• Senator Fraser Anning during a Greens censure motion against him. (AAP)Source: AAP
OPINION: The words spoken by Senator Fraser Anning in parliament during his maiden speech are deplorable, racist, white supremacist rubbish but let’s not feign shock and horror, because they are entirely expected.
By
Natalie Cromb

15 Aug 2018 - 6:18 PM  UPDATED 15 Aug 2018 - 6:18 PM

This man has a platform of hate dressed up as support for the 'Aussie battler' – that is someone who is white, middle-class and ignorant, who buys into white supremacy. He feels safe to make a speech full of hatred, because his views are well-supported. Fundamentally, they are not outrageous to a significant portion of the Australian community, which indicates clearly that he is a symptom of a much larger problem.

He has quoted politicians who have shared his views throughout history and he has joined the ranks of powerful white men and women who have used their platform of power to oppress and discriminate against those who are ‘other.’ He advocates for the revival of the White Australia policy and celebrates ‘discrimination in favour of European people’. While he avoids using the words 'White Australia’, anyone familiar with the historical context and the immigration policies knows what’s really being said.

Anning feels safe using his platform of power to spread hate, because others before him have laid the groundwork. He may have drawn inspiration or assumed support from his contemporaries like Pauline HansonPeter Dutton, Bob Katter, Tony Abbott and others.

The other problem to which this points, is that the Australian parliament as an institution is a racist institution, despite any rumblings of discontent that Anning’s speech may provoke. The only real horror the majority of these politicians will feel is that this white supremacy was out and proud, instead of the usual subterfuge  that is employed by the two major political parties. It is convenient to the two major parties to have ‘renegades’ like One Nation and the Katter Party, because these parties make the more insidious and covert racism employed by the dominant parties appear to be measured and reasonable.

Racism is – by definition – the use of power to assert dominance against other, to oppress other and to do so on the basis of race. This has been the status quo of Australian Parliament since 1901 and the British colonialists before that. Racism is not new to the Australian Parliament nor is white supremacy.

The fact that some people seem shocked by this speech is galling to me, given that we have been highlighting  the racism in this country since day one of the arrival of the colonial forces.

We have a government that has cleverly marketed itself as ‘conservative’ and ‘economically sensible’ however, the reality is its policies and the opinions of its members have more in common with white supremacists of yesteryear than it would admit.

We have politicians who maintain the narrative of Indigenous dependence upon the taxpayer dollar, which is an outright lie as non-Indigenous Australians continue to benefit from proceeds of crime. We have politicians who give press conferences of an ‘African crime problem’, which is factually inaccurate – particularly when examined statistically against crimes perpetrated by white people.

We have politicians who condemn the people displaced by wars Australia has fought in with our ‘allies’ for seeking safety in our country, which while marketing itself to the world to be a place of the ‘fair go’, locks them up indefinitely and denies them basic human rights.

We have politicians who label anyone violent that is ‘other’ a terrorist, while similar crimes perpetrated by white people are labelled as ‘mental illness’, because white people seemingly cannot be terrorists.

Australia is a racist country, a xenophobic country, a grossly misogynistic country and until we acknowledge this reality instead of clinging to false narratives and believing lies perpetuated on propaganda programs packaged as current affairs, we will not ever grow.

Senator Anning is a white supremacist. He was elected to Parliament. He is in a position of power and he has used this power to state his agenda clearly. His speech reveals that his agenda is the hatred of ‘other’ and the promotion of white people. Make no mistake, he is well supported by many Australians, including many of those sitting in parliament, pretending they are appalled by what he says. The fact that there is shock at what he says is demonstrable of the level of ignorance and apathy that is within the Australian community.

Australians don’t want their racism and privilege magnified, so some will be ‘appalled’ by what was said in Parliament, but whether this translates into any action to address the problems this country has with privilege, racism, bigotry, misogyny and colonisation is something we should not await with breath held. This government has ascended because of the ignorance of Australians and they’re banking on the continuation of this pattern.

Senator Anning’s views are reprehensible, but he is not the problem – he is the symptom of a much larger problem. This country has proven time and time again that it will not make change to address the larger problem. 


 

Natalie Cromb is a Gamilaroi writer, Indigenous affairs editor of Independent Australia, social justice activist, legal professional and mother. Follow Natalie @NatalieCromb

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