Tea Party Spreads to Australia?


Freedom Works recently traveled England to teach anti-tax Brits about grassroots activism, fueling speculation America’s tea party movement is beginning to spread overseas. Now there are signs that the American anti-government activists are inspiring Australians to pick up their pitchforks as well. The Australian reports:

An anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party has set up shop in Australia, inspired by the US-based movement that has turned the Republican Party upside down.

The Australian T.E.A. Party (an acronym for Taxed Enough Already) will be targeting pre-selections across the country and heavily promotes its links to “our friends” in the United States…[Spokesman David] Goodridge says the Australian party has not received US funding – “that would not be appropriate, they don’t want to interfere” – but it is looking to update and adapt US training videos for its own purposes…

In his first post on the T.E.A. Party’s website, Mr Goodridge argues that between big business and unions there is “a distinction without a difference in that the average Aussie is getting done over it is just a different set or subset of rapists doing the screwing”.

The Australian TEA Party, which prominently highlights the recent victories of Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller in the GOP Senate primaries, also claims that the tea party has already become a “Worldwide Movement” that has “over 50 million people” who are “natural” tea party supporters. (The site also offers a cute explainer on the original “Boston Tea Party” and how Americans, too, rebelled against their British colonial overlords.)

Admittedly, the Aussies’ tea party site is still a bit rough around the edges, and so far, the main domestic campaign the group highlights is a crusade against local animal-keeping laws. And sure, the claims about a global tea party movement may be a bit overblown. But the groundwork for an anti-government rebellion has already been laid in Australia, at least. Over the summer, conservative elements in the ruling Labor party helped bring Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard to power. Gillard won by running against her predecessor Kevin Rudd’s “Big Australia” plan, which supported liberal immigration policies, increased population growth, and a robust federal government. Under Rudd, Australia also witnessed a fierce backlash against immigration and unauthorized immigrants—yet another reactionary uprising that has its American counterpart.

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  • Suzy Khimm was a reporter in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones from March 2010 until June 2011. For more of her stories, click here. Follow her on Twitter here.