World News

Australian Councilor Criticized for Praise of Russian President Putin on National Television

According to a Port Hedland Councillor, “The world has never seen such a transparent and comprehensive victory.”

Unfortunately, the comments made by this Councillor on Russian state television, where he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his recent election win, have been criticized as “regrettable” and against the interests of a small Australian mining town.

Adrian McRae was invited by the Russian government to Moscow as an “independent” election observer even before he officially became a councillor. He was only sworn in after returning to Australia.

Mr. Putin’s victory on March 24 extended his nearly quarter-century rule for another six years, making him the longest-serving leader in Russia in over 200 years, surpassing Joseph Stalin.

Several senior political figures worldwide denounced the election results as lacking legitimacy. The U.S. National Security Council spokesperson from the White House criticized the elections, stating that they were not free or fair given Mr. Putin’s actions against political opponents and his prevention of others from running against him. Australia’s Foreign Minister and the British Foreign Secretary also condemned the outcome as an insult to democracy and highlighted the repression under Mr. Putin’s regime.

Despite the global criticism, Mr. McRae, along with other leaders, congratulated Mr. Putin on his victory, praising the transparency and comprehensive nature of the election.

He later revealed that he was invited by the Russian Ambassador to Australia, Aleksey Pavlovsky, after a meeting in Sydney earlier that year.

Describing the election as exceedingly transparent, Mr. McRae stated that it surpassed the Australian system, where he has been involved in various electoral roles.

Local Critics Respond

However, former Port Hedland shire president Arnold Carter criticized Mr. McRae’s actions, saying they were contrary to the town’s interests as a vital export port for Australia’s mining industry.

Mr. Carter emphasized that Mr. McRae’s congratulatory message to Mr. Putin was erroneous and reflected poorly on the Shire.

The Town of Port Hedland’s chief executive indicated that Mr. McRae traveled in a personal capacity, and the town does not comment on the personal activities of elected members, who must adhere to the town’s code of conduct.

While West Australian Premier Roger Cook refrained from calling for Mr. McRae’s resignation, he criticized his behavior and commentary, labeling them as regrettable.

He also highlighted that such conduct was not expected from local government authority councillors and urged the people of Port Hedland to express their dissatisfaction.

Mr. McRae ran in the previous federal election as a candidate for The Great Australian Party, founded by former Western Australian senator Rod Culleton, in the Durack electorate. However, Mr. Culleton has faced legal issues, including an arrest warrant issued in 2022 for allegedly lying in his application to run in the 2022 federal election.

In 2023, Mr. Culleton also made headlines for attempting to use “common law sheriffs” to reclaim his family farm, which had been foreclosed on by a bank.

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