Former Journalist Calls on Australians to Cast Off the ‘Marxist Paradigm’ at Next Election

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Writer
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.
April 18, 2022 Updated: April 18, 2022

After 16 years in Hong Kong, Damian Coory saw the gradual “encroachment of big government” come to a head with the Umbrella protest movement in 2014, which saw hundreds of thousands of students occupy the busy streets of the financial hub in reaction to Beijing’s growing control.

The public relations director and former TV news reporter decided it was a good time to return to his home country of Australia, where he discovered that it had changed dramatically.

“I was very concerned about the extent to which left-wing ideology had taken hold in this country from the 20 years when I left,” he told The Epoch Times. “I think Australia has shifted into a dangerous zone—the culture has definitely shifted, and most expatriate Australians returning have the same view.”

Motivated to act, Coory briefly joined the Liberal Party of Australia before settling on the classical liberal-leaning Liberal Democrat party to compete for the seat of Ryan in Brisbane’s west.

Coory said universities and schools no longer taught the benefits of liberalism, and in this vacuum, a “Marxist paradigm” had taken hold instead—where society is seen as a constant struggle for power between different classes—with little airtime (and tolerance) available for right-wing, conservative, or traditional points of view.

Epoch Times Photo
Damian Coory, public relations director and former TV journalist, is now standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate for the seat of Ryan in Brisbane’s west. (Supplied/Damian Coory)

“We have a one-track political mind in this country, that somebody’s oppressing someone all the time, and that’s a Marxist paradigm,” he explained. “The fault in my life, the issues in my life are related to what someone else is doing.”

One example has been the playing up of the rich-poor dichotomy during prolonged lockdowns in Sydney, where commentators claimed discrimination of the lower socio-economic parts of Sydney (namely western Sydney) at the expense of the wealthier eastern suburbs.

Other examples include the “gender wars,” the struggling family law system, identity politics, and the stalemate between unions and employers exemplified by the industrial relations system.

At the same time, Coory said modern progressivism had opened the door for the state to assume more control over the lives of Australians at the expense of individual responsibility.

“In my electorate, parents are very concerned about what kids are being taught at school, and how identity and sexuality are being addressed institutionally instead of from within the family—as well as the decline of the family and individual as the unit of society towards one where the government was the unit,” he said.

The governments’ management of COVID-19 was a bellwether of this trend, with state authorities choosing a heavily interventionist approach to contain the pandemic, including lockdowns and restrictions—like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Coory’s experience running a public relations firm in Hong Kong showed him that once the “pendulum shifts” and the government becomes more powerful than the people—then “it’s a downhill ride from there.”

“My biggest issue is that these conversations are not being had in Australia, that people don’t talk about this stuff because we take freedom for granted,” he said.

Economist Gigi Foster of the University of New South Wales has expressed similar concerns, saying the pandemic revealed a culture of compliance within Australia.

Epoch Times Photo
WA Police inspect cars at a Border Check Point on Indian Ocean Drive north of Perth, Australia, on Jun. 29, 2021. (Photo by Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

“For many people: they go to bed at night thinking they’ve had a good day if they have worn their masks all day, gotten their COVID shots as dictated, and chastised a few teenagers for not adequately socially distancing,” she previously told The Epoch Times.

Foster also criticised the major political parties for not acknowledging the problems with the country’s approach to dealing with the pandemic—which will leave Australia with an AU$963 billion debt in June 2022 (45.1 percent of GDP).

“To have gone along with the madness initially is bad enough,” she said. “For them still today not to acknowledge their mistakes, and instead to try to distract attention away to other policy areas, suggests that they are hoping to evade justice for their betrayals.”

Mark Latham, leader of the One Nation party in New South Wales, observed that in the current election, issues important to ordinary Australians were being swept away by the speed of the news cycle and social media.

“There’s a new issue every 10 minutes,” he told Radio 2HD in Newcastle on April 14. “I think they (the major parties) start to focus on things that aren’t mainstream issues for people in the suburbs and regions of Australia.”

“The leading one is this federal [anti-corruption body] ICAC—the media want to bang on about it, but the need for it is not clear, and it’s very expensive. So that’s one issue that tends to pop-up that’s nowhere near as important as how you run the economy, how you deal with China, how you get a better education system in place for our children.”

Epoch Times Photo
The Australian flag is seen on the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on April 1, 2022. (Rebecca Zhu/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, Coory conceded the challenges for the current centre-right Coalition government to maintain power when the dominant political discourse is progressive and left-wing.

“However, it can be done, and to do so requires strong leadership. It requires a leader that’s prepared to put away the market research. And instead of being responsive, be proactive,” he said. “Steve Jobs once said, ‘We don’t do market research on iPhones because nobody knows what it is.’”

He called for a return to a “plurality of political discourse” while advocating for the funding model for public broadcasters like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to be changed.

“People who are left-wing in their thinking don’t perceive bias because they don’t know what they’re not discussing,” he said. “The assumption is that the philosophy of identity politics, victimhood, and the oppressed-oppressor paradigm is the norm.”

“We just need to push the pendulum back the other way, a little bit,” he added. “I don’t think all is lost; I’m optimistic. I do believe in the human spirit, and I believe liberalism is an ideology that is connected to reality, while [Marxism] socialism is an ideology trying to create a fake reality or utopia.”

Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.