Politics, Poetry and Reviews

Federal Election 2019: Meet the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia


Website: https://cecaust.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cecaustralia/
Stop ‘bail-in’
Break up the banks
Rebuild the country
Themes: Giving the banks back to the people – global finance is the enemy.  Gigantic infrastructure projects, including a space program.  Very excited about nuclear energy, but also fond of mining and crude oil.  Not interested in the environment.
Preferences: No how to vote cards, but the CEC includes the following parties as ‘genuine’ and worth voting for where there is no CEC candidate.  Hold onto your hats, because this is a trip.

  • Katter’s Australian Party
  • The Greens
  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
  • Centre Alliance

I bet you never expected to see those four parties on the same list.  The common factor is small parties that the CEC views as taking on the banks.  But I think the real thing you can take away from this is that the CEC are not quite living on the same plane as the rest of us.

Previous reviews

Policies & Commentary

Ah, remember the days of yore when the  Citizens Electoral Council, those enthusiastic followers of Lyndon LaRouche,  were the strangest and most appalling thing you were likely to find on your ballot?

Those were more innocent times, my friends.  These days, the CEC, while still completely bonkers, manages to look almost lovable by comparison to some of the parties crawling onto our ballot paper.

The CEC’s website has had a makeover since I was last there, and looks much more professional than it once did, with a revolving banner that contains  the three slogans listed above, on a repeating banner, but it doesn’t take long to get weird.  Beneath the banner we have three sections:

The Latest Media Release just repeats the three slogans and links to their policies, which is fair enough.  The Latest CEC Report is a bit more eyebrow-raising, with the somewhat wince-worthy caption “John Adams: They’re going to rape the dollar!”, followed by a link titled ‘Watch now’.  I shouldn’t find that so hilarious, but I really do.

The Australian Alert Service is here to tell us that “Desperate elite orchestrates global chaos and terror”.  I did click on that one, and discovered that apparently the Christchurch and Sri Lanka attacks were orchestrated by the British financial oligarchy and the Anglo-American Elite.  I have my suspicions that ‘financial oligarchy’ might be code for ‘Jewish’, because that wouldn’t be out of character for the LaRouche mob, but then I was, er, charmed by the following bit of grandiosity:

This Anglo-American elite faces an existential crisis. Their power is based in their City of London-Wall Street financial empire, which is crumbling under the weight of insane financial gambling in derivatives. Politically, they are facing unprecedented voter revolts all over the world, which are pushing out of power the mainstream “centre” that the elite have long controlled. Brexit, Trump, Italy, and now Ukraine are all examples of public insurrections against politics as usual that have left the elite scrambling to regain control, with varying degrees of success. The amazing progress in the CEC’s fight to separate the banks in Australia is another example of the elite starting to lose control.

If your great examples of progress are Brexit and Trump, I have some concerns.  Also, I am highly amused at the CEC’s delusions of grandeur.  ‘Amazing progress’?  Really?

Over on the ‘About’ page, we get a bit more of their philosophy.

Under the Crown, corporations, banks and other lackeys of the City of London and Wall Street have been profiting from the exploitation of Australia’s natural resources, privatisation of our essential services, deregulation of our industries and through their hold over the political process to protect their speculation within our banks.

The CEC is inspired by the policies of old Labor, and its leaders such as John Curtin and Ben Chifley who believed in the “common good” or raising the living standards of all people through nation-building infrastructure, education, free health care, and scientific and cultural progress.

For over 30 years, while collaborating with the international organization of the late U.S. statesman and physical economist Lyndon LaRouche, and the European based Schiller Institute chaired by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the CEC has advocated for peace in the world through economic development and cooperation between sovereign nations, especially in our region.

The CEC defends and promotes the right to human progress for all people regardless of their nationality, religion or beliefs.

This sounds unexpectedly rational, and rather more left-wing than I recall the CEC being in the past.  Incidentally, the Schiller Institute is a whole other rabbit hole to investigate, but sounds like a combination of idealism, ambitious infrastructure projects, and conspiracy theories.  I feel like I’m at risk of liking this lot in spite of myself, and I blame Fraser Anning for this.

On the 2019 Election page, they link to six policies: Stop ‘Bail-In’, Break up the Banks, Moratorium on Foreclosures, a National Bank, Jobs and Development, and International Cooperation.

The CEC will stop any ‘bail-in’ of Australians’ savings deposits. Bail-in is the international policy devised following the 2008 GFC to ostensibly avert the need for a taxpayer ‘bailout’ of banks through a ‘bail-in’ of bank creditors, which includes depositors. To prop up failing banks, regulators write off, or convert into effectively worthless shares, a percentage of the deposits of their customers.

I honestly don’t understand this part at all, and my understanding has not been improved by reading their further information on the topic, but I think they are worried about the government seizing private assets (particularly superannuation funds, insurance, etc) to keep the banks stable?

But bail-in is not merely, or even mainly, a “financial” trick. Its design is political. The real agenda behind bail-in is the intention of the Crown/City of London/Wall Street cabal to enact fascist police-state regimes and reduce the population throughout the Western world, even as they gun for a military showdown with Russia and China, to loot and subdue the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) before their own Transatlantic system collapses. The racist eugenics philosophy of the British Crown and its adjuncts underlies such measures as bail-in.

And yes, we then are off into eugenics and genocide driven by the British Crown.  I’m scrolling wildly here, but highlights include the alleged fact that Prince Philip wants to ‘be reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation’, and, oh yes, *of course* the sacking of Gough Whitlam is part of this conspiracy!  Because we are *Aussie* conspiracy nuts, and it would be wasteful to leave John Kerr out of this.

So yeah.  Bail-in.  I got distracted there, but to be far, I think the CEC got distracted first.

Let’s have a look at Break Up the Banks, where we are informed that the ‘banking and financial system must serve people and the real economy’, which sounds fair enough, and also explains that bank should not speculate with deposits, which is an interesting idea because I rather thought that this is how interest is generated.

Australia must break up its banks, so that traditional commercial banking of taking deposits and making loans is kept separate from all other financial activities, including speculative, risky investment banking, as well as insurance, stock broking, financial advice, wealth management and superannuation.

OK, again, I don’t really understand banking, but this sounds reasonable.  Which is frankly astonishing.  Essentially, they want a lot more regulation of the banking industry, including regular independent audits, which is hard to argue with.

The CEC wants to end foreclosures on homes and farms:

The government must avert the social chaos of mass homelessness by declaring an immediate moratorium on all home and family farm foreclosures while the banking crisis is sorted out.

They point out that while many homeowners have made foolish decisions over the last two decades to borrow far more than they could afford, they aren’t responsible for this crisis and shouldn’t be penalised for it.  I am in extremely cautious agreement here; banks have definitely played a role in encouraging people to borrow too much *, but I’m not sure how feasible it is to have them take on the entire financial burden.  Some sort of compromise or partial writing-off of the debt seems appropriate; I’m not sure whether it’s practical to forgive the debt in its entirety.

(*I had an extremely enlightening conversation with my bank recently, when I idly asked how much they would be willing to lend me if I wanted to buy a house, and we did the questionnaire and the amount came to about 8 times my annual salary.  When I asked the same question back in 2000, the amount was more than 14 times my annual salary.  ‘Yes, well, a few things have changed in the last two years,’ my banker said, drily.)

The CEC also wants a National Bank, because they feel that leaving banking entirely in the private sector risks prioritising profit in lending decisions over ‘long-term infrastructure projects that don’t make a profit, but increase productivity from which the nation profits.’  They miss the old Commonwealth Bank.

Honestly, I’m not finding a lot to disagree with about the banking, and this makes me question my own sanity.  (Have all those grant applications finally pushed me over the edge?)

Jobs and Development is about infrastructure, and the CEC has always loved gigantic infrastructure projects.  I’ll confess, these are usually my favourite things on their website.  Their three big policies in this category are High Speed Rail, Great Water Projects, and Nuclear Power.

The high speed rail one starts promisingly.  They want an Australian Ring Rail, which goes to all the mainland capital cities except Adelaide, leading me to wonder what Adelaide has done to annoy the CEC.  Their goal is, alas, to serve oil, gas, mining and minerals (and we’ll get to their energy policies in a bit), but, oh, my friends, this is only the beginning.

Australia’s rail sector must be revolutionised, both for the sake of transport within our country, and also to tie Australia into the rest of the world, in particular into the world’s greatest population centres, at the eastern and south-eastern Asian terminals of the Eurasian Land-Bridge. This revolution will have two axes: Prof. Endersbee’s proposal for a Melbourne-Darwin Asian Express, and a vast upgrading and expansion of Australia’s rail network centring upon the new magnetic levitation (mag-lev) rail technology pioneered in Germany, and which is now being built in China.

The CEC wants to dig tunnels under the ocean and build a high speed railway to Asia.

But of course.

They are super excited about magnetic levitation, as indeed, who would not be?  They feel that Australia is in an excellent position to pioneer ‘ultra-high-speed maglev evacuated tube transport’, which would allow travel at speeds of more than 6,000kmh.  You could take the train from Europe to the US in just an hour!  Because if you are going to dream big with your infrastructure, why wouldn’t you dream global?

Safety systems in vacuum maglev will prove its worth in saved lives. While there’s no guarantee of a 100 per cent safe transport system, the automated nature of vacuum maglev takes driver human error out of the equation and since trains and capsules speed through a tube, they are protected from weather and obstacles—accidents on slippery wet roads won’t happen in vacuum tubes; intersection and railway crossing accidents will be left in the history books. Road crashes in Australia still cause some 1,400 deaths and 32,500 serious injuries each year. The loss of life and social impacts are devastating and the annual cost to the Australian economy is estimated to be $27 billion. Vacuum maglev will change the slogan from “speed kills” to “speed saves lives” (…) The Australian Government must seize the opportunity to develop this technology, which will reap untold trillions of dollars in savings and economic spin-offs; it should be funded through national banking credit—the productivity gains demand the investment.

This is absolutely fabulous and exactly the sort of thing I hope for when I read the CEC’s infrastructure policies.

Would it actually work?  I rather suspect no, but I’m no engineer.  But it is undeniable that an infrastructure project on this scale would create jobs, so there is that.

The CEC also has some gigantic water projects in mind, including the Bradfield Scheme which is so beloved of small, right-wing-ish rural political parties.  I don’t feel qualified to comment on this, so I’ll leave it be, aside from noting that judging by their energy policies, these are not people who pay any attention whatsoever to environmental impacts, so while they may be correct on economic and engineering feasibility, that is something that they won’t have taken into consideration.

And speaking of energy policies, the CEC wants you to know that nuclear power is completely safe.  They do mention Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, but dismiss these; Chernobyl was the result of flawed reactor design; there were no injuries or adverse health effects from Three Mile Island, and apparently ‘not one person has died or suffered from radiation sickness‘ due to the damage at Fukushima.  I actually googled this, and Wikipedia seems to agree with this, though six workers exceeded lifetime legal limits for radiation, and 300 more received significant radiation dosage.  (Of course, the full-body radiation protection gear now worn by workers has led to 33 deaths by heat stroke, but the CEC’s point appears to stand so far).

The CEC argues that compared to coal or hydroelectric power, nuclear power is safer and cleaner.  They seem to feel that modern nuclear power plants do not produce nuclear waste, because they can recycle byproducts to produce more power which seems unlikely, but at least some segments of the internet are buying it.  I think I need a consult from a physicist, and I don’t have one.

Frankly, I was a child of the 80s and I remember reading about Chernobyl and being terrified, so I don’t know whether my concerns around nuclear energy are rational or not.

Back to their energy policies more generally, we have this:

The CEC will stop any measures to reduce energy consumption, whether they are in the form of carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, or government regulations.

The CEC wants lots more mining and drilling for oil in and around Australia – but they do at least want our mineral resources to be Australian-owned and financed by a national bank, so I guess that’s something?

They view solar and wind power as backward leaps from oil and coal, and they want to ‘develop a network of power plants that simultaneously produce electricity, industrial heat, fresh water through desalination, and the beginnings of a hydrogen economy, in which hydrogen takes over from oil as the primary resource’.

This will then set Australia up for the next step in energy technology—nuclear fusion, which will generate much greater amounts of energy than even fission, by replicating the same nuclear reaction which occurs in the sun. The advent of fusion energy opens up enormous technological opportunities, including the production of man-made resources as mined resources run short. One brilliant invention that has already been patented, waiting for the development of nuclear fusion, is called the fusion torch: a superheated plasma furnace attached to a fusion reactor, into which all the daily garbage of a city can be dumped, where the material at the atomic level will become disassociated into its component atoms, and spat out as pure elements of the component atoms—silicon, iron, et cetera.

This is an optimistic vision of the future of mankind, for which our children can be excited. This will recapture the dream of conquering space, while simultaneously solving the economic problems on Earth.

Look, I like a good science fiction policy as much as the next person, and I would love for us to have a space program (which is something that the CEC is consistently enthusiastic about), but I do think we need to prevent our current planet from boiling itself dry before we actually get as far as finding other liveable planets.  As far as I can tell, the CEC haven’t even bothered to consider climate change for long enough to dismiss it.

The CEC is also big on ‘peace through economic development’ to establish ‘a new, just international order, based on respect for national sovereignty, mutually beneficial trade, cooperative infrastructure projects, and war avoidance’.  They are very keen on independence from the UK and America, and want much more trade with China.  They also want to shut down Pine Gap, which they think makes us a target for China and Russia, and they want to withdraw from international wars.

The CEC likes agriculture, especially ‘strong, independent family farms’.  In general, they don’t like big corporations, which is fair enough.  But they do not like ‘extreme green policies’ which apparently have ‘ruined tens of thousands of family farmers’.  They have a specific policy on fertiliser and I am resisting the temptation to make the obvious jokes about bullshit policies, except no, evidently resistance was useless, because look what just happened in this sentence.  Mostly, they want to regulate fertiliser prices.  OK.  And then we have this:

Finally, our most precious agricultural resource is the individual skilled farmer and his or her family. Given that British free trade policies have destroyed tens of thousands of family farms, we must enact policies to maintain and increase this human resource, something similar to the “Danish Model” of developing high-tech farmers. This involves a five year college-based education, with a further five years on-the-job training, following which new farmers are eligible for a farmers re-settlement package of land, along with the equipment required to operate the land; providing the farmer stays and works the property for at least ten years, the title of all property and machinery is transferred to that farmer for 10 per cent of the value of the depreciated machinery and property.

I mean, aside from the fact that I thought it was the Greens who had been destroying the family farms, this sounds quite interesting.  Though, wouldn’t we run out of land pretty fast?

Finally, we have three short, fairly sane policies, on Health, Immigration and Culture and the Arts.

The CEC wants more investment into the public health system and less bureaucracy, which is hard to object to, and they welcome immigrants ‘regardless of race or religion.’

This includes refugees, who should be made welcome rather than condemned to the limbo of indefinite mandatory offshore detention. 

Look, ScoMo, if even the CEC can see that this is a bad idea, it’s time for a long, hard look at yourself, surely.

(Quite seriously, this has to count as some sort of indicator of changes to community opinion on the subject of refugees, though what sort of indicator it is, precisely, I’m not sure…)

And finally, here is their entire statement on Culture and the Arts:

The CEC is committed to fostering creativity and beauty in our culture to help the population rise above the pessimism and ugliness that pervades modern culture in too many ways, such as addictive violent video games and dangerous drugs, mass-produced Hollywood movies and banal popular music. Beauty opens a window to truth, which is knowable and can be discovered, in both science and art. The CEC is also dedicated to uncovering Australia’s true history, which inspires today’s political fight for economic and scientific progress that in turn will benefit and inspire future generations.

I am desperate to know what Australia’s True History is.

Well, that was quite a roller-coaster ride, wasn’t it?  Or maybe it was an ultra-high-speed magnetic levitation ride…

The CEC are clearly rubbish on the environment, and they definitely have their unhinged moments.  Their infrastructure projects are deliciously bizarre, and fill me with joy, though not the sort of joy that would inspire me to vote for them. And hey, they don’t seem to be racists, which I’m beginning to feel is rare enough to be worth mentioning.

Their main preoccupation right now seems to be the banks, and honestly, their policies there don’t seem to be too bad.

I do have one very slightly paranoid twinge on the subject, because the CEC have been known to dally with David Icke, who is a notable conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier… and the anti-globalism and anti-banking thing can often be code for ‘terrible Jewish people secretly running the world’ once you wander down that particular path.  Though Icke is on record as saying that he didn’t mean Jews at all, he actually meant lizard people, which is naturally a far more plausible possibility which we should all have realised from the start.  So I do wonder if that’s informing the banking stuff.  But having said that, taken on face value, their ideas about banking reform and regulation don’t seem unreasonable.

The trouble is, the policies swing between rational and reasonable and deeply bizarre, verging on the unhinged.  So I’d be reluctant to vote for the CEC, because you just don’t know which of these options you’d get.

Having said that, they are better than the remarkable array of gun-toting racists who are currently adorning the foot of my ballot, and also less horrifying than the other conspiracy-theory-led party currently running for the Senate, so while they are likely to be in the bottom third of my ballot, they might be at the top of that bottom third.

Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively

Look, it’s hard to come up with a Eurovision song that truly reflects the madness that is the CEC.  But I feel that this song from Montenegro does at least provide a glimmer of a hint of what we are dealing with.  I mean, it has rapping astronauts, reflecting the CEC’s hope for an Australian space program, and just when you think you know what’s going on, a random girl in an alien outfit appears and starts belting out her own song on the stage.

And then, of course there are the lyrics.

I can no longer be paranoid,
it smells like a good party.

‘A good party’ might be taking it a little far, but it certainly smells like something.  The CEC’s fertiliser policy, perhaps?



  1. Andrew

    I… don’t think I’ve read about any party which caused me to spend more time gazing open-mouthed in a mix of horror and fascination at the screen while clutching my face than this one.

    Leaving aside the jaw-dropping concept of Prince Phillip’s supposed desire to be reincarnated as biological warfare (which is certainly a step up from the royal family as lizard people and worthy of a whole apocalyptic SF series in its own right)….

    I suppose you have to admire the sheer optimism of any government lasting long enough in the current political climate to carry out such a massive engineering project as an undersea tunnel to some indeterminate destination in Asia (it covers quite a large area and many countries, perhaps they could consider being just a tad more specific?). It’s rather more ambitious than the Channel tunnel, I don’t think they understand just how deep the ocean gets, and dear God just think how long it’s taking to build the infrastructure for Parkville Station, which is just outside of the Melbourne CBD!

    Of course, this completely ignores the problem that by the time they can complete this massive and hugely expensive project they’ll likely have turned the entire planet into a scorched desert wasteland interspersed with industrial hellscapes caused by the single-minded pursuit of the most polluting forms of energy generation they can think of, while actively discouraging the pursuit of solar power generation (which you would think would be even more abundant with the ozone layer stripped away, unless the planet is shrouded in toxic clouds). By the time I read about “replicating the same nuclear reaction which occurs in the sun” I began to think they’d just thrown up their hands, cried to hell with it, and decided to turn the whole planet into a sun in some sort of hostile takeover of the solar system.

    Oh and apparently they will be able to carry out these policies without any way negatively impacting farming and agriculture. Breathtaking.

    It’s almost endearing to follow this up with complaints about the kids with their video games and their movies and their pop music and they should should just get off our lawn! (Which should be easy once they’ve stripmined the Earth into horticultural oblivion and there’s no more grass.)

    • Catherine

      It’s true that these are very special people with a unique worldview. And thank God for that.

  2. Zahri

    Oh CEC. Never change.

    I find it encouraging that they still have some quintessentially AUSTRALIAN conspiracy theories among their LaRouche ramblings.

    Their grandiose planning is still there, I see. ABC factchecked the Bradfield Scheme recently and I finally managed to get my head around why it was ridiculous (basically, dumping large amounts of water inland is not going to change the climate much if at all, and diverting floodwaters is only going to destroy more ecosystems).

    I was also amused how cranky and grumpy the Culture and the Arts policy was. “Enjoy art! But not anything popular with the masses!”

    It does actually alarm me that they’ve bunnyhopped several parties in my estimation simply on the fact that I can’t see any indication they’re planning to increase the chance of deaths via looser gun regulations or antivax policies. (And what a world we’ve come to where “are you going to kill people” is my first test for the bottom of the ballot)

    • Catherine

      Their culture and art policy is hysterical. And yeah, it’s a bit scary, isn’t it? Just off the top of my head I can think of six parties on the Victorian ballot who will be going below them…

  3. Sue

    Thank-you so much for the laughter! I’ve been faithfully following your election reviews for three elections now and you make election research so much more enjoyable. And feasible frankly.

    • Catherine

      I’m so glad you enjoy these posts! Thank you for reading.

  4. Rose

    I think I’ve spent about 5 minutes staring at the section that says they’d recommend the greens and then darting back to your mention of mining and crude oil. I have loudly asked for clarification in the statement of “what the fuck” but the walls will not answer me.

    • Catherine

      Oh, I know, they are such strange units. Whenever I read their website I find myself really wondering about my own intelligence, because I read these long essays and they seem to follow some weird logical route that kind of feels like it should make sense in the moment, only the moment you stop reading It all falls apart. There was an article last time about how solar panels were genocide because of ants or something, and it still haunts me because I’m sure they were getting at something but I can’t imagine what. I mean, I doubt it made sense, but it would be nice to at least understand what they were *trying* to say…

      Re preferences, as far as I can see, their priority is Getting The Banks, and the Greens supported the Royal Commission, so they must be ok. Or something like that, but that’s the general scope of the argument.

      But I don’t recommend trying to understand their reasoning. It’s not healthy.

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