Keep Sydney Open Under Fire For Preferencing Notorious Anti-Immigration Party
The party has hit back at its critics, accusing them of spreading "misleading" claims.
Keep Sydney Open, a one-time social movement that has transformed into a single-issue political party, has had a rocky election season.
The party is campaigning on an easy-to-communicate anti-lockout laws message, and has the Gladys Berejiklian-led state government in its sights. But, from the very launch of Keep Sydney Open as a political force, candidates have faced criticisms that they’ve been unable to fully distinguish themselves from other parties: for instance, key members of The Greens have also promised a review of the lockout laws.
More than that, for many, the party has failed to adequately explain to voters why they should give an entire vote to a single-issue political party with limited chances against the big, established political powerhouses, instead of simply encouraging their preferred party to improve their lockout laws policies.
Don’t vote for Keep Sydney Open this weekend. There are other parties with better policies who can achieve more meaningful change and will repeal all the same laws KSO will.
— Alex Sol Watts (@solwat) March 19, 2019
To make matters worse, Keep Sydney Open has faced accusations that it only focuses on issues that affect the white and the middle class. There is only one policy on the Keep Sydney Open website that exclusively refers to Indigenous rights issues, and it’s this: “Permanently fly the Aboriginal Flag from the Sydney Harbour Bridge”
Such accusations have not been helped by the Keep Sydney Open preferencing decisions. Ahead of the March 23 state election, the party has preferenced Sustainable Australia first, a notorious anti-immigration party that is calling to reduce Australia’s migrant intake by half, and that trades in borderline xenophobic party messaging. The decision quickly drew condemnation online.
Here it is y’all. Pay attention. Keep Sydney Open Party wiggled its way into a powerful demographic with an emotive argument for supporting the arts but now is directing its votes to an anti-immigration party. No, thank you, please. It was interesting in theory but they blew it. https://t.co/ySbTcEjVUR
— Eliza Barr (@ElizaJBarr) March 15, 2019
of course Keep Sydney Open is first-preferencing the anti-immigration Sustainable Australia party
— a liz-based life form (@lizduckchong) March 14, 2019
Hey guys, be aware that Keep Sydney Open has given their preference to Sustainable Australia, a party with some pretty terrible ideas about immigration. Vote smart.
— Madeleine Withington (@MaddyWithington) March 16, 2019
KSO has hit back at its critics by arguing that both The Greens and Labor are also preferencing Sustainable Australia in key seats, and has encouraged voters to go on their “own adventure” when voting below the line.
“There have been misleading claims and questions that decision-making behind our How to Vote cards are a reflection of who we are and what we value,” the response reads. “The reality is that in many lower house seats, every party has had to make tough and strategic decisions about where their votes will flow based on them not getting enough votes to win a seat.”
Read the full statement from Keep Sydney Open below. Whether the response has managed to reset the KSO course ahead of the election this Saturday remains to be seen.