Jackie Kelly : "I Think It's A Huge Entertainment..."
Controversy Linking Sydney Muslims To Supporting Terrorism Against Australians Will Help End John Howard's Government
By Darryl Mason
The scandal over a leaflet drop in Sydney's western suburbs by volunteers for prime minister John Howard's Liberal Party fills newspapers today, and steals precious column inches, headlines and news breaks away from Howard's message in his last big push for re-election.
The leaflet, purporting to be from an Islamic group support terrorism, a group that doesn't actually exist, claimed the opposition government, now expected to win Saturday's election, supported terrorists who killed Australians, and said Muslims would soon have more opportunity to convert Christians.
The husband of the Liberal Party candidate running for election in the Western Sydney seat of Lindsay this Saturday, and the husband of the retiring Liberal Party member, have now both been kicked out of prime minister John Howard's party for distributing the leaflets claiming a vote for Labor is a vote in support of terrorists who've killed more than 80 Australians in the Bali bombings.
The leaflet also claimed the Labor Party would build more mosques in Western Sydney and were in favour of allowing Islamic extremists into the country.
A third man, in the executive of prime minister John Howard's party, has also been expelled.
All this less than 48 hours out from an election that is widely tipped to see the downfall of the John Howard government.
John Howard's reaction?
He knew nothing about the leaflets, they were not authorised Liberal Party election material, he has distanced himself from the scandal, and now he expects us to believe that neither of the two Liberal Party politicians had any idea of what their husbands were up to in writing, printing and then delivering the leaflets to hundreds of homes in one of the most highly contested seats in the election.
Current Liberal Party member for Lindsay, Jackie Kelly, is still insisting the unauthorised campaign brochure her husband helped to write, print and distribute to homes in Western Sydney was "a joke" and that she thought it was "funny." She tried to explain away the scandal, still laughing, by claiming her husband, and the other men involved were drunk and bored.
Pressure is on Howard to now announce the resignation of the Liberal Party candidate for Lindsay, Karen Chijoff, who's husband, Greg Chijoff, has been named as one of the three men now caught up in the election rocking scandal, along with Jackie Kelly's husband, Gary Clark.
How could Karen Chijoff not have known that her husband Greg, who has been campaigning by her side for weeks, was not involved in the illegal distribution of unauthorised Liberal Party leaflets trying to capitalise on the distress and fear resulting from the more than 100 Australians killed in terror attacks in Bali and the United States?
Tonight's current affairs shows, which draw combined audiences of about 20-25% of Australia's population, are expected to go hard on this story, uncovering similar tactics used by Jackie Kelly in past elections, and interviewing the families of Australians killed in international terror attacks.
Bizarrely, John Howard tried, unsuccessfully, to spin away the storm of controversy today by claiming that a wife should never be held responsible for the actions of her husband, and attempted to relate the individuality of husbands and wives to the rise of feminism, and that such separations of responsibility for each other's actions should be celebrated, not damned.
Barely mentioned in most of the coverage so far is that the leaflets directly linked Australian Muslims to supporting international terrorists and terrorist attacks. Linkages that have been essential to John Howard's divide-and-rule strategy of giving white Australians an easy target for vilification and loathing, though it should be pointed out that only the smallest minority of Australians have ever fallen for Howard's race and religion-based baiting.
The Howard government defeat may be even worse than the latest polls indicate, which is, to quote John Howard from earlier in the year, already set to be a defeat of near total "annihilation."
The 'Pro-Terror Liberal Party Leaflet Scandal' has literally exploded from nowhere in less than 18 hours, and questions about the involvement of senior members of the Liberal Party dominated John Howard's final major pre-election speech and Q & A session with the cream of Australia's journalists.
Excerpts from retiring Liberal Party politician Jackie Kelly's unhinged interview earlier today :
JACKIE KELLY: Well, I've read the alleged pamphlet and when I first read it I had to laugh because I think everyone who reads it has their first instinct is to laugh, pretty much everyone who's read chuckles in terms of the parody it does make of various things that have happened during the campaign.
CHRIS UHLMANN: But just to establish it, your husband and two colleagues were handing out this pamphlet...
JACKIE KELLY: Well, my understanding is they were letterboxing...
CHRIS UHLMANN: This pamphlet?
JACKIE KELLY: Well, I don't know. Well, I don't know, allegedly. Allegedly.
CHRIS UHLMANN: And this pamphlet says it comes from an Islamic organisation that doesn't exist? It says the ALP wants the Bali bombers forgiven and supports the construction of a mosque in western Sydney. What's funny about that?
JACKIE KELLY: Oh, look, it makes a parody....I think its sort of, I think its intent is to be a send-up but it obviously hasn't worked.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Isn't it its intent to drive people away from the Labor Party? Isn't that the intent of this?
JACKIE KELLY: No, well, I think if you read it you'd be laughing. I think it's quite....most people who've read it have sort of said, "Oh, well, that's a Chaser-style of prank."
CHRIS UHLMANN: Alright, who printed it?
JACKIE KELLY: Oh, look, I don't, I don't - I'm not, I don't know enough about it.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Was it from your office?
JACKIE KELLY: No. Absolutely not.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Who funded it?
JACKIE KELLY: I don't know. I don't know.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Who authorised it?
JACKIE KELLY: Well, look, there isn't any authorisation on the alleged document....
CHRIS UHLMANN: Can you guarantee that no funds came from your office, or from the Liberal Party for this?
JACKIE KELLY: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
CHRIS UHLMANN: So where did the money come from? Someone must have printed it.
JACKIE KELLY: Look, everyone's got home printers and whatnot...
CHRIS UHLMANN: Was the Liberal state office involved in this joke?
JACKIE KELLY: No, not at all.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Was the Federal office involved in this joke?
JACKIE KELLY: Not at all.
JACKIE KELLY: Where is this conversation going?
CHRIS UHLMANN: I rang and I've identified myself as a reporter and I want to know how much you know about this particular document?
JACKIE KELLY: I don't know anything about it, right? I know basically what my husband has told me, his version of events, and obviously what the papers are alleging, and obviously what the ALP is putting about.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Jackie Kelly, finally, do you approve of this kind of thing?
JACKIE KELLY: No. Absolutely not. With my experience in politics and everything, this is just really immature stuff, that hardly makes influence on anyone's vote and I think it's a huge entertainment for other people.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Jackie Kelly, thank you.
JACKIE KELLY: Cheers.
The audio of the interview makes clear that Jackie Kelly is lying through her teeth.
Here's the full text of the leaflet from the non-existent Islamic Australia Federation :
"The role of the Islamic Australia Federation is to support Islamic Australians by providing a strong network within Islamic Australia.
"Muslims supporting Muslims within the community and assisting and showing christian Australians the glorious path to Islam.
"In the upcoming federal election we strongly support the ALP as our preferred party to govern this country and urge all other Muslims to do the same.
"The leading role of the ALP in supporting our faith at both state and local government levels has been exceptional and we look further to further support when Kevin Rudd leads this country.
"We gratefully acknowledge Labor's support to forgive our Muslim brothers who have been unjustly sentenced to death for the Bali bombings.
"Labor supports our new Mosque construction and we hope, with the support or funding of local and state governments, to open our new Mosque in St Marys soon.
"Labor was the only political party to support the entry to this country of our Grand Mufti reverend Sheik al-Hilaly (sic) and we thank Hon Paul Keating for over-turning the objections of ASIO to allow our Grand Mufti to enter this country."
It's beyond obvious that the leaflet was not intended as a joke, or a "Chaser style prank."
It was a carefully planned and constructed psychological operation to smear the Labor Party as supporters of terrorism against Australians and to scare voters in the mostly Christian western Sydney suburb of St Mary's into believing they would be converted to Islam if Labor wins the election.
Labor Party volunteers caught the Liberal Party volunteers in the act of distributing the leaflets on Tuesday night. The Labor Party was tipped off to the leaflet and its distribution by people inside the Liberal Party who strongly disagreed with this extremist and anti-Democratic behaviour.
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