Five Days in May

Five Days in May

by David Archibald

7 May 2019


I was tasked with setting up a visit to WA by Senator Fraser Anning on Saturday 4th May. So in turn I asked for the flight bookings to be emailed to me. People are serious when they have made a booking.  The flight details were received by email at 10.39 am on Tuesday 30th April. I immediately set about securing a venue and phoned sporting clubs and RSL clubs in easy distance of the airport.  Most already had a booking that clashed.

Phoning the Cannington RSL found the bar manager in early, restocking the fridges. So I drove over straight away and paid the $200 bond for a $150 hire for five hours. That night the bar manager phoned to say that the club committee stipulated that there would be no external signage allowed on the building as they had to be seen to be non-political. But otherwise the booking was good to go.

On the Wednesday I was giving a lecture on climate science in West Perth and missed a couple of phone calls. When I called the number it was the bar manager again who said he was terribly sorry but the booking was cancelled and he recounted the following story.

The West Australian newspaper had heard that the Cannington RSL would be the site of a joyous meeting of the party faithful with Senator Anning on the Saturday so they phoned the RSL headquarters for WA on St Georges Terrace and asked the CEO why RSL premises were being allowed for such a thing. So the CEO, a bloke called John McCloud, got onto the Cannington branch committee and had the booking cancelled. This was under supposed RSL bylaws that required the RSL to be non-political.

So I phoned the RSL headquarters and asked for the manager of the suburban branches. This was a bloke called Sam. I told Sam that if this was true then it meant that no RSL branch in the country could be rented out for a political meeting. He said the matter was beyond his pay grade and he would get the CEO to phone me back.

Some time passed and no phone call from the CEO eventuated. In the meantime I was able to download the RSL bylaws — no political exclusions mentioned. So I phoned for the CEO who repeated the invented excuses for his behaviour. When it became abundantly evident that his decision was politically driven and that moral arguments for fairness, historic precedent and so on would have no effect, I said, “This won’t be the last of the matter.” He replied, “Are you threatening me?” My reply, “No I am telling you.”

A couple of hours passed and I missed a couple of phone calls from a mobile number while driving. So I pulled over to call the number. It turned out to be a journalist for the West Australian by the name of Nick Butterly. He asked me how the meeting on Saturday was going. I said fine. He then said he had spoken to the RSL’s CEO who said that I had bullied him. I said, “Those weren’t his words.” Further to that I said, “The RSL are former soldiers. They are as tough as nails. They can’t be bullied.”

Mr Butterly was just fishing for quotes he could use against me, as per this couplet from Kipling:

If you bear to hear the truth you have spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

The immediate problem was getting another venue. A supporter by the name of Jules was able to negotiate a good deal with the Victoria Park Hotel — $200 for the day on Saturday, including bar staff. I told a meeting of supporters what had transpired, and to expect some snide comment from the knavish Mr Butterly in the West Australian on the Thursday.

The West Australian did far better than that.  The following was on page 9:

There are many errors of fact in the article but the important thing is that the word “Anning” is prominent, early in the paper. Another political party paid for an ad of the same size underneath it, completely forgettable. Now most of WA would be aware that they could vote for Fraser Anning’s party in the election. Also, meek and mild me is ascribed the power of being able to bully tough returned servicemen, abuse staff, and all that sort of thing. The article made it seem like I might be an interesting person.

But then it got better — and worse. The paper’s editorial cartoon on page 40 is reproduced here:

The good thing is that the public is alerted to Senator Anning’s visit to Perth. The very bad thing is that the cartoon advocates political violence against a public figure. (The elitism of the West Australian is shown by the price of eggs, of $6.50 per dozen.)

The same day that this cartoon was published, the home of Canberra economist Dr Brian Fisher was attacked with eggs, intimidating Dr Fisher and his family. This violence was condoned, promoted and facilitated by climate loon Simon Holmes a Court, who had posted Dr Fisher’s address online. From page 1 of The Australian newspaper of 3rd May:

One of the problems with the West Australian’s promotion of violence in politics is that, once any level of violence is tolerated, there is no stopping escalation and no end to where it might stop. I recommend readers of this article lodge a complaint with the Australian Press Council.

This is not a trivial matter. Pauline Hanson was found guilty on trumped up charges in 2003 and jailed by a judge who thought she should jail Ms Hanson because of Ms Hanson’s political opinions. That wrongful, politically-motivated conviction was overturned by three judges on the Queensland Court of Appeal. In the meantime though, our fallen heroine had spent 11 weeks in jail due to that spiteful, wrongful conviction. Pauline is the nation’s first political prisoner.

Politically motivated, wrongful convictions of conservative public figures continue to this day, namely that of Cardinal George Pell. Cardinal Pell is our second political prisoner. This is like chess. The forces of darkness have taken an important piece of ours off the board — ranking higher than a bishop. Like Al Jazeera’s sting on Pauline’s party, it was years in the making.

This article quotes Tom Keneally, who wrote that “Pell got what he deserved because he was “a notable neo-conservative,” who “had questioned climate change” and has raised only muted opposition to the “federal government’s heinous asylum seeker policy.” The persecution of Cardinal Pell dismayed a lot of Catholics, as it was designed to do. The people behind the Pell persecution have written of the need for media shaping of public perceptions.

Two can play at that game. One of axioms in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is that you should hold the establishment to their own rules. They will find it intolerable. Thus the necessity for everyone who can type on a keyboard to lodge a complaint with the Australian Press Council. This is one way our civilisation can be saved and preserved.

Thursday 2nd May had other dramas. Lefties found out about the new venue for Senator Anning’s visit, and started phoning the Victoria Park Hotel to abuse them. So the hotel pulled the pin. Then I remembered the Irish Club in Subiaco where I had given a climate lecture a month ago. I called in to the Irish Club and paid $400 to hire their function room; $200 for the barmaid and $200 for the hall hire. That didn’t last long. I was phoned by one of the committee members the following morning who said the club’s bylaws precluding the hiring of the hall for a political purpose. This time there actually was such a bylaw – they had also stopped Julie Matheson of the WA Party from holding meetings there.

Once again Jules came to the rescue and found Caversham Memorial Hall, just seven kilometers north of the airport and operated by Swan Council. I paid $117.50 and was given the keys. The location meant the official party wouldn’t waste a lot of time travelling and it was also close to major roads.

The only problem was that the head office of the party in Brisbane wanted to know the location, in order to be able to put out a media alert for a press conference to be held in the hall at 11.30 am. That email arrived in my inbox at 3:58 pm, giving enough time for the West Australian to phone Swan Council to do their mischief.

But Swan Council was made of sterner stuff than the RSL head office as per the West Australian’s account of their effort to derail our meeting in the paper’s edition of 4th May:

Don’t think I am ungrateful. The paper’s repetition of the Anning brand name will contribute to the outcome on the 18th May.

The meeting itself went well. Senator Annning was gracious, softly spoken with a commanding presence. The media’s questions, from channels 7, 9 and 10, were shallow and vacuous, and effortlessly deflected by the Senator. As well as organising the venue, Jules had arranged for plainclothes, armed men-in-black to protect the gathering from the forces of darkness. They stood next to the door — silent, solid guardian angels alert to miscreants with ill-intent. They also drove good-looking cars.


David Archibald is on the Fraser Anning senate ticket for Western Australia.