Gibson’s League history

This 8.6.06 Australian Herald Sun piece doesn’t put much on the table, but it’s reporting that 19 years ago Mel Gibson expressed some form of roundabout verbal support for the Australian League of Rights. The group is described by reporter Lincoln Wright as “a far-right group notorious for its anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.” (Gibson reportedly campaigned for “a friend” [named] Rob Taylor, who is described as having “stood unsuccessfully for the northern Victorian federal seat of Indi,” although Taylor’s ties to the Australian League of Rights group, if any, aren’t remotely explained.) The story strikes me as a bit thin, but there may be a whiff of truth in it.

14 thoughts on “Gibson’s League history

  1. T. H. Ung on said:

    How can you be surprised that there’s so much dirt that’s going to be dug on Mel? He’s delusional if he thinks he can move outside the POTC and Apocalyto genre and paint himself as safe for kids with Narnia fare. The public will only buy him as a lunatic, an ultra-orthodox, Quaker like, Mormon-ish, paranoid schizophrenic, secretive looney.

  2. The Bulletin 10/15/2003
    The Dream Candidate
    Arnold Schwarzenegger may be governor of California, but while Australia missed out on seeing its own screen legend Mel Gibson in parliament, political parties still continue to search for that dizzy combination of celebrity and political sale-ability. BY TONY WRIGHT NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR
    California might have The Terminator but Australia could have had Mad Max. Beyond a small area of north-eastern Victoria, Mel Gibson?s strange excursion into the Australian political arena is virtually unknown. It took place during the dreary winter of 1987. Bob Hawke was taking the nation to the polls, Joh Bjelke-Petersen was making his bizarre attempt to become PM and Gibson was bored.
    The actor had bought a cattle property in the back country near the marvellously named village of Tangambalanga in the foothills of the Victorian alps, not far from Wodonga. He joined the local fire brigade, rode around the hills on a tractor inspecting his herd of Angus cattle and occasionally drove into Albury, where he drank too much at Maudie?s Wine Bar.
    Already a big star, thanks to the first Mad Max movie and Gallipoli, Gibson was in his Greta Garbo phase ? he snarled at anyone who came near that he wanted no publicity and wished only for a quiet rural idyll with his wife and children.
    Then he discovered politics, or politics discovered him: the sort that damned the banks as evil, celebrated the family as the single institution worth defending and found dark conspiracies lurking in every corner of society. More particularly, Mel found a champion. His name was Rob Taylor, who was standing as an independent candidate for the Liberal seat of Indi, which covered much of north-eastern Victoria.
    Taylor badly needed profile. He ran a struggling delivery business near Yarrawonga, rattling from country store to country store, dreaming schemes involving the Reserve Bank printing money and giving interest-free loans to families, farmers and small businesses. He supported Joh for Canberra and was a sort of early version of Pauline Hanson, without the charisma or the legs. Taylor was surrounded by wild-eyed pamphleteers who had more than a passing acquaintance with the conspiracy-bound League of Rights, and was short of funds for advertising and campaign stunts.
    Enter Mel Gibson. Some of the hill folk in his district figured he was just the sort of fellow who meshed with Taylor?s politics: he was already well started on a family that would stretch to seven children, he came from a family of 11, and he was known to be heavily influenced by the right-wing views of his Holocaust-denying dad, Hutton Gibson, a one-time US railroad brakeman turned self-styled theologian who rejects that the Pope is a real Catholic (Gibson snr and jnr are both extremely conservative Catholics who believe the church lost its way in 1962).
    Gibson threw himself into bush politics, assuming the role of Taylor?s campaign mascot. He turned up at local showgrounds and racecourses on the trays of old trucks, posing beside Taylor?s campaign billboards, handing out pamphlets and telling everyone who would listen that Taylor stood for the family and the little bloke. He drew crowds, but they included flocks of young girls who only wanted his autograph. Local wags muttered he was the right man for a campaign for the little bloke, because he was a little bloke ? a lot smaller than he appeared on the screen.
    Gibson, a cigarette perpetually between his lips, got so far into it that he became the whole campaign. When Taylor was crook or too busy trying to run his little business, Gibson took to driving around the dairy farms himself, drumming up votes. He started to get a hearing in some of the farmhouses.
    The far right had its hooks into the hearts of a fair number of the district?s poorer country folk, who had been grappling for years to scratch a living. A woman named Jennifer McCallum, who once ran an outfit called People Against Communism, had moved into the electorate a few years previously and renamed her organisation People Against the One-World Government. Rhodes scholars, the Fabian Society, the Club of Rome and Jewish bankers, in concert with the UN, were taking over the world, according to her and her supporters. The message had got around, and the League of Rights recognised fertile ground. They started holding meetings, railing against the banks and the established political parties, which they suggested were being run by dark forces (Zionists, Fabians, etc).
    Taylor?s campaign became a magnet for some of these characters, although Taylor himself denied he was a Leaguer. A few of the smarter hangers-on knew Taylor was going nowhere. Some of them began suggesting quietly that Mel Gibson, drawcard and fellow traveller, would be a better candidate.
    I got wind of this because I was covering the campaign for Albury-Wodonga?s The Border Mail. Taylor?s outfit seemed so bizarre that I actually began feeling sorry for Gibson, even if he was a star. He appeared to be wading out of his depth in murky waters.
    One night in a house in Wodonga, during a meeting of Taylor?s campaign group, I climbed the journalistic fence from being a voyeur to a participant and alerted Gibson to suggestions he was being seen as a replacement for Taylor. He declared he had no interest in becoming a politician, and began demolishing a six-pack of beer. I told him he was being used as a stooge for some very far-out views that could harm his film career, and took him aside to show him pamphlets that were circulating at the edges of rallies he attended. They were full of conspiracy theories and hate slogans. Gibson professed he had known nothing of these dirty little leaflets, that he was simply for the family and a moral society and, anyway, he was sick of politics.
    It was the last I saw of him. He appeared to drift out of the campaign, which inevitably foundered. On polling day, Rob Taylor got 5415 votes, or 8.2% of those cast in the electorate. He came fourth. At least Max Max?s candidate beat the Pensioners Party.
    Thus, Australia missed out on what could have been its most famous celebrity politician ? one who might have rivalled California?s Arnie for what political strategists call ?high-profile ID?.

  3. I’m Australian & I’ve heard this before. A bit of background: the Herald Sun is Australia’s highest selling paper & is based here in Melbourne, but it’s speciality is sport and its ‘ serious news’ is like a printed version of the Fox channel. Victoria is one of Australia’s more artsy, highbrow states but the seat of Indi is rural. Like many isolated countries, Australia is quite a racist place, but it tends to be a bit underground. Genuine nutcases don’t get very far in politics as the Australian electorate tends to be suspicious of extremists. The Australian League of Rights is still around, but they get no mainstream publicity unless they’re being arrested. Their biggest claim to fame is petrol-bombing a few Asian restaurants in the ’80s (God, imagine how awful food would be in Australia if it wasn’t for non-white immigrants, these white-powers types really are insane!) Gibson did know some League of Rights types but his campaigning was limited to a few comments &, if I remember correctly, a few drinks at the pub. I suspect Gibson realized quite early on that as much as he might agree with them, he couldn’t hang with them publicly.

  4. Gee Jeff, you must be hard up for stories running this piece. You really are depriving us of what you do best, namely boring discussions about box-office and tracking or talking up medicocre flicks then backpeddling once they flop!

  5. and the Governators dad was in the Nazi party. So what? Its feeling a bit McCarthy-ish lately and that isnt sitting well with the mormon-ish vibe!

  6. oddDuck. Got not dramas being called a dick but would like to know why? How bout’elaborating. As I travel a heap for work I am happy to hear what you got to say face to face but somehow I think you wouldn’t have the balls for this, u gutless fanboy turdlet!

  7. The Bulletin 10/15/2003
    The Dream Candidate

    Arnold Schwarzenegger may be governor of California, but while Australia missed out on seeing its own screen legend Mel Gibson in parliament, political parties still continue to search for that dizzy combination of celebrity and political sale-ability. BY TONY WRIGHT NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR

    California might have The Terminator but Australia could have had Mad Max. Beyond a small area of north-eastern Victoria, Mel Gibson?s strange excursion into the Australian political arena is virtually unknown. It took place during the dreary winter of 1987. Bob Hawke was taking the nation to the polls, Joh Bjelke-Petersen was making his bizarre attempt to become PM and Gibson was bored.

    The actor had bought a cattle property in the back country near the marvellously named village of Tangambalanga in the foothills of the Victorian alps, not far from Wodonga. He joined the local fire brigade, rode around the hills on a tractor inspecting his herd of Angus cattle and occasionally drove into Albury, where he drank too much at Maudie?s Wine Bar.
    Already a big star, thanks to the first Mad Max movie and Gallipoli, Gibson was in his Greta Garbo phase ? he snarled at anyone who came near that he wanted no publicity and wished only for a quiet rural idyll with his wife and children.
    Then he discovered politics, or politics discovered him: the sort that damned the banks as evil, celebrated the family as the single institution worth defending and found dark conspiracies lurking in every corner of society. More particularly, Mel found a champion. His name was Rob Taylor, who was standing as an independent candidate for the Liberal seat of Indi, which covered much of north-eastern Victoria.

    Taylor badly needed profile. He ran a struggling delivery business near Yarrawonga, rattling from country store to country store, dreaming schemes involving the Reserve Bank printing money and giving interest-free loans to families, farmers and small businesses. He supported Joh for Canberra and was a sort of early version of Pauline Hanson, without the charisma or the legs. Taylor was surrounded by wild-eyed pamphleteers who had more than a passing acquaintance with the conspiracy-bound League of Rights, and was short of funds for advertising and campaign stunts.

    Enter Mel Gibson. Some of the hill folk in his district figured he was just the sort of fellow who meshed with Taylor?s politics: he was already well started on a family that would stretch to seven children, he came from a family of 11, and he was known to be heavily influenced by the right-wing views of his Holocaust-denying dad, Hutton Gibson, a one-time US railroad brakeman turned self-styled theologian who rejects that the Pope is a real Catholic (Gibson snr and jnr are both extremely conservative Catholics who believe the church lost its way in 1962).
    Gibson threw himself into bush politics, assuming the role of Taylor?s campaign mascot. He turned up at local showgrounds and racecourses on the trays of old trucks, posing beside Taylor?s campaign billboards, handing out pamphlets and telling everyone who would listen that Taylor stood for the family and the little bloke. He drew crowds, but they included flocks of young girls who only wanted his autograph. Local wags muttered he was the right man for a campaign for the little bloke, because he was a little bloke ? a lot smaller than he appeared on the screen.
    Gibson, a cigarette perpetually between his lips, got so far into it that he became the whole campaign. When Taylor was crook or too busy trying to run his little business, Gibson took to driving around the dairy farms himself, drumming up votes. He started to get a hearing in some of the farmhouses.

    The far right had its hooks into the hearts of a fair number of the district?s poorer country folk, who had been grappling for years to scratch a living. A woman named Jennifer McCallum, who once ran an outfit called People Against Communism, had moved into the electorate a few years previously and renamed her organisation People Against the One-World Government. Rhodes scholars, the Fabian Society, the Club of Rome and Jewish bankers, in concert with the UN, were taking over the world, according to her and her supporters. The message had got around, and the League of Rights recognised fertile ground. They started holding meetings, railing against the banks and the established political parties, which they suggested were being run by dark forces (Zionists, Fabians, etc).

    Taylor?s campaign became a magnet for some of these characters, although Taylor himself denied he was a Leaguer. A few of the smarter hangers-on knew Taylor was going nowhere. Some of them began suggesting quietly that Mel Gibson, drawcard and fellow traveller, would be a better candidate.

    I got wind of this because I was covering the campaign for Albury-Wodonga?s The Border Mail. Taylor?s outfit seemed so bizarre that I actually began feeling sorry for Gibson, even if he was a star. He appeared to be wading out of his depth in murky waters.

    One night in a house in Wodonga, during a meeting of Taylor?s campaign group, I climbed the journalistic fence from being a voyeur to a participant and alerted Gibson to suggestions he was being seen as a replacement for Taylor. He declared he had no interest in becoming a politician, and began demolishing a six-pack of beer. I told him he was being used as a stooge for some very far-out views that could harm his film career, and took him aside to show him pamphlets that were circulating at the edges of rallies he attended. They were full of conspiracy theories and hate slogans. Gibson professed he had known nothing of these dirty little leaflets, that he was simply for the family and a moral society and, anyway, he was sick of politics.
    It was the last I saw of him. He appeared to drift out of the campaign, which inevitably foundered. On polling day, Rob Taylor got 5415 votes, or 8.2% of those cast in the electorate. He came fourth. At least Max Max?s candidate beat the Pensioners Party.

    Thus, Australia missed out on what could have been its most famous celebrity politician ? one who might have rivalled California?s Arnie for what political strategists call ?high-profile ID?.

  8. Mel’s ties in the past can be questioned all day long, but lumping all the Catholics and Mormons in with him is clutching at straws, first, comparing apples and oranges, second, and third, is the exact sort of ignorance and bigotry Gibson showed a few weekends ago. Why throw some dirt poor priest in a third world shithole trying to do good and the entire Mormon faith under the bus with Mel? Stereotypes are dangerous because they are never true. Mel Gibson is the perfect example of one man’s rants, not the teachings of an entire denomination of people. I think we all need to be more informed about history, belief, and truth before we blast anything but the man himself.

  9. If the story is thin, as Jeff writes, ignore it. He probably could have done better without this latest post … lame gossip with minimal or no facts is pointless. If you’re gonna beat down a person, do it with fresh facts.

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