Racial profiling has always been a tendency of the PM. It has got him in to a spot of trouble in the past, but, as he said earlier in the 90s, 'the times will suit me'. His little homily on Muslims failing to integrate and discriminating against women was classic Howard.
Bob Brown has it right when he describes Howard as 'xenophobic'. There are perhaps some more pithy ways of describing him, but xenophobic will do for the educated readership. Bob said this week that "we are in a different era in which the leader of this country, for the first time in much more than half a century, is promoting a xenophobia which divides the country and which harms citizens in this country who have no right to be picked out by a leader for special criticism in the way that John Howard has," he said.
Senator Brown also says extremism must be tackled.
But he says it is not confined to the Islamic community:
"Just last month the Prime Minister blocked an inquiry into the Exclusive Brethren sect, which is misogynist and which represses women in a way which should simply not be allowed in Australian society," he said.
"It's un-Australian, but it's fostered by the Prime Minister."
Australia has one of the worst records of domestic violence in the OECD, we have discrimination against women in some of the more notable churches, we have still got an invisible glass ceiling in the corporate world and upper echelons of the public sector, we have public policy makers discriminating against women's rights at many turns, and we are again peddling images of women as empty headed sex objects in advertising, fashion, mainstream entertainment etc etc etc. A couple of notable beer commercials come to mind as perfect examples. Talk about people in glasshouses...
Where does the so-called 'intelligentsia' stand on the current state of play in the discrimination battles? It appears that many are happy with their bank balances and sipping latte, and nervous about women wearing hijabs because they don't conform to what the commercial media jocks and troglodyte pollies tell us is 'Australian'! Hmmm...so, are women jokingly abused in the beer commercials the benchmark for our young girls? Surely stereotypes at both ends of the spectrum are simple minded projections that only influence the permanently credulous. It is the same as being relaxed and comfortable with Howard's undermining of the rule of law, especially habeous corpus, in the name of national security. Do our brains get checked in at the cloak room of Howard's 'son et lumiere' show?
Now Costello has ramped up the rhetoric another notch by peddling fear of Muslims 'dissassimilating' (good word Peter, did you think of it yourself?). The wonderful gains of multiculturalism are being shredded to prop up lagging electoral support for the fear merchants. Situation normal really....'mais, viva la difference'!