ELECTION ERECTION: The federal election has finally been called, with parties large and small now launching their campaigns. Irfan Yusuf was present for the campaign launch of the Liberal Democrats held in Sydney over the weekend and took plenty of Covid precautions as he entered the den of right-wing politics.
If you’re like me and you haven’t had The Virus yet, count yourself lucky and stay at home. Or if you do go out, wear a proper mask, use hand sanitiser and keep your distance from people. And keep a bunch of overpriced RAT’s in your pocket.
For fuck’s sake, don’t do what I did on Saturday night, 9 April 2022 and head down to the Liberal Democrats campaign launch in Pitt Street Sydney to watch my old buddy John Ruddick publicly announce his bid to run for the Senate for NSW.
John is an awesome bloke. No seriously, he is. I know him personally. Friendly. Amiable. An author of a book I reviewed for Crikey once. And according to an article he wrote in Spectator Australia, thoroughly unvaccinated. He has appeared a few times on Fox Ne … whoops … Sky News Australia After Dark (SKAAD) promoting his anti-vaxxer, pro-Trump then anti-Trump and anti-lockdown views.
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John even spoke at a large rally at Sydney Town Hall. The one where a horse got punched in the face. This wasn’t the first time he’d evaded a lockdown. He managed to avoid an APEC lockdown in 2007.
But on this night, John was re-launching his political career. No, not as a NSW Young Liberal presidential candidate. Not as a candidate for a federal by election. John wants to make it to the Senate. And if he does his preferences correctly, he might just get there.
Well aware of the anti-Covid views of Liberal Democrats member John Ruddick, our correspondent decided to use ample amounts of hand sanitiser at the campaign launch (Image: Supplied)
I’m not sure how many people at the event were vaccinated. During his speeches, John recognised a timber worker from Mackay, a place where I once helped manage a community legal centre. It’s also George Christensen’s hometown. I didn’t meet said timber worker but I did see him waving as his name was announced. Luckily, I was socially distanced.
Without meaning to sound racist, I couldn’t help but notice that I was likely the only person there who vaguely resembled Waleed Aly or Michael Towke. I was wondering why they didn’t turn up to such an august and historical event in Australia’s political history. Clearly they were launching their own Islamic Republic of Australia Party. The IRA. Yep, those Arabs just can’t keep away from terrorism, can they.
John’s campaign launch included the sale of t-shirts. His pretty face was splashed on corflute posters placed strategically at different parts of this crowded Arthouse Hotel bar. There was plenty of (hopefully kosher and halal) finger food was on hand. I couldn’t find Cory Bernardi in the audience.
But on stage as MC, I did see another old buddy Rosco. Or rather, former Federal Liberal Member for Parramatta Ross Cameron. Ross was once a free market-loving Liberal who almost missed his preselection for being late. I should know. I was on his preselection panel. I was also helping him do his numbers. As was John. Yep, politics is terribly incestuous.
The crowd at the campaign launch for the Liberal Democrats party in Sydney on April 9 (Image: Supplied)
Rosco also is famous for attending the Friday prayers in Parramatta on the day before he was first elected to Parliament in 1996. He addressed the congregation and even had a go at performing the postures. He proved to be a huge friend of the local Arab community, including Palestinians. Many years later he attended a dinner to raise funds for the legal defence of an anti-Muslim group. Free speech and all that. Still, at least it wasn’t a secret trust!
I overheard Rosco on stage talking about Daniel Andrews being a dictator and something about vaccines. I can’t remember exactly what he said. I was too busy distancing myself from everyone. I wasn’t sure if wearing two surgical masks on top of each other would save me.
But I did get to go up the front of the bar afterwards to shake John’s hand. I even had a copy of his book and was hoping he would sign it for me. Was John pleased to see me? Or was that nervous frown just a sign of tiredness? Apparently, fatigue is a symptom of Covid. I’d better shove something up my nostrils.
John didn’t sign the book. He might be wondering what I’m going to write about him now. Perhaps he should subscribe to this august publication and find out.
All the best, John. Try to get preferences from the right people. Including Clive Palmer. Though only if he gives you a few million bucks as well.