"Watch out Australia, watch out the federal Parliament; we are coming!" So declared Reverend Daniel Nalliah this morning as he launched Australia's newest political party at Canberra's National Press Club.
"We are determined to be politically incorrect," Nalliah told the launch of Rise Up Australia
, of which he is president. "If an Aussie loves his country, and can't say anything ... then I think 'tolerance' has gone too far."
The party's key policies
are preserving Judeo-Christian values, dismantling multiculturalism and defending Australia from the Muslim "threat". The Rise Up Australia party will put forward 52 lower house candidates in this year's election and 12 Senate candidates, in five states (Western Australia, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, and Victoria).
Nalliah, an outspoken Sri Lankan-born evangelist pastor and creationist infamous for linking Victorian bushfires to abortion laws
, claimed to speak for the "silent majority" in Australia.
"I think God created Chinese fried rice, and I love pizza ... but please do not come and tell me that sharia law should be introduced in Australia. You go back to where you came from," Nalliah told the cheering crowd.
Rise Up Australia is linked to the Catch the Fire ministries, and was launched today by keynote speaker, British peer and noted climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton.
A chorus of "Advance Australia Fair" reverberated through the room to kick off today's launch. A motley crowd of party members, families, and supporters waved miniature Australian flags, surrounded by red and blue balloons bearing the party's slogan ("Keep Australia Australian!"). As the chorus died down, the Youth Leader of the Party and Former Miss Teen Australia winner appeared nervous as she stumbled on the last lines of the Lord's Prayer.
The Reverend was welcomed to the podium with rapturous applause and chants of "rise up Australia!" and "go Aussie!" Nalliah called for the end of a "multicultural Australia" -- instead, he advocated a "multiethnic Australia". He called on God in warning against the dangers of multiculturalism in Australia.
"We aim for three Senate seats, so we can hold the balance of power, and we can say goodbye to the Greens," Nalliah told the crowd, to chants of "goodbye Greens, goodbye Greens".
Monckton's lips were pursed during the national anthem, but once at the podium, he was all-Australian: "Do you love Australia?" he asked the crowd, to more cheers. "Do you want to keep Australia free?"
Monckton declared he was a layman, a Christian, "practising but not perfect".
"Ladies and gentlemen, I love Australia. How could you not? This vigorous, glorious land. This is a beautiful land, with a people diverse in their origins," he said. "They are people from all over the world, but when they come here, they come here to a culture that is distinctive -- come one, come all. Australia is inclusive, multi-ethnic, multi-point-of-view country. If you come here, follow Pastor Danny's example, and enjoy and celebrate it, and do not seek to destroy it.
"There is one thing that sets us [the party] apart. We at least tell the truth. It may be an unattainable ambition. But it doesn't stop us trying.
"God bless you Pastor Danny; God bless Rise Up Australia."
*Farz Edraki is a freelance writer and editor of the ANU newspaper