News National Government in breach of its own Senate racism motion

Government in breach of its own Senate racism motion

malcolm turnbull
Members of the current government were already pushing for race-based visas. Photo: AAP
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The first rule of fighting the rise of politically-purposed racism: Don’t feed the animals.

Don’t give the scumbags what they want – don’t mention the names of the dog turds sticking to the soles of Australian politics.

The second rule is to call out the rank hypocrisy of various politicians who checked which way the wind was blowing before feigning dismay over one ratbag – those who congratulated him on Tuesday night, then disowned him Wednesday morning.

For all that was uplifting about the parliamentary reaction to that brown stain of a speech, the reality is that it didn’t come out of nowhere.

The smell has been steadily building both within federal politics and mass media. There wasn’t much said in the Senate on Tuesday night that hadn’t already been in a Murdoch columnist’s rant.

Just as obviously, there are plenty of politicians who are proud to breach the anti-racism motion passed with much eloquence by both houses of parliament.

To be clear, that motion said our Parliament “gives its unambiguous and unqualified commitment to the principle that, whatever criteria are applied by Australian governments in exercising their sovereign right to determine the composition of the immigration intake, race, faith or ethnic origin shall never, explicitly or implicitly, be among them”.

So the Coalition members who have pushed for race-based visas for white South Africans are in breach of Parliament. Reportedly among them, Tony Abbott, Andrew Hastie, Peter Dutton, Steve Irons, Craig Kelly, Luke Howarth, Jim Molan and Andrew Laming.

Mr Abbott, a former and wannabe prime minister, apparently has no limit on how low he’ll go to try to undermine Malcolm Turnbull.

He has used and is still cynically using carbon policy to attack his enemies and has added migration and race to his repertoire: “I guess the big question though is: why do we store up trouble for ourselves by letting in people who are going to be difficult, difficult to integrate?”

You don’t need to be a dog to hear that whistle.

And the way politics works, the stain spreads.

Mr Turnbull has followed Mr Dutton in beating up the “African gangs” issue for political purposes ahead of the Victorian election. That’s enabled the Home Affairs Minister to push the envelope further.

Overlooked is that the Australian government has already sanctioned religion as the basis for migration. The overwhelming majority of Syrian and Iraq refugees selected by Australia “happen” to be Christian.

A statement to SBS news by a spokesman for Mr Dutton: “[Mr Dutton] has stated there will be a lot of Christians who come under the program, but ultimately we want to make sure that we’re bringing the right people; people who can integrate into our community, that can get a job, can speak English, can give their kids the opportunity to go to school.”

Ah yes, “the right people, people who can integrate” – codes almost as obvious as “the final solution”.

It would be nice to think the fine words heard in the Senate and House of Representatives, the genuine emotions expressed, would have an impact. We’d be fooling ourselves to think so.

The right-wing nutjob element has been chipping away at civilised discourse for a decade. When they decry “political correctness”, they’re actually attacking civility. They’ve succeeded in breaking it in the name of “free speech”, when their prime motive has been their own well-paid speech.

The same desire to be noticed, to outrage to attract an audience that characterises the after-dark Sky News horror shows and the obvious Murdoch columnists has found expression in Parliament.

I’ve previously written of the ethical problem for journalists in dealing with a fringe senator desperate for name recognition. Crikey’s Bernard Keane has nailed the issue of the latest Senate desperado and solved part of it with a pseudonym: Senator ‘Oswald Mosley’.

When you have nothing else going for you, when you’re a mistake on a mistake on Mr Turnbull’s dreadful double-dissolution mistake, it makes sense to do anything for a little name recognition.

Congratulations, ‘Senator Mosley’, you’re an absolute nobody who has achieved some name recognition – but you’re still a scumbag.

And when you think that’s as low as we could go with our parliamentarians, Mosley’s theoretical boss, professional crackpot Bob Katter, goes even further, doubling down on the reaction and wanting to expel all Muslims.

Mr Katter has long been Australian politics’ biggest joke – a shambolic non sequitur of a human being. He’s no longer a gag played on Canberra by the laconic larrikins of north-west Queensland, he’s an embarrassment to them and a danger. For example, why would Indonesians want to buy produce and cattle from people who elect Mr Katter as their representative?

The irony is that the biggest support for the sectarianism of Katter, ‘Mosley’, Hanson and their fellow travellers is in the bush where people are least likely to have ever met a Muslim.

Ignorance rampant, the nation disgraced, the dogs keep whistling and being whistled.

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