Stoker • Matthew Whitaker • Dan Wild • Zuby
Eric Abetz • David Adler • Alex Antic • Bettina Arndt • Ross Cameron • Andrew Cooper • Rowan Dean • Emma Eros • Alan Jones • Craig Kelly • Mark Latham • Teena McQueen • Warren Mundine • Jacinta Price • John Ruddick • Tom Switzer • Daniel Wild
Tony Abbott • Janet Albrechtsen • Peta Credlin • Nigel Farage • Raheem Kassam • Mark Meadows • Jeanine Pirro • Matt Schlapp