AN organised Australian Conservatives party is canvassing regional Victoria ahead of the federal election, seeking to cut down the Greens’ opportunities in the Senate.
But if you are expecting to see the face of candidate Kevin Bailey on billboards, think again.
The party has created a social network app through which it hopes to recruit a grass roots base to do its campaigning.
It rewards users’ efforts by elevating their status, from intern, to supporter, to activist, to organiser.
Supporters are identified in the first place using an algorithm that shows whether they are likely to vote conservative.
The party believes regular church-going correlates with voting preferences.
The more points campaigners score by passing on posts or liking the Conservatives’ social media, the more information they can access, even the addresses of locals most likely to vote for them making them available to door knock.
Raising the profile of Senator Cory Bernardi’s young political party, Mr Bailey has toured regional Victoria in the past weeks meeting with members, and he will tour the region again in February in the lead up to the election being called.
He predicts he will need to raise and spend $1 million to win a Senate seat representing Victoria.
He will need a quota of 14.3 per cent of first preference votes.
Mr Bailey won considerable media time when he ran for the Conservatives in the lower house seat of Batman, coming third.
His preferences helped elect Labor’s Gedd Kearney over Greens’ candidate Alex Bhathal, and he is unrepentant despite his disdain for what he sees as Labor’s role in promoting political correctness.
“It should be about diversity of opinion, not diversity of skin colour or sexual orientation,” Mr Bailey said about what he regards as a gagging by the cultural elite of right-wing views.
“At the moment, the official view is the state-sponsored view, and the cultural elite had taken control of the government, the media, and schools.”
The Liberal party had abandoned conservative voters, Mr Bailey said, but the Conservatives were seeking to become the third political force in Australia, killing off the Greens in the process.
With six of nine Greens’ senators up for election next year, Mr Bailey is confident about the party’s chances.
His resume, including at different times a former member of the SAS, a self-made financial services businessman and a consul general in the newly independent East Timor government, suggests he likes a challenge.
– Sharon Kemp