On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend The Illawong Progress Association Meeting. My purpose for going was to learn about local concerns. Even though the issues raised may not be Federal, it is important to find out what communities value and to gain a greater understanding of local pressures.
I was delighted when I arrived to see two supporters wearing "Linda Seymour" T-shirts. Thank you ladies, you made my night!
It was uplifting to hear the community speak of their gratitude to retired Councillor Steve Simpson who spent 27 years on Council. They spoke of his active involvement and his regular attendance at meetings. It is refreshing to hear representatives spoken of in such high regard.
And then to my surprise, Craig Kelly, our current MP, turned up to make a presentation.
This is not the first time I have met with Craig Kelly, I met him with Anneliese Alexander back in 2020 to discuss "The Million Jobs Plan". The Million Jobs Plan demonstrates the enormous employment and economic potential of investing in clean, low-carbon technologies. I also asked him why he posted such outrageous things on Facebook, he told me then if he simply posted Liberal Party talking points, no one would engage. However much I may disagree with Mr Kelly on pretty much everything, I appreciated that he took the time to talk with me.
So here I was again on a rainy Wednesday night in March watching and listening to Craig Kelly. He was at the Progress Association meeting to explain why he decided to quit the Liberal Party, become an independent and then join with Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.
The following report is from Liz who also attended the meeting.
It’s not often you have the opportunity to sit in the front row of a local community meeting and listen to Craig Kelly. Despite the torrential rain that has blanketed Sydney, I joined with Linda Seymour and many other concerned community members in the Illawong Community Centre on Tuesday, 1 March 2022 to hear him speak.
The event provided Linda and many community members the opportunity to ask Kelly about his recent defection to the United Australia Party, his intention to run as a UAP candidate for Hughes, his stance on vaccines and the COVID response, and after a question from Linda, his views on the Cashless Welfare card. He certainly took the opportunity to once again share disinformation and to confirm his intention to run in Hughes as a member of the UAP.
Kelly initially spoke about his reason for leaving the Liberal Party, as he sought to justify his opportunism for joining Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. He explained that after approaching many individuals and parties, including One Nation, he decided to go with Clive Palmer and the UAP because they had the money and resources to back him. He said, “You’ve got to fight if you believe that there are violations of human rights, you’ve got to fight and you have to stand up for them.” He maintained that human rights violations have been going on for the last two years.
He then spoke about his well-known and discredited views on the value of the drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid. He maintained that he is highly knowledgeable on this issue having "spoken to more doctors than any other representatives in parliament".
He also claimed that because he has been sharing his views, he has been banned from not only the ABC, but also from Sky News. However, no evidence could be found on either the ABC or Sky News websites indicating that he had been officially banned. Perhaps the two broadcasters no longer wish to interview him because he is no longer newsworthy? Furthermore, his medical views have been widely discredited and the Therapeutic Goods Administration have put restrictions on ivermectin only allowing it for scabies and certain parasitic infections.
The most important issue on the night was Craig Kelly's response to COVID vaccinations. Linda Seymour questioned Kelly, 'Did he think the majority of the members of Hughes supported his stand?' She then asked, 'Had he considered consulting with the Hughes electorate about his vaccination stance since 95% of Hughes were vaccinated which would seem to indicate that the Hughes community-supported vaccinations?'
Mr. Kelly was dismissive of Linda’s question, becoming increasingly agitated, raising his voice and speaking over the top of her. Linda remained polite but the raised voice made it extremely difficult for her to respond.
During general business, Linda asked a question about Kelly’s views on Cashless Welfare Cards. He justified their use and the Government’s introduction of them.
Linda then stated 'that curtailing people’s freedoms was at odds with his earlier stance of fighting for freedoms.' Mr Kelly ultimately conceded that the Cashless Welfare cards did pose problems with freedom, then he mentioned balance. He did not appear to see the irony in his response.
Mr. Kelly did not mention climate issues at all. Hopefully, these questions can be raised at the next “Meet the Candidates,” meeting in May.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Kelly posed for a photo with Linda where she confidently introduced herself as his nemesis. Clearly, an ability to genuinely talk with anyone, no matter their views, is a skill that Linda possesses, I don't know how she does it?
The Leader has written an article on our account with Craig Kelly. In his response Mr Kelly claims
"I note that Ms Seymour brought along with her two volunteers to this meeting, whose sole purpose for being there appeared to be to heckle and try to disrupt my answers to genuine questions from local residents," he said The two supporters were very respectful ladies in their 80s, who sat quietly throughout. I was also polite in my questioning. You can read the article here https://www.theleader.com.au/story/7649971/goodwill-in-hughes-short-lived/