Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CRIKEY: NSW Libs at loggerheads as intra-factional action heats up ...

The Sydney Morning Herald today reports on the latest intra-factional action in the dominant NSW Liberal Right faction under the appropriate headline “Holy warriors pitch for Liberal seats”.

And yes, this is indeed a political crusade. NSW Upper House member and Opus Dei supporter David Clarke with a small but powerful cabal of supporters are battling the “soft right” and threatening the preselections of Philip Ruddock and other allegedly moderate MP’s.

The Herald claims Clarke’s “soft right” opponents include his former staffer and Federal MP for Mitchell Alex Hawke. Yet Hawke himself appears to be playing a role in toppling another “soft righter”, former Howard enforcer Senator Bill Heffernan, whose Senate term doesn’t expire until 2011. In a scathing radio editorial on 21 July 2009, Alan Jones describes Hawke as being among ...

... the wet-behind-the-ears marshmallows … Young Liberals.

Jones asks whether Hawke really ...

... represents mainstream Liberal thinking.

Jones lavishes praise on Heffernan for his experience of ...

... life west of the Great Dividing Range.

Ah, the irony of Jones, a man apparently vilified for his sexuality, praising a Senator perhaps best known for his arguably homophobic comments concerning a former High Court Justice. Or as Melbourne writer John Heard wrote in The Australian on 24 October 2006 on the release of Chris Masters' critical biography Jonestown ...

ALAN Jones is a homosexual. Michael Kirby is a homosexual. Sadly, both men have
been targeted for vilification purely because they are attracted to their sex.
In Kirby's case, it was the Left who accused the Right of homophobia following
baseless allegations by Liberal senator Bill Heffernan in 2002. In Jones's case,
which has come to light in a new book by the ABC's Chris Masters, the Right must
accuse the Left.

Hawke’s alleged ally in the soft right, NSW Party President Nick Campbell, is a former Heffernan staffer. But as one Liberal source told me:

Campbell is one of those blokes who will tell every candidate in a party ballot that he supports them.

If Campbell believes he has a chance of taking Heffernan’s seat, he may back Hawke. If not, there could be a three-way tussle.

One interesting figure mentioned in the Herald story is Edin Dyga, staffer for ultra-conservative NSW State MP Greg Smith who supports Ruddock’s religious right opponent. In his 2007 maiden speech, Mr Smith described himself as

... unashamedly pro life and pro family ...

... though he went onto say that ...

... while I may exercise my right to a conscience vote on some issues I will
never seek to impose my religious views on others.

Smith’s staffer has expressed less conciliatory views on an e-mail group called “Ozlibs” which yours truly once moderated. In a post dated 9 May 2006 Dyga referred to ...

... the Holy Crusaders (Peace Be Upon Them) ...

... and says Muslims

... should be thankful the Holy Crusaders (Peace Be Upon Them) didn’t continue
down south and have fun with your metropolitan al wakf [religious trust],

Then on 12 November 2005, Dyga remarks:

The only religious system that has been in the core of Australia’s development
as a nation has been Christianity. Since settlement, Australia has become
secular — far too secular for my liking, but that’s just my opinion.

Dyga’s views may have changed since then. But if they reflect a wish by the religious right to roll back secularism, they’ll effectively make the Party unelectable. They’ll also be answering Nathan Rees’ prayers.

A version of this piece was first published in Crikey on Tuesday 28 July 2009.

POLITICS: The Dyga dialogues ...

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported on the exploits of the religious right of the NSW Liberal Party who appear to have declared an Opus Dei jihad on Phillip Ruddock and a number of other Federal MP's.

Among those named in the jihad is former Communications Director of the NSW Young Liberals and current staffer for Epping State MP Greg Smith, a certain Edwin Dyga. It's a name I'm familiar with, and I thought it might be appropriate to reproduce here some interesting observations Dyga has made over the years on a conservative e-mail list called OzLibs which I've moderated since 2001.

No doubt some will argue that I've been selective in my quotes. To them, my response is that reproduction of the full discussion only makes Mr Dyga look even more rabidly anti-secular and fanatical.

Read and enjoy.

The Crusaders were civilised compared to the more vocal members of The Religion of Peace in Sydney's suburbia circa 2006.
Monday April 17 2006

… a ghetto community's insular mentality, much like the inane "I'm an Australian too" mantra serves no purpose other than to (a) cover up that same communities stronger identification with a violent religious creed, and (b) confuse the befuddled mainstream into thinking that it's true.
Tuesday April 11 2006

… the Holy Crusaders (Peace Be Upon Them) were retaliating against your mob's raping, sacking, murdering and raping again, of Christian lands, from Spain, the French southern coast, and even Rome … You should be thankful the Holy Crusaders (Peace Be Upon Them) didn't continue down south and have fun with your metropolitan al wakf, Mecca.
Thursday 9 May 2006

John Howard, brilliant visionary. Thank God we have such a man at the helm. He will certainly go down in history as the most competent leader this country has had since Federation; he even surpasses Menzies.
21 Feb 2006

The only religious system that has been in the core of Australia's development as a nation has been Christianity. Since settlement, Australia has become secular - far too secular for my liking, but that's just my opinion.
12 Nov 2005

These are the sentiments of a senior staffer for the Shadow Attorney-General of NSW. Now doubt Greg Smith's many Muslim constituents will be impressed to learn that their local member's staffer would celebrate the destruction of their sacred sites. No doubt Smith's Jewish constituents would be impressed by the glorification of Crusaders who massacred the Jews of Jerusalem as they sought shelter in Jerusalem's synagogues. No doubt Smith's Greek Orthodox constituents would be impressed by the glorification of the Crusaders who sacked Constantineople and massacred Orthodox Christians on their way to and in Jerusalem.

I sure hope Mr Dyga has changed his views. Because if he hasn't, and if he starts saying this kind of stuff in public, Nathan Rees will feel all his prayers have been answered.

UPDATE I: Dyga's submission to the Senate Education Employment & Workplace Relations Committee Inquiry on Academic Freedom makes interesting reading.