The Guardian November 29, 2000

Right wing in training

Last week The Guardian ran a short article on the goings-on 
during the election for the Student Representative Council (SRC) of 
Macquarie University in Sydney's west. "Ballot fraud and sexual harassment" 
ran the headline.

The matter has been raised in the NSW parliament with some pertinent 
questions being asked. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the 
existence of a "unity ticket" of right-wing Labor and Liberal Party young 
hopefuls at the university.

The ballot and related matters has been referred to the Independent 
Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Whether that body will make the facts 
public remains to be seen.

What is on the record however, are some remarks by Michael Egan, the 
Treasurer of the NSW Labor Government.

In response to the Herald assertion, Michael Egan said: "I do not 
like unity tickets, but if it is a unity ticket against the comms, I am 
fully in favour of it ... if Young Labor and the Young Liberals are in 
cahoots to defeat the comms, I wish them both well."

Far from the opposition ticket standing in the Macquarie SRC elections 
being a communist ticket it is, in fact, made up of a number of different 
political elements including left-wing Labor, greens, migrants and left 

After claiming that he knew nothing of the events at the university which 
have been going on for several weeks, Egan revealed that the returning 
officer (there have been four or five returning officers in the course of 
the ballot) was his godson!

It is the conduct of the extreme right-wing youth in control of NSW Young 
Labor and their friends at Macquarie University whose "antics" have already 
caused the cancellation of one SRC election and could even cause the 
cancellation of another.
ŠThe story does not end there. At a recent meeting of NSW Young Labor some 
left-wing members attempted to move a resolution calling for support for 
Palestinian self-determination.

Junior Vice-President of NSW Young Labor and a Socialist Left member, 
Elanor Canning, said of the meeting: "It was the most offensive behaviour 
that I have ever seen at Young Labor. It was a new low ... they tried to 
intimidate us, chanting Nazi slogans and shouting that we were racists.

"Their complete lack of understanding of the facts is disgraceful. They 
claimed there were no Palestinian refugees ... They kept screaming that we 
were anti-Semitic and racist ..."

"We were unable to move our next motion calling for an inquiry into the 
alleged cover-up of the allegations of sexual assault that occurred at a 
Young Labor event in Parliament House.

"I have no doubt that their agenda was to intimidate us, scream at us and 
force us out of the meeting to prevent us moving the Tripodi motion [on the 
sexual assault allegations]."

The events at the meeting of Young Labor show that it is not only "student 
politics" that are at issue.

These are the training grounds of future right-wing politicians who look to 
follow in the footsteps of their mentors, such as Egan, NSW Premier Bob 
Carr and others. Ballot rigging (now the centre of a scandal in Queensland 
Labor Government), fraud, lying, sexual harassment: this is the 
apprenticeship in opportunistic and reactionary politics for the upwardly 
mobile in the Liberal and right-wing Labor camps.

When the followers of BA Santamaria's right-wing Catholic Action were 
expelled from the ALP by Dr Evatt in the 1950s they formed the Democratic 
Labor Party (DLP) which kept the Labor Party out of office until Whitlam 
was elected in 1971. The extreme right-wing in NSW did not follow the 
Victorian lead. They stayed in the Labor Party.

It is these elements that are now in the leadership of the ALP in NSW and 
continue to do the same job as the Liberals in implementing economic 
rationalist policies — privatisation (Egan and Carr pressed hard for the 
privatisation of the electricity network of NSW), handouts to big business 
(such as the $70 million to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Studios at the Sydney 
Showground), tollways, private rail links and the disastrous 
corporatisation and running down of the State Rail Authority. All this 
accompanied by increased police powers and the repressive zero-tolerance 

Such is the core of the "unity ticket" at Macquarie University which is an 
indication of a historical trend of right-wing Labor and the Liberals 
increasingly climbing into bed together.
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