The man behind Warringah’s superhero, Captain GetUp, is Gerard Benedet. The orange character arrived on Sydney’s northern beaches via a post by The Australian. The Twitter account describes itself as arriving, “to tell you what to think and how to act this election! Authorised by Gerard Benedet, Advance Aus Ltd Brisbane.”
As Nine Entertainment Corporation’s (NEC) Max Koslowski revealed in March, Mr Benedet is the national director of the conservative activist group, Advance Australia. He has previously worked for the Liberal Party’s Brendan Nelson, Helen Coonan and Michael Ronaldson. He was also a volunteer for Tony Abbott’s 2001 re-election campaign. Meet Gerard Benedet, the man who could save conservatives – or take them down with him.
In his most recent political activity, Mr Benedet was chief-of-staff (CoS) for Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) MP, Tim Nicholls, who was treasurer under Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. Just months ahead of the snap 2015 Queensland election, in September 2014, Mr Benedet suddenly resigned and went to work for News Corp’s The Courier Mail in the capacity of “government relations”. Treasurer’s COS jumps ship to News Corp.
After Premier Newman’s defeat in 2015, Mr Benedet returned as CoS to Mr Nicholls. Controversy arose in 2017 when the CoS to Pauline Hanson, James Ashby, was recorded saying he had secured a deal with Mr Benedet for the Queensland LNP and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON) not to attack each other. This was immediately denied by Mr Nicholls. One Nation’s James Ashby deal claim ‘absolute crap’, Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls says.
In a recent tweet, former Queensland premier Campbell Newman championed the creation of Captain GetUp.
Captain GetUp also responded to NoFibs with a link to the wake-up-to-getup website.
Naaman Zhou reported that Captain GetUp’s arrival had been met with ridicule on social media. Captain GetUp: conservative group’s satirical superhero debuts to ridicule.
The GetUp organisation lists itself as an, “independent, not-for-profit, community action for Australia.”
The objective of Captain GetUp appears to be to ruin the brand of GetUp. The big-headed, orange persona may seem ludicrous to social media users but there’s a local-level campaign going on here. The annoying character leaping in front of busy Warringah commuters might trigger a very different emotion. It’s a campaign Benedet would hope to cultivate in the weeks before Australia votes.