Topic: big media
We spotted distance runner Pat Farmer MP on the tv news 2 weeks out from the Federal election November 24th 2007. He was in support of his local constituents against an 'overdevelopment' religious school in his area of Camden. There is similar coverage here on ABC quality AM news show 6th November 08.
MICHAEL EDWARDS: Listening to this was Pat Farmer, the federal Liberal member for the seat of Macarthur.
Pat Farmer told the ABC he can understand local frustration with the planning process.
PAT FARMER: Well, I think there is suspicion right across the board towards local council decisions and also state government decisions as far as any building applications are concerned, and those fears are often founded because people want to play a role in what goes on in their backyard, and I've said this on numerous occasions. They want to know exactly what's happened.
Back then in early November 2007 Pat was right there with the locals at their rallies showing his solidarity.
Then the racist leaflet scandal in the last week before the vote happened in nearby Penrith in the seat of Lindsay
ABOVE: A fake election flyer purporting to be from an Islamic group calling on people to vote Labor. (AAP)
The leaflet caused a meltdown in the Liberal Party election campaign in the last several days and surely damaged their vote in a bruising loss.
Indeed by Jan 13th 2008 the Lindsay candidate was said to be well and truly washed up:
Suddenly it wasn't too cool or wise to be seen to be potentially dog whistling or pandering to bigots in a populist protest against a problematic school proposal with ethnic tensions getting to boiling point. The accusation of racist hijacks and consequent anger of respectable institutions at such intolerance was coming through
About the same time mid Jan 2008 we now read a bevy of stories about Pat Farmer effectively quarrantining himself away from his electorate of Macarthur, away from the random interactions that every MP has with local constituents including presumably intolerant local bigots who are supporters of their Liberal Party federal MP direct or indirect:
Farmer's 'silvertail move' irks Libs | The Australian 15th Jan 2008
Yet all the big media are covering the relocation of Pat Farmer's domicile to far off "silvertail" suburb of Mosman as if it's merely about snobbery and lack of loyalty to his electorate of MacCarthur. Only trouble is Pat Farmer doesn't present that way. There's nothing too snobbish about long distance running either. Pretty humbling would be my guess.
Far more likely the reason for Pat Farmer's new domicile is he knows there's a dead cat of virulent racism over the Islamic School planned in the area and he has form trawling that agenda for votes, and now he needs to run a million miles from the issue and scrutiny, and his own supporters too as needs be. Because there is one thing worse than being labelled a toff and a silvertail and that is a redneck racist in a losing general election bid.
And Mosman is close proximity to a famous hard right man who got in trouble with One Nation 10 years ago and who might provide some comfort to Pat:
So where does doughty Pat Farmer stand on the Islamic School in Camden today, and does he regret attending and supporting the rabid populist protest meeting prior to the Federal Election. Especially given the kind of ultra right wing and even dangerous company he finds himself with on the issue:
Regrets? Pat's got a few, we imagine. But maybe he should take heart. He's not the only one who seems to have been indulging some populist redefining of the meaning of "planning issues" that side of the federal election: