June 19, 2001
By Adam Cooper
The parents of a candidate in next month's Aston by-election today said their son had been brainwashed by a right-wing racist cult that believes the Queen heads an international drug cartel.
John and Bronwyn Mitchell said they feared for their son's mental well-being because he had been brainwashed by the Citizens Electoral Council (CEC), an offshoot of the political group formed by US extremist Lyndon LaRouche.
But their 21-year-old son, Doug, today remained defiant, saying he would stay with the group, which he said had given him a "classical education" and taught him "real history."
"I'm going to stick with CEC until we win the fight and get our ideas across to the people," Doug Mitchell said.
CEC has offices in Coburg in Melbourne's inner north and bases its beliefs upon those of 78-year-old LaRouche, a convicted fraudster and failed presidential candidate.
Among the group's beliefs are that the Queen of England oversees the international drug trade, her husband Prince Philip heads a worldwide conspiracy to introduce population control and that the 1996 Tasmanian Port Arthur mass shooting and Scotland's Dunblane school massacre were conspiracies.
The group has directed much of its hatred towards Aborigines, environmentalists and Jews; it's alleged one prominent Australian Jewish family gave the go ahead for the Waco siege in Texas in 1993.
Mr. Mitchell's parents said Doug had been persuaded to live with party members and run as a candidate for Aston, in Melbourne's east, since he met a party member and former school friend last October.
John Mitchell said Doug had changed from a typical university student to an outspoken campaigner in months, but said his son was too naive to cope with his new ideas.
"He was always a quiet person but he seems to be on a high all the time," he said.
"He's not on drugs...but they've got his mind full of what he has to be focused on.
"We are mainly concerned for his mental safety, I don't think he can handle it.
"He's totally under their influences."
Doug Mitchell said he was hopeful of winning between five and ten per cent of Aston's vote and said the CEC was not a cult.
Claims the party was racist were "total lies" and "pathetic, low, dirty sick tactics", he said.
"I wanted to be independent and grow up a bit, instead of living a dull and bland life and have an impact on what is going on," he said.
The Aston by-election was called following the sudden death last April of Liberal sitting MP Peter Nugent.