The normalisation of racism and religious bigotry in the Australian community is proceeding apace, despite the many voices being raised against it. There seems to be a sustained attempt to push the “acceptable” political spectrum far to the right.
Minister for Practically Everything, since December 2017, Peter Dutton has responsibility for national security, federal law enforcement, border protection, emergency management, immigration, citizenship, refugees and multicultural affairs.
His refusal to be present at the national apology to the indigenous people by PM Kevin Rudd and his dealing with offshore detention and the deaths involved were once considered the limits to which an Australian politician from a mainstream party could go.
His comments in January, about how Melburnians were too afraid to go out to restaurants because of Sudanese gangs, went that little bit further.
He might be desperate for the redneck vote, but even his stance has been exceeded by the Prime Minister and the former Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister went on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW program denouncing “Sudanese gangs” when in the past he has left that sort of thing to Peter Dutton.” [17 July SMH].
A few days later former PM Abbott blamed “the Victorian socialist government ” for “the African gang problem.” He questioned the immigration policy which “let in people who are going to be difficult to integrate?” [25 July SMH].
Andrew Bolt’s inflammatory Herald Sun article “There is no us, as migrants form colonies,” followed a few days later. [2 August].
This was topped by the appearance on 5 August of a well-known “Patriots Front” individual on Sky News in the Adam Giles program, which has since been suspended (probably temporarily).
Craig Emerson, a former Labor Party minister, in his resignation letter as a commentator for Sky News issued the next day, stated: “That Seven and Sky could present a neo-Nazi as a regular kind of guy and, in Seven’s case, a pillar of the community as a sort of neighbourhood watch coordinator, is frightening. Seven and Sky have sought to normalise racism and bigotry to boosts their ratings and advertising revenue.” [6 August AFR].
As The Saturday Paper pointed out in “Who Is Making Money out of Racism?” this kerfluffle about racism being stirred up by the LNP and its media allies could have a sinister political intent.
“… the elevation of race as an issue also serves as a valuable distraction for conservative forces whose real agenda is economic.”
The conclusion is stunning, but has the ring of truth:
“While Trump’s electoral base – disproportionately older, white, ill-educated, underpaid and male – was diverted by Muslim travel bans, walls to keep out Mexican “rapists”, outrage at black footballers “taking a knee” and sundry other race-oriented distractions, Trump and his party made like bandits, pushing through tax cuts that gave 80 per cent of the benefit to 1 per cent of the population.
Perhaps the true agenda here is more akin to class warfare: the manipulation of the base instincts of the mob to the benefit of one racial group, in particular, rich white folks.
That’s how you monetise racism, big time.” [11 August].
Now that the Final Solution and the ending of Muslim immigration have been mentioned in a speech by a new version of Oswald Mosley in the Senate, we need to take real action to stem the use of this dangerous political tool by reactionary political forces.
This racist diversionary technique has been used before in our history and it did not end well.