KKK infiltration claims are sabotage: party
Matt Bachl: Ninemsn | July 10, 2009
The controversial Australia First Party has distanced itself from the Ku Klux Klan following claims several members infiltrated the group as it prepares to contest seats at the next federal election.
The Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in Australia, David Palmer, said today several Klan members had secretly joined the right-wing, anti-immigration party.
But the NSW director of Australia First, Jim Saleam, said the party, which registered its 500th member on Monday, was being sabotaged because of a long-running personal feud.
“We were tipped off three months ago that this claim would be made and we took steps to make sure anyone couldn’t join in order to give substance to these accusations,” Mr Saleam told ninemsn.
“None of our members are showing signs they are KKK members … our party is made up of people I know: old associates and members of the former Australians Against Further Immigration Party.
“Mr Palmer [along with associates Messrs Peter Coleman and Patrick O’Sullivan] did the same to One Nation years ago and Pauline Hanson fell all over herself trying to disassociate the party from Klanism — we’re not going to let history repeat itself.”
Two associates of Mr Palmer were expelled from OneNation in 2001 after he claimed Klansmen infiltrated the party.
Mr Palmer told The Sydney Morning Herald the Klan members joined Australia First to “take back what we consider our Aryan parties … in case the ethnics get out of hand”.
Mr Saleam said today’s damning reports would “toughen up” Australia First followers.
“They’ll see how easily stories can be manipulated — but we’re certainly not intimidated by Klan kooks making claims … it’s a therapeutic exercise for us.
“If there are people who think it’s true, though, then that’s unfortunate.”
NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendal yesterday made a deal with the Labor Party not to let any Labor election preferences go to Australia First.
And while the Liberal Party’s policies do not allow such a guarantee, its federal director Brian Loughnane agreed not to give Australia First any Liberal preferences.
Mr Saleam said his party had already concocted a plan to win seats.
“We will preference the sitting members last,” he said.
“We can cause sitting members to go and that’s what we will do.
“Wherever we have that opportunity to preference some drongo ahead of a sitting member — we will.”
Australia First’s website includes a document called The Constitution which lists several “core policies”, one of which is to “abolish multiculturalism”.
The site also features the slogan: “Australia must remain predominantly white”, a quote from Australia First founder and former Labor member Graeme Campbell.
Mr Saleam said the party will use a television advertising campaign and a letterbox leaflet drop to help recruit more members.
A rival group, the Australia Protectionist Party, is also planning to contest seats at the next federal election.