This election has been a bit of a disappointment for everyone. Instead of a grand battle of policy and ideals, we’ve had two old men nobody likes tussling to be the very slightly lesser evil. The popularity of both parties is abysmal, and in the absence of anything real to offer, they’ve spent the election scrambling for whatever advantage they can get, no matter how cheap or contradictory to their supposed principles. Rudd’s become Globocop, stopper of boats, while Abbott’s been playing the role of feminist-in-residence. Frankly, that doesn’t work for anyone.
And if the major parties are desperate, imagine how desperate the minor parties must be.
But there’s desperate, and then there’s Desperate Enough To Accept Hitler As A Volunteer. I decided to find out who, if anyone, fit into the latter category. My challenge was simple: find a party so desperate for volunteers that they’d accept someone as repugnant as Adolf Hitler as a volunteer.
Since not being Hitler is one of my most defining characteristics, step one was to create someone who was. Now, obviously the name Adolf Hitler comes with something of a stigma. Even the parties that secretly idolise him wouldn’t be stupid enough to accept his overt support. But I needed a name that felt similar. Ideally, one with the same initials. That way, if Adolf Hitler and my new personality ever became friends, they’d be able to exchange bathrobes without changing the monograms. After briefly considering ‘Adam Hitler,’ I decided to go with Adam Hunter. I promptly registered the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. As I understand it, 1000 is the optimal number of years for a Reich.
Step two was to email every political party registered with the Australian Electoral Commission. This year, there are fifty four. The email I sent went like this:
Hi, my name is Adam Hunter, and I would like to volunteer.
I am an aspiring architect and artist, but also a very good public speaker, and I would love to offer the (insert party name here) full use of my unique talents. I am also happy to be of service in any other way.
We both know that whether it’s foreigners flooding our streets, homosexuals trying to get married, or the Jews quietly taking over the banks and the media, Australia is on a disgusting path to destruction. Australia should be for Australians, not foreigners and perverts. You are the only party brave enough to save Australia from the coloured people, the homosexuals and the Jews, and I believe that work makes you free. That’s why I want to work hard to help the (insert party name here) win this election in any way I can.
Sincerely, Adam Hunter.
Hours passed, and I began to worry that I’d gone too far. Surely no rational person, let alone a representative of a registered political party in Australia in 2013, would possibly consider accepting the help of such a hateful bigot. What if nobody replied? I had taken almost seven hours to send all those emails, and less than half of that was spent watching cat videos.
And then the Labor Party replied with this:
Hi Adam –
Thanks for signing up to help win this election. It’d be great if you could let us know what sort of things you’d like to do.
Just click here and fill out a few detailsand someone from my team will be in touch soon.
P.S. if you’ve got a friend who might like to help too, could you send them this email?
I’d done it! Sure, it was obviously automated, but I’d discovered that the Labor Party, the actual government, was using anti-Semitic software to reply to their emails. I was Bob Woodward. This was my Watergate!
Then Adam got another email, this time from the Australian Democrats. It went like this:
Thanks for the offer.
Please contact Darren Churchill on 0412 *** ***
Sure, it was brief, but it didn’t feel automated. Were the Australian Democrats secretly Nazis? Shortly after, it was followed up with a second email from a different address.
Is this bloke serious!? Hahaha, love the palm to Darren!
So enthralled had Darren been by Adam’s bold vision, he had obviously forwarded Adam’s email on to his mate Paul, who had accidentally hit ‘reply to all’. Proof the Australian Democrats had read Adam’s email, and accepted his offer. The Australian Democrats were secretly Nazis!
Then the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party sent Adam this:
Thank you for stepping up with your offer to become involved.
These are exciting times for the Motoring Enthusiast Community as we move to preserve our culture for future generations.
We will be in contact soon to further discuss how you can help.
The Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party needed Adam’s help to preserve their culture for future generations. Apparently not just a culture of being enthusiastic about cars, but a culture of racism, homophobia and antisemitism!
After that, the emails just kept coming. Adam received enthusiastic replies from the Drug Law Reform Party, the Nationals, the Rise Up Australia Party, the Australian Voice Party, the Country Alliance Party, the Australian Protectionist Party, Katter’s Australian Party and of course, One Nation. It seemed like everyone wanted a slice of Adam Hunter’s Nazi pie.
Well, almost everyone. The Australia First Party website was so badly made it had repeatedly asked Adam for login details just to see their email address, so he never actually managed to apply to the closest thing Australia has to a real Nazi Party. And according to three failed email attempts, the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party’s email address doesn’t actually exist. The Bank Reform Party hadn’t even offered an email address, but they did have a fax number. Unfortunately, just like everyone in 2013, Adam didn’t have a fax machine. The only email address Adam had been able to find on the Uniting Australia Party’s website was the web designer’s. Naturally Adam had asked him to pass on his offer, but he never heard back. Adam never heard from Nick Xenophon either, despite the frankly needy and inexplicably black and white photo of him that pops up all over his website to tell visitors how much he needs their help, at one point actually obscuring the send button on the volunteer form.
A lot of parties just didn’t reply, including the Greens, even after creating a volunteer form so robust that Adam could pick the options of attending rallies and offering his services as an artist. The Stop Coal Seam Gas Party said they’d be in touch shortly to tell Adam how he could help, but then he never heard from them again. There were a few outright rejections, too. The Democratic Labour Party not only rejected Adam, they chastised him for his views. But at least they spelled ‘labour’ correctly. Jordan Rastrick from the Future Party sent Adam this:
Thanks for your interest in the Future Party. Unfortunately as it happens gay jewish black dudesare pretty much our favourite kind of dudes.
The fact that you missed the pro-foreigner, pro-migration, pro-homosexuality, and pro-capitalism planks of our platform before approaching us suggests you perhaps lack experience in the political arena. Have you considered pursuing an alternate career path that might provide more practical skills for an aspiring politician? In Australia typically people seem to have a background in journalismor as legal practitioners.
And Brendan Malloy of the Pirate Party sent Adam this:
I think you might have confused us with the WikiLeaks Party. They’re the
ones preferencing the fascists, not us.
They were referring to the questionable preference deals Wikileaks had made with, amongst others, the Australia First Party, a white supremacist party founded by an alleged former neo nazi. Had Adam finally found his home? Since the Wikileaks Party still hadn’t replied to his initial email, Adam sent them a copy of the Pirate Party’s email along with a second short message. He was confused, after the Pirate Party had so helpfully directed him towards Wikileaks, why hadn’t they accepted his offer? This time he got a reply:
We apologise for the preferencing mix-up, and yes probably deserve this and will do our best to make amends.
thankyou for holding us to account
Preferencing mix-up? If they couldn’t stand up for their own official support of white supremacist parties, then maybe they weren’t the party for Adam after all.
Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party sent Adam this:
Thank you so much for showing your interest and willingness to help Christian Democratic Party.
I have forwarded your email to our State Manager. Coordinator will be in touch in soon.
But then, half an hour later, they followed up with this:
We have received your email to head office. Upon review, we do not believe that your views are consistent with the values of the CDP. Thank you for the offer to assist, however we will not need your assistance.
Obviously it was a bit disappointing, but they had given Adam the actual blessing of their god, God. Maybe Adam still had a chance.
I’m very sorry to hear that, and a little confused.
Your Fuhrer, Fred Nile, has always been a personal hero of mine. He has always rightfully identified homosexuality as an “immoral,” “unnatural” and “abnormal” lifestyle choice. Like me, he has tried multiple times to ban the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which he accurately identified as a “public parade of immorality and blasphemy.” He has also tried to ban the Burka and Muslim immigrants. I only wished to help in his quest. I still hope he succeeds in banning ethics classes in schools. Children shouldn’t be taught to think for themselves, they should be taught to unquestioningly follow the ideology of those in power.
Please send my regards to your candidate for Lindsay, Andrew Green, who recently pointed out that if we stopped aborting babies we could cut down on immigration rates. That would mean a double win for Australia: More healthy, white Australians, and less coloured people. He is a true visionary, and I hope he has a bright future in your party.
If you change your mind, I am still very keen to help you spread our shared agenda.
Sincerely, Adam Hunter
They haven’t replied yet, but Adam’s sure they’ve just been busy.
Michael, from H.E.M.P (Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party,) was a little confused.
Adam, where did you read the hemp party would…”save Australia from the coloured people, the homosexuals and the Jews”? Michael
Adam did his best to explain.
I read it between the lines. The idea that in a world brimming with war, famine and the Semitic menace, grown adults would launch a genuine political party and dedicate all their time, money and effort solely to legalising a single plant is obviously absurd.
If you are unwilling to fight the menace that is the coloured, the homosexual and the Jew, then I trust together we can at least do something about the disabled and the gypsies.
Michael’s reply was concise.
I am not a hunter, Adam.
John Flanagan from the Non Custodial Parent Party had this to say:
Thank you very much for your email.
However I do not think that you are the right sort of person that we need.
But unlike the time he was rejected from art school, Adam wasn’t ready to give up.
I don’t understand. I am very passionate about the importance of parenthood. If it were up to me, every mother would be given a medal. Except in cases of interbreeding, obviously.
Sincerely, Adam Hunter
Unfortunately, even this wasn’t enough to sway John Flanagan.
Initially I thought that you were joking. I am now sorry to say that you are maybe the genuine thing. I find that your comments are absolutely disgusting. Unfortunately there is no room to move from there. Any further emails will not be answered.
That one left even Adam disheartened. Absolutely disgusting? He’d been lumped in with his mortal enemies. Adam might have been full of hate, but he had other feelings too. Maybe politics wasn’t for him after all.
Then Jamie van Burgel from the Australian Christians sent him this:
Thanks for your kind words. It is very much appreciated. I think we may have to keep you in mind for the next election (as a candidate….)
If you would like to help out for on election day organising a polling booth or simply handing out how to vote cards for a couple of hours please let me know.
All I would need to know is what polling booth you would like to volunteer for?
Thanks again and all the best,
Jamie van Burgel
As a candidate! Adam had only wanted to volunteer, now he was being head hunted by political parties. Maybe one day he could even be Prime Minister of an Australian Christian government!
The most baffling response Adam received was a phone call from Linda White, a volunteer for the Stop Coal Seam Gas Party, a left oriented environmentalist party. She wanted to know if Adam was still interested in volunteering.
Adam asked her if she had read his email. She hadn’t, so Adam read it to her, with particular emphasis on all the most hateful sentences. Linda replied that Adam’s sentiments were ‘lovely.’
Confused, Adam read her the email again. Again, Linda agreed with everything.
This time, Adam just read her the racist, homophobic parts. He asked her to clarify that she agreed with them. Linda said she couldn’t speak for the party, but those were certainly her personal beliefs.
Just to be sure, Adam read the email a fourth time. Still Linda White agreed with everything.
Adam asked for her name, and she gave it happily. Then I told her she was a disgusting human being. I couldn’t help myself.
Linda was genuinely confused. Why?
I clarified for a final time, as clearly as I could. “You think foreigners, homosexuals and Jews are a threat to Australia?”
“Yes,” replied Linda White. Then she hung up.
Could she have been doing what I was doing? Were other people infiltrating political parties as pretend Nazis? I could only hope so. Maybe one day Adam and Linda will get married.
As the days went by, Labor sent Adam more and more emails. He even got a personally automated email from Kevin Rudd! Adam was thrilled, but something seemed a bit weird to me. Despite two emails and registering through their official volunteer channels, Adam still hadn’t heard from the Liberal Party. Had Australia really reached a point where there were more Nazi sympathisers in the Labor Party than the Liberal Party? Or did the Liberals just read their emails before replying to them?
And then one night, in the middle of dinner, my phone started ringing. The number was blocked and my mouth was full. I nearly let it ring out, and then, on a whim, decided to swallow and answer. The voice on the other end asked for Adam.
For a moment I was confused. Adam? I don’t know any Adams. Then I realised what was happening. I woke Adam up and put him on the phone, but he was confused and only half awake. He wasn’t prepared for this.
The man on the other end was calling from the Labor party. In our confusion, neither Adam not I caught his name. Let’s call him ‘Jack’.
Jack said Labor needed more volunteers, and wanted to know what area Adam was in.
We panicked. Had Adam given them my home address or my work address? We decided to go with home, at least we knew what electorate I lived in.
There was a hint of confusion on Jack’s tone as he replied, but he accepted the answer.
Adam asked if Jack had read his email. Jack said he hadn’t, the information in front of him only said Adam wanted to volunteer. Why did they have a box to leave a personal message on the volunteer form if nobody read it?
It was at this point that Adam’s brain finally came into gear. He began explaining the issues he most wanted to help with. The PNG solution was great, Labor had finally got serious about stopping more foreigners arriving in Australia, but surely now it was time to do something about the foreigners already here.
Jack was clearly uncomfortable, but he persevered, politely telling Adam that Labor had no plans to do anything about the foreigners already in Australia.
Well what about gay marriage? Kevin Rudd had recently claimed to have changed his mind on the issue, but surely he hadn’t really. Adam understood, there was an election coming, Kevin had to say that, didn’t he? But surely once re elected Labor didn’t really plan to legalise gay marriage?
I could feel Jack’s distaste radiating down the phone. He wanted to hang up, and he wanted to swear at Adam first. Instead, he politely explained that making homosexuality illegal again was not a Labor policy. Nor did they have any plans to ‘do something about the Jews.’
I spurred Adam on, pushed him to be more and more extreme, but despite Jack’s obvious and mounting disgust, he refused to hang up.
Finally, he told Adam that if he wanted to talk about policy he should contact his local minister, then politely said goodbye through what sounded like clenched teeth.
They might not have read Adam’s email, but now they’d actually spoken to him. Surely after that not even Labor was desperate enough to ask for his help again.
The next morning Adam received this from email@example.com:
I just wanted to let you know that we’re extending our hours at Campaign HQ! We’re now calling every day until Election Day, from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm Monday-Friday and 11 am to 4 pm Saturday-Sunday. Which two nights this week suit you best?
The sitting Labor government wanted Adam Hunter, Nazi, to come in to Campaign HQ and work the phones. He could hardly say no.
I’d love to help rally some support for Labor. I am free Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.
I know they’re saying we don’t have a chance, but I’m not ready to give up. If we all work hard together, there’s still time for a real triumph of the will!
Sincerely, Adam Hunter.
Adam was chuffed, but I was concerned he’d gone too far. Triumph of the will? Surely such an obvious reference to the most famous Nazi propaganda film in history would be too much of a give away.
Thank you so much for your response! We need a lot of help at HQ this week. What times can you come in Wednesday and Thursday? We’re open from 10 am to 8:30 pm those days.
Adam’s email campaign had gone better than he could have hoped. Despite openly (some might say excessively) being a passionate racist, homophobe and anti-semite, he’d been asked to hand out flyers and how to vote cards for eight political parties, to run as a future candidate for the Australian Christians, and even to personally go to Labor headquarters and represent the sitting government over the phone. Now it was time for Adam to step into the real world.
Labor Campaign HQ is hidden away in a nondescript brick building in an anonymous corner of Parramatta, completely lacking in the grandeur that the Labor Party also lacks. There are no signs, no posters, the only clue that Labor might be found inside is the name of the building, the ‘Gough Whitlam Plaza.’ Adam had to ask someone at the ground floor cafe where the front door was.
It then took Adam three tries to make it all the way up in the lift, he was too excited to remember unimportant details like which floor he was going to. It turned out to be five. What greeted him was a sprawling room not so much abuzz with activity as bumping at the window with mild occurrences. Lined in Labor propaganda and scary pictures of Tony Abbott, Campaign HQ was full of long desks covered in computers and telephones, but only half of them were manned. A large white board ticked off the days left until the election. Adam’s fellow volunteers were, to his relief, primarily white, most of them on the other side of their middle years.
It might be worth mentioning at this point that Adam wasn’t dressed as Hitler. He didn’t even have the moustache. Although that had been my original plan, I had decided that instead of getting kicked out immediately for making some grandiose, ill defined point, Adam would infiltrate as far as he could. This way, Adam would actually get to use Labor’s own database and equipment to spread the Nazi message of race hate that they apparently didn’t mind. And I wouldn’t be justifiably punched in the face for walking around dressed as Hitler.
Inside the doorway stood Patrick Batchelor, Field Director. Like all the full time staff, he was a white male in his twenties, with hints of hipster cool despite his red Labor hoodie. He decided that Adam would would be calling the people of Greenway, home of the infamous Jaymes Diaz. Labor were feeling pretty good about their chances in Greenway. More or less entirely thanks to Diaz.
Patrick now ran Adam through the process. Using Internet Explorer, apparently Labor’s browser of choice, Labor’s database would give Adam the details of voters previous volunteers had identified as undecided. Not just their name, address and phone numbers, but personal details Labor had recorded. For instance, the first person Adam was to call voted for whoever her husband told her to vote for. Patrick found this frustrating, the whole point of democracy was for people to make up their own mind who to vote for. Then he suggested that Adam ask to speak to the husband.
After dialling the number provided, Adam was to go through a script. Conversations, said the script, should go for five to six minutes. The first step was to use Adam’s own story and the ‘acknowledge relate pivot method’ to explain to voters why Tony Abbott was scary. If the person on the other end seemed interested, the script then provided a box where Adam could record even more personal details he was unwittingly given. I wondered what Jack had written about Adam. The next part of the script began “We understand Labor isn’t going to win this election.”
Adam was surprised. If even the volunteers had given up, what, then, was the point of all this? Patrick explained that they weren’t being defeatist, they just knew they wouldn’t win. Then, as Patrick told Adam why he was still doing this even in the face of imminent defeat, things began to go wrong. I began to like Patrick.
Patrick believed in marriage equality, health and education, and he believed that Labor were the best party to deliver them. He had only recently returned from time in America, and had seen first hand the results of mass unemployment and a broken healthcare system. He didn’t want that for Australia. Adam wanted to rant at him about the evils of homosexuality, instead I broke character and took over the conversation.
I gently pressed Patrick on Labor’s PNG solution, how did Patrick feel about his party’s policy of sending women and children to prison camps in a corrupt and dangerous third world country? He tried to point out that he didn’t want boat people to drown, but his heart wasn’t in it. There was a weird bit about letting in too many young men that hinted at a fear of ethnic gangs. Ultimately, though, he admitted that the PNG solution was simply pandering to racists. If it were up to Patrick, Australia would let in far more refugees through official channels. He didn’t have a solution to the boat people problem, but he didn’t think locking up innocent people was the answer.
As we talked more, I realised I couldn’t go through with my plan to ring up voters as Adam. Patrick was a good man, he didn’t deserve it. Instead, I read him Adam’s initial email. There was a long, hostile silence. Patrick explained that they were too short staffed to read every email. When I told him about my conversation with Jack and my emails with Jess, he didn’t have anything to say.
I asked him how he could support a party that would have Adam as a volunteer. I asked him if not pandering to racists means losing the election, isn’t it worth losing the election? If Labor have conceded defeat anyway, wouldn’t it have been better not to betray their ideals? Patrick replied that when I criticise labor, I’m criticising people like him, that people like him are the real Labor. I wish that were the case.
I had gone in expecting fun and anarchy at the expense of political opportunists willing to work with Hitler himself if it meant getting elected. I left sad. The people supporting Labor at this level are good people, and the Labor government doesn’t deserve them. It deserves Adam.
Written by Sam Rugg, with Adam Hunter