• Rachel Jacobs, Tim Wilson, Marcia Langton and Tony Jones on Q&A. (ABC)Source: ABC
The academic says a single moment shows how politicians allowed "filth" into Australia's parliament.
NITV Staff Writer

28 May 2019 - 10:03 AM  UPDATED 28 May 2019 - 10:10 AM

Professor Marcia Langton has used a TV appearance on the ABC to criticise the incivility of public debate and the rise of racism in Australia.

The Indigenous studies professor was a guest on the adversarial panel show Q&A on Monday night.

Also appearing on the show were Liberal MP Tim Wilson, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, anti-racism campaigner Rachel Jacobs and The Australian newspaper's editor-at-large Paul Kelly.

Prof Langton said she had been disgusted that “lunatic fascists” had held a rally in Melbourne earlier this year and suggested Australia should make Holocaust denial a criminal offence.

But she singled out a moment in Australian politics for particular criticism.

“When our senators voted for Pauline Hanson’s idiotic resolution ‘it’s OK to be white’ — which is a Ku Klux Klan slogan — I felt sick. And I started to lose hope,” she said.

“I thought how can apparently intelligent people vote for that resolution? I was so disgusted. Just look at the list of people who voted for that resolution. It’s shocking. It’s absolutely deeply shocking.

“And to this day I’m going to find it very, very difficult to be civil to the people who voted for that resolution in the Senate.”

The academic gave her views about how to convince the general public about the merits of supporting an Indigenous voice to parliament.

“What we need to do I think first is to bring enough people along on the logic of the proposition before we are drowned in the typical incivility of debate about indigenous affairs, lies told, exaggerations made,” she said.

"I think strangely enough, ironically enough we have an opportunity to persuade people of the logic of this proposition and to take away the fear. There’s this nonsense question out there, 'If Aborigines are going to be in the constitution, what about me? Why don't I get mentioned in the constitution?' So, you know, what most people don't understand is that the constitution is supposed to be for all Australians … we are the gaping hole in the heart of the constitution."