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Issue #1696      August 5, 2015

Editorial

Abbott’s open door to racists

The fascist groups that have recently made themselves known have been emboldened, not to say encouraged, to do so by the current federal government. With its racist, divisive agenda it has not only opened the door to these racist elements, it has sent an invitation and put down a welcome mat.

Take Attorney General George Brandis’ statement “I want the right to be a bigot”. So, there they are. The bigots. They don’t usually publicly push their odious doctrines because they are well aware that the majority of people reject their ideas. They are now encouraged to the point where a Liberal MP, George Christensen, attended and spoke at one of their rallies.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop – who has so much to say about so many things – refused to condemn Christensen, despite warnings from NSW Police about the increasing danger of these groups. She trotted out the Australia has freedom of speech and assembly line.

She continued: “I don’t know anything about the organisation. I certainly haven’t been briefed on it. I’ve been briefed intensively and extensively on Islamic extremism and other threats to national security.”

Christensen posted a statement on Facebook, saying, “I want to support people who seek to defend our Australian way of life, our culture and our freedoms from the threat of radical Islam.”

The likes of Reclaim Australia are this government’s real constituency: they embody the values and narrow view of the world espoused by Abbott and his carefully selected Christian fundamentalist Cabinet members.

The racist vilification of AFL footballer Adam Goodes should not be seen in isolation from these developments. The vein of racism perpetuated against Indigenous Australians has been mined almost from the moment of the invasion and occupation by British colonisers.

Race hate groups target individuals and Adam Goodes is a high profile target exposed on the playing field. The booing of Goodes at games is being sparked by a small group starting up and leading a chorus of racist sneers.

After a week of watching this in silence, PM Abbott made a statement: ”Yes, we’re a robust people and I guess politicians typically get booed at the footy, but Adam Goodes is a good bloke and he’s a great player and I hope he gets treated with respect and civility.”

This mealy mouthed evasion – essentially endorsing the behaviour by refusing to condemn it – is something people have seen repeatedly from Abbott and his ministers. It is the reactionary’s ploy to clothe acts of self-interest and denial in the garb of high moral principles. Empty words. Is there anyone we don’t think should be treated with civility and respect?

Goodes is being bullied because he has been an outspoken critic of racism.

As Dennis Eggington, chief executive of the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA, put it: “Imagine being a master craftsman at the top of your game, widely regarded and admired by your workmates and professional colleagues. You are experienced, hard-working and eager to share your skills and knowledge with the younger members of your organisation.

“In your time away from the office, you spend countless hours undertaking community service to help those less fortunate than yourself. Imagine then, as you approach your well-earned retirement, that each time you attend your workplace, random strangers hurl vile abuse and incessantly boo you.

“Imagine being Adam Goodes. We wouldn’t accept it in any other workplace, so why is it accepted at the footy? This disgusting sledging, anchored to social Darwinism, is nothing more than blatant racism. To excuse it, to minimise it, to deny it, is to deny the black and white truth.”

Next article – ABC retail bombshell another blow to jobs

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