Violence erupted between rival groups at the ‘Reclaim Australia’ yesterday.
Guest blogger Melissa Frost gives her views.
Are you happy, Abbott?
Australia is in the middle of a civil war it doesnt need to have.
An ideological civil war and today 4th April 2015 a near riot nationwide between those wanting multiculturalism and those opposing multiculturalism. And yet globally Australia is seen as one of the most successful multi cultural societies.
Sitting here in my living room following Twitter this rainy Sunday afternoon of the Easter weekend holiday. I was horrified to read my fellow Australians threaten, push and scream at each other at Reclaim Australia protests around the country. Organised over the internet, these protests were initially cancelled. Yet protesters turned up at Martin Place, Sydney and across Australia as well as other organisations and community groups opposing the Reclaim Australia mantra.
In 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “Multiculturalism is the word that we use to capture our love of the things that bind us together and our respect for the diversity that enriches us”.
This is a humanist definition of the word “multiculturalism”. And Julia Gillard’s definition of the word I particularly like. It encapsulates the right of all human beings to be heard. For all human beings to be considered and honoured. It speaks of dignity and our lifetime common goal of living life with love, care for each other and above all, respect.
Yet, over the last 18 months this definition of multiculturalism has changed. Abbott like his sensei Howard, loathed the “m” word and avoided multiculturalism discussions at every turn. Abbott in the Howard years described multiculturalism as “My view was that Australia should emphasise the common characteristics of the Australian identity. We should emphasise our unifying points rather than our areas of difference.” Which is not a definition of multiculturalism , it is a definition of nationalism.
As soon as Abbott became Prime Minister his definition of multiculturalism translated into action, with his government’s abolition of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration, Multiculturalism and Population Research.
Abbott’s minister’s took to Twitter with tweets such as “Note burqa wearers in some of the houses raided this morning? This shroud of oppression and flag of fundamentalism is not right in Aust”. A Corey Bernardi tweet from September 2014 following the anti-terrorist raids in Sydney and Melbourne. A very publicised tweet supported by the Murdoch press. A tweet suggesting all burqa wearers in Australia were terrorists.
Bernadi himself the son of an Italian immigrant Leon Bernardi, who came to Australia at 16, worked his way from the David Jones food counter to running his own hotels and restaurants, and succeeded well enough to send his three sons to the exclusive Prince Alfred College is an excellent example of multiculturalism succeeding.
And yet Abbott, another successful immigrant story and Bernardi will not afford their successful multicultural examples to others. Instead inciting fear and loathing through the different mediums of the press, Twitter and Abbott’s six flag national addresses on new anti terrorist laws on our TV screens.
These constant, daily, visual cues by this Abbott government and their “Team Australia” rhetoric give those who are disenfranchised, ie young caucasian males, a licence to invoke thuggery. To project their discontent of their lives onto Australia’s Islamic community and organise rally’s Australia wide calling for “Reclaim Australia”.
Good one, Abbott.