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And now Morrison (yes, him again) denies us our history

Author Peter FitzSimons recently completed a documentary on the history of race riots in Australia. The first episode of “The Great Australian Race Riot” aired on SBS on January 4th.

FitzSimons wanted to include the 2001 riot at the Woomera Detention Centre. However, then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison (yes, him again) refused FitzSimons access to the long-closed facility, and demanded the crew not film within 150 metres of the site.

“That furiously annoyed me,” says FitzSimons. “We couldn’t shoot in Woomera itself, which staggered us. We were attempting to take a serious look at a sometimes difficult multicultural society.”

This is a deliberate attempt by the Abbott government to control a historical record of racial unrest in Australia.

The 2001 Woomera riot took place on the Howard LNP government watch. It is a period steeped in turmoil over asylum seekers arriving here by boat. It was at this time the notorious Tampa stand-off took place,causing an international incident between Australia and Norway as well as profound domestic political unrest as then Prime Minister John Howard made his infamous declaration: “We will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they come.”

Howard exploited populist xenophobic fears incited by Pauline Hanson, then leader of right-wing One Nation, a conservative, anti multicultural political party. Co-opting Hanson’s xenophobic policies, Howard attracted her voter base and went on to win the 2001 federal election.

Woomera Detention Centre was central to the combination of circumstances that elevated the exploitation and incitement of xenophobia and racism to the central platform they remain for both the LNP and the ALP to this day. That period began what has become an increasingly isolationist and inhumane Australian response to the global problem of stateless persons.

The treatment of asylum seekers imprisoned in the Woomera and Baxter detention centres marked the beginning of increasing public acceptance of the state’s dehumanisation of those fleeing persecution, and laid the ground for popular acceptance of Morrison’s narrative of border protection. Morrison’s alleged “war” against waterborne asylum seekers has been used to justify the ludicrous and sinister secrecy in which the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is now irrevocably steeped.

It is astounding that the Abbott government has in this instance successfully engineered the recording of Australian history to exclude any reference to the Woomera riot. Fortunately many records of these events exist. Morrison and Abbott are fighting a losing battle if they believe the voices of this period of our history can be silenced. Indeed, their attempts to control information appear increasingly desperate and naive, as they consistently fail to recognise that what one attempts to omit from the narrative eventually becomes the narrative, and all they are left with are increasingly sullied reputations drenched to the bone in lies, secrets and guilty silence. History eventually will judge Morrison and Abbott, and the Australian Labor Party, and find them all excruciatingly wanting.

First published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.

 438 total views,  6 views today


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  1. Sad sack

    Didn’t have the heart to name gillard and Bowen?

  2. Dom

    For what? Blocking access to Woomera?

  3. mars08

    I don’t give a shit how history eventually judges Morrison and Bowen. Innocent, vulnerable, isolated people are being destroyed right now! And most Australians simply don’t care. This cruelty is being perpetrated in our name.

    We have become the good Germans.

  4. la_lasciata

    I wish you were not correct. Australians are succumbing in droves to the fear-mongering of the LNP, and responding to all immigration issues like animals defending found kills.

  5. billshaw2013

    I’ve seen the Woomera “detention” centre. A more inhospitable location couldn’t be found. Deliberate selection of site to punish refugees. And at a huge cost for taxpayers.

  6. mars08

    “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past”

  7. john o'callaghan

    Both major parties are to blame for this,but the conservatives seem to take the cruelty and inhumanity to a whole new level,and they enjoy it.
    We should all let the Labor people know that unless they change and allow on shore processing done in a civilised compassionate manner they will never get our vote.

  8. Peter D

    Multiculturalism Never works.
    They will not assimilate into our way of life.

  9. crypt0

    Anyone would think Morrison were the PM …
    Or at least leading the LNP …
    At this stage he isn’t …
    Whether he is at some future point would constitute a little test of the Australian people’s character.

  10. Roswell

    Peter D, take a look around you. We’ve been a multicultural society for many decades. Seems to be working OK to me.

  11. stephentardrew

    With you all the way Mars8.

  12. stephentardrew

    Peter D Ignorance and insults demonstrates your nakedness in the light of facts.

    My children are multicultural and I am proud of them.

    They are decent ethical people with a sense of moral justice and equity.

    That’s more than I can say for a portion of so called white Australians.

  13. Erotic Moustache

    They will not assimilate into our way of life.

    Neither will I. Does that make me a ferrener?

  14. Möbius Ecko

    Is Australia a nation of Borgs now?

  15. Pappinbarra Fox

    Peter D’s last name is Dengzhiou, I know this to be true.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Which way of life is that? The one we used to have were we welcomed people who needed safe haven and pitched in to help those who were in trouble? Or our new way of life where everyone’s worth is measured in dollars and the more you have the less you will be asked to contribute?

    Team Australia can go jump. I am on Team Humanity.

  17. Michael Taylor

    Peter D’s comment is racist on the surface, but when you think about it, it is also contradictive. Multiculturalism doesn’t work because new Australians won’t assimilate, is his claim.

    If people from other cultures don’t assimilate, to me this means that multiculturalism is alive and well.

    But I know what Peter D wants. He wants this country to be of only one colour, one culture, one religion. Yuk.

  18. Harquebus

    When Pauline Hanson gave her maiden parliamentary speech, politicians and the media went berserk so, I looked it up and read it to see what all the fuss was about. The pollies and journos were full of it. They put words in her mouth, misrepresented what she said, took things out of context.
    It reminded me of my primary school days when I watched this nation get conned into voting for our poxy national anthem and I have been watching this nation get conned on every important issue ever since.

    Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it. – John Lennon

  19. Erotic Moustache

    Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech was horrible. It was platitudinous, simplistic, ignorant, jargonstic- basically empty of anything remotely meaningful or substantive. It was a bunch of classic pseudo conservative home spun abracadabra she tried to legitimise by the term “commonsense”.

  20. corvus boreus

    We are Straya! Prepare to be assimilated!

  21. Harquebus

    @Erotic Moustache
    It was some time ago that I read that speech but, that is not how I recollect it. Are you sure your opinion is not biased due to political and media propaganda?

  22. corvus boreus

    Paulines’ maiden speech.
    After establishing her credentials as a mum and a fish and chip shop proprietor, the former member for Oxley started with how Indigenous Australians were treated better than whites, and called for ATSIC to be abolished. She then called for abolition of the Family Law Act.
    She called for an end to multi-culturalism, uttering the famous ‘Straya is in danger of being swamped by Asians’ line, then ”without hesitation” quoted A Caldwell about how the Asians and Africans all hated whites and each other.
    She called for us to ‘repudiate’ all international conventions we had signed and consider withdrawing from the UN entirely. She called for an end to all foreign aid. She called for a policy of general conscription.

    Leaving aside the mangled diction, it was an execrable piece of public speaking, with a bigoted agenda and sub-simplistic ‘solutions’.

  23. Bilal

    The would-be totalitarian fears truth and the judgment of history. This front bench will be savaged for its assault on democracy as no other, even the rule of the treacherous Stanley Melbourne Bruce who was eventually defeated in his own electorate. Fitzsimons program was excellent and forced us to think about who we were and who we have become. It is a wonder it has not been denounced as “un-Australian”.
    The move towards indoctrination of the next generation in IPA values is already underway with Pyne’s specially selected religious bigots changing and twisting the “Australian” curriculum into something which the New Guard would have loved back in the 1930s.

  24. Trevor

    Team Liarberal and the great Australian racist rump.

  25. Sad sack

    Dom ‘Abbott and Morrison and the whole labor party’ does that say some in the libs are anti policy but none in labor? Patent nonsense. As for Peter D multiculturalism can only work if there is assimilation, at least, with the Australian law. Currently the msm is selling distrust and fear by confusing religion which has the protection of the law(hiding abuse for generations) with aspects of culture which should not have the religious protection.

  26. bloke

    @ peter
    “Multiculturalism Never works.
    They will not assimilate into our way of life.”

    just how white people assimilated when they came to australia you mean?
    how many tribes can you even name? hypocrite.

  27. Michael Taylor

    Bloke, Peter knows but one tribe: Team Australia.

  28. Peter Lee

    Peter D

    The new arrivals into this land are not required to assimilate. The great value and strength of our society is the diversity of our people. Perhaps peter D should learn about the booring community that exister here prior to the Second World War when we were a society primarily based upon British people with thier dull diets, thier dull sex lives, thier limited philosophies and thier conservativiness.
    Peter Lee

  29. Peter

    I’d contest the characterisation of the ‘Woomera 2002, Festival Of Freedoms’ as a ‘riot’. It was a conscious act of struggle and resistance with very clear political and moral motivations.

    For a rather long and up-close account in two parts, see http://rran.org/blog/2014/10/dispatches-from-the-front-lines/. Anonymous author of course, but we are reliably informed that it’s a true account.

  30. Erotic Moustache


    It was some time ago that I read that speech but, that is not how I recollect it. Are you sure your opinion is not biased due to political and media propaganda?

    I don’t know why you’re condemning your view of Hanson’s maiden parliamentary speech to the treachery of “memory” when you can read it anytime you want:

    Pauline Hanson’s Maiden Speech In The House Of Representatives

  31. Peter

    By the way, the photo is not from Woomera in 2002, it’s from Baxter, either 2003 or 2005. 2005 I think. I can tell you that at Baxter in 2003 and 2005 it was certainly the Police who were rioting!

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