Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Asylum seekers in Australia: Coalition again shows its true colours - 'One Nation' lite

This blog has been banging on for years about the tendencies within the extreme rump of the Coalition to tap into One Nation style politics. Howard did it, Turnbull did it, and now Abbott is doing it. I suspect the latter has been pivotal to the strategy from day one.

As I commented on a Poll Bludger posting recently:

"I notice a lot of comments about Abbott’s mouthing of Oldfield’s nastiness. This is not surprising as Oldfield and Abbott used to be chums, with Davey boy working on Abbott’s staff. Pauline was a Liberal, and when she got out of hand as a rogue trader Howard commissioned Abbott to pull her down. No doubt Oldfield was able to supply some of the ammunition. Its like the goanna chasing & swallowing its own tail; their all round bully boy/girl antics keep being regurgitated as the tail is coughed up."

The MSM have finally picked up on this tendency within the Coalition. This has been studiously ignored by many within the political commentariat, to their ever-lasting shame. A report in The Age today highlights divisions within the Liberals on asylum seeker policy. I wrote last year:

"Abbott's macho, pseudo religiosity and manic physical self-flagellation clearly appeals to many of the 'me me journalists' and the crypto-Hansonite set but it makes my skin crawl. What does it say about the psychological health of a country that goes within a whisk of electing a major political party that had as the centrepiece of its electoral pitch the punishment of a few miserable refugees? It beggars belief that in the 21st century our body politic can be so trivialised".

Shame on you, shame on me, shame on all of us....read some of the comments on this piece in The Australian to have your stomach truly churned.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Labor tackles racism and reprises multiculturalism

Click here to view Ch 10 News item

The dog whistling politics of the Coalition has come back to bite it on the bum. It is about time the sunshine was let in on this grubby corner of the extreme right's campaign to win office on the back of fear and division. It's an Abbott speciality of course and those out there peddling this racial vilification stuff are doing his bidding. An anti-Islam campaign has been festering for some time within the bowels of the Coalition and now its ugly shape is being revealed.

As I wrote in a post last year, Abbott ran "...for the highest office on a platform of unbridled entitlement politics, encouraging division, selfishness and 'get out of my way' pitches to people who think Government is about nothing more than serving their narrow interests. Labor had to tip toe through an electoral mine field of electors easily in thrall to hate-mongering, which has become an acceptable political tool when you have little else to convince the electorate you are fit for government."

Nothing has changed....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why do we tolerate nastiness toward asylum seekers?

Has anyone noticed an improvement in 2011 in the treatment of refugees? I have'nt. I turned on ABC24 this morning to find the Liberal spokesperson on immigration, Scott Morrison, attacking the Govt. for assisting financially the families of refugees killed on Christmas Island to attend the funerals of their lost relatives. How low can this polity sink? Even Hockey found this a nasty too far. The meanness of spirit behind this base politics continues to disgust me. Sometimes I can barely bring myself to look at and listen to the horror of our treatment of asylum seekers.

I once worked for a government that sold its soul to a devil. Our enthusiastic complicity in an illegal war, our rank hypocrisy in hectoring other countries about human rights, and our systematic violation of the rights of refugees was more than I could stomach; I withdrew gradually my services and then myself from the professional world I had inhabited for nigh twenty years. I found myself in a fog of depression that threatened to destroy my life. Everywhere I looked I saw Islamophobia, sanguineness in the face of abject cruelty to our fellow human beings, bureaucratic solutions to human suffering. People I had loved were sprouting the poisonous stuff of ethnic demonization and the mindless slogans of hate and intolerance.

I set myself on a path of healing but I am constantly set back by the reality of hate politics; the mindless characterisation of people on the basis of religion and/or ethnicity.

I kept thinking of two people I loved, and who had seen me through earlier difficult times, when a good friend was all that stood between me and dangerous depression. One of these great friends was a colleague who died in the Jog Jakarta air disaster; the other was a refugee from Iran who I met at University in India and who migrated to the US. Both of these wonderful human beings were/are great humanists with a zest for life. Oh yes, and they were/are Muslims...