By Zeb Holmes and Ugur Nedim
A branch of the NSW Liberal Party is set to debate proposals which call for the return of corporal punishment, an immediate ban on immigration and the abolition of the judges in the sentencing process.
The president of the hard-right wing Carlingford Branch, George Popowski, says he wants to “straighten out the law and order system” by pushing the state back to colonial times with measures described by others as “Sharia-law style punishment”.
Mr Popowski is proposing the reintroduction lashings, saying they are fair because “we all feel the same pain.”
He has even seen fit to quantify the punishments: 10 lashes for theft of a T-shirt, 1000 lashes for stealing a car (2000 if the vehicle is damaged), 5000 lashes for punching a police officer and 20,000 lashes for murder.
He proposes that the floggings be “delivered at 10 lashes per hour – every hour from 9am to 5pm, with one hour for lunch”, and that the sentence would be doubled for second-time offenders.
The branch president has also called for the role of sentencing to be transferred to a panel of 20 members of the public, with no more than 30 percent of the panel being comprised of lawyers.
Ban on immigration
Mr Popowski wants an immediate ban on all immigration, labelling migrants as “criminals”, “bastards” and “jihadists”, and blaming them for Australia being “broke”.
In an email to branch members ahead of the party meeting, Popowski expressed the view that Australia is “going down the drain” and that our education system has been “usurped by lefties (communists)”.
Not the first time
This is not the first time Popowski has expressed hard-line right wing views.
He also brought a motion in 2016 calling for the immediate ban on all immigrants.
Mr Popowski also claims that half of our population is unemployed, and that global warming as a result of carbon dioxide emissions is impossible. He claims that under the Paris Agreement on climate change, Australia sends money to “the little Hitlers and layabouts in the islands”.
NSW Liberal Party president Philip Ruddock refused to comment on the upcoming Carlingford motion, saying only that the party “will deal with it appropriately”.
While it is broadly acknowledged that Popowski’s proposals will not be adopted as party policy anytime soon, it is concerning that such a person holds the position of a major political party’s branch president in the first place.
This is also not the first time a far-right politician has proposed the reintroduction of corporal punishment.
Federal member for the northern Queensland seat of Dawson, George Christensen, lauded Singapore’s corporal punishment policy as a potential way of deterring drug manufacturers and suppliers in Australia.
“If we keep on slapping people on the wrist we’re going to get the same outcomes,” Mr Christensen remarked. “It’s time to do things differently… Their use of corporal punishment seems to be a highly effective.”
Corporal punishment is inhumane and degrading
Canings in Singapore have been categorised as a form of torture by Amnesty International, which has called for a stop to the practice.
“The authorities must immediately revoke the conviction and the caning sentences and end the use of this punishment, which constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and may amount to torture”, the organisation stated.
That view is shared by Human Rights Watch, and also by the UN Committee Against Torture which has additionally recognised stoning and flogging as forms of torture.