Charles Smith is a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council, representing One Nation in the East Metropolitan Region since the 2017 election. Charles became a Platinum Sponsor of the UWA Politics Club in 2018, and kindly agreed to sit down with committee member Tyler Walsh for an interview this July.
The third and final part of this interview focuses on Charles’ views on current affairs and contemporary issues.
As a sponsor of the UWA Politics Club, do you think that more young people should take an interest in politics and be aware of issues affecting Australia and the wider world?
I think it’s becoming increasingly important in the modern world for everyone to take not of how things work. That means understanding and increasing knowledge in politics, how governments function, or rather, how they don’t function, and what we can do to try to make a difference.
I think it’s increasingly important that there seems to be an increasing polarization of views, whether you are on the left side of politics or the right side of politics. That’s becoming increasingly apparent through these so-called ‘culture wars’ that is raging on the online world between left and right.
The people, I think, are slowly coming to the conclusion that they have to make up their mind where they sit on various issues. So I think younger people are increasingly becoming more political, and that’s a good thing to see.
It was reported recently that Australia will reach a population of 25 million people this year. What effect do you think that will have on the future?
In Perth, there’s this report saying we’re going to be at 3.5 million in around 18 years or something like that. Obviously that’s doubling our size in a very short time, and you have to ask the question “Are we prepared for it?”
I think the answer, pretty much, is no. We’re struggling now with around 2 million people, to have the appropriate infrastructure in place, the housing in place, the schooling in place, the prisons in place. Already the schools are jam-packed, the roads are congested, the health service is under strain.
We just have not been planning, they’re okay to go for what we have now. We’re aware of what’s going to happen in the future, and we’re still not doing anything. It just seems that successive governments continue to just kick the can down the road for someone else to deal with, rather than taking action now for the future. I think that’s where major politics falls flat on its face: there’s no decent long-term planning, it’s all short-termism based around the election cycles.
This continual kicking the can down the road is just a recipe for failure. At least people like me are saying “Hang on,” in parliament, asking the minister “Do you have any plans for the next 30 years?” And the answer is no, or they refuse to answer me.
So, that’s where we need to manage population control or a population policy, because you’re aware of the huge immigration we have in Australia. 290,000 people a year, where are they going? Where are the jobs for these people? Wages have been declining in real terms for years, and we’re still importing people to compete for these low wages – it just makes no sense.
Do you think Australia should introduce national service for young people?
Well, look, I think it’s very interesting over in France, Macron has recently been trying to introduce a level of national service. I think he’s talking about three months as part of the leaving school period. So you leave school, do a few months’ national service, and then you go off.
On some levels, national service is quite attractive in terms of creating social cohesion in national identity, in the face of this sort of open borders, globalisation environment we find ourselves in. I think people still want to belong to something, something that binds people together despite who you are, where you come from.
We’re all in Australia, we’re all Australians. We need to have that national identity of who we are. And I think things like national service or community service can help do that. And that’s why I think government should maybe look down that road as well. I think there’s lots of social dislocation that’s going on, individualism, I think they’re going down the wrong paths. They need more cohesion between everyone and communities, and that will help stop crime, anti-social behaviour, and so on.
We spoke earlier about war memorials being vandalised, and obviously we should pay our respects to past veterans who have defended our country. Do you have thoughts on people who turn that into their own political agenda, arguing for “peace, not war”?
I think we need to be respectful for all of those, what we call the glorious dead, and what they’ve done and volunteered to do. They weren’t forced to go to war, they volunteered to lay their lives down for our political ideal of freedom, and the freedom to do whatever you please in life, within reason, and follow your dreams without having any overriding state control over you.
I think that’s something we sometimes forget. I think the fact that we haven’t experienced any hardship for many, many years makes people forgetful of what’s happened before. And you know, it can happen again. Who knows? There was real hardship, rationing, can you think of living with rationing now? How would people cope?
You made a video on the ABC which has made its way to the One Nation Supporters group on Facebook and Reclaim Australia, I think, as well, where you say the ABC is promoting communism and it’s biased. What are your thoughts on the future of the ABC?
I think the ABC has potential to do great things, in terms of providing a public service, be that education or entertainment. I think that the role of a public broadcaster should be educating people about Australia, about the world, and in its political reporting, obviously the ABC is perceived by many, me included, as being quite biased to the left side of politics and giving extra coverage to issues it wants to, if you like, ‘go in to bat for’ and giving identities on the right a really hard time when they come in to be interviewed about these subjects.
So I think it’s quite a common perception that it is a biased news network. I think the government has to look at their charter and make sure they have bipartisan reporting that is balanced and looks at both sides of arguments, rather than this quite clear bias towards the left side of politics. And I think that’s unfair in the way it reports stories because it, if you like, tries to unduly influence its viewers into thinking what it’s reporting is fact rather than opinion and that’s where we have the trouble. So we need to stick to facts of stories, rather than opinions of journalists, which is the great issue with the ABC.
If we look at the ABC ME page, which is targeted towards young people, teenagers, children, they have the ‘Privilege Bridge’ video, for example, which is an opinion piece.
I think all that nonsense has to go. I think we need to get back to the traditional role of the ABC, as I’ve stated: documentaries, classical music, news, unbiased stuff.
Why do you say classical music?
Because, you know, I like to think of classical music and documentaries as traditional Western civilisation areas, that we should be reminding ourselves of where have come from today. Australia was built upon British settlement, British values, British law, common law values. And that’s where that springs from. Although we are rapidly changing, which is all good.
Is freedom of speech dying in Australia and in the West?
A lot of commentators would say yes, it is. There’s a recent book out by Dr. Kevin Donnelly whose book is called How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia, and its his view that freedom of speech is under attack in a way that if anybody expresses an opinion which diverges from the so-called mainstream, they’re then jumped upon and harassed and insulted by streams of people, mostly online and in the mainstream media, and intimidated into either retracting what they’ve said or apologising for what they’ve said, or just being scared away.
And I think this is an attack of sorts on freedom of speech. I think anyone, no matter who you are, should be free to say whatever the hell you like and not be expected to be completely abused for your opinion. Everyone has an opinion, it’s neither right or wrong. It’s only how the people perceive it.
I think the frightening thing is the so-called left are becoming increasingly violent, in terms of not only what they post online, but also physically, like these protests against right-wing speakers. They’ll come and protest and harass people and shout nasty things at people, I mean there’s no need for it. It’s just completely uncivilised. I think that’s the danger that the left pose, is civil society slowly being eroded away, and that’s something that people like me want to stop.
If we were to maintain freedom of speech, should those protestors still have a right to protest?
Of course they can, yeah. But they need to stop being violent, because of the breaking laws in assaulting people and all that kind of thing. You can gather and chant whatever you want. When it starts getting nasty and nothing is done about it, and the police are called and they don’t particularly deal with those violent protestors particularly efficiently, then they bill the speakers for that. I think that’s wrong.