How much more proof does one need to advance the proposition that we have a racist government?
Moreover, its leader carries the tag of Christian more as a convenience than a truth.
The problem with that premise is that despite all the criticism of Morrison wearing his faith on his sleeve, he shows no inclination for using any Christian ethics in his decision-making.
I’m speaking of real Christian ethics like love, compassion, devotion, morality, sacrifice, loyalty, openness, truth, support, work, and human equality. Any separation of church and state doesn’t eliminate these words.
These are words or concepts that even non-Christians practice. Why are they absent from Morrison’s world view?
In many respects, he prosecutes a strange sort of separation of church and state. He practices all these things in his faith but not in his politics. Does that not seem rather odd?
It seems irrational to me. A practice dumber than dumb that invites its own dangerous problems.
I think what atheists find most offensive with religion is not only that they reject theist belief, but also the injustice, immorality and hypocrisy that often comes with it.
In 2015 The AIMN published Arise Scott Morrison, Lord Sixwords of Cronulla!, an in-depth series that examined the ‘real’ Scott Morrison. I offer this quote from Part 1 of the series:
“In December 2010, 48 asylum seekers died while attempting to reach Christmas Island by boat. Morrison’s attitude to the event was bitterly criticised by both the government and his own party for comments he uttered after the tragedy.
On February 15 2011, the then Shadow Immigration Minister questioned the decision of the Gillard Government to pay for relatives of the dead to attend funerals in Sydney.
Afterwards, fellow Liberal and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey denounced Morrison’s statements, saying that that he would “never seek to deny a parent or a child from saying goodbye to their relative.” Morrison acknowledged that the timing of his comments might have been insensitive but did not recoil from the comments themselves.
“Do you think you run the risk of being seen as heartless on the day of these funerals to be saying – to be bickering over this money?” asked ABC reporter Barbara Miller, whose report that morning was broadcast on the programme AM.
Here is what Morrison replied: “When it comes to the question of do I think this is a reasonable cost, then my honest answer is, ‘No, I don’t think it is reasonable.'”
The Fairfax press published a column which called him a “cheap populist”, with the outburst “harmful to the national interest”.
Caught unawares and always prone to equivocation, the Leader of the Opposition gave the remarks a lukewarm endorsement during the course of an interview with a notoriously Right-wing radio station. He said: “It does seem a bit unusual that the government is flying people to funerals.” Morrison’s comments were met with condemnation from former Liberal leaders.
One called the comments “inhumane”. Another expressed his hope that “Scott Morrison is just a fringe element in the party.
Herein lays my quandary. On reading the preceding words, you could not be blamed for thinking that the person must be a racist of sorts, as Morrison’s comments were directed at a particular cohort of people.
When he gives a directive to another group, who are citizens of Australia, that they cannot return home under threat of jail, one might be excused for thinking that this is also racism.
Thus far, we might at least conclude that our Prime Minister isn’t favourable to brown-skinned people.
Before going further, let’s examine just what racism is:
- The belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate the others.
- Offensive or aggressive behaviour to members of another race stemming from such a belief.
- A policy or system of government and society based upon it.
In the situation with Indian Australians, as mentioned earlier, is Morrison – in denouncing the costs of Australia paying for the funerals of those who lost their lives in such a tragedy – just playing politics or was he race-baiting.
Lenore Taylor, in The Sydney Morning Herald back in February 2011 delivered an opinion that suggests Morrison back then – seizing Coalition sentiment – saw vote-winning in racist strategies:
“The opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate… But after Mr Morrison’s comments this week on the cost of asylum-seeker funerals and his role in the controversial decision to cut a Howard government program to fund schools in Indonesia, colleagues are privately questioning whether he is trying to pursue an anti-Muslim political strategy unilaterally.”
On his website at the time, Mr Morrison, a member of the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church, wrote; “My Christian faith remains the driving force for my family, beliefs and values.”
It was indeed a time when the conservatives in opposition and government tried to extract a view of Muslims with cynical manipulation driven only by race. Take the Cronulla Riots of which Alan Jones was found to have egged-on anti-Middle Eastern sentiment, or when Tony Abbott was delivering his own form of prejudice in an essentially racist manner.
A decade ago Kevin Dunn, professor of geography and urban studies at the University of Western Sydney, published a study on racism in Australia. In it, he wrote:
“Research has shown convincingly that geopolitical events, political events and political statements don’t affect Australian attitudes on race very quickly, but they do affect behaviour. People holding a grudge or who are just ill-informed; or acting on the sins of the father will feel empowered to act on them. They feel more empowered to act on them.” Racist abuse and discrimination follow.
Words and how you use them carry profound national responsibility (think about our current diplomacy with China).
Before addressing India, let’s examine Morrison’s statement that “there was no slavery in Australia.”
The government led by Morrison loudly condemned the Black Lives Matter protest marches while at the same time completely ignoring the reasons that make people protest.
It also ignored the written history of slavery that our First Nations People experienced. His flippancy when defending his comment was that of a man either playing the race card or one who is entirely ill-informed. I must, in my writing, dismiss the latter.
Aboriginals worked for years on cattle stations for no wages. If that isn’t slavery, then I don’t know what is. People responded by posting historic photographs of our First Nations Peoples in chains on social media.
“It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia… While some bad things have happened in our past, we have apologised land moved on,” said the Prime Minister.
When I first read it, I was taken by the stench of its blatant racism given that we would jail Australian citizens in India from returning to Australia.
For me, it is obviously racism born of an inability to comprehend that many of our people were born overseas, or are of second or third generation. That when politicians leave us alone, we get on reasonably well together.
This seems to be married to the recent scare about terrorism in Australia rated as a likely event. Why they seem intent on these major scare campaigns is beyond me. I guess it’s because they work. Unfortunately, the answer to this is because they work.
Undeterred by public opinion, Morrison has fended off criticism by his most prominent allies, who said it “stinks of racism.” Among these were arch conservative Andrew Bolt, who has been found guilty of racism himself.
Morrison later said that it was:
“… highly unlikely that Australians who flouted the ban would be jailed. I think the likelihood of any of that occurring is pretty much zero.”
This, of course, raised the question of why the threat of jail in the first place.
Within the next twelve months, Morrison and his government face an election. They will do so with a few fewer votes from the Indian community, and rightly so.
Now we are confronted with yet more odious loathing. This time it is directed at those from India. It doesn’t matter what their country of origin if they are Muslim, they will suffer the entire thrust of minorities xenophobia. Just as 99 per cent of Muslims want peace, so do 99 per cent of Australians.
We have a long history of finding fault with things we don’t understand. At various times we have blamed communists, Jews, women, the devil, Indigenous people and witches, even God for all manner of things.
I have been privy to the ignorance that history has recorded on these matters. I am angry with Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton and our Prime Minister who would seek to deny Australia of others who desire to pursue their personal freedom and the opportunity to give themselves to the advancement of this great nation.
When I sit on the platform at Flinders Street Station and watch the passing parade of ethnicity, I can only admire a country I could never envisage from the same seat in the 1950s.
My thought for the day
Why does western art always depict Jesus as white when as a middle eastern Jew he would have been brown-skinned.
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