Once again, it seems, the Liberal party spin doctors are trying to cloud our minds and muddy the waters with yet another two or three word slogan. This time it is ‘Team Australia’.
As if we were not already dumbed down enough with the pathetic, ‘stop the boats’ and ‘axe the tax’ not to mention, ‘fix the budget’, here we are, once more, being ask to leave our basic intelligence and our common sense at the front door and enter this extraordinary world of the mystical, unquestioned, not to be doubted, dumb-arse quotes of the day.
This time it is ‘Team Australia’. Yet another lame-brain, mean nothing, distraction placed along our pathway for a compliant media to pick up and run with. It is done so that we will forget the incompetence thus far displayed, as well as the more pressing and relevant issues before us and expend our energy by ramping up intolerance, ignorance and sectarian fear mongering, something we have shown ourselves to be so good at and which can, so effectively, divide us.
So, before we become so overwhelmed with the IDEA of what ‘Team Australia’ is, perhaps we should all take a deep breath, step back and place this rather obsequious slogan under the microscope.
Trawling through the news feed on Facebook this morning I came across the, ‘Starts at Sixty’ page and an article headed, ‘Do You Agree With Tony Abbott on This One?’ The article then goes on to describe one woman’s experience living in a Middle Eastern country for an undisclosed period of time. This is part of what this otherwise unidentified woman wrote:
“While I was living there, everything I did and said had to be done their way. I had to dress like they did, I wasn’t allowed to swim at the beaches or lakes, I wasn’t allowed to speak or make eye contact unless it was culturally appropriate to do so. Safe to say, living there was incredibly different from what it is while I was in Australia. And, I was OK with that. I was in their country, so I was happy to live as they did.”
I am not going to suggest that this was a deliberate plant by ‘Team Liberal’ although it certainly smells like it. But, one only has to read the comments that the article has generated to see that it has had the desired effect. The responses are predominantly a cross section of the crass sectarian, if not racial, intolerance our nation experienced back in 2001 when John Howard so cleverly manipulated the Australian psyche with Tampa.
So far, there have been several hundred comments on the Facebook page. The majority of those I have read seem to be under the impression that if one lives in a Middle Eastern country and must conform to their way of life, then that means those who come to this country must therefore necessarily conform to ours. What the respondents are therefore saying is that WE are no better than THEM.
While thankfully, there are a handful of respondents who have posted rational counter arguments and warn of the danger implied in Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’, such a chant has the possibility of going viral and igniting yet another hate campaign that ends up dividing the country on a spurious issue that masks the more disgraceful things that the present government is doing and wants to do.
We have always celebrated diversity. We have always encouraged multiculturalism. What is it that we fear? More importantly, who is driving this anti-Middle Eastern rhetoric? What did Tony Abbott mean when he said, “You don’t migrate to this country unless you want to join Team Australia.” What is ‘Team Australia”?
The unidentified author of the article wrote, “When I was over there, I lived as they did, but when they live here, if we ask them to adopt our practices or do their best to integrate into our lifestyle, we are deemed as being racist.”
What utter rubbish.
What practices do we ask them to adopt here? What lifestyle is the author referring to? Do we expect that they change their diet and eat our food? Should they all renounce Islam and become Christian or Atheist? Should they all forget their language and speak only English? What is it precisely that we should expect of them?
I cannot help but feel that there are elements out there, mostly on the highly conservative side of politics that have begun another round of fear mongering that manifests itself in demonising anyone who is different. This convinces me that a dark undercurrent of intolerance and bigotry within our country has been targeted and that the process of appealing to the lowest common denominator in humanity has begun and is on the rise once again. It goes by many names, easily recognised for its nationalistic spirit, like ‘Team Australia’.
It worked for John Howard and one can be certain that if we are not careful, it can work again. We can stop it by demanding to know just what such catch-calls like, ‘Team Australia’ actually mean and what are its objectives.
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