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Jun 1, 2005

David Oldfield: born again Liberal?

Is David Oldfield, the former NSW One Nation MLC, about to rejoin the Liberal Party?Senior Libs have supposedly been consulted and no objections raised. Some reports say t

Is David Oldfield, the former NSW One Nation MLC, about to rejoin the Liberal Party?

Senior
Libs have supposedly been consulted and no objections raised. Some
reports say the independent parliamentarian has been approached by the
ALP, neutralising an attack from that direction.

Crikey tried
Oldfield’s mobile and Parliament House office numbers this morning. One
was switched off and the other went to voice mail.

Oldfield is
not a right wing zealot. His political beliefs are best described as
shameless opportunism. He worked for Tony Abbott in the early days of
the Howard government, yet styled himself a moderate. He kept an eye on
the Liberal nomination for the NSW state seat of Manly, yet spent
plenty of time on the road, laying the groundwork for Pauline Hanson’s
One Nation. When it became clear which party offered him the best route
into parliament, he jumped.

NSW Liberals are divided, as
moderates and saner conservatives feel increasingly threatened by hard
right MLC David Clarke and his holy warriors. Members of the party left
are believed to be behind the Oldfield leaks, yet Oldfield, despite his
Hanson associations, is an unlikely fit with the Jihadists. If he ever
indulges in self flagellation, it’s for very different reasons to
Clarke and his fellow Opus Dei types. Oldfield’s a good time boy.

Talk
is that negotiations began with Oldfield under former party director
Scott Morrison, who persuaded opposition leader John Brogden to play
ball.

If Oldfield rejoins the Liberals, the biggest question is
what happens to his political career. The NSW Liberals have indicated
that they want to hold their pre-selections earlier rather than later,
to have candidates on the ground for the 2007 poll as soon as possible.
Party sources say no deal has been done over his Legislative Council
position – but Manly might be a goer. Independent Manly MP David Barr
said in his local government days that councillors should only serve
two terms. His second stint in Macquarie Street will be up in 2007.
Could Oldfield run – or is he too right wing?

“Too right wing”
doesn’t seem to worry the highest ranks of the NSW Liberal Party at the
moment. Less than a fortnight ago, Brogden defended the right of a
former One Nation secretary, Lex Stewart, to join the Liberal Party’s
Kellyglen branch in north-west Sydney.

“Everybody’s entitled to
join the Liberal Party so long as they subscribe to our broad range of
views,” Brogden was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. “Not every former One Nation voter or every former One Nation member is a ridiculous extremist.”

However, the Australian Jewish News
has said that Stewart was a senior One Nation official who addressed
the Sydney Forum in 2003, an event organised by the extreme right wing
Adelaide Institute, run by Holocaust denier Frederic Toben, who has
served prison time in Germany for his views.

Blogger and Labor staffer Robert Carr
ran more on Stewart on his site as the controversy broke: “You can’t
expect the leader of a party to personally vet every membership
application,” Carr said. “But when it’s been brought to your attention
that Stewart was a senior policy adviser to Pauline Hanson and has
spoken at an event run by the Holocaust-denying Adelaide Institute,
it’s probably wise to take another look.”

Stewart’s involvement
in other political parties raises further concerns. He was integral in
the establishment of the Great Australians party, and was its National
Leader in 2002. Just like the Citizens Electoral Council, GA calls for
tax reform and economic isolationism. But just like the CEC, the party
also believes in a global conspiracy involving international finance,
global government and — of course — the Jews…

“Lex Stewart
helped establish an anti-Semitic political party, and gave a speech to
a conference of racists and Holocaust-deniers,” Carr concluded. “These
are not matters that can be lightly brushed aside, and it is incumbent
upon John Brogden to follow them up (there might be a perfectly
innocent explanation) and decide whether such a person is welcome as a
member of the NSW Liberal Party.”

While he’s at it, Brogden might like to give us a David Oldfield “please explain.”

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