Thursday, September 10, 2015

I blame John Howard for Oz becoming so racist and fearful.

"But we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come."

John Howard 2001 Federal Election Campaign Launch Speech, 28th October 2001
"This campaign more than any other that I have been involved in, is very much about the future of the Australia we know and the Australia we love so much.
It is also about having an uncompromising view about the fundamental right of this country to protect its borders. It’s about this nation saying to the world we are a generous open hearted people taking more refugees on a per capita basis than any country."

Not true then and not true now.

Back to John....

"We have a proud record of welcoming people from 140 different nations. 

But we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come. " (With huge fist pump!)

You can watch him here.

When The White Australia Policy racism ended in the 1960s we slowly became a flourishing multicultural country. 
We welcomed refugees. 
Including 137 000 Vietnamese. 
They were one of us! Not The Other.

Oz had become proud of it’s multicultural success. Our governments led this humane and human cultural shift. Oz had a global not insular outlook.
We also earned world wide admiration for our caring, structured integration of refugees into our part of the global community through government and community-funded services, conferences, seminars, welfare workers.

Now we lock em up, hide the evil and forget them. 

Or we turn the boat around and shrug off responsibility for the deaths at sea.

John Howard began this decline in our national psyche.

In 2001 Howard, with popularity numbers on the fall, remembered that if you can scare the peeps with a fear of The Other it translates to votes. 
He can be big strong authoritarian daddy.
And we responded to that fear and he was re-elected.
That's when the rot set in.

Phillip Ruddock continued the reframing of our psyche by calling boat people queue jumpersHe was a heartless Immigration Minister. This was 2006.For a detailed record of Howard's and Ruddock's inhumanity see...

Then in 2005 we had Cronulla riots.

"I'm the person that's led this charge here. 

Nobody wanted to know about North Cronulla, 

now it's gathered to this." Alan Jones 2005

Alan had such pride in his power 

to enable this hatred 

to fester and spill out. 

He was enabled by Howard's insular, 
nationalistic, far right agenda.

SINCE Howard's declaration in 2001 Oz has seen a constant, concerted, maddening slide to the situation now, where we have refugees in off shore camps suffering tortuous conditions. 
Neither major party is innocent in this race to horror.
And OZ sleeps on. Safe in the arms of our authoritarian, fascist, racist, nationalistic, corporate whore of an Abbott government.

I do know that, recently, with a wonderful gem of photo journalism, the FEAR OF THE OTHER melted enough to make even our regressive government respond to our calls for humanity. Even if the response was pitiful and reluctant.
I just hope we can get that one, heart-capturing, viral image for the 'hidden by law' refugees in off shore horror. 

The thing is - how much longer the government can present and promote such a contradictory attitude towards people fleeing from the same bloody war. On boats! By foot! By skateboard! Same refugees! Such different luck.

Neither side is clean. Both the right and the left have contributed to this national shame. 

I end on a hopeful note as I see our moral compass as a nation being reframed, finally, after many long years of shameful policy, by huge public demos, State Premiers, churches... while the pollie class as always will be forced to follow behind. 

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