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Thread: Localised Failure of Liberal Democracy and Opposition to the Newport Mosque

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    Localised Failure of Liberal Democracy and Opposition to the Newport Mosque

    Newport is an inner western suburb of Melbourne, back in July of 2008, activists of Nationalist Alternative, were notified by several supporters who lived and/or are living in the area and had received leaflets, to become involved in the local campaign to make the Council more accountable in regards to its planning decisions, whether for a new concrete carpark, shopping mall or otherwise. As Nationalist Alternative are strong supporters of the idea of local people having a say regarding the future of their own community and in proposed developments, we decided to investigate further. The planning decision in question was :
    The building plans for a large mosque on Blenheim Road, Newport that could fit hundreds of people.
    (see artists impression of the mosque above).

    An organisation/s of concerned citizens had formed due to the noticeable negative impact this development will have on the surrounding area. With proposed prayer times ranging from 4:20 AM to 11:10 PM and the prospect of increased traffic, noise and competition for the limited number of car park spaces planned for the area, anyone, even politically correct liberal progressives can see the significant change such a building would bring.

    Nationalist Alternative attended meetings, donated funds towards hiring legal representation for the action group and spent evenings volunteering services for the resident activist groups, including distributing their leaflets, advertising their meetings, and collecting signatures and donations and providing moral support.

    NatAlt was able to build good relations with the group and with certain key members. As many of the residents are politically inexperienced and often don’t appreciate the deeper underlying issues, it was encouraging to hear people express their thoughts and show us that people are not apathetic and do have an awareness of changes occurring within their community.

    The council has a greater obligation to the community aside from ensuring that buildings meet zoning laws and construction requirements, but also in being sensitive to the needs of the community, the culture it has and the wishes of the residents as to the type of community they would like to live in. Developments must therefore take into account the impact they have on the culture, the way that these developments will alter the surrounding area and the suburb in terms of demographics and how such changes will impact on the lifestyle of residents.
    Outrageous but not surprising were alleged comments by a councillor, when it was put to him by a resident group member “have you read and reviewed our submissions to council opposing this development?” to which was answered “No”, but you are invited to come and help turn the sods of dirt on the building site with the local Islamic community”.
    So to residents, it was as if the decision had been made already and the council was just going through the motions. Unfortunately a few months later in 2008, the council voted to approve the development. Despite overwhelming resident dissatisfaction with the proposal, the council appeared committed to continuing the development, a fact not lost on the disaffected residents.

    In response to this, NatAlt chose to lend support to one resident from a action group who chose to be a candidate. NatAlt distributed a flyer advertising the councils decision and detailing how the council appeared committed to approving the mosque regardless of the residents wishes, or without any concern to how this would impact the area. Not only was the flyer one to inform residents, it was a call to kick the incumbents out and an endorsement of the community activist who was running for council.

    Despite the sensitivity of the issue and the propensity for people to be critical of community members who express concern over such developments, NatAlt recieved negligible opposition to our efforts. We will continue to play an active role in this issue and help represent the understated and often ignored wishes and concerns of the local community.

    Lessons for Nationalist Activists - Relevance and Flexibility

    Illustrating the relevance, particularly on a local level, of workingwith Australians on issues that are of importance to them and their dailyconcerns we note the following words of some nationalist activists onthe scene:

    “We participated in our own door knock down many streets close and far to the development and whilst most residents did not want to become directly active, nearly all to a tee asked us to dispense withdisclaimers and other information and just ask them “Mosque? Yes or No”, to which 9.5/10 answered a resounding NO.”

    We could have attended and simply hit the area with purely abstract political material,replete with esoteric political though straight out of a European think-tank and dressed in the black bloc look of our fellow nationalists in Europe from where we in Australia adapt the look. (and utilize for different ends as per other images on this site). However in light of the above, in this instance, Nationalist Alternative worked and dressed normally, both as non aligned residents attending meetings and leafleting on the issue along with local residents as well as in our own capacity. We supported and pushed the demand that council consider more closely and with greater sensitivity the needs of the residents, planning AND Cultural impacts and not blindly push forward developments (Of any nature mosque or carpark or shopping centre megaplex) that will have a negative impact on the community.

    Residents have the right to make their voices heard, demand more accountability from indifferent and often major party dominated councils and to have the opportunity to exercise our democratic right to influence the development of our suburbs. Our people demand and require a greater input on the future of our own community, both locally and as the Australian nation.

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    Voter's rights in Oz

    Hello Todesengel
    People have begun to demonstrate in Sydney, protesting about the "death of democracy" in NSW under the current government.
    They (we voters) are engaging local celebs to rattle the chain because submissions against any development, no matter how strong the case, fall on profoundly deaf ears.
    Apologies for the post being brief. I'm new at this and am just feeling my way around.

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