Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Interview with Tim Foster

This is an interview I did with Tim Foster, President of One Nation Victoria. Tim stresses that he wishes to end the ‘racist tarnish’ against the party, and hopes that the interview will be read in that light. It was conducted via email. Some spelling/grammar mistakes have been corrected while most are left as they were.

What is One Nation's policy on the preference deals that go on in Australian politics?

One Nation prefers to preference on policy of other parties as opposed to backdoor deals. One Nation Victoria especially chose to give preference to other minor parties that we trusted above the two major parties. The two other major parties seem to take too much advantage of the fact that they are the two major parties and this doesn't appear to help with the Australian community’s respect, pride and admiration of their government. This of course can only be achieved when and at what time the Australian people stand together, rid the two party deadlock and vote in a group of people that would do no more than make them proud of their own heritage, or new found heritage for New Australians (We at One Nation prefer to use the term New Australians as it gives what everyone else likes to call immigrants, an open door to become a part of and more importantly, feel a part of the Australian people and culture.)

Does the public know enough about the backdoor deals – like Labor's preferences going to Family First in the last federal election – that go on?

No way, I don't think that the Australian people know a lot about anything that goes on in that House in Canberra. It comes down to the fact that politics in this country is like a product and whichever manufacturer has the better sales pitch, then that party is sold to the public. It might not be a good product, but who cares as long as it sells? A perfect example is the fiasco with the kickbacks for wheat. Man, that is the most disgusting lowlife act that I have ever heard coming from what is meant to be the pride of our Nation. Corruption at its pathetically highest pinnacle. This isn't honourable behaviour, it is most certainly not knightly behaviour, and people are so apathetic in this country that they don't seem to care that John Anderson pulled the pin for a reason. Why pull the pin on being National Party leader just when you won your seat? Even us in One Nation heard last year before the election that something sinister and big was going to come out of Canberra this year. It disgusts me. At least we in One Nation have managed to hunt out a lot of the potentially corrupt. I can sit as State President and say, 'well, we might not have a big membership in Victoria, we might not have a big State Executive, but at least we know that those that are still here, love this Nation, love being Aussie and are not in it for the money.'

Australia's two-party system seems embedded with little scope for change. What do you believe to be the role of minor parties such as One Nation?

To open people's eyes, stay clear of the corruption and give people a more honest alternative. The more smaller parties pull together, the bigger the dent that they will make in the two party deadlock. The role is basically to support each other. We at One Nation are willing to do it, but they (the other smaller parties) still live with this fear that if they are seen to be siding with One Nation then they are supporters of racism, which is entirely unfair, especially considering the facts that an Italian man with are very strong accent comes to every One Nation meeting that I have attended myself in the past 12 months, as so does a Filipino girl. Why? Because they love being AUSTRALIAN. Nationalism and Racism are two completely different things and it is frustrating to have a community and a media that continually try and mold the two together.

What will be One Nation's presence in the upcoming Victorian state election?

Unfortunately Sukrit, it will be small. The fact is that we honestly don't have anyone willing to stand at the moment. At the most we might have one or two stand for Senate seats, but I am not in the habit of lying to people to make us seem bigger than what we are. We lost a lot of membership, mainly white supremacist types, which has left us a small group in Victoria, but at least I can sleep well at night knowing that I am the State President of a political movement that is living to every letter of its platform, 'Equality for ALL Australians, NO division, ONE NATION.' As simple as that. All in all we need more youth in the Party in Victoria. Nonetheless, the other states are going quite well.

In your experience, how often do you witness the 'political apathy' some commentators claim exists in Australia?

The truth is that I believe that there is a lot of political apathy in this country, and it is reflected in political party membership. People hate politics by and large. This comes back to what I was saying before; corrupt, lying, deceitful governments do nothing to counter attack this apathy. People are not interested in being apart of something that does not make them feel good in spirit and these sorts of low life attributes to politics are not welcoming spirit fuels.


At August 30, 2006 8:25 pm, Blogger skepticlawyer said...

Queensland's in election mode at the moment, and for the last week or so I've been walking to work past party faithful manning small booths next to korflutes of the relevant candidate. They sit in the sun behind the bollards on the steps of the courthouse. Beach umbrellas give them shade.

None are young; the women wear the sundresses and straw hats that mark Australians of a certain vintage. The men wear dark pants and short-sleeved dress shirts without ties. When no-one talks to them, they patiently attend to the crossword or read the sports pages. They also speak with each other, in a way redolent of an age of political courtesy.

When they die, no-one will replace them. Our democracy is slowly becoming anodyne, even meaningless. In that, your One Nation interviewee is right: the people are abandoning politics, because it holds no meaning for them. If nothing else, Pauline Hanson showed that there is something besides apathy in the Australian body politic. Whether we can find that again is another thing entirely

At August 30, 2006 10:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When they die, no-one will replace them. Our democracy is slowly becoming anodyne, even meaningless.

We have seen a whole new class of political commenters emerge in the last five years. Given oppurtunity people will participate in democracy in politics in the manner of their choosing.

Parties are a minority or a minority anyway and hopelessly skew the system.


At August 30, 2006 10:47 pm, Blogger skepticlawyer said...

Your 'new commenters' represent a partial solution to the problem of non-participation, but there is still room for the passionate town hall political meeting (with real people) - something revivified for a time by One Nation.

I agree that the party system is largely defunct, although many from among the 'new commentariat' could learn from the restraint and courtesy showed by the people politicking outside our local courthouse.

At September 01, 2006 12:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For most of the people who visit this blog (who are presumably interested in the social sciences) it may seem like apathy, but the whole point of democracy is to offload the decision-making for an electoral term to representatives so the rest of the people can get on with being doctors, scientists, librarians, truckies, etc. and contribute in their individual ways. Is that apathy or just division of labour?

Even so, there are a few situations where it becomes in the self-interest of everyone to directly engage in political debate, the most obvious being when Australia is about to wage war.

At September 01, 2006 12:47 am, Anonymous Mikey said...

Perhaps, to some extent division of labour is apathy :-) Here's another amateur economist question. Do the advantages of Division of Labour go beyond efficiency (and the byproducts of efficiency?)

I guess I have a much more liberal definition of 'politics'. Decision making is a nice way to approach it.

Methinks you speak of 'the whole point of' representative democracy, Sukrit. I'm surprised you accept so readily, centralised decision making (to whatever extent) as the status quo.

I still find it really hard to see the good in One nation but I do agree with sl; One Nation represented a cry from the 'disposessed' people. In my opinion populism, particularly that which draws on nationalistic tensions
is not the answer.Insteadwe need more advanced forms of democracy.

I also agree with the Town Hall point. But again I think base, passionate, populism is not the answer (he says, not having a clue what One Nation public meetings were like.)

At September 01, 2006 1:24 am, Anonymous Sam Ward said...

Sukrit - how about changing the blog settings so more posts appear on the front page?

Its not like you have to pay for the bandwidth.

I wanted to comment again on the India thing, now its gone.


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