By Nick Fredman
LISMORE — EarthSave, a relatively new party contesting the March 27 NSW election has been accused by a group of former members of hiding a reactionary agenda beneath a progressive veneer.
The disaffected supporters have alleged that the party, led by Byron Bay-based Brandon Raynor, top candidate on EarthSave's Legislative Council ticket, is homophobic.
EarthSave is running in the upper house and in a number of lower house seats on a platform of promoting environmental issues and alternative health. Among the progressive generalities in the party's election material are a number very conservative statements. These include support for "free enterprise that is ethical and sustainable" and a call for "family and community values".
A group of former members from Sydney and the NSW north coast, in letters circulated on the internet, have cited comments from EarthSave leaders which are misogynist, homophobic and pro-military.
In an letter sent to a former member, Raynor opposed adopting a policy of "opposing homophobia". Raynor claimed that homosexuality is inherently selfish because it cannot involve "bringing another soul into the world" and that homosexuals are "not an oppressed minority" because of their "much greater average income".
Raynor added: "I also object to the term homophobia because it means fear of homosexuals, whereas many people are not scared of people that engage in homosexual behaviour, they merely think the behaviour is dirty, spreads contagious diseases, and [is] not very self-disciplined or natural." Raynor stated his opposition to homosexuals teaching in schools.
John Corkhill, the NSW Greens' candidate for Lismore, told Green Left Weekly the Greens were "concerned that electors may think there's not much difference between us and the EarthSave party. We're worried that environmentally concerned citizens who are socially progressive, may vote for EarthSave not knowing it actually possesses very conservative social policies ... We want EarthSave to stop masquerading as another version of the Greens and tell the community what they really stand for."
The Democratic Socialists' candidate for Lismore, Bernie Wunsch, added, "The term 'family values' is usually code for homophobia and sexism. No movement can hope to achieve ecological sustainability unless it opposes all the oppressive structures of the system. EarthSave has been exposed as a right-wing sham."
For further material exposing EarthSave's politics, e-mail <email@example.com>.