LNP RACISM SCAN­DAL

Youth mem­bers ousted af­ter dis­gust­ing videos rock State Op­po­si­tion

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - KIRSTIN PAYNE, AN­DREW POTTS AND TALI ELEY

THREE young mem­bers of the Lib­eral Na­tional Party have been dumped over a “racist” video scan­dal that has rocked the top ech­e­lon of the state con­ser­va­tives. The Bul­letin yes­ter­day ob­tained videos of party mem­bers mak­ing “ca­su­ally racist” re­marks about in­dige­nous Aus­tralians and call­ing Chi­nese peo­ple “chikedy chongs”. Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk de­manded Op­po­si­tion leader Deb Freck­ling­ton apol­o­gise af­ter she re­fused to con­demn the be­hav­iour. On six oc­ca­sions she said the com­ments were “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and the party is tak­ing ac­tion”.

THE Gold Coast boss of the Young Lib­eral Na­tional Party has been ousted over a “racist” video scan­dal that has rocked the top ech­e­lon of the state con­ser­va­tives.

The Gold Coast Bul­letin yes­ter­day ob­tained videos of party mem­bers mak­ing “ca­su­ally racist” re­marks about in­dige­nous Aus­tralians at Schoolies last month and call­ing Chi­nese peo­ple “chikedy chongs”.

Young LNP Gold Coast chair Bar­clay McGain was one of three LNP mem­bers sus­pended late yes­ter­day.

The scan­dal went right to the top of state pol­i­tics with La­bor Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk slam­ming Op­po­si­tion leader Deb Freck­ling­ton’s re­fusal to come down hard on the com­ments, which fea­tured on in­ter­na­tional news sites yes­ter­day.

On six oc­ca­sions at a press con­fer­ence, Ms Freck­ling­ton would only say the be­hav­iour was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and the party is tak­ing ac­tion”.

A dis­gusted Premier de­manded Ms Freck­ling­ton and the LNP apol­o­gise.

“It must be con­demned, the video it­self must be con­demned and ac­tions should be taken against the peo­ple who did it,” she said.

State En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Leeanne Enoch, the first in­dige­nous woman elected to State Par­lia­ment, yes­ter­day de­manded Ms Freck­ling­ton call out “racist el­e­ments” within the LNP.

“These kinds of views should not be al­lowed to sim­mer within any or­gan­i­sa­tion. Swift ac­tion needs to be taken,” she said in a state­ment. “It’s dis­turb­ing on many levels.”

The first video, filmed dur­ing Schoolies, was posted to the Young LNP’s own Face­book page late on Mon­day af­ter­noon, but was deleted within three hours.

It shows Mr McGain ask­ing Redcliffe-based party vol­un­teer Jake Scott his thoughts on the Aus­tralian flag and an­them.

“Not too much to say about it,” Mr Scott says.

“Per­son­ally, I am fed up with hav­ing all these sports stars stand out on our stages and not sing the na­tional an­them. They are putting our Aus­tralian jumper on, they are go­ing to sing the na­tional an­them.

Mr Scott goes on to say: “We got to stop cel­e­brat­ing a cul­ture that couldn’t even in­vent the bloody wheel for

God sake. We have got to start en­joy­ing and liv­ing the western cul­ture.”

Mr McGain de­clined to com­ment when ap­proached by the Bul­letin yes­ter­day.

“Noth­ing to say about it, thanks,” he said.

The sec­ond video shows Mr McGain im­per­son­at­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump while vis­it­ing the Great Wall of China in Jan­uary 2018.

“I prom­ise I won’t grab them by the pussy,” he says.

“We’re go­ing to build the great­est wall, it is go­ing to be to keep out the Mex­i­cans, not the Mon­go­lians, or the chikedy chongs, not Genghis Khan bing bong, bing bong.”

The video, posted on the Trump Talks YouTube Chan­nel, has been watched 327 times.

The ac­count’s de­scrip­tion says “Bar­clay McGain bring­ing the pres­i­dent’s thoughts to us. China, mi­nori­ties. Let’s make Amer­ica great again.”

Mr McGain’s be­hav­iour even forced the Robina Lions Club to dis­tance it­self from him last night. A mes­sage of sup­port Mr McGain posted on the club’s Face­book page three years ago came un­der at­tack from mem­bers of the public fol­low­ing yes­ter­day rev­e­la­tions.

In a short state­ment yes­ter­day, the LNP said: “The post was re­moved and the mem­bers in­volved will be sub­ject to the LNP’s in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary process. All LNP mem­bers are ex­pected to up­hold the val­ues of the party at all times.

“The Lib­eral Na­tional Party, as well as its pre­de­ces­sor par­ties, have proudly em­braced the his­tory and cul­ture of in­dige­nous Aus­tralians, and ad­vanced more than any other party in­dige­nous rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Aus­tralian Par­lia­ment.”

Asked to com­ment af­ter the Schoolies video aired, lead­ing Gold Coast in­dige­nous fig­ure Rory O’Connor said the video was “out of touch”.

How­ever, he said he did not want the peo­ple in­volved “vic­timised”.

“Young LNP made a big mistake and I think they’ll re­alise that when they get older,” said Mr O’Connor, the di­rec­tor at the Yugam­beh Mu­seum.

“This per­son is young and they prob­a­bly need to learn more about the his­tory of their space so they can live, prob­a­bly, a more prof­itable life.

“Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple share the same his­tory.”

“RACISM is not tol­er­ated, any­where or any­time – full stop.

“Any mem­ber of the LNP al­leged to have made racist com­ments will have their mem­ber­ship sus­pended, and if an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­firms their guilt, they can­not re­turn to the party. They are fin­ished.

“A young per­son join­ing our party must know the LNP sup­ports con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy, and gov­ern­ments that are re­spon­si­ble to the peo­ple, ded­i­cated to en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of life and fos­ter­ing so­ci­ety that of­fers op­por­tu­nity to all.

“We ac­knowl­edge our di­verse re­li­gious her­itage and free­dom of be­lief. We are com­mit­ted to cul­ti­vat­ing a co­he­sive and com­pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity in which all may feel safe and se­cure and where in­di­vid­ual ini­tia­tive is re­warded.”

This was all LNP leader Deb Freck­ling­ton needed to say yes­ter­day.

The first line is what this news­pa­per be­lieves was the most im­por­tant state­ment a po­lit­i­cal leader could have made yes­ter­day.

The rest can be found on the LNP web­site un­der the sec­tion What We Be­lieve.

Un­der that ban­ner it says the LNP in Queens­land stands for “a tol­er­ant and di­verse so­ci­ety with­out ex­ploita­tion”.

What hap­pened yes­ter­day was some of its younger mem­bers failed mis­er­ably to meet those stan­dards.

A video at Schoolies showed young LNP mem­bers laugh­ing about com­ments re­gard­ing in­dige­nous cul­ture. One of them crit­i­cised a “cul­ture that couldn’t even in­vent the bloody wheel”. Later more footage emerged of a racial slur against the Chi­nese, shot on the Great Wall of China, re­fer­ring to them as “chikedy chongs”.

There has been talk in Gold Coast po­lit­i­cal cir­cles re­cently about the emer­gence of a new class of LNP mem­bers, who have had priv­i­leged school­ing and ac­cess to the of­fices of power, fu­elled by ex­treme right-wing views and lack­ing the balance from a grounded life of hard work away from the po­lit­i­cal bub­ble.

The be­hav­iour of some of them has put the spot­light on Ms Freck­ling­ton’s lead­er­ship.

From Op­po­si­tion, much of the daily grind of pol­i­tics is get­ting me­dia at­ten­tion and some trac­tion high­light­ing an em­bar­rass­ment by the Govern­ment.

At a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Ms Freck­ling­ton, a real chance to be the next Premier, re­fused to say what ac­tion her party was tak­ing. On six oc­ca­sions to sim­i­lar ques­tions by jour­nal­ists, she of­fered the fol­low­ing re­sponse: “Look, this is in­ap­pro­pri­ate, and the party is tak­ing ac­tion.”

The real shock was not so much the words be­ing ut­tered from the mouths of these youths. It was the words left un­said by their leader.

Young LNP vol­un­teer Jake Scott with for­mer PM Mal­colm Turn­bull and (in­set) Bar­clay McGain.

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