Screenshot of UAP election material.
Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has delivered precisely one representative to government, after Ralph “Deej” Babet—a real estate agent and election fraud conspiracy theorist—snagged the final spot in the Australian Senate for the state of Victoria on Monday.
The win emerges as the one and only victory for Palmer, who spent close to $100 million in the lead up to the 2022 federal election to bombard voters around Australia with populist boosterisms in a bid to whet the constituency’s appetite for his candidates.
It was a tough sell: a number of them had faced charges for everything from stalking and intimidation, to burglary, domestic violence and even trafficking. For Babet, the party’s number one Senate pick in Victoria, there was no exception.
In 2014, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminal damage, before it was withdrawn in 2015. Then, a criminal damage charge was later recorded in 2017, but wasn’t convicted because Babet accepted responsibility without pleading guilty. Babet was then lashed again in 2018, when he pleaded guilty to unlawful assault, but a magistrate dismissed the charge when he complied with an undertaking.
Beyond his brushes with the courts, Babet, like his party running mates, neatly ticked off all of the prerequisite requirements of a modern-day UAP candidate, even if his ascendancy could be considered a tepid return on investment.
Before he was elected to the Senate, Babet ran a real estate agency called “@realty” head-quartered out of Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland, with his brother, Matt (who also stood as a UAP candidate at the federal election for the Melbourne seat of Bruce and recorded 9 percent of the vote). And like those in his political orbit, the COVID-19 pandemic was a boon for his politics.
He has stood in firm opposition to lockdowns—and pretty much all COVID-19 risk mitigation measures—misrepresenting news reports so as to suggest lockdowns were the cause of death for countless Australians through the pandemic, and that COVID-19 vaccines could somehow be linked to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
But Babet has long thrown his support behind a number of debunked conspiracy theories. As soon as it appeared likely he would secure a Senate seat, Crikey compiled a selection of his greatest hits.
Among them were his promotion of the Davos conspiracy, which falsely claims the World Economic Forum is impeding on Australian sovereignty by thrusting blanket COVID-19 mandates on Australian governments.
In one post on May 22, the day after the election, he wrote: “I would like to congratulate the new prime minister of Australia on an excellent campaign. Well done Klauss Schwab,” the executive chairman of the World World Economic Forum.
On his Facebook page, between posts that might see him spruik “The Great Reset” conspiracy theory, or pose in random hotel lobbies telling his followers “life’s good”, Babet has also moved to sow doubt over the outcome of the federal election.
In one post on June 2, he doubled down on false claims made by proponents of the “freedom” movement that suggested the Australian Electoral Commission had intentionally been providing voters with misleading information as part of an effort to rig the election.
He joined a chorus of fringe supporters who claimed the same, professing that the amount of people personally known to supporters who voted for fringe candidates should’ve seen parties like Clive Palmer’s UAP and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation perform better.
Babet has since made an effort to tidy his social media accounts. He deleted his Instagram and Twitter accounts shortly after the election. On Monday, attempting to restart his Twitter presence, Babet shared that Twitter had proactively suspended him and placed his account in “read-only mode”, meaning he would not be able to post, retweet, or like content.
The legions of questionable Facebook posts he leaves in his wake will no doubt soon disappear, too.
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