Geert Wilders

The containment of Islamophobe Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (PVV) in the March 15 Dutch general election was greeted with relief by the mainstream European media.

Nonetheless, the election result primarily reflected a conservative and safety-seeking consolidation of the right and centre parties. It will result in a more right-wing cabinet than the previous “red-blue” coalition of the VVD and Labour Party (PdvA), and throw up big challenges for progressive politics in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders called off his February 20 public meeting in Perth after the hotel where he was going to speak cancelled his booking. Organisers of Wilders' tour tried to claim that protesters had intimidated the hotel and implied that Wilders' "free speech'' was threatened as people were "denied'' the chance to hear Wilders talk. Wilders' most prominent supporter in the Australian parliament — disgraced Liberal senator Cory Bernardi — also tried to claim that there was "free speech double standard" involved.

In an attempt to avoid anti-racist protesters, the February 18 meeting to launch the Australian speaking tour of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, was, at the last moment, moved to a desolate, non-residential part of Somerton on Melbourne’s northern edge. More than 200 anti-racists, however, picketed Wilders’ meeting while another 100 protested in Melbourne CBD, where one of the speakers was Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

Parliamentary leader of the far-right Dutch Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, is visiting Australia this week. He is speaking at public meetings in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Wilders makes use of a tightly rehearsed script focusing on opposition to Islam which he describes as a "totalitarian ideology" to cover for his racist and fascist outlook.
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