How the Trots Destroyed the Nuclear Disarmament Party, Peter Myers, July 19, 2001; update April 22, 2007; my comments are shown {thus}.

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Peter Garrett and the Nuclear Disarmament Party

After the 1984 federal election in Australia, Peter Garrett and Senator Jo Vallentine quit the Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP) because, they said, members of the (Trotskyist) Socialist Workers Party (now Socialist Alliance) were taking it over.

In June, 2004, rock singer and environmentalist Peter Garrett was co-opted into the Labor Party by new leader Mark Latham. Latham has repeatedly defied Bush, promising that Australian troops will be home by Christmas.

Garrett has long campaigned for the closure of US bases in Australia, especially the surveillance Echelon base at Pine Gap, in the desert south of Alice Springs.

Dr Jim Cairns, Acting Prime Minister when Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974, warned, in an article in The Australian newspaper of December 27, 1995, that it was over such issues that the Whitlam Government was sacked by the Governor-General in 1975.

The heading of the article was "Security concerns place pressure on our own loyalties"; an image of it is at Cairns-australian-951227p11.jpg.

Since Pater Garrett's accession to the Labor team as a candidate for the House of Representatives, the newspapers have been giving him blanket coverage.

Bob Brown and other Green Senators regularly work with Trotskyists of Socialist Alliance or the International Socialist Organisation. The Trots organise the demos at which the Greens speak.

(1) Peter Garrett is Trotskyist-aware (2) Nuclear Disarment Party SYDNEY NEWSLETTER, MARCH 1985 (3) Bob Hawke and the Bomb (4) The Australian newspaper reports the NDP split (5) 'Raiding party' saw chance to take over

(1) Peter Garrett is Trotskyist-aware

In 1984, I was a member of the Canberra branch of the Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP); it had been started by Dr Michael Denborough, of Canberra.

We issued press statements one after the other, but couldn't get any publicity, until Peter Garrett, the rock singer, was endorsed as the Party's Senate candidate for the state of New South Wales. Then, the media wouldn't leave him alone. Swarms of TV cameras accompanied him wherever he went. We had all the free publicity we could want.

The 1984 Federal election campaign was conducted while Ronald Reagan was promoting his Star Wars project, and the NDP forced Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke - who was toadying up to Reagan - to fight on two fronts.

I helped the Party avoid a damaging split during the 1984 election campaign.

Denborough resented the attention Garrett was getting, and felt that control of the party was slipping away from him. He allied himself with Trotskyists - members of the Socialist Workers Party - who had joined the NDP even though they were members of another, Trotskyist, party.

I persuaded the Canberra branch to cool their tensions and keep the feud in the Party private. But for my efforts, it would have gone public, and that would have been the end of the campaign.

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has since renamed itself the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), and is now the core part of Socialist Alliance (SA); its newspaper has changed its name from Direct Action to Green Left Weekly.

The Green Left Weekly web site:
Socialist Alliance web site:

Especially at the Sydney branch of the NDP, DSP members were joining the NDP and voting as a block, having made their mind up on an issue before it was put to the NDP meeting. This is the same kind of Agenda-Setting that the Round Table, the Council On Foreign Relations etc. use to get their way in a democracy: quigley.html.

This tactic is called "entrism".

The Australian Labor Party, fearing that Peter Garrett, the rock singer who had become the NDP's lead candidate, would be elected for the NDP in New South Wales, directed preferences against him.

While their focus was on Garrett and the campaign to stop him winning in New South Wales, Jo Vallentine was elected as an NDP Senator for Western Australia. After the NDP broke up, she formed the West-Australian Greens as a party and became their Senator.

After the election, when Reagan pressured Hawke to allow MX missile tests in the Tasman Sea, counter-pressure from the NDP forced - or allowed - Hawke to desist; Hawke has recently claimed the credit for that himself, when advising current leaders to resist similar pressure from George W. Bush. In an address to the ALP on May 8, 2001, Hawke said, "Ronald Reagan pleaded with me for Australia to support Star Wars. I refused and the relationship survived":

The March 1985 Newsletter of the Sydney branch of the NDP made the split in the party public, reporting that Trotskyists from the Socialist Workers Party were trying to take over the NDP by entrism and block-voting.

The Australian of April 29, 1985 carried a front-page story, "'Raiding party' saw chance to take over".

Garrett and Vallentine quit the NDP, claiming that they were being undermined by these block-voting Trotskyists allied with Canberra leader Michael Denborough, who resented their higher public profile.

As the split went public, Peter Garrett and Senator Jo Vallentine quit the NDP because, they said, members of the (Trotskyist) Democratic Socialist Party were taking it over.

The DSP claims that it is no longer Trotskyist, in the sense that the Party used to uphold Trotsky's authority over Lenin, but now accepts Lenin as over or equal to Trotsky. In the struggle between Trotsky and Stalin, however, the DSP is as Trotskyist as ever.

Trotskyists still practise "entrism", joining Feminist, Green, Black, anti-Racism etc groups, to manoevre the group towards their agenda. They are often back-seat drivers, preparing their position in advance of meetings where decisions are made; the following report shows how it is done.

(2) Nuclear Disarment Party SYDNEY NEWSLETTER, MARCH 1985

An image of page 1 is at NDP-March85-p1.jpg;
an image of page 4 is at NDP-March85-p4.jpg;
an image of page 8 is at NDP-March85-p8.jpg;
an image of page 9 is at NDP-March85-p9.jpg.


A growing number of NDP members are concerned about the presence in our ranks of an organisation known as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). While we are tolerant people who also believe strongly that the Nuclear Disarmament Party has much better things to do with its time than internal bickering, we feel that it is important that all members consider the implications of this group's presence.

The SWP is a revolutionary socialist organisation. It publishers the newspaper DIRECT ACTION.


As a general rule, we believe that NDP membership should be open to all individuals who share our commitment to ending the world's headlong rush towards a nuclear holocaust. However, we believe an exception needs to be made in the case of an organisation which has interests separate and sometimes counter to those of the NDP as an organisation.

SWP members organise themse1ves tightly outside NDP circles to ensure their interests as a group are pushed with maximum effect within the NDP. Many members in Sydney and in other cities have become aware of a "block" which always argues and votes the same way. Of course, there is nothing wrong in principle with NDP members getting together to advance their views on what's best for the NDP. It happens all the time. It's a legitimate part of any democratic organisation. But when those people organise tightly to pursue the interests of an outside group, whose interests are separate from those of NDP, that is another matter!! For example, the SWP stands its own candidates in elections, and one of its primary purposes in working within the NDP is to recruit members to the SWP. Flowing from their view of the need to work within other groups, the SWP has a history of "takeovers" of other organisations. SWP members portray themselves as loyal members with no desire other than the well being of the host group. However, whenever it becomes possible the SWP assumes control of the host group and uses it for it's own ends.

{p. 9} One recent example of this took place in Tasmania. The Unemployed Workers Union (UWU) which ran a successful low cost food shop was taken over by SWP members who proceeded to transfer the entire assets of the union, ostensibly for "safety sake", to something called the Tasmanian Progressive Society. To their horror, non SWP members soon discovered that the TPS was totally controlled by a group of directors, the majority of whom were SWP executive members resident in Sydney and Tasmania. Non SWP Unemployed Workers Union members are now trying to re-establish the Union in another shop under the control of unemployed people in Hobart. Meanwhile the SWP has been transfering the shop's profits to Sydney.

The Nuclear Disarmament Party is and must remain a broadly based popular movement which will not be viable if it polarizes to the left or the right.

If we were to allow members of the SWP to become, or to remain, leading members of the NDP, we should lose, or fail ever to gain, the support of the great body of the Australian public. Of that there can be no doubt.

There are compelling reasons for the view that members of other political parties should either be proscribed from joining or remaining as ordinary members of the NDP; or at least should be proscribed from being appointed or elected as spokespersons, office-bearers, delegates or committee members of the NDP.

The Nuclear Disarmament Party exists to work for that most important issue, NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, NOT to provide a platform for an already existing political party. Joe Vallentine is the NDP senator; she was not elected to implement policies for any other party.

Our cause is peace, and it cannot go forward if we are constantly at war with those who choose to use the NDP to persue their own political ends and recruit from our membership.

Gillian Fisher Wentworth Electorate

Rob Britten North Sydney Electorate

Edward St John Warringah Electorate

Sean Flood Sydney Electorate {end of quote}

(3) Bob Hawke and the Bomb

During the 1984 election campaign, I provided Denborough with old newspaper articles about Hawke. The Sydney Daily Telegraph of February 16, 1974, carried a huge headline "HAWKE: I'D A-BOMB ARABS", and reported, 'The ACTU President, Mr Hawke, said yesterday that if he were the Israeli Prime Minister he would drop an atomic bomb on invading Arabs. ... Mr Hawke argued with Mr Hartley and Mr MacMullin. Slamming the table in emphasis, Mr Hawke repeatedly told them, "If I were the Israeli Prime Minister I would use the bomb on the Arabs."'

The Sydney Morning Herald carried a similar report on February 18, 1974, and Channel 9 ran TV skits on the theme on February 18 & 19. Hawke sued Channel 9, but did not sue the Telegraph or the SMH, suggesting that their stories were correct; the whole episode was reported in The Australian of December 13 & 14, 1974. It took me hours of searching to find these reports after so many years. An image of the Daily Telegraph's front page is at hawke.jpg.

NDP leaders told me that Peter Garrett vetoed the use of this material in New South Wales, not wanting to puncture the Hawke mystique; but I was told that the Western Australian branch had used it - that the Telegraph's front page was shown on TV in Western Australia - and I believe that this must have helped Vallentine get into the Senate.

(4) The Australian newspaper reports the NDP split

An image of this report is at NDP-split-A950429p.1.jpg.

NDP leaders split peace party


The Australian, April 29, 1995, p.1.

A MAJOR fight has split the fledgeling Nuclear Disarmament Party because of an influx of members of the Socialist Workers' Party within its ranks, and a new anti-nuclear party may be formed to counter the growing SWP inflnence.

On Saturday, the NDP's most prominent leaders - senator-elect Ms Jo Vallentine, and its unsuccessful senate candidates, rock singer Peter Garrett and former Victorian Labor Party activist Ms Jean Melzer - walked out of the nine-month-old party's inaugural national conference because of an "overwhelming dominance" by the SWP.

Mr John Conway, who stood on the NDP's senate ticket in the ACT, Ms Ann Parker, who ran in Tasmania, and Ms Gillian Fisher, the number-two senate candidate in NSW, also walked out.

The walkout occurred after a motion that all conference recommendations be ratified by a postal ballot of all members of the NDP, conducted by an impartial returning officer, was lost.

Ms Vallentine, who will take up her seat as a West Australlan senator in June, said yesterday that it was probable she would resign from the party and continue her single-issue stand for nuclear disarmament.

According to Ms Vallentine, she and about 80 other NDP members walked out because of the SWP element.

"The conference was dominated by members of SWP, who attended in order to block a proposal that would have barred members of other parties from membership of the NDP," Ms Vallentine said. ...

Mr Garrett said: "We have left behind the Achilles heel.

"We have left the wrangles of a small left-wing group who came into our organisation piggy-back fashion.

"The structure of the NDP was dominated and co-opted by the SWP, and it became impossible to work on peace and disarmament. ...

"We wanted a party that was not dominated by anybody," Ms Melzer said. ...

"The SWP members are cuckoos. They wait until an organisation is formed, and then they plonk themselves in that organisation's nest." ...

The SWP had no comment to make last night. A spokesman said a statement on the walk-out would be published in its weekly newspaper, Direct Action, early this week.

(5) 'Raiding party' saw chance to take over

An image of this report is at NDP-raid-A950429p.1.jpg.


The Australian, April 29, 1995, p.1.

THE split in the NDP was likely since before the December 1984 federal election.

Mass-based parties emerging in Australian politics are certain to attract the attentions of small ideologially-based movements such as tho Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

The SWP is sometimes referred to as a Trotskyite group, although its support for the Soviet Union and Cuba and other disparate movements, including Croation independents, makes it difficult to define within the broad Left.

The growth of the NDP was so extensive It almost wiped out the Australian Democrats, and the SWP saw the opportunity for using the popular youth-based organisation to increase its tiny membership of about 300.

A senior member of the Communist Party of Australia, Mr Denis Freeny, said yesterday that such a policy of trying to take over a movement, was "something we gave up 30 years ago - if we did it at all". ...

Mr Freeny said the maistream Left had long despaired at the SWP's tactics.

"The SWP sees groups like the NDP as a vehicle for attracting membership. They have a raiding-party mentality," he said.

Correction: Denis Freney's name is mis-spelled in the above article.

I knew Freney briefly in the early 1970s, in Sydney, when I participated in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, run by him and Meredith Bergmann. I did not know at the time that Freney was a Gay activist, or a Trotskyist by conviction; he makes these positions clear in his autobiography, A Map of Days.

Denis Freney on the 1971 Springbok tour of Australia: freney.html.

Socialism with "unity between the classes" is seen as "fascism" by Trotskyists. See the Trotskyist attack on it at xTrots.html.

Back to the Australiana index: australiana.html.

Write to me at contact.html.