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Tag Archives: Racism

Assimilate but GTFO – of our billboards

Tonight it really hit home. It hit home that the Australian people are more interested in trashing the fair go, than holding it dear as a true Australian value. Once the fair go is well and truly gone; we, as a people are nothing.

Two Girls, Two Flags, Two Tweets

As I browsed Twitter, two tweets had a huge impact on me tonight. The first was from Sam Dastyari. There was a real sadness in Sam’s tweet. A sadness that really encompassed that this insidious scourge of populist racism, led very vocally by Pauline Hanson, is actively destroying our country from the inside out.

The human face of the racial attacks, slurs, anger and hatred from so many “Hansonites” in the last 24 hours were two gorgeous, smiling little girls. This. Must. Stop.

The second tweet was from Josh Butler, Associate Editor of Huffington Post Australia. His tweet really drove home not only the callous behaviour of the last 24 hours; but the stupidity behind it. Is this what we have become?

Why this really hit home

The reason Sam and Josh’s tweets really hit home is because they wrap up very neatly in a nice little ball how racist ranting has become the new power drug for so many. It hit home because the feeling of elation and superiority more and more Australians are feeling from this negative, insidious activism, led by Hanson (and encouraged by the Media reporting her every word); is now overwhelming us. It is dividing us. It is destroying us.

This hateful rhetoric takes precedence over everything. Over actually giving a damn about the damage, stigma and pain these harmful words and actions are doing to other human beings. Now it doesn’t even matter if the target is just a sweet, innocent, little kid.

It didn’t matter if the loud screams and anger were aimed at these little girls. It just did not matter.

Did the people screaming in anger and making hateful comments and praising Pauline Hanson ‘to fight against this’ really care how these two little girls felt about the harmful words inflicted upon them? Or if they felt totally destroyed when the Billboard was taken down?

The honest answer is, “No they did not”

The honest and even more terrifying answer is “No, in the name of Pauline Hanson, they would do it all again tomorrow.”

Our Racism now knows no bounds

This Hansonesque Racism, which is taking off like wildfire, now knows no bounds. Anyone is now fair game. As we can see from today – anyone.

Just like all little girls, the two girls in this photo were most likely super excited about being on a big billboard. Their Mum and Dad would have been so proud of how beautiful they looked on such a huge poster and no doubt family and friends were delighted to just know them and how proud everyone is of them. Drive-by’s and selfies galore would have been had.

Yesterday, dedicated Hansonites destroyed that overwhelming joy for two little girls.

Due to the racist outrage and fears of safety by the advertiser and threats to the company, the billboard has now been removed.

There is a growing number of Hanson worshipping Australians who see someone in a religious garb as sub-human and they gladly treat them as such and celebrate such joy from another person’s pain and anguish.

The Hansonites don’t care about how these little girls must be feeling. These ‘Patriotic Australians of the adult variety’, actively participated in the last 24 hours in breaking the hearts of these two little girls.

Today is the day that these little girl’s have had to face the reality that they live amongst monsters. Not the BFG kind. Ugly, hateful, mean, nasty, scary monsters who worship a god with a really poor vocabulary, no positive ideas, an ever increasingly prominent narcissistic personality, an over-zealous ambition, with flaming red hair and a nasally twang. How blasphemous of them!

I want to know the names of these little girls so I can ask these Hansonites, if they actually care how [Name] and [Name] felt when the billboard was taken down?

Brave and Patriotic

How much did the Hansonites laugh because these little girls may go to bed tonight crying until they can’t cry anymore?

Did these Hansonites hoot with glee that these little girls will never understand that all they did wrong was to exist as Australians?

Who are these ‘patriots’ who say they don’t deserve to?

How big and powerful do the Hansonites feel? Screaming at these little girls that they aren’t Australian enough? Although they are Australian, just like them?

Did the rants and screams of the Hansonites make them feel more valued as members of society, because they “protected” Australia from the great harm these two little girls inflicted upon the country by being on a billboard?

How very brave and patriotic!

Hansonite Hypocrites – Is this who we have become?

The video below is so important at this point in time. It is important because it really visualises the Hanson rhetoric. The message of how we are supposed to shame, ridicule and tear down others. We simply must force ourselves into a position of authority above ‘the targeted others’ and insist they do not belong.

This makes us “Pauline’s Australians’ who are ‘Real Australians’…..apparently.

This video, went viral and was all over social media. Australians were appalled at how this teacher built this little boy up and then tore him down in an instant.

When I read Sam’s tweet tonight, my mind immediately returned to remembering this video and I loudly exclaimed with disgust “What hypocrites we have become.”

Such compassion from Australians for this little boy. Day in day out, people screamed for the teacher to be sacked. Capslocked in anger about what they wanted to ‘do to her.’

What hypocrites we have become.

In the last 24 hours, the big brave Hansonites have metaphorically rushed that stage, pushed the teacher out of the way and ripped that mic out of that boy’s hand in disgust. Then they screamed at him:

“YOU DO NOT BELONG ON OUR STAGE!!!!”

Not only did they do that….they laughed about it and patted each other on the back if they could snatch the mic in a particularly cruel or nasty manner. They cheered if they reached the epic status of making the kid cry really loud. This meant they were ‘true patriots dedicated to Pauline’s Australia.’

That is what Hanson and her pack of self-righteous “patriots” have done to these girls yesterday.

Hanson and her patriots’ message to these girls is that they better bloody assimilate, but seriously GTFO of our billboards. Don’t you dare come to the barbie cos we will damn well make sure we smother it with bacon. We do this because we think it makes you uncomfortable. Making you feel uncomfortable, makes us feel brave.

I am, you are, we are Pauline’s Patriots.

So yeh – assimilate but GTFO!

Is Pauline Hanson and her happy hate club slowly choking the fair go to death?

 

One Nation Voters – Hope. Fear. Racism.

This is the second blog in a series to discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation uses Hope, Fear and Racism to gain voters’ trust.

For those outside of Australia or if you are someone who has no interest in Australian Politics; the One Nation Party is a right wing Nationalist Party. They recently won four seats in the Federal Senate.

If you voted for the One Nation Party, chances are you see yourself as a Patriot. The first instalment in this series discussed how if you are a patriot, your vote is misplaced by voting One Nation. As One Nation are not Patriots, they are Nationalists.

One of the major comments from One Nation voters is that they are not racist. Some of them very proudly are; but I do not believe the majority are racist.

These voters are simply people who have grasped onto hope, through One Nation’s emotive marketing of fear. That does not make them racist.

One Nation Understands Us

If there is one thing I would like to say to One Nation voting readers; is that One Nation IS a political party. I often hear: One Nation are not like Political Parties – they ‘understand’ us. The fact that the party asked for your vote and won senate seats, means they are a political party full of politicians.

To give them automatic trust based on this falsehood does not mean that they understand you.

One Nation, Emotions and Political Marketing

This Political Party has been very clever in marketing their party to connect with your emotions. They marketed to how you feel about the lack of jobs, the inability to purchase a home, the cost of living and the fears of job insecurity. Also struggling on low wages and the worries, we have every single day for our children.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party have taken all of these fears and instead of addressing them with real solutions; they present logic that is flawed.

That is that other people, who have a different skin colour or religion than you, are the real cause of your fears and worries.

This shows that they are even more political and strategic than most other political parties. Think of it like this. All political parties believe that their ideology or values system, will deliver a better Australia for all people. Whether this is Conservatism (Liberal), Laborism (Labor) or Environmentalism (Greens). These parties all truly believe these value systems will benefit ALL Australians. Regardless of what you believe in or what you agree with, this underpins every major party’s vision.

One Nation believes that there can only be a better Australia if we only cater for one section of Australia and make everyone exactly the same. A white Christian Australia.

This is a very politically motivated decision. It is also progressing a political agenda for their own power. They do not understand you. As a political Party they want to gain as much money and power as possible. Be wary of giving automatic trust.

Hope, Identity and Power

It is true that many Australians have lost hope and no longer trust the political system. Over many years, successive Governments have created a system that results in inequity and poverty for many. When we lose hope, we feel we lose our power and our self-identity.

People do not willingly give up power to others. It is not a natural act. That is why entire countries are forcibly taken through war. That is why labour that should be valued is stolen through unfair wages and slavery.

Many people feel that if we lose our self-identity, we give up our power. The power to have rights, make decisions, to move freely and to just be ourselves.

This is where the One Nation Party comes in.

Racism, Xenophobia and Islamophobia disguised as hope and equality

Throughout their history, they have targeted minority groups and have insisted that this minority will become the majority and take away your identity and power. That is a scary thing to think about. However, it simply is not true. Freedom is not gained through fear.

In the 1990’s they targeted Aboriginal Australians and Asians. In 2016, they are targeting Muslims.

If this is a vote for equality, could you stand up and honestly say that you would like to be treated like the people within these groups are treated?

Can you honestly say, that you would like to be abused and spat on, shunned and ridiculed, just because of your skin colour, your features or that you look like followers of a certain religion?

Politicians have a platform, we cannot imagine to have for our voices. Privilege and power are a politician’s automatic right. The words of the One Nation Party are used with all the power they have to target certain groups and set them apart from the rest of us.

By targeting one group as different, it automatically gives people who are not in that group the false impression of power. A real system of privilege and power is created when this is backed by a politician. If it is based on race or Islam it is Racism and/or Islamophobia.

This is nothing but political marketing to get your vote. It is to make you feel powerful. The same problems that make you feel you are losing power and identity are all still there. One Nation has not solved these problems by targeting others.

They have asked you to be angry at other people, instead of Government. Why? Because otherwise, they would need to come up with actual solutions that could be compared to the Government’s solutions. One Nation has had to do nothing to get your vote. They have placed blame on a minority group to distract you away from challenging their (non) policy ideas.

Three levels of prejudice and discrimination

The creation of fear is used because it positions One Nation as ‘protectors’ and ‘authority.’ Very simply, when people are fearful, they naturally want someone to protect them and to take away the fear.

To keep a level of fear that wins votes, it is important for people act on that fear.

There are three levels of prejudice and discrimination:

The first is how we ‘see’ people as different to us and how we make a judgement about them. It is about how we see people compared to what we see as the ideal symbol of what we think people should look like.

The second is how we feel about people. When you think about different races and groups, how do you feel? Happy, angry, excited, fearful? The key for One Nation is to play on the groups that people feel fearful about. This fear is heightened by creating falsehoods about an entire group and using emotive words, such as ‘We are being swamped by Muslims.’

Notice that the action words are negative words, that create fear about becoming the minority and losing our identity and power?

The third is about how we act towards others. This is important for One Nation. It is only logical that people will not be very friendly towards people they are fearful of.

Not being friendly and welcoming creates a divided country. This creates even more fear and uncertainty. One Nation hopes you will look to them, because they are the party who are agreeing with your fears. But they are silent about the problems that are the cause of your fears.

Conclusion

I hope that by explaining it this way, you can see that One Nation are not the ‘Average Australian’ like you. They play to your emotions and fears in a purposeful way.

This is a highly motivated party, with a very well organised strategy to gain votes, more power and more money, based on creating fear about other human beings.

The problems which cause our fears are not solved by targeting other human beings.

The problems that are the root cause of our fears will only go away when we keep challenging the Government or other parties who can gain power to stop inequality, creates jobs and we have real fairness and supportive public services.

Blaming other human beings, because they are different, will not solve this problem. It just makes the same problems even worse for the people in these groups.

I trust this is not the reason you voted for One Nation. I do not believe that most One Nation voters would purposely make life worse for some Australians.

Your vote should never be for a party who blames other people for the country’s problems. That is because the people within these targeted groups, don’t have the power to make the decisions. They are victims of the same system that you are. Only a ruling Government can solve the problems that underpin our fears.

If you did vote for One Nation, because you want to see everyone treated equally with fairness, I hope you challenge and re-think your voting decision. The divisiveness, racism and hatred One Nation champions, is the opposite of who you really are.

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Politics Driven Fear and the Pain it Brings

People are expressing the increasing need to separate themselves and self-identify as situated above certain groups. They feel the need to paint others as lesser. This need is fed by fear driven politics and it is causing a loss of focus and it is causing a lot of pain.

Memes used to be funny. They were quirky, sometimes delightful, sometimes thought provoking and sometimes so funny one would cry from laughing. Now memes are more about social status. Sharing to place oneself in a better class. A class above Jobseekers, Unionist, Muslims, Indigenous and LGBTI people who just want to get married amongst other groups.

Not an hour goes by on social media when I do not scroll by some defamatory post about Muslims (mostly aimed at degrading Muslim women) or how jobseekers are bludgers and should just get a job. Then I scroll by more shares about how unionists are self-serving, dodgy criminals. Then I come across those who belong to the special group who believe they are more Australian than the Indigenous Australians who were here in the first place.

Every day we scroll through the privileged Olympics, but there are no winners. Only losers.

The privileged I am talking about here, are not the Turnbull type of privileged; but so many every day Australians who share derogatory memes about various groups on a daily basis. These people come from all walks of life. They are not necessarily rich and they may be poor. Wealth status is not the issue here.

These people are privileged by default, because they do not belong to the group that they and others scorn, ridicule, shame, shun, ostracise and stigmatise. It is like every share elevates one to being a gold card member of the ‘in-group.’

The problem is that the privileged do not see. They are blinded. They cannot calm their egos enough to bring themselves down to another level to try to understand the life of another. They do not attempt to listen and empathise; they are on autopilot with judgement and ridicule.

Social media has made it so it is so much more important to hold dear to the opinion originally developed, than to attempt to understand an issue enough or look at it through different eyes; to recognise it is causing harm and change that opinion.

If we are complaining we haven’t progressed since Whitlam, it is largely our fault. It is our fault that there are so many people in pain, because every day I see stereotypes and stigmatisation shared around to approve and contribute to the infliction of pain on others.

We pit the oppressed against the oppressed when a meme is shared to give the homeless more than refugees. How does one judge the value of what assistance should be given? What drives us to choose between a person who has seen their entire family raped, tortured, slaughtered and burnt and fled their homeland or give to a person in desperate need of shelter, food, clothing and care? Do they both not deserve love, kindness and generosity?

What fear is within us that makes us share such memes as representations of our thoughts that we play judge and jury and decide who is not worthy of care and assistance? Is kindness such an ugly emotion that we reject it? Is it a fear that others may judge you as being too kind?

No, it is the fear driven politics that has led us to believe that a Government and its citizens cannot be generous enough to help both. It is the fear that if they do, we would somehow be worse off. It is fear driven politics that sees us remain silent on the generous assistance to the wealthy banks and business, whilst we verbally bash the poor.

We glorify a free-market-worker-hating-Government every time we share a meme about the ‘pathetic’ unemployed and how they are bludging and living off our taxes. We kick the worker every time we contemplate how unfair it may be that some greedy workers are getting paid penalty rates and how terrible this is for business and their profits. Pass me a goddamn tissue.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government is the epitome of the greedy bourgeoisie and there are every day citizens working so hard to work with them and for them to shove the worker and those who are jobless down as far as they can be kicked.

We have come to a peculiar space in time where the plebs themselves are standing with the bourgeoisie. For if they do this, then being a pleb, is better than a prole or the “hoi polloi.” The common worker, consumed by politics driven fear is tearing their own class apart.

“Workers United will never be defeated….” Go on…say it….it means something real.

What is the fear that drives us to glorify a Government who insists that the unemployed (human beings in case you have forgotten) should starve for a six months, six weeks and now a month?

Is it a fear that we may lose something if jobseekers are offered assistance from the public purse?

Is it a fear that we may just not have one more submarine to build if a jobseeker can live on real meat instead of noodles? Is it a genuine fear that Gina Rinehart might have less billions and that would somehow hurt us?

Is it the fear that we may confront the uncomfortable truth that our judgements reinforce the message that turning to sexual favours and even suicide is a reality for these individuals who are finding it so hard to survive in a world of not just poverty, but scorn and condemnation?

Above all else, it is the politics driven fear that those living in poverty are stealing something from us. It is the fear that they are getting something for less effort than us. It is the fear reinforced by the LNP message that there will be fewer hospitals, fewer schools and fewer jobs if we treat the unemployed with dignity. It is the politics driven fear that assisting jobseekers will result in less jobs; because that means we could one day be them.

There is no point attempting to provide input of an opposing view. Try to tell someone to be angry at the Government for not creating jobs, instead of blaming the unemployed. It is an interesting exercise. Contrition is not an emotion that we appear to embrace as Australian citizens.

This politics driven fear is also blinding us. We are losing focus. The fear of people from different lands and different religions is so critical we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. It is vital to share, share, share anything we can find, made up or not on the internet. It is critical to continuously reinforce this fear as legitimate and worthy to defend.

It is more important to have conversations on social media that can last days about how the viewpoint of one radical Muslim is the view of all Muslims; than to really engage thoughtfully and productively about how we can lift good Australian people out of poverty.

It is more important to remain silent on humanitarian issues,and use our fear of a religion we don’t understand as an excuse, because if we really stop and think about it; we may realise we are actually being inhumane and that is an ugly truth to face.

What fear is driving us that we are content with leaving other human beings in indefinite detention? Indefinite – without a hope, never to be released – just in case the key word has not hit you yet. Murderers get less.

The irrational politics driven fear that unionists are doing less work than the regular taxpayer for a greater gain, is more important to hold onto, than to stand with unionists who have given us the work-life we enjoy today and that they continuously fight for. This fear culminates and makes us forget that we once stood with pride and dignity and shed tears to remember those workers who were jailed, murdered, maimed, starved and broken just so our labour is recognised as a valuable input in exchange for fair wages and safe conditions. How soon we have forgotten the pain of John Howard’s Work Choices?

Every single time we share memes, or have conversations that reinforce the politics driven fear espoused by the Liberals and the Nationals, and now the more right wing parties; we are condoning the infliction of pain on the vulnerable.

We have a responsibility to stop and take stock that this rhetoric that is being whipped into a frenzy day after day has gone too far. It is time to sit up and take notice, that by doing this, we are hurting the people we talk about helping in other conversations we have

It is time to stop and think about those on the right who say they have the solutions, actually don’t. It is time to really listen to their proposals. Tearing down the worker and punishing those who are unemployed due to Government failure is not a solution. Dividing people by race or religion is not a solution. Clinging to the harmful measures that create more poverty and more divisiveness are not solutions. Why this is not being realised is the real phenomenon.

Choose Populism if you want a Rock Star. Reject it if you want a leader.

Some appear to be genuinely good people. However, politics driven fear is driving some people to throw brimstone and fire at those they want to help, instead of at the Government and other right wing parties who are the central cause of the problem.

It is time to take a stand to honour those and respect those who cannot, to challenge the Turnbull Government and others every time they reinforce the degradation of a vulnerable group.

It is time to stop sharing derogatory memes and start having real conversations about how we can build a nation, and not share our acceptance of helping the Liberals and others on the right tear it down.

It is time to stop dividing and start uniting. It is time for a hand up and to bring back the fair go.

It is time for the mate-ship and camaraderie we apparently as Australians represent.

I miss that. Do you?

Aussie Racism – it’s time to Stop. Think. Respect.

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said recently that Australia is fundamentally not a racist country.

He’s wrong. Ok, that’s hardly a phrase that’s in uncommon usage when talking of Andrew Bolt’s views, but in this case he’s really wrong.

The Anglo-Australian nation and culture was founded in racism, and racism is wound into the fabric of many of the artifacts that still hold Australia together today. Racism is arguably so embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture, that many don’t see it.

This was never made more clear than in the arguments recently around whether or not ‘booing’ Adam Goodes was racist or not. Here’s Charlie Pickering’s commentary on this from The Weekly:

Australia has a problem with racism

There. I’ve said it. And so, according to a study done by the University of Western Sydney, have 85% of other Australians. We, as a country, have a problem with racism.

Here’s what Aboriginal Australian Stan Grant had to say about this recently in regards to Adam Goodes:

I may be overly sensitive. I may see insult where none is intended. Maybe my position of relative success and privilege today should have healed deep scars of racism and the pain of growing up Indigenous in Australia. The same could be said of Adam. And perhaps that is right.

But this is how Australia makes us feel. Estranged in the land of our ancestors, marooned by the tides of history on the fringes of one of the richest and demonstrably most peaceful, secure and cohesive nations on earth.” (Stan Grant, 30 July 2015)

‘Estranged in the land of our ancestors’ – that’s the environment that the Anglo-Australian culture has created for Aboriginal Australians. And while most Aussies of non-aboriginal descent would undoubtedly consider themselves to be more enlightened than our forefathers, we still allow our blatantly racist infrastructure to stay in place.

And while we may be blind to the impact of this racist infrastructure, outsiders aren’t – maybe because it’s often easier to see faults in others than in yourself. In the words of British-American comedian and political satirist John Oliver:

Australia is “one of the most comfortably racist places I’ve ever been”

Comfortably racist. That’s a fairly accurate description. And the reason it’s so ‘comfortable’, is that it’s embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture to such an extent that it’s seen as normal or harmless. Like the chips in the paintwork of your home, you walk past them every day and after a while you stop noticing them.

Racism was embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture right from the get-go

The Anglo-Australian nation was founded in racism

The core principle behind the ‘colonisation’ of Australia in 1788 was a belief in the absolute superiority of the British race. England didn’t declare war on the Aboriginal people when they sent the First Fleet here – they might have undertaken plenty of war-like behaviour after the First Fleet’s arrival – but there was no official war declared. Australia was not taken by ‘conquest’. Furthermore, there was no treaty signed with the Aboriginal people – no exchange of goods to buy the land.

Instead, the English declared that Australia was uninhabited (or ‘terra nullius’) – and therefore up for grabs – ignoring the land rights of the people who had inhabited this country for more than 60,000 years. As historian Bob Reece once wrote about the British attitude at that time:

“The British culture was one with an unquestioning faith in its superiority and in its civilizing role. The whites expected the aboriginal to recognise their superiority and adopt an appropriately subordinate and imitative role.”

And this legal fiction, that Australia was uninhabited at the time the Brits arrived, was maintained for over 200 years. It was only in 1992, that the Mabo case in the High Court overturned this, and that our legal system finally recognised that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples owned the land prior to the Brits arriving. Two. Hundred. Years. That’s how long it took to overturn a racist lie from the 18th century. Are you beginning to get an idea of just how entrenched racism is in our nation’s make-up?

Racism in our national artifacts

There’s no doubt that over the last fifty years, there have been significant efforts to unwind the worst of the infrastructure that has held racism in place since 1788. These include that:

  • Aboriginals were finally given the right to vote (in 1962)
  • The ‘Great Australian Silence’ around Australia’s history was finally challenged by W.E.H. Stenner, which brought the frontier-wars and other aspects of history to the fore (1968)
  • Gough Whitlam adopted the first ‘self-determination’ policy for Aboriginals (1972)
  • Racism was finally outlawed & Aboriginals were finally free to undertake traditional practices on the land again (1975)
  • Aboriginal ‘Protectionism’ which took Aboriginal children away from their families, finally ceased (1970s)
  • Aboriginal right to Land Title in 1788 is finally recognised at law – Mabo (1992)
  • Paul Keating acknowledges past wrongs against Aboriginal Australians (1992)
  • Kevin Rudd, on behalf of all Australians, finally says sorry (2008)

These actions have gone at least some of the way to redress legal issues with equality, but only within the last fifty years, which in history is no time at all. But racism is still embedded in many of our national artifacts. In many ways we’re like an ex-Klu-Klux-Klan member, who after quitting the Klan, keeps all their Klu-Klux Klan posters, books, gear and other mementos and then wonders why people think he hasn’t really left the Klan. Here’s some examples of the racist mementos we’ve kept around:

Our Constitution

A constitution is arguably the most powerful legal document in any democracy. It may seem like a boring document – and having studied constitutional law, I can tell you that it reads like a boring document. But in terms of its power, it sits above the Prime Minister, the parliament and the courts – making it very important indeed.

When the framers of the Australian constitution sat down at the end of the 19th century with the goal of bringing together the various states at the time of Federation in 1901, Aboriginals were not considered by them to have – and I quote – “the intelligence, interest, or capacity to stand on the same platform with the rest of the people of Australia” in order to have the vote. Nor were Aboriginals to be counted in the census. They were literally considered not to count.

Today, while issues with the vote and the census have since been resolved, the Constitution – the legal framework for this country – still fails to acknowledge Aboriginal Australians’ traditional sovereignty.

Our Flag

NewAustralianFlagdesign It’s a small thing. But it’s a big thing. It’s what Australians flash around the place to indicate that they are Australian. And we are one of only two ‘colonies’ – New Zealand’s is the other one – that still retains the British stamp on our flag. New Zealand is about to change their flag. It’s time that we did too.

Our National Anthem – Advance Australia ‘Fair’

Really Australia – ‘Fair’? ‘Young’? Why don’t we just sing the old “White Australia song” from the early 1900s and be done with it. (Yes – there really was a song.)

By way of comparison, the second verses of both the South African and New Zealand anthems are in Zulu and Maori respectively. It’s about time we found an anthem which recognised that our history didn’t start in 1788 and acknowledges and respects the traditional owners of this land.

Traditional language

OK – how many non-Aboriginal readers of this article know how to say ‘Hallo’ in any of the estimated 700 Aboriginal languages that existed here in 1788. I’m guessing it’s the tiniest of tiny percentages. By way of contrast, in New Zealand, the Maori language is taught in over 1000 schools, and there have been discussions about making it compulsory.

Australia day

It’s great to have a day where we celebrate the good things about being Australian. But it’s ridiculously insensitive and – you guessed it – racist when we do it on a day which is considered a day of loss by the Aboriginal people:

loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family, loss of the right to practice their culture

(From Creative Spirits)

There are 364 other days we could pick – we should move it.

Aboriginal Artwork and Traditional Sites

What would Paris be without the Mona Lisa and the Louvre? What would Egypt be without the Pyramids? England without Stonehenge? Florence without the Statue of David? Pisa without the leaning tower? I could go on – but I suspect you get the general idea.

Rock engravings at Burrup Peninsula

Rock engravings at Burrup Peninsula

Around the world great antiquities and ancient sites are valued, protected and appreciated. People queue up to see them. Museums and galleries around the world go to great lengths to identify antiquities and obtain items significant to their culture.

We, on the other hand, have a continent FULL of ancient works of art and sacred sites. But not only aren’t many of them protected, most of us don’t even know where they are. The Western Australian government just deregistered what is arguably the world’s oldest rock art collection so that the Mining companies can get their hands on the site. The site is dated at more than 30,000 years old – THE WORLD’S OLDEST ROCK ART – and there was barely a whimper about it in the news.

What do you think would happen in Egypt if they discovered coal under the pyramids? Do you think they would allow them to be destroyed? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS. Well – unless Abbott was their Prime Minister of course – then the Pyramids would be gone in a matter of weeks.


The above are just examples of the many ways that we disregard and devalue Aboriginal culture due to the historically racist perspective that it is unimportant. With the exception of discussions around the Constitution – which have been in the news quite a bit recently – most non-Aboriginal Australians wouldn’t even notice that the issues above are problems, so embedded are they in the Anglo-Australian culture. And if you think these things aren’t important – think again. They set the tone, they set the framework within which values and behaviours are fostered and learnt – and make it hard for us to root out the racist attitudes that have been a part of the Anglo-Australian culture for so long.

More reasons why racism can be so hard to spot

Another key reason we may not immediatelly recognise behaviour as racist is that we often assume that racist behaviour is associated with overtly ‘bad’ actions like violence or abuse. But this isn’t always the case. Racism is an attitude rather than an action – which means it can also be expressed through actions and speech which might otherwise seem to be ‘good’ – like kindness or patriotism.

And the thing is, even when racism is expressed through kindness or patriotism, it can be just as venomous. Here’s some examples of different ways that racism has been expressed towards Aboriginal Australians over the past 225 odd years.

Racism expressed through violence

It wasn’t long after the British arrival in 1788 that the first massacres of local Aboriginal tribes took place. This violence – recently renamed ‘frontier wars’ – was seen as ‘unavoidable’ by the British, and continued to flourish in the 19th century. The exact number of Aboriginal deaths is unknown, but it was certainly in the tens of thousands, and possibly more than 100,000.

The attitude that allowed this to happen was the unwavering belief in the superiority of those from the British race. Here’s an example of a statement published in the Bulletin in the late 19th century which reflects the beliefs about the superiority of the British bloodline at that time:

“civilization marches over the bodies of inferior races….they are compelled to make room for the superior race” (Bulletin – 9 June 1883 pg. 6)

Racism expressed as ‘kindness’ or ‘protection’

Racism expressed as violence took Aboriginal life and land. Racism expressed as kindness, protection and good works aimed to take away what was left – their culture, their way of life, their families, their language, their history, their spiritual beliefs and their pride in who they were. Here’s how.

The British clearly did not see themselves as violent invaders – they saw themselves as as “enlightened and christian” benefactors of the indigenous inhabitants of the countries they ‘settled’. They looked upon the indigenous inhabitants of the lands they colonised – not just Australia, but other lands – with a degree of pity, and settlers were instructed to use ‘humane means’ to defend themselves when taking control of the land that they saw as rightfully theirs.

Of course, had the Brits been serious in their concern for the well being of the indigenous inhabitants, then they would have stopped their wanton ‘colonising’ – but the racist attitude behind their concern meant that this wasn’t going to happen. Instead, they set up ‘Protectionist’ boards and installed people with the title of ‘Protector of Natives’ to ‘look after’ and ‘civilise’ the ‘indigenous folk’. They also sent out truckloads of missionaries, which they saw as their greatest gift – primarily to educate and ‘improve’ the children.

This theme of ‘protection’ – in various forms – continued in Australia right through the 19th century and into the 20th century, when in 1915 the NSW Aborigines Protection Board was empowered to remove Aboriginal children from their families at will. They had been able to do that prior to 1915, but only with a court order. Similar practices were implemented in other states which continued up until the 1970s. Once in ‘care’, children were instructed to no longer speak the language of their parents and taught to forget Aboriginal culture and practices.

Racism expressed as patriotism

Just as being kind to or protecting someone is normally a positive thing – so is patriotism. But it too can be incredibly destructive when it is driven by racism.

Take the policy of ‘assimilation’ – so admired by the Reclaim Australia folk – which was implemented by the Australian Government in the middle of the 20th century, as a tool of patriotism to ‘unite the nation’. The policy was designed to suppress and kill off the aboriginal culture, language and heritage – again, in the misguided belief in the superiority of the Anglo-Australian way of life. Aboriginals were offered limited citizenship at this time on the condition that they ceased practicing Aboriginal customs, did not speak their native language and did not mix with any friends or families who hadn’t also agreed to the same terms.


Looking at these three examples of different expressions of racism, it’s clear that while the outcome of racism is normally pretty bad for the recipient, the perpetrators of non-violent racist behaviour (such as kindness or patriotism), often believe – albeit misguidedly – that they are doing a good thing. Their racism blinds them to the true impact of what they are doing. And this is another reason why it is so difficult for Anglo-Australians to see this in themselves – because racism can be well-meaning, or at least not intended maliciously – like the booing of Adam Goodes recently.

The opposite of Racism is Respect

By @FirstDogOnMoon. Full cartoon at http://gu.com/p/4b464/stw

By @FirstDogOnMoon. Full cartoon at http://gu.com/p/4b464/stw

Ok non-Aboriginal Aussies – we don’t have a good track record when it comes to racism. In fact we arguably have a bit of a blind spot – often not from any malicious motive, but purely because of how embedded it is in our culture and a misunderstanding of what it is. But that doesn’t make it any less racist in the way it is experienced by those on the receiving end.

But it’s time now to do something about this. It’s time, as Adam Goodes says, to bite the bullet and have a conversation about racism so that we can:

Fix the remnants of racism in our National Artifacts

This includes the examples I’ve noted above, but there are others as well. It’s not hard – it just takes the will to do this. Don’t believe the politicians who want to stall this for their own political motives. It may take some time to get consensus, but if we want to do this we can do it. It’s that simple.

Delaying the rectification of these issues is just more racism, as it undervalues the importance of these issues to Aboriginal Australians.

Stop. Think. Respect.

This was a campaign designed by Beyond Blue to counter discrimination in our community – against a whole host of problems. And it is a key antidote to racism. The way to eliminate racism from our national culture, our national values is first to take the time to notice when it’s there and then to turn a racist attitude into respect.

Last week, after Adam Goodes had called out racism from the AFL crowds, we all stopped, thought, and then – it took a little while – but then we showed respect.

We need to do that across the board.

Stop. Think. Respect.

This article was first published on Progressive Conversation.

“I’m black and I’m proud to be”

The Adam Goodes’ saga reminds us that racial vilification is one of sport’s most contentious issues.

Racism in sport historically has been a display of taken for granted behaviors and attitudes. Without recourse, Indigenous Australians have been racially abused from the day they first stepped into the sporting arena. AFL, in particular, had fostered an environment where racist behavior happened systematically, and arguably racism become a sporting institution.

In the early 1990s the dimensions of racism were sufficiently bad for the AFL to convene meetings to discuss players’ code of conduct, albeit their efforts never went beyond being merely token approaches. It was not until Essendon’s Michael Long in 1994 made a public statement against the abuse he had to endure exclaiming “I’ve had enough of this shit. I don’t have to take it”, was it seriously addressed.

Despite years of inaction during which racial vilification sullied the football field, the AFL acted with admirable swiftness following Long’s complaint. By June of that year it introduced Rule 30, the Racial and Religious Vilification Rule, making it an offence for any player or official to threaten, disparage, vilify or insult another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, colour, descent or national background. The then Federal Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Nick Bolkus called for the punishment of offenders found guilty of racial abuse, as by now the Long appeal was heard in the highest corridors of Australian society. By the start of the 1998 season, the penalties were a $10,000 fine for a player’s first offence and/or a $20,000 fine for the club.

One of the beauties of sport ‘is that it can, in a single moment of clarity, illuminate or delineate a mood or a movement or an era’ (Tatz et al, 1998:96). In 1993, the International Year of the Indigenous Person saw widespread public discussion of Aboriginal issues, but the most articulate summary of the national lassitude was non-verbal: the image of Nicky Winmar raising his guernsey and pointing at his black skin. This defining moment occurred as a response to loud racist abuse from the opposition’s cheer squad. Some reports suggest he yelled, “I’m black and I’m proud to be.” Whatever his words, the classic photograph of him defiantly pointing at his skin was a potent symbol that forced a nation to search its communal soul.

With the reputation of a player prone to extreme bouts of temper – no doubt as a response to the provocation of racist insults (personal view) – he had never been more eloquent or effective for his cause or his colour than he was in that moment.

Twenty years later Adam Goodes is confronted with the same abuse as he raises another potent symbol of his Aboriginality. And again we search our communal soul.

 

Bishop stays. Goodes goes. Abbott is silent. What is wrong with this picture?

In case you are still in any doubt about what matters and what doesn’t to the Anglo-Saxon hegemony think on this: white Speaker of the House of Representatives and Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s personal pick Bronwyn Bishop remains in charge of the House, in spite of decades of financial abuse of taxpayer funds, the obscene details of which are unfolding daily before our disbelieving eyes. The only thing that keeps her in her job is Abbott’s support, because while the Prime Minister cannot actually sack a Speaker, there’s little doubt that if Abbott pressured her to get on her bike, she’d be mad not to obey.

On the other hand, Indigenous football star and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has been driven from his sport and public life by unrelenting racist attacks every time he shows his face. Goodes’ reaction to a thirteen-year-old girl calling him an ape has been held up by the racist commentariat such as Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt as being the reason footy crowds have taken such a set against him. However, it seems to have escaped the commentators’ collective memory that it was in fact the illustrious Eddie Maguire who at the same time called Goodes “King Kong.”

What also seems to have escaped their racist filter is that Goodes did not know at the time that a young girl was responsible for calling him an ape, and when he did become aware of this he handled the situation admirably, meeting with the girl and her mother, and engaging them in conversation about the wounding and divisive nature of racist insults.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, normally a man with an opinion on everything no matter how irrelevant, remains conspicuously silent on both matters. Ms Bishop’s shenanigans with helicopters and luxury limos have left rotten egg splattered all over Tony’s face, an ungracious response on her part to the man who, when he won government, rewarded her with the prestigious job of Speaker. Getting rid of Bronwyn will cause Tony to lose egg-splattered face, as it will be an admission of his lack of judgement of a woman he’s known for decades, and indeed, has been heard to refer to as his “political mother.”

But as Freud would have it, an adult man must at some point cut ties with his mother, and this could be Tony’s moment to sever the umbilical cord.

Abbott apparently can’t say anything on the Goodes’ matter either, given his demographic is fundamentally xenophobic and racist, and he can’t risk alienating them. While the country engages in a national conversation about racism, our leader remains unacceptably silent, missing in action. While the indignation and outrage at Bishop’s fraudulent behaviour escalates, our leader remains silent, missing in action. The number of topics Abbott can publicly engage with seems to be shrinking daily: he certainly seems incapable of entering into the energetic debates that will shape and reshape our nation in a most concrete fashion. In other words, he’s useless.

Ideology can do that to a man. Render him useless.

This article was first published on No Place For Sheep.

 

We Have The Right To Boo, Do We Have The Maturity Not To?

When somebody points out that Adam Goodes is being booed not because he’s indigenous, it’s because of his “behaviour”, I can almost buy it. After all the argument goes, there are plenty of non-indigenous players who get booed and nobody boos Cyril.

And if most of them stopped exercising their right to free speech there and then, I might be convinced. However, it’s usually the next sentence that gets me, because the next sentence is usually akin to saying, “I’m not being sexist! This isn’t beacuse you’re a woman, this is because of your refusal to understand that you’re the one who’s meant to do the dishes.”

I’ve read one letter in the paper that suggested that Goodes is being booed because he “lacks humility”. Mm, we don’t like uppity people is this country, do we? Uppity? How is that racist? I’m just saying that we prefer those who know their place!

There was also the suggestion that it was his “war dance” that’s caused the booing. Apart from the fact that this overlooks the fact that much of the booing occured before that, it seems a massive over-reaction to an exuberant celebration after a goal. Have a look at some of the celebrations from players over the years! Can you think of any that have caused such prolonged anamosity from fans of different clubs for so long? Nah, it’s not racist, it’s just because he chose to do a particular dance in celebration and we reserve the right to determine which dances people do and the manner in which they do them.

Of course, with his show of support, can we expect Lewis Jetta to be booed every time he touches the ball, or does he possess the necessary humility that we can forgive him and just get on with the game.

But it’s the suggestion that it was “the way he treated that thirteen year old girl” that probably irks me most.

When it’s all said and done, he looked at her and pointed her out to security after she called him “an ape”.

But that was appalling behaviour someone wrote, a great hulk of a man standing over a poor little girl like that.

Except that he wasn’t standing over her, she was in the crowd, he only looked and pointed. Of course, he should have been able to tell that she was only thirteen because, after all, she had her age tattooed on the forehead. And at thirteen, apparently, it’s permissible to make racist comments. Would it have been different if it were this she when she’d reached fourteen? To help, so that I don’t make Goodes’ mistake and alert security to anyone calling out offensive comments, could someone tell me at what age I’m allowed to report someone?

Is this what I should do in future? “Excuse me, but I was wondering what age you are, because I’m about to alert security to your comments and I don’t want to bring criticism upon myself? Oh thirteen, well you go right on with your comments about that guy’s sexuality. Personally, I think he was very brave to be the first openly gay AFL player, but I’m sure that your mother who’s been making those lovely comment about that Asian player will set you straight when you turn 21.”

Hey, she only called him “an ape”, she didn’t know that it was racist. Well that’s what the papers said, and they certainly wouldn’t have watered it down so they could print it, would they? How could a thirteen year old possibly know that it was racist?

And recenlty we had the mother of the girl saying this:

“If he hadn’t have done it he wouldn’t be having the problems he’d be having now. He probably should apologise because maybe he should have picked his target a little bit better. She’d only turned 13 five days beforehand. She was technically still 12. She had no idea what she was saying.”

Now, I don’t know what part of only turning thirteen a few days beforehand make one “technically still 12”, but it’s pretty clear that this mother has now explained that to her daughter why calling someone an “ape” is wrong.

It’s also interesting that whoever was with her that night at the football was negligent for allowing this poor young girl who – at thirteen – is too young to know anything about what’s right and wrong for allowing to be led off by security all by herself. Surely they should have accompanied her to check she was all right.

Nah, it seems he should have just left it. What till the girl turns eighteen and knows that what she did could have been seen as racist. Just like all those football fans know that it’s ok to boo Adam Goodes because he looked at a white girl and pointed when he should have just accepted that she’s allowed to call him whatever she likes because she’s too young to know better.

I’ll be interested in hearing the same defence should a thirteen year old Muslim boy ever getts themseleves into trouble for something they say. More specifically, I’ll be interested to hear people condemn the neighbour or teacher or whoever reported him for not simply ignoring it, because thirteen year olds don’t know any better.

Aboriginallity, it’s fine. We even have an indigenous round. But I can’t help wondering how far some people have moved since Collingwood President, Alan Macalister’s remark about aboriginal players all those years ago:

“… as long as they behave like white people, well, off the field, everyone will admire and respect them.”

Yep, I can accept people have a right to boo. Free speech and all. But now, we all have a big think about the context. Booing Adam Goodes has become racist, because it is being defined that way, and the Andrew Bolt argument that white people should determine what’s racist and what’s not doesn’t really cut it. If you were in the middle of a crowd that was cheering when someone was being attacked and you began to cheer as well, it doesnt make sense to argue that you weren’t joining in with those cheering the attackers, you were cheering because of some totally differnet reason.

So by all means boo Adam Goodes if you like. But let’s be clear you’re booing him because he identified a girl who was racially vilifying him, or because he proudly exhibits his heritage. These are the main reasons being given. To say that I’m joining the crowd for a different reason, is a bit like someone arguing that they joined the Nazi party, not for the policies, but because they had such spiffy uniforms (Yes, I know, Godwin’s Law!)

 

Ah, Hissy Chrissy and Andrew Bolt – the gifts that keep on giving…

So Christopher Pyne says that uni students should get some perspective because they’re only being asked to contribute fifty percent of the cost of their education. I suspect that he’d be widely laughed at for this, were it not for the fact that the Rufus Youngblood for the Liberal Party – Andrew Bolt – throws himself in the path of any bullets by suggesting the aborigines weren’t here first.

Apparently – according to Bolt – history doesn’t matter. He got here fifty four years ago – that’s when he was born here, so any aboriginal person born after that wasn’t “here first”. (Mm, strange he still has an accent.) To quote Bolt directly:

‘But to say Aborigines today were here “first” is to treat each other as representatives of a “race” rather than an individual. No one of any “race” – Aboriginal or other – who is younger than 54 was here before me. They have no greater right to this country. It is racist to say a group of Australians living today were here “first” on the basis of who some of their ancestors were.’

 

Now, that seems to me that he’s implying all those older than 54 have a greater right to this country than he does, but perhaps, I’m not reading him correctly. And it does seem to contradict his constant assertion that new migrants should adapt to our values because that’s what was here when they arrived.

“You need to adopt the values that I tell you to.”

“Why?”

“We were here first!”

“When did you get here?”

“Fifty four years ago.”

“But my great grandfather was here before that.”

“That doesn’t count. That’s being racist! You can’t argue that a group of people has a greater right to this country than another group. We are all part of Team Australia. Apart from the Muslims, the Labor Party, the Greens, the ABC, protesters, Clive Palmer, and anyone who arrived in the past 54 years. In fact, only Rupert, Tony and I are Team Australia. And lately, I have had some doubts about Tony…”

But enough about Mr Bolt and his strange ideas. After all, it’s a free country and he has a right…

What? Or sorry, I forgot that nothing’s free. Which brings me back to the Honourable Mr Pyne…

As he said, students need to get some perspective, they’re only being asked to contribute 50% of the cost of their education. I mean, it’s not like the carbon tax where everyone had to give a kidney plus their their left testicle. This, of course, was like HECS repayments, lucky for women, where – according to Mr Pyne, it really wasn’t unfair because women generally do nursing and teaching so their courses don’t cost as much. (I’m surprised he didn’t suggest that most of them become stay at home mothers and never have to repay their HECS debt.)

So university students – who are being asked to pay thousands extra – need to get some perspective. Sort of like the way that the Liberals just encouraged people to accept the $500 (Abbott’s figure) that the carbon tax would cost.

Let’s have a look at a demonstration of perspective from various people when Labor introduced this GREAT BIG TAX on EVERYTHING!

Whyalla will be wiped off the map by Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, Whyalla risks becoming a ghost town, an economic wasteland if this carbon tax goes ahead”

Tony Abbott.

 

“So it was the carbon tax, the carbon tax and the carbon tax. And so these are the issues – because the ladies like yourself in the western suburbs of Brisbane who want the right to have that $20 left in their wallet and not stolen off them because of some insane idea that somebody can change the temperature of the globe voiced that opinion”
Barnaby Joyce

 

“Consumers would not be happy when they’re paying over $100 for a roast”
Barnaby Joyce

“If this carbon tax goes through then it’s bye bye Australia, it’s been nice to know you.

“You will become just another third world banana monarchy without even any bananas with the prices they’ve been charging for those at your supermarkets recently.”

“Lord” Monckton

 

Ah, perspective is a wonderful thing.

Unleash the hounds

image by 2p.com

image by 2p.com

I have often impressed on my children that it is easy to lie, cheat and steal (if I was an Abbott fan I could stop there), but it diminishes you. You must set your own standards. You must value your integrity and be honest so others may be confident in trusting you (plus your stress levels will be much lower). You must respect the rights of others, from their possessions to their feelings. You must try to make a positive contribution to the world. And when you fall down, as you must at times, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn from the experience.

I have also stressed to them that every person has something interesting about them and if you listen then you will find it. We don’t all have the same skills or the same interests or opinions but we all have something to contribute. I often hear people say that respect is earned – I disagree. One should always start from a position of respect – contempt is earned.

I don’t admire people who can throw a punch – I admire people who can avoid punching, or people who can take a punch and not retaliate. There is nothing “best and fairest” about hitting someone Tony. I admire people who do what they can to improve the lives of others and to make other people happy.

I realise this is very idealistic and no-one is perfect but, as a working brief, they are reasonable aspirations.

And then we have this government who, by their language and actions, have gone against these very principles. They have unleashed the hounds and Australia is the poorer for it.

Let’s start with climate change.

Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd reached consensus on the need for an ETS and the majority of Australian people supported taking action on climate change. And then along comes Tone who, in return for a complete turnaround on his previously stated support for carbon pricing, was gifted the leadership by the deniers in the Liberal Party.

In Malcolm Turnbull’s own words:

“the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it’s cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”

Tony himself has in just four or five months publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and if the amendments were satisfactory passing it, and now the blocking of it.

His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with “Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but…..”

Tony then went on an attack dog campaign directed at “working families”, branding Julia Gillard a liar and making wild assertions about $100 lamb roasts and whole towns disappearing, none of which came to fruition. The effect of carbon pricing on the cost of living was estimated to be 0.7%, far short of the 2.5% increase brought about by the introduction of the GST.

Somehow he was able to make people forget that electricity prices had been increasing rapidly for the past two decades with an increase of 170% from 1995 to 2012 – the carbon price was to blame!

He also studiously avoided mentioning the compensation package which saw the proceeds of the carbon tax redistributed to pensioners, families, and trade exposed industries. Seniors groups determined that 93 per cent of pensioner households would be at least 20 per cent better off.

“The discussion about carbon tax is very lopsided at the moment, in that all of the emphasis is on the extra costs that will be born through the tax, but not on the money that will flow back to households through other payments,” said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University.

Tony’s campaign of fear worked even though it was based on lies. Denialists, sceptics, and conspiracy theorists were given a validity they did not merit and a platform to spout their rubbish. Tony even appeared at a speaking engagement with that fruitcake Monckton who all of a sudden found the ABC, under Maurice Newman, a willing participant in his bullshit

Since coming to power, denialists have been appointed to every advisory role and, regardless of their lack of expertise, their voice has drowned out that of the scientists. From Tony’s page:

Tony Burns: Come on Scott, true believer. In your own words, what is the EVIDENCE that man’s CO2 has caused any of the warming since the Little Ice Age ? … the warming that STOPPED 2 decades ago.

Connie Handbury: I’m sick and tired of the scientific community being bandied around as if they were gods and must be believed and obeyed. Only a small number of wizards ever got anything right and there is good documentary evidence in the star treck trilogy that they were time travellers.

And then we have the disgraceful unleashing of the racist bigots in our society in a very purposeful campaign.

Demonising asylum seekers for political gain was a new low which began with John Howard and was gleefully taken up by Abbott. Who could forget the weeks of Parliament devoted to the “convicted Egyptian jihadist terrorist kept behind a pool fence”. This disgraceful episode is Australia’s version of Peter Greste.

In fact Mr Abdellatif was never charged or convicted on serious terrorism crimes in his native Egypt and turned out not to be a national security threat. He identified himself immediately on reaching Australia and made them aware of the charges against him and provided evidence refuting them.

But because of the campaign of lies waged by the Opposition, Mr Abdellatif was removed from his family and locked up in high-security at Villawood where he remains to this day despite Interpol agreeing he poses no threat.

“I have been separated from my family in detention for over a year for no reason,” he told Fairfax Media. “The separation has been extremely stressful for all my family including my children. We should be reunited and allowed to live in the community. The Immigration department has ignored the new information from Egypt that reveals clearly that all the charges against me are politically motivated and are baseless,” he said. “I am as innocent as the Al-Jazeera journalists who are also the victims of a political trial by the Egyptian military.”

We then had the “feisty, sexy” Fiona Scott suggesting that asylum seekers were responsible for clogging up our highways and hospital waiting rooms.

Reporter: So you mention asylum seekers and overcrowding. I don’t quite get the connection.

Fiona Scott: Well, my recommendation is go and sit in the Emergency Department of Nepean Hospital or go and sit on the M4 and people see 50,000 people come in by boat; that’s more than twice the population of Glenmore Park where we just were.

She later qualified these remarks saying she is not blaming the 161 asylum seekers living in the area for a lack of services in western Sydney, but simply reflecting the concerns of a community she seeks to represent. Rather than allaying the unfounded fears of her constituents, she chose to exploit them.

And of course, we had the concerted campaign by George Brandis and boy wonder, Tim Wilson, to water down racial discrimination laws and champion the rights of bigots to be racist and didn’t the bigots flood out from underneath their rocks. They have been given official sanction for their hatred and Liberal Party pages are full of their vile poison. The following is an exchange I had on Tony Abbott’s facebook page:

Mary McIntosh: I don’t consider having gold credit cards, I phones, digital cameras and the like the possessions of desperate “poor” asylum seekers. They then have the hide to complain they were given food that was out of date.

Kaye Lee: Mary, they are fleeing persecution. It is often the professional people who are targeted…academics, journalists. Seeking asylum isn’t means tested. I am horrified by the selfishness of today’s Australia.

Mary McIntosh: Well if you are so unselfish, how about you take in about half a dozen and fully support them, you know food, clothe them, provide housing, all medical and dental needs etc and show us up as the selfish people of Australia today. But if they are Muslims, don’t forget there will be no more bacon for breakfast, nor roast pork at Christmas. Silly me there won’t be Christmas for you because it offends them. Good luck

Jon. F.Edwards: Well said Mary McIntosh, but you forgot too mention that because she is unclean they will want too circumcise her, make her wear a Burka.

Not content with stirring up the racists, Tony has also made a deliberate strategy of classifying people as “lifters or leaners.” People who are disabled or unemployed or on a pension will now be vilified as a burden on our society.

I remember a period after university when my husband could not get a job in his profession so he applied for other jobs, only to be told he was overqualified – apparently they felt he would not stay so they would not employ him. And we are the lucky ones. I know of many people who have found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. Those who are made redundant may find another job, only to be made redundant again – last in, first out. Young people with no experience can find it very difficult to get that first break. Unemployment is no picnic and living below the poverty line is a daily struggle.

So well done Tony. You have done more to change this country in your time as leader of your party than anyone before you. You have turned us into a global pariah and a domestic disgrace. Read the comments on your own Facebook page and understand that YOU are responsible for bringing out the very worst in what used to be a great country which, before you came along, was renowned for its contribution to the world and for lending a helping hand to those in need.

It stops with me.

bully racism sexual harrassment

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

When I heard Chief of Army, David Morrison, utter these words about incidents of sexual harassment in the Australian Armed Forces, I stood up and cheered. These are words that truly resonated with me and that we must all heed. It is time for everyone to take personal responsibility, not for the economic reasons being thrown at us, but for a far greater cause – that of humanity.

I listened to Anne Summers give the Human Rights and Social Justice lecture at Newcastle University in 2012 where she shone a light on the political bullying of our first female Prime Minister. We have all heard the clips, read the quotes, and seen the posters, but are you aware that, for many months, cartoonist and conman Larry Pickering bombarded not just Julia but every member of federal parliament and every senator on almost a daily basis with emails containing hate-filled commentary about Gillard, often accompanied by cartoons, many of which depicted her naked and wearing a huge strap-on dildo. Anne suggests he couldn’t envisage a Prime Minister without a penis, hence the strap-on.

Yet no Member of Parliament took steps to stop this or to denounce it in public. Pickering went on his merry way spreading his filth on facebook and even published this rant in response to Anne’s lecture.

“Even lesbians like Wong have turned their backs on Gillard.

If you wish to dry retch and peruse the sewage that pours from this “thing”’s noisy red orifice you will have to read today’s Fairfax Press or watch the ABC, because only the far Left will stomach her disgusting, vile drivel.

Understand this, Summers, it’s obnoxious vermin like you who emboldened Gillard to take the misogynist road.

It was you who applauded that nauseating crap and it is you who are responsible for her downfall. Live with it!

We real men adore real women and a thousand “thing”s like you will never drive a wedge between us.”

I shudder to think what Larry’s idea of a “real woman” is but thankfully I will never have to find out. (wedge firmly implanted and working on retaining wall and moat).

On Australia Day, Adam Goodes was awarded the honour of Australian of the Year. Everyone on social media had an opinion about the choice, some calling it tokenistic, some suggesting that he had bullied a young girl who had called him an ape. Having watched that incident, Adam’s response at the time, and then his defence of this young girl, I would suggest that he was trying to teach us all something. He is part of a campaign to end racism in this country called “Racism: it stops with me”.

Some of you may be aware that I am concerned about the direction this government is taking and have been critical of that in previous articles. In turn, I have also received criticism for some things I have written. Some of it has just been silly and easy to ignore, but some of it has been justified and I have learned from it. I do not want to spread rumours and gossip, I do not want to call people names, I do not want to hate. I have this grandiose idea that every single one of us has the capacity and the duty to make this world a better place.

For the victims of bullying, racism, sexual harassment, and abuse, I have decided to try, to the best of my imperfect ability, to stand up and say “It stops with me.”

Adam Goodes Australian of the Year, but some people think it should have gone to an Australian

Image by the author

Image by the author

The comment in the image above says: ??? Accepting an Award given on Australia Day, which we have just been told is not recognised by Aboriginals ????

It’s ok, this Facebook identity – it’s not the person’s actual name. So when I point out that “Aboriginal” is an adjective, I’m not actually humiliating an actual human being.

That comment was one of many on the ABC website. Most congratulated Adam Goodes on being named Australian of the Year. And we could have a long conversation about whether he was the worthiest winner and whether sportsman are given too much prominence in today’s society. We could even speculate about whether there was a bit of tokenism involved…

We could even have a very long conversation about the nature of awards, and whether singling out one person diminishes those very excellent people who are “merely finalists”.

But I just want to concentrate on that simple comment.

Because it shows just how racist Australians really are! Re-read what this scumbag said…

Now, if you’ve responded by saying how unfair I’m being, because not all Australians made that comment…

Good on you. They didn’t. Any more than all “aboriginals” told us that they didn’t recognise Australia Day. I certainly don’t remember any statement from Adam Goodes along those lines. But isn’t that what racism is? Lumping all members of one race together and presuming that they are the same! That they all agree.

Of course, we could also have a long, long discussion about whether being “Australian Of The Year” means that you aren’t allowed think that calling January 26th “Invasion Day” is more appropriate. After all, we’re all meant to be against boat people now, aren’t we?

But I’m not going to have any long conversations tonight.

I’m just going to say, Canpeg Deb. You idiot. It’s January 25th! Australia Day is tomorrow.

Thanks.
Congratulations Adam Goodes!

And Happy Rum Rebellion Day for tomorrow, everyone.

I’m not a racist, but I know when “those people” have a right to be offended!

Image from abc.net.au

Adam Goodes was the victim of racist taunts (image from abc.net.au)

Andrew Bolt: “Collingwood was being thrashed and when the bearded Goodes took another possession in front of her, she shouted “ape”.

This is very rude. I wonder at her parents. It’s also possibly racist, though she insisted she didn’t mean it that way. Whatever, she needed a talking-to.

Goodes heard the abuse, and pointed her out to security. A bit over the top, since she’s so young, but Goodes has Aboriginal ancestry and no doubt understandably feels such insults more keenly than I think reasonable.”

Ok, if you’ve read the article in question, you may be angry. You may have been convinced that Andrew eloquently argues that the poor thirteen year old has been given some pretty shabby treatment.

Whatever! (Or, in case there are 13yo’s reading this: woteva!)

But I felt I couldn’t let this comment slip past without me going against my basic belief that talking about Bolt only gives him oxygen.

” …but Goodes has Aboriginal ancestry and no doubt understandably feels such insults more keenly than I think reasonable.”

Now, of course, Bolt claims to have Dutch ancestry, so this may explain his stupidity, and being Dutch, he may feel that my insulting of the Dutch more keenly than I think reasonable. Because, after all, those people can be a little sensitive when it comes to generalisations like suggesting that it was the Dutch that were responsible for Apartheid. Of course, Andrew may be a little sensitive when I point out that I have no reason to believe that his father wasn’t a strong supporter of Hitler. And surely, it’s what I think that counts, isn’t it?

Just as the girl was using the word “ape” – if that indeed is all that she said – in a non-racist way, I, too, am suggesting that the Dutch have a history of stupidity and arrogance in a totally non-racist way. I don’t mean all Dutch, of course, just most of them.

Yes, you’re right I’m being offensive. But it’s the Dutch who are feeling the brunt of my insults in a way that I don’t find reasonable.

I guess I’m forced to wonder that if Bolt considers pointing out someone to security was going too far, how would he respond if Goodes had jumped the fence and slapped the girl?

Probably no differently. I suspect that he will always have a problem when people with a history of being down-trodden – women, unions, aborigines, the poor, etc – find some way to fight back. As a superior white man, he knows that when they do, it’s bullying. When they complain, it’s bullying. When they report, it’s bullying. He’d know – he’s an expert at it!

Of course, he began his article with: “I detest racists. But …”