Independent? Depends How You Define It

The well-funded Monique Ryan who is standing against Josh Frydenberg in the Melbourne seat of Kooyong is an utterly fake Independent. Despite securing more than $1 million in funding primarily from Climate 200 supremo Simon Holmes a Court, Dr Ryan is clearly a hard left candidate. She certainly has much more in common with the Labor Party and the Greens than the Liberals. Dr Ryan has every right to be so aligned but she shouldn’t be angry or embarrassed when she’s called out on this important fact. As it happens, both the Greens and Labor are currently running dead in Kooyong.

In comparison, the divisive Kristina Keneally has been parachuted into the supposedly safe Labor seat of Fowler in Sydney’s western suburbs. To Le, the young Vietnamese Australian lawyer who was supposed to be the official Labor candidate, wasn’t even given the courtesy of a phone call to tell her she had been dumped. She found out in the press the same day that the American-born Senator from the wealthy Northern Beaches took her place after failing to gain a winnable place on Labor’s NSW Senate Ticket. The Liberals are also running a Vietnamese-born woman,a real estate agent, who lives in the electorate, Courtney Nguyen.

Importantly, Vietnamese refugee, lawyer and deputy mayor of Fairfield Council, Dai Le, is running as an Independent. Unlike Dr Ryan in Kooyong, Ms Le (who has wide local support) is truly independent.

Much has been made about Anthony Albanese living in a council house with a single mother. But although it is unclear who paid for him to attend, Albo was educated at the well-regarded St Mary’s Cathedral School in Sydney. In comparison, in 1975 Dai Le and her mother fled Vietnam by boat to Hong Kong, where they stayed for four years. In 1979 Ms Le and her mother came by plane as refugees to Sydney, where they lived in council housing.

Mr Albanese tried to brush off overlooking To Le by stressing that Ms Keneally was American. In September last year he said, “The Labor Party has done an enormous amount for diversity.” Albanese continued: “Our Deputy Leader in the Senate, Kristina Keneally, was born in the United States, came to Australia, and is another great Australian success story of a migrant who’s come here. And at the most senior levels, the Leader of the House of Representatives is someone called Albanese and the Leader in the Senate is someone called (Penny) Wong.”

While Dr Ryan (who was a long-time member of the ALP) has been afforded a dream run by the media in her contest against the federal Treasurer, Dai Le has been all but ignored by the ABC and other media in her contest against Ms Nguyen, and especially against Ms Keneally, who lived 44km away from the electorate, and whose grating tone and self-satisfied look continues to alienate many listeners and viewers.

Keneally has a very troubled political history. Her CV is marked by a number of losses – not a good trait in politics. She was made NSW premier in 2009 with the backing of factional bosses Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripod­i. NSW ALP premier Nathan Rees saw the rot setting in and tried to do something about it and was felled for doing so. Before Premier Rees was deposed as Leader on 3 December 2009, he stated: “Should I not be premier by the end of this day, let there be no doubt in the community’s mind that any challenger will be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi.”

The ALP’s then-general secretary and now Member for Kingsford Smith, Matt Thistlethwaite, strongly opposed Keneally’s appointment to the premiership, arguing that she was too close to Obeid and Tripodi. Even though Keneally insisted she was “nobody’s girl”, she would not have been made NSW premier without their support. Upon being appointed premier, Keneally declared Tripodi and Obeid her mentors, and said they had “served the community well.”

Keneally brought the subsequently hugely disgraced Ian Macdonald back into her Cabinet as the minister for state and regional development, minister for mineral and forest resources and minister for the central coast. Keneally went on to lead NSW Labor to its worst-ever state election defeat in 2011.

But back to Kooyong, where the fight between the fake ‘independent’ candidate, Monique Ryan, and her mother-in-law has caused somewhat of a stir. The mother-in-law said she, and was quoted by Frydenberg, as saying she will be voting for him because he is a ‘nice person’ who knows what he’s doing. Dr Ryan was reportedly infuriated by this undermining from a member of her own family and decided to personally attack the Treasurer. In somewhat disturbing words she declared, “I don’t want him coming after my parents and I don’t want him coming after my children.”

The fake independent candidate in Kooyong refused to debate Frydenberg on Channel Nine in their studio. While she has reluctantly accepted a debate on Sky, it is doubtful if she will detail of her plan for higher taxes to fund universal health and childcare. So far, Ryan has supplied absolutely no costings for her uber-expensive proposals.

In this month’s federal election, the fake independents are only challenging Liberals.They are not opposing any ALP candidates. Moreover, the “teal” Independents, including Ryan, are run like a political party which is resolutely anti-Liberal. As the Treasurer argued on April 27, “They are a slogan and a billboard and nothing more. Yet they will say that they’re campaigning on transparency, but the most important issue on transparency is how would they vote in the event of a hung parliament. And they will not reveal how they will vote.”

If elected, as we all know, the fake independents will vote with the ALP. Let’s hope that the good people of Kooyong fully understand this. Similarily, let’s hope that the good people of Fowler will recognise Dai Le for the true independent she is.

Ross Fitzgerald AM is Emeritus Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University. His most recent books are a memoir, Fifty Years Sober: An Alcoholic’s Journey, and the Grafton Everest political satires, The Dizzying Heights and The Lowest Depths, co-authored with Ian McFadyen, all published by Hybrid in Melbourne

13 thoughts on “Independent? Depends How You Define It

  • Tony Tea says:

    This election is just a bigger version of 1999’s Victorian election and Susan Davies.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Best of luck to Dai Le. Her betrayal by the ALP completes her life experience and suggests she might be a successful representative for Fowler. As for Joe and Eddie’s girl, she was in charge of the most corrupt NSW government in living memory. Amazing that’s she’s still a candidate in any Australian election, but no surprise at all that she has the tacit support of the ABC.

  • RB says:

    It will serve the libs right, they have moved away from their base. Net-zero is just the most recent of a long list of stupidities.
    Those stupidities leave the electorate with a choice between tweedle dumb or tweedle dumber making room for the grifters. It’s been happening since Abbott’s lack of ticker on 18C. And it won’t stop.
    Nobody expects decency in politics, doubly so from Labor so Ms Li got what she would have voted for had she not been replaced by the reprehensible Kennealy. Stiff.

  • 1735099 says:

    “In comparison, in 1975 Dai Le and her mother fled Vietnam by boat to Hong Kong, where they stayed for four years.”

    And with 170000 other Vietnamese were settled in Australia, over 2000 of whom arrived by boat until the UNHCR organised Comprehensive Plan of Action ensured an orderly and safe process for these people.

    Thanks for the reminder of how far we’ve fallen as a nation since.
    Any Vietnamese trying to escape the same government that was in power back then and setting out in a boat for the Australian mainland now would be immediately refouled.

    That’s another kind of comparison…

  • restt says:

    I live in Warringah and have Zali as our local member. A woman who has done nothing in parliament and never will since she is not part of government or opposition. …. believes men should be able to take part in women’s sport ….a representative who thinks we should have a third chamber of aboriginals to preside over us despite everyone having one vote now …… a woman who thinks that we live and work on aboriginal land despite the extinguishment of title 200 years ago …this rubbish has to stop.

  • STD says:

    And of course a vote for the Holmes a Court agenda is an endorsement of the ALP and in effect a proxy- a vote for the Chinese Communist Party.
    The psychology-Teal is supposed to evoke feelings of trustworthiness and re..li..ability.
    The definition of teal “ a small freshwater ‘duck’ ( ie Tim Flannery),typically with a greenish band on both wings that is most prominent in flight”-in other words the contemporary arm and political wingman of the ALP.

  • mike2 says:

    “…a woman who thinks that we live and work on aboriginal land..”

    If they truly believe that..then they should give the land back…but they never do.
    Its part of the “Performative empathy” the modern woke politicians engage in…

  • Biggles says:

    “Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenceless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    I see the miserable ghost is out supporting the Teals now. It was only a matter of time before the patriarch of the renewables troughers would feel the tingle in his hip pocket and jump in to campaign for the Karens. No further proof required that Teal is now the colour of greed and of rent-seekers looking to profit at the expense of taxpayers.

  • Wayne Cooper says:

    Would anyone want Kristina Keneally babysitting their children? Me neither.

  • whitelaughter says:

    A good, though obviously rhetorical question Wayne!

    An excellent quote Biggles. The inability of the stupid to learn from mistakes means that simply letting them fall doesn’t help either. Their stupidity needs to be harnessed to ensure that they are neutralised or even destroyed (frex, we should be paying the plane flights of alphabet soup warriors so that they can protest in Palestine against Israel; the locals would end the problem for us).

  • STD says:

    I digress: Ex Zachary, Wayne – Kimberley Kitching may have been from the left but at least she was fair dinkum, Australian, loved Australians and loved Australia, unlike the rest of the Labor left lurching bunch of hypocritical creeps who’s only allegiance is to (POWER) – Marx, Putin and Xi Jinping of China Corp.
    What the likes of Keneally and Penny Wong and the other unnamed so and so,-also lacking in any foundational( traditional ) knot, ie the progressive slither- did to that poor woman should be expressed at the ballot box by fair dinkum Australians regardless of political bent, we do not need the services or want these type ‘o’people standing and being representative of that which is truly good in Australian nature. We do not desire the witches brew the left has on offer – the average Australian would cling willingly to the notion of being fair dinkum if the idiot politicians would inculcate these notional values in the execution of their public discourse to duty.
    Pauline Hanson was good mates with Kimberley Kitching, that tells me all we need to know about the character of the others including the said mentioned baby sitter.
    The only certainty ;anyone who is, especially and particularly at this point in Marxist evolutionary time ,even remotely or otherwise connected to the left leaning progressive pincer movements of Labor incorporated- I have not one political bone in my ivory tower Turn-bull of went where, Greens, Teal and the other independent
    (grown-ups)Marxists-do not have our Country, Australia’s fair dinkum best interests in mind- you can rip the heart out of the place and take that to the bank.
    In the words of the late Peter Ryan, “ Fear drive my feet”- vote for love of life and live so that Australia may live another day- the word valour only has true meaning when the heart overrides head.

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