Politicians of all persuasions spoke out pretty hard against racism the day after Fraser Anning’s “Final Solution” speech to the senate (although most conservative senators including Cormann, Bernardi, Canovan and Mckenzie offered the senate’s newest pariah handshakes and even embraces directly after he spoke so let’s not kid ourselves as to how outraged they were).
The backlash did answer a question I never knew I wanted answered: “What is too racist for Pauline Hanson?” Apparently, the answer is Fraser Anning appropriating holocaust language, although I wonder if Hanson’s attack is more about diminishing a competitor for the racist vote mixed with some spite at Anning’s defection from her One Notion Party.
But so they should have spoken out. Much of Anning’s speech was repulsive. But for all the eloquence, bipartisanship and passion of these public denouncements; there was a fair-sized elephant in the room yesterday whilst they occurred.
The erosion of our intolerance to racism is a problem this Coalition government (and their allies in the conservative media) has been complicit in, if not agitating for it outright. Don’t take my word for it either. Take the word of Australia’s outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, who recently declared publicly that “race politics is back,” in this country
As a member of parliament, Malcolm Turnbull has said many things he does not believe, but perhaps none of them rang as false as when he yesterday said that race has no place in politics. This from the same PM who last month was fanning the flames of racial tensions over ‘African Gangs’ for political gain. The same PM who refused to condemn liberal MP, Jim Molan’s, anti-Islamic Facebook posts. From the same PM whose party often preference swaps with One Notion. And from the same PM whose re-election campaign will no doubt aim to exploit the electorate’s basest fears and prejudices about terrorism and border protection.
I think what you meant to say, Mr Turnbull, is that race SHOULD have no place in politics, but your party puts it there time and again.