Australian Citizens Party

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Australian Citizens Party
AbbreviationACP, Citizens Party
National LeaderCraig Isherwood
National ChairmanAnn Lawler
  • Craig Isherwood
  • Maurice Hetherington
Founded1988; 35 years ago (1988)[1]
HeadquartersCoburg, Victoria, Australia
NewspaperThe New Citizen
Political positionRight-wing to far-right[2] (With Some Centre-Left Economic Policies[3])
International affiliationLaRouche movement
Colours  Green-Brown
House of Representatives
0 / 151
0 / 76

The Australian Citizens Party (ACP), formerly the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia (CEC), is a minor[4][5][6] political party in Australia affiliated with the international LaRouche Movement which was led by American political activist and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche.

The party has pushed conspiracy theories, including that international action on climate change and indigenous land rights are part of a conscious fraud masterminded by Prince Philip, as part of the British Royal Family’s scheme to depopulate the planet.[7][8] It ‘believes Prince Philip is trying to break up nation-states through the World Wide Fund for Nature and is involved in a "racist plot to splinter Australia"’.[9]

Founded in 1988, the party has been led by Craig Isherwood ever since.[10]


The original CEC was established in 1988 by residents of the Kingaroy region of Queensland.[citation needed] CEC candidate Trevor Perrett won the 1988 Barambah state by-election in Queensland, after former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen resigned from State Parliament in 1987. However, Perrett switched to the National Party in December 1988.[11] Members of the Australian League of Rights, an extreme right-wing group led by Eric Butler, tried unsuccessfully to take over the new party.[12] Its purpose was to lobby for binding voter-initiated referendums.[13][14]

By 1989, the CEC leadership was under the influence of the Lyndon LaRouche movement.[12] By 1992, the CEC identified itself as the Australian branch of the broad international LaRouche movement. National Secretary Craig Isherwood moved the headquarters from rural Queensland to a Melbourne suburb, with direct communications links to LaRouche's US headquarters established.[13]

In 1996, then-Liberal Party MP Ken Aldred, was disendorsed by the Liberal Party after using parliamentary privilege to make allegations of involvement in espionage and drug trafficking against a prominent Jewish lawyer and a senior foreign affairs official, using documents that were later found to be forged, supplied to him by the CEC.[15][12][16]

In 2004, the CEC received the largest contribution of any political party, $862,000 from a central Queensland cattle farmer and former CEC candidate named Ray Gillham.[17][18] The party collected $2.3 million in donations in 2020-21.[19] The party’s leader is National Secretary and National Treasurer Craig Isherwood of Melbourne, who has been an election candidate for the party numerous times.


The ACP has lobbied for "the establishment of a National Bank and State Banks to provide loans at 2% or less to agriculture (family farms), industry and for infrastructure development", launching a petition in 2002 to drive support with a full page advertisement in The Australian newspaper.[20] In early 2008 the CEC started campaigning for a "Bank Homeowners Protection Bill of 2008", calling for legislation in the spirit of the Australian moratorium laws enacted in the 1920s and 1930s.[21]

The party follows the LaRouche line of climate change denial towards the theory of anthropogenic global warming, referring to fears of global warming as "Hitler-Nazi race science".[22] The party espouses the claim that the Port Arthur massacre, in which Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and injured 37 others, was instigated by mental health institute the Tavistock Institute on the orders of the royal family,[23] and that the Australian Liberal Party was founded by pro-Hitler fascists.[24]

The CEC's policies have included introducing a national Glass-Steagall Act to "break up the banks", establishing a national bank, introducing a moratorium on home & farm foreclosures, constructing high speed rail and the Bradfield Scheme, joining China's Belt and Road Initiative, shutting down Pine Gap and opposing the existence of climate change among others.[25]


The Anti-Defamation Commission of the Australian branch of B'nai B'rith (an international Jewish organisation) has published a Briefing Paper with details of the CEC's alleged antisemitic, anti-gay, anti-Aboriginal and racist underpinnings. The document cites CEC publications and quotes former CEC members.[12] The CEC in turn has published a response to the ADC's accusations and described the ADC "as a front for Queen Elizabeth's Privy Council, the ruling body of the British Commonwealth".[26] This allegation, that there is a link between the ADC and the alleged power of the Privy Council, has been attributed[by whom?] to the fact that Sir Zelman Cowen, a former Governor-General of Australia and a member of the Privy Council, was a member of the ADC's board of advisors.[citation needed]

Former members of the CEC and families of current members have accused the group of "brainwashing" members and engaging in campaigns involving "dirty tricks".[27] For example, former CEC staffer Donald Veitch has claimed that new recruits undergo "deprogramming sessions" and that recruits are probed for sexual peccadilloes. Veitch has stated: "The mind control operations commenced by Lyndon LaRouche in the USA in the mid-1970s are still being practised today within his movement in Australia".[28]

The Australian Citizens Party engages in climate change denial.[29]

Electoral results[edit]

CEC members demonstrate outside an election meeting organised by the Australian Jewish News in Melbourne, September 2004. Aaron Isherwood (second from right) was the CEC candidate in the seat of Melbourne Ports at the 2004 federal election.

Despite running in "almost every election of the past two decades", in no election has the CEC ever garnered more than 2% of the vote.[30]

At the 2007 federal election, the CEC's previous form continued. Its first preference votes in the lower house was 27,879 (0.22%), and 8,677 (0.07%) in the upper house, both results were 0.14% down from 2004.[31]

At the 2016 federal election, CEC fielded senate candidates in every state and the Northern Territory and seven candidates for seats in the House of Representatives.[32] Nationally, the party received 5,175 votes (0.04%) in the lower house and 9,850 votes (0.07%) in the upper house.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Citizens Electoral Council of Australia's Submission to the Parliament of Victoria's Electoral Matters Committee" (PDF). Parliament of Victoria. 14 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Fringe party making more than $2m from small donors". Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  3. ^ "Our Policies". Citizens Electoral Council. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  4. ^ The LaRouche Cult: The Citizens Electoral Council (PDF) (PDF), B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc., 2001
  5. ^ "AJN | Latest Nicotine News". Archived from the original on 3 October 2007.
  6. ^ "Fascist Australia". The Age. Melbourne. 24 August 2004. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Monckton's Melbourne meeting: A gathering of men in Richie Benaud blazers". 4 February 2010.
  8. ^ Aboriginal "land rights": Prince Philip's racist plot to splinter Australia. Citizens Electoral Council of Australia. 1997.
  9. ^ "Right-wing groups making their mark". 9 February 2001.
  10. ^ "Laughing all the way to the postal bank: The LaRouchites in the 2022 Election". 17 May 2022.
  11. ^ "2006 Queensland Election. Nanango Electorate Profile. Australian Broadcasting Corp". ABC. 7 September 2006. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d The LaRouche Cult: The Citizens Electoral Council (PDF), B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc., 2001
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Eric Butler; Jeremy Lee; Betty Luks; James Reed. "OnTarget Vol.31 – No.34". ALOR. Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  15. ^ Antisemitic claims in parliament (including HANSARD transcript):
  16. ^ [1] Archived 3 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Fed: Latham gone but the money flowed to ALP, AAP General News Wire. Sydney: 1 February 2005. pg. 1
  18. ^ "Ex-defence chief shies from 'cult' petition" By Martin Daly The Age 16 June 2004
  19. ^ "Election 2022: Minor parties running for the Victorian Senate".
  20. ^ "Community leaders launch bid for new national bank". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 September 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Bank Homeowners Protection Bill in the news". 9 October 2008. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  22. ^ Sterling, Bruce. "Australian coal junketeers blow the genocide whistle". Wired. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  23. ^ Sweetman, Terry (8 June 2001). "Dark side of the loons". Courier Mail.
  24. ^ Green, Jonathan (20 May 2004). "Workers of the world, take fright". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  25. ^ "Our Policies". Citizens Electoral Council. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  26. ^ "LaRouche's Record on Fighting Racism". Citizens Electoral Council of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  27. ^ Families fight back, Martin Daly, The Age, 30 January 1996; Dark side of the loons, Terry Sweetman, Courier Mail, 8 June 2001; Parents say candidate brainwashed, Adam Cooper, Australian Associated Press, 19 June 2001; and Jana Wendt (3 October 2004). "On the fringe". nineMSN. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  28. ^ Veitch, Don, Beyond Common Sense – Psycho-Politics in Australia, 1996
  29. ^ "Climate Change | Australian Citizens Party".
  30. ^ "Sex, socialism and shooting lead the charge in microparty race". Sydney Morning Heralddate=20 August 2010. 20 August 2010. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  31. ^ "First Preferences by Party". Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  32. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 11 June 2016. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  33. ^ First Preferences by Party – National Archived 19 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, AEC

External links[edit]