The president of Queensland Young Labor has revealed himself to be a staunch supporter of conservative Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, using his annual leave from the Australian Workers Union to campaign for the anti-abortion libertarian as the GOP primary season heats up.

Chaiy Donati, by day an AWU organiser at the Queensland state office, appears to have embraced Paul’s radical vision of limited government, hitting the phones ahead of key primaries to slap down Barack Obama and get out the vote for the controversial septuagenarian congressman.

On Donati’s public Facebook wall, a Paul shill, Eric Alan Antisell, congratulates his comrade on a recent bout of phone canvassing in New Hampshire, reporting Donati had “statistically one of the highest rates of persuasion out of all the callers in the entire US!”.

“Even though it was already obvious to everyone in New Hampshire how much of a difference you were making, now we have the hard statistics to prove it!” Antisell writes.

Another congratulates Donati “for traveling across the world to Join the fight for Liberty. Your dedication really shows how far this R[3vol]ution has spread.”

Donati’s political positioning on the fringe of the libertarian Right may prove to be a career-limiting move given AWU National Secretary Paul Howes and Wayne Swan’s staunch support for Obama. Paul has orated feverishly against the US labour movement, which he says has created a “an artificial wage mandated by the government under the National Labor Relations Board…the whole thing is unconstitutional.” A “right to work” state like Texas with limited taxation is more economically beneficial than “union states”, Paul says.

The ALP’s official website contains a link to the US Democrats’ site, which it lauds as an “equivalent” and “like-minded” organisation.

A spokesperson for the AWU’s Queensland branch told Crikey this morning Donati had conducted the campaigning while on annual leave and hadn’t utilised any union resources. “He was acting as a private citizen,” the spokesperson said, noting he was scheduled to return to work today.

But Young Labor activists have expressed concern that while junior members prepare feverishly for the Queensland election by door knocking, staffing telephones and stuffing envelopes, Donati, who did not respond to requests for comment, had been effectively missing in action.

A senior Queensland Labor Left source slammed Donati’s actions as “disgraceful on two fronts. One is that it’s [a] campaign against a Democratic president that’s been instrumental in campaigning for universal health care cover and secondly he’s publicly supporting someone with a proven track record of disgraceful racist statements.”

In 1992, Paul published an edition of his Ron Paul Political Report that claimed order was only restored after the LA riots “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks”.

On Facebook, Donati jokes the “one issue alone” that convinced him to “support” Paul is that he backs “losing your virginity in a large chandelier”, a cryptic reference to an altercation in which the young go-getter apparently took a stand against racism.

Donati’s support for Paul has been an open secret inside the Queensland ALP for years. In 2007, he posted a message to the web proclaiming it was “invigorating to know at the end of the day he supports liberty, freedom and limited government”.

“I am a big fan of ‘Mr No’ (Ron Paul). I know there is a Free State Project in New Hampshire @ which point he might announce his candidacy. A Republican, ran for President in the 1980’s at [sic] a Libertarian,” Donati wrote.

“This guy has truly been around the block. And its invigorating to know at the end of the day he supports liberty, freedom and limited government: D.”

It appears his recent efforts have only born limited fruit — despite Paul finishing a respectable second in New Hampshire in the wake of Donati’s phone blitz. In South Carolina the great-grandfather came last out of four candidates.

This is not the first time right-wing young Laborites have revealed their support for the Republicans in preference to the Obama-led Democrats. In the lead-up to the last presidential poll in 2008, arch-conservative Michael de Bruyn, the son of Australia’s most powerful unionist turned Victorian Young Labor president, set up a Facebook group entitled “Labor Supporters Against Obama”.

He also posted approvingly in a group called “A McCain/Palin victory would have been in Australia’s national interest”.

A spokesperson for Queensland ALP State Secretary Anthony Chisholm did not return calls this morning.

Peter Fray

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