A Sydney division of the Liberal Party will debate whether Australia should end all immigration and ban all refugees, after an incendiary motion was put forward calling migrants “criminals” and “bastards”.
The president of the Carlingford branch, George Popowski, will use a party conference on Thursday to call on the Turnbull government to halt “all immigration and refugee intakes” until an investigation can establish the “risks and benefits” for Australia.
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In a rambling preamble attached to the motion, Mr Popowski accused migrants of a litany of sins including forging documents, faking degrees, rorting the visa system, slacking on welfare and also taking jobs from locals.
“The last thing we need is foreign workers. Get the bastards who are here, off their back-sides! 80% of all new arrivals are on benefits – some for over 10 years!” he wrote. “Simple: compulsory work for the dole – plus, prison for all the crooked quacks who’ve signed them up for the DSP!”
The motion calls for all immigration to Australia to be halted pending an investigation.
Mr Popowski, a hard-right factional ally of colourful Parramatta division secretary Charles Camenzuli, also invoked the anti-immigrant rhetoric of US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Who wants criminals? As THE Donald said: ‘We don’t know who these people are!’ And we don’t! Today, when they can forge $100 notes, any documents can be bought,” he wrote. “Also, all the jihadists here! Surely, this crap must stop! Shut the door NOW! Do we NEED these people????
Mr Popowski runs a fan and blower manufacturing business, Lisbon Engineering, based in St Mary’s in Sydney’s west. He told Fairfax Media his motion represented “what everybody’s thinking” but declined to elaborate for fear of breaking party rules about speaking to journalists.
An Essential Research poll released in September found 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration, including 60 per cent of Coalition voters, 40 per cent of Labor voters and 34 per cent of Greens voters.
The most common reasons for wanting a ban were fears over terrorism, and a belief that Muslim migrants do not integrate into society nor share Australian values. The poll was first conducted in early August and then repeated to ensure it was not a rogue.
Australia accepted 168,183 migrants in 2014-15, as well as 13,756 refugees under the country’s special humanitarian assistance program.
The Parramatta division is a hotbed for the Liberal Party’s hard-right rump, and Mr Camenzuli’s activities have regularly made headlines. In August, he was involved in a scuffle at the Coolibah Hotel with Dundas branch president John Chedid, who had defected to the state’s dominant moderate faction.
Mr Camenzuli almost won the federal seat of Parramatta in 2010 but lost to Labor’s Julie Owens. A prominent local Liberal Party member described him as from the “very, very hard-right and if you don’t see it his way he will go out of his way to bring you down”. Mr Camenzuli declined to comment.
The sitting state MP for Parramatta, Geoff Lee, is of Chinese descent. He told Fairfax Media he had seen the motion but would not discuss it publicly.
“We shouldn’t stifle debate. Let everybody have their voice,” he said. “The Liberal Party is a broad church. Rest assured there would not be a bigger advocate for multiculturalism than myself.”
Mr Lee said he did not know whether the motion would ultimately be successful. “It depends on who turns up for the meeting I guess,” he said.
The conference, to be attended by up to 400 division members, will be held on Thursday night at the Parramatta RSL.