Sydney-siders have been told by the PM that the lockdown of their city is the result of nasty protesters who have been banned from the no-go zone. Yet while some protestors are forced to apply to the courts for permission, my old Young Liberal pal John Ruddick and his Aussies 4 ANZUS crew have been given the kind of access other protesters can only dream of.

John was featured on Lateline the other night. He was a right-wing Young Liberal who stood three times for the presidency of the NSW Young Liberals. He also worked (when he decided to turn up to work) as a staffer for former Federal Parramatta Liberal MP Ross Cameron. In fact, we were always surprised Ruddick managed to get that Cameron job in the first place.

Most Young Libs remember Ruddick as a hard-drinking chap who wasn’t known to be an early riser. It was only when we found out he’d received a glowing reference from the Mufti of the NSW Right David Clarke, that we understood why Cameron hired him.

Later, Ruddick went to at least one US rightwing junket arranged by Clarke in conjunction with a certain religious denomination led by a Korean chap. Apart from all this, Ruddick appeared on Stan Zemanek’s show (in various states of inebriation) as a drunken right winger named “Banjo”. Ruddick was on the government’s payroll at the time, and he told Crikey this morning he stopped appearing after Cameron ordered him to do so. Ruddock also ran for Senate preselection for the NSW Liberals in 1997 against Marise Payne and 14 other candidates.

On that occasion, Ruddick came equal 15th, receiving less than one vote. He also stood for New England in the 1998 Federal Election where he significantly improved his stature, coming third in the ballot. Sources tell me there were three candidates in that ballot. Ruddick admitted 12 months ago standing outside Kirribilli House holding a “John Howard forever, Peter Costello never” placard. He still hangs it on his bedroom window.

The Aussies 4 ANZUS website shows Ruddick holding a placard saying “The World Needs Great Men Like Dick Cheney”. Somehow I doubt Harry Whittington would agree. Ruddick’s website gives 10 “intelligent reasons” for Aussies to thank America. Among them is “The Vietnam War”, something I recall him always supporting during his younger days. The US Constitution is also mentioned, though Ruddick wasn’t enthusiastic when I asked about the possibility of having a US-style Bill of Rights in Australia.

Ruddick says that already 100 people have signed up for the newsletter, and a quarter-page advertisement is appearing in The Oz tomorrow.

“My goal is to have President Bush see us on the TV supporting him, even if it’s just for two minutes. I don’t want him thinking all Australians are against him.”

Interestingly enough, Ruddick acknowledged opinion polls that show most Australians oppose Bush and the Iraq war. His website says:

The Iraqis have formed a democratic government in the heart of the Middle East. If we have the guts to see Iraq through it will end up similar to … Egypt …

So Iraq should move from democracy to virtual one-party rule in which opposition activists are locked up. With that level of political sophistication, I doubt I’ll be signing up for the newsletter.