Dutch Politician Geert Wilders Helps Launch Anti-Islam Party in Australia

The controversial Dutch politician, Geert Wilders has traveled to Australia to help launch a new anti-Islam political party, based on his own right-wing Party for Freedom.

In its official manifesto, the new party—the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA)—says that its core policy is to challenge what it describes as "attempts to impose Islam's theocracy and Sharia law on our liberal society." During the launch, which was held at an unspecified location in Perth on Tuesday evening, three candidates were unveiled who will contest seats in Australia's upper house Senate in next year's federal election, the Guardian newspaper reported. A press conference was then held at Parliament House in Perth on Wednesday morning, the most public and well-known press stage in the Western Australian capital.

"Let us reclaim our countries," Wilders told the crowd on Wednesday, according to German newspaper Deutsche Welle. "Stop the mass immigration from Islamic countries. You will have millions of people coming to Australia, like we do in Europe, and you will not be able to handle it," Wilders continued. "You should be a sovereign country that closes your borders to those kinds of immigrants."

A fantastic launch of @AustLiberty last night, so proud to be present here with all these true Australian heroes! pic.twitter.com/6RGwJQezMb

— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) October 21, 2015

A small group of protesters armed with an amplifier turned up at the press conference, chanting "Racists are not welcome here", according to ABC news, though this is not the only setback that Wilders' visit to Australia has suffered. At one stage it seemed that he would not be given a visa for after a series of delays, before he was eventually granted one earlier this month.

The Premier of West Australia, Colin Barnett also blocked state-owned venues from hosting the Dutch politician."I do not support him and I do not support the things he says," Barnett told Australia's ABC Radio earlier this month. "However, I do recognize the right to free speech. He can say what he wishes, but he will not have any support from the West Australian government at all." It is unclear why the event was held at Parliament House given Barnett's comments.

The ALA has said it wants to ban full-face veils in public spaces and introduce a 10-year moratorium on immigration from countries belonging to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group that is made up of 57 member states, including Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

"We will work towards an integrated multi-ethnic society based on core Western values and individual Liberty. We will stop the Islamisation of Australia and end divisive multiculturalism," the party's manifesto reads.

Wilders' Freedom Party surged in national polls in the wake of the Islamist militant attacks in Paris in January. If elections had been held then, his party would be the single largest in the Netherlands, with 31 seats in the 150-member parliament, according to Reuters.