Houssam AbiadÂ is reportedly backed by prominent Liberals including SA Liberal wet power-broker, Christopher Pyne and even former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, whose policies Abiad has loudly and repeatedly denounced.
THE ENEMY WITHIN
VEXNEWS can reveal that this Liberal preselection candidate has publicly expressed stridently anti-Israel and anti-American views, including at a rally organised by the notorious socialist militant group Resistance.
Just two years ago, Houssam Abiad also signed an advertisement that protested Prime Minister Kevin Ruddâ€™s congratulations to Israel as it celebrated sixty years of statehood.
Abiadâ€™s advertisement published on the 12th of March 2008 claimed that Israelâ€™s celebration was a â€œtriumph of racismâ€ and declared that Israel had engaged in â€œethnic cleansing of Palestinians.â€ The full text is here.
The socialist anti-Israel rally at which Houssam Abiad was a guest speaker â€“ to use the words of the organisers – â€œdrew a relationship between the horror of that day (the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima) and the growing catastrophe in the Middle East as Israel continues its attack on Lebanon and Gaza.â€
Israel â€“ at that time â€“ was attempting to cease the relentless terrorist attacks launched on it by Lebanese and Palestinian backed terror groups, the Hezbollah and Hamas.
RALLY EQUATED PALESTINIANS WITH VICTIM OF NUCLEAR BOMB
The website explains:
This rally was called by Resistance and was supported by NoWar and Australian Friends of Palestine. Speakers were Houssam Abiad and Claire O’Connor of Australian Friends of Palestine, Kris Hanna, Independent South Australian PM, Sandra Kanck MLC, Leader of the South Australian Democrats and Stephen Darley, NoWar Committee member.
In what we understand to be a blog version of his remarks that day, Abiad made his Israel and American-hating views very clear:
The United States blind support of Israel, arm length policy and double standards is the very root of this present conflictâ€¦While the world is crying out for global intervention to stop the bloodshed, I was not surprised one bit by the response from the American government. Instead of using its influence on Israel to stop the devastating attacks on the Lebanese population, it has supported once again such attacks.
His extraordinary oration no doubt won him many cheers from the Resistance audience, including a demand for the complete destruction of Israel and stident opposition to Australiaâ€™s role in Afghanistan and Iraqâ€™s liberation:
What happened to negotiations and diplomacy? Why donâ€™t the world and the international community learn from history? When will Palestine be a sovereign country? When will the Palestinians get their right of return back to their land? What did the war in Afghanistan achieve? How about the war in Iraq? Where is bin laden? And I surely donâ€™t see any weapons of mass destruction.
Abiad even goes on to quote leftist and anti-Israel journalist Robert Fisk favourably.
We suspect his remarks at the Adelaide Liberal preselection contest will be slightly modified.
IF YOU LIE DOWN WITH DOGS YOU GET UP WITH FLEAS
SA Liberal sources insist that Pyne â€“ normally considered a reliable friend of Israel is strongly supporting the anti-Israel anti-American militant.
They explain that Victoria Matterson, a candidate who would normally have expected support from Pyneâ€™s â€œmoderatesâ€ was told she wouldnâ€™t because theyâ€™d decided to support Abiad.
We also understand Pyne was asked on radio today about the battle and that he expressed support for the extremist.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY
Itâ€™s an unfortunate development because there are a number of strong contenders in the field. A whopping eight nominations for preselection in the seat of Adelaide were initially received, with five horses still in the race after one was disqualified in the candidate review process and a further two withdrawing.
Business manager and marketer Luke Westley was tipped as the early favourite. As a candidate for the safe Labor seat of Enfield in the March 2010 state election Westley impressed many people throughout the Party with his enthusiasm and energy. He achieved a notable swing of over 10%, however it wasnâ€™t substantially higher than the swing in other similar seats around the state, prompting some insiders to question whether he was an effective campaigner or prolific boaster.
That said, his campaign was strictly limited by way of resources and much of the seat of Enfield lies in the â€˜tough endâ€™ for the Liberals in the federal Adelaide electorate, giving him a clear advantage over other candidates.
Westley is likely to pick up a lot of the â€˜middle groundâ€™ vote within the Party, but is also expected to poll well with both conservatives and moderates, with key supporters in both camps backing his candidacy.
Another good alternative to the Abiad menace could be Sam Duluk. The conservative Young Liberal has been around the Party for nearly a decade. Having spent his earlier years involved in student politics, Duluk built himself a reputation as a key mouthpiece for the young right and works in business banking in Adelaide.
Since that time he has been heavily involved in both the senior party and the Young Liberals in a variety of roles and is considered a strong candidate due to his campaign experience and long-term dedication to the party. The defining elements in Dulukâ€™s campaign will be that many members know him and his ability to deliver a strong speech on the day of the preselection. Well known in the party, Dulukâ€™s critics say he has a much lower profile in the electorate.
Duluk reportedly has the backing of most of the conservative voters in the college.
Houssam Abiad â€“ referred to above – is a businessman who runs a variety of small businesses, with five registered to his home address.
Some within the Liberal Left like Pyne have been saying that he is good on paper, but even that is questionable following his first letter to the electoral college that was littered with spelling and grammatical errors. His abrupt tone in emails and phone calls have also reportedly rubbed some voters the wrong way, and rumour has it that he is already claiming to members of the public that he is the candidate for Adelaide. VEXNEWS understands that Abiad was a member of the Liberal Party for less than a week before he nominated for Adelaide and doesnâ€™t live in the electorate.
The remaining contender with a shot at glory is HR and recruitment consultant David Maerschel. The fact that he was only a member of the Party for two months before he nominated does not work in his favour, however sources say that he has impressed some key players around the electorate.
Real estate agent Vivienne Twelftree is the only female candidate, but who is also the oldest candidate at 60 years of age. While she may pick up a few votes around the place and possibly be favoured by some as the only woman, she isnâ€™t expected to poll strongly enough to be a serious contender.
The big mystery is why the Liberal Party candidate review committee didnâ€™t do even as much as a Google search on the candidate that had been a member of the Party for less than a week.
With little or no ideological affiliation to the Party, Liberal insiders say it would be a disaster for the Party to select Abiad as their candidate. While the other four certainly have deficiencies, Liberals worry Abiad has too much baggage that the Labor Party can exploit in the lead up to a general election.