With the entirety of the Senate piling on Fraser Anning for his speech, it affords the regular Australian an opportunity to impact our growing culture of extremism.
Last night, the past echoed the present as White Australia evoked the tenets of Nazism and refused to apologise for it. The suffix ‘on steroids’ is an on-point analysis of xenophobic rhetoric in this country. Be it the arms of Blair Cottrell, or the mouth of Pauline Hanson we have an easily identifiable pocket to place them in. Fraser Anning’s rant had both, as Derryn Hinch hyperbolically labelled it as “Pauline Hanson on steroids”.
To that end, it was even too much for Pauline, who distanced herself from Anning, stating:
Other than referencing the ‘final solution’, Anning’s maiden speech called for “a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, and particularly whether they want any Muslims”
The outpouring of angry shock from the rest of Senate is noticeable, lead by the Greens tabling a motion to censure.
Despite our anti-establishment auspicies, what our elected officials utter, matter. We might all claim that every politician is either crooked, a bastard or a crooked bastard, but when they talk, we listen. In a conversation with the Nine Network last night, Mitch Fifield said: “I thought we had moved beyond this in the parliament. Australia is a warm and open nation.”
Those who have been tarred with the wattle brush of our racism know this not to be the case. It might be quieter in some streets more than others, but it’s the current that runs under this nation. The ALP’s Penny Wong cut directly to the root of the issue, stating: “…think of what might be happening in some of the schoolyards in Australia today.”
That should be the battle won. Today’s drawn line should be the example for tomorrow. Not for us, but for those who will inhabit it. The generally held idea online, especially Twitter, is that it has already been settled. The minds of Cottrell and Anning should be lobotomised, as their way of thinking was undone by something called the Second World War. We fought that already, and you lost, so fuck off.
Which is fair, but as the years turn, and the true lessons of a horrific bloodletting fade, it pushes us to teach those who weren’t present. So, today, instead of joining the Twitter shitstorm, find the opportunity to educate the next generation on what Anning’s words represent, and why they have no room in our greater conversation.