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Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Julia Gillard’s latest stance on boatpeople has put Australia on a slippery path toward racist and religious hatreds that could see Australia heading toward an abyss from which there may be no return.

Ever since 9/11 when the US declared war on Islam – and make no mistake, the US, together with its Western allies, have effectively declared war on Islam – the Australian people, despite the best efforts of Pauline Hanson and John Howard, managed to keep a reasonably clear head in differentiating between terrorists that claimed to represent Islam and Muslims that were fleeing war-torn Islamic nations that sought refuge in Australia. During Howard’s final term in office it became clear that Australians had rejected the kind of racism that Howard was advocating. Australia became a place where refugees seeking asylum were made welcome by all but the most right-wing of Australia’s rednecked racists.

But something has happened between then and now.

Right-wing bloggers within the mainstream media, particularly within the Murdoch stable of newspapers, have of late made headway in influencing public opinion. The extreme right-wing Andrew Bolt, for example of Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ newspaper, is well known for his anti-Islamic stance and his blatantly racist views. But, while his racist Islamophobic blog attracts only a very small but nonetheless vocal and relentless group of followers, Bolt’s standing is enhanced by his other media appearances on both radio (Bolt comments almost daily on MTR 1377 in Melbourne) and TV where he has appeared on the ABC’s current affairs programs, The Insiders and Q and A and occasional appearances on Channel 9's Today show. It is this radio and TV exposure that enhances Bolt’s image to his band of loyal supporters at his blog and widens his audience base to those susceptible to his brand of rhetoric.

While Bolt caters for the more extreme of Australia’s truly racist xenophobes, other journalists in Murdoch’s group of on-line newspapers, including his flagship newspaper The Australian, tend to be a little more subtle about their racist views. Greg Sheridan, The Australian’s foreign editor for example, writes that boatpeople are illegal immigrants saying:

“If we can solve the illegal immigration problem, it will only be through Indonesia's good offices.”

Right-wing columnists also write in Murdoch’s papers. Melanie Phillips, a well known extreme right-wing Islamophobe, appears regularly in Murdoch’s Australian press. Today she writes an outrageously fearmongering piece on the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir claiming without any evidence whatsoever that it is:

“It is one of the most manipulative and effective recruitment fronts for the Islamic jihad, particularly among the educated Muslim young.”

The common denominator in these articles is always the fear of radical Islam.

It is this kind of blatant right-wing propaganda and deceit that is misleading many Australians and causing racial tensions in Australia to increase. The problem is compounded when Gillard tells the Australian people that it’s OK to be anxious about boatpeople and that they are not being racist by expressing those concerns. The fact is; people who do not accept boatpeople in Australia are very much racist. Why else would they object to them? And, to make matters even worse and in a transparent attempt to get ‘Howard’s racist battlers’ on side, Gillard has even reinforced the ‘it’s not racist to object to boatpeople’ notion by saying that John Howard was not a racist. This is playing racist politics at its very worst.

Australia is fast sliding into the same kind of extremist anti-Islam racism that is being witnessed today in the UK and Europe.

Extreme right-wing anti-Islamic groups are springing up everywhere. In Britain the English Defence League (EDL) has grown from being just a loose-knit football hooligan skinhead neo-Nazi group into a highly structured countrywide organisation that uses the internet to call its members to rallies in areas where there are large Islamic immigrant communities throughout Britain. EDL rallies are becoming increasingly violent as they deliberately seek to provoke Muslim youths in predominately Islamic areas.

In Europe, anti-Islamic groups have been organised to the point that they now co-ordinate their activities across Europe and around the world. Anti-Islamic politicians and political pressure groups have sprung up in many countries. Geert Wilders is the leader of the Netherlands third most popular political party, the staunchly racist and anti-Islam Party for Freedom, which has enjoyed strong success in recent Dutch elections.

In Europe and Britain anti-Islam racism has almost reached the point of no return. The next very short step is to the kind of violence that can quickly escalate into the sort of ethnic cleansing that was seen in the 1990s in the Balkans.

Australia is rapidly heading down that very same road. Julia Gillard has made a very naïve but incredibly massive blunder in caving in to the right-wing Islamophobic racists of Australia over the boatpeople issue. A series of myth-busting facts about boatpeople could easily have combated the lies and perpetuated myths that the extreme right-wing racists and Islamophobes rely on to spread their hatred.

Instead, she has played into their hands and has set Australia on the same path to potential ethnic disaster as Europe seems to be heading.


Anonymous said...

Julia Gillard doesn't know that she is in the wrong party. She should be in the Liberal Party. Well she's in the Liberal-Lites Party anyway, so not far off.

Julia has certainly changed her spots over the years.

Kosta said...

Good on'ya Damian.
Like yourself, I'm ashamed of the direction of our country.
We attack the people of Afghanistan etc, and then we moan because they come here looking for a better life.

We seem to be getting less humane and dumber, perhaps we could do with some genetic diversity from immigrants....Come to Adelaide folks.

Anonymous said...

Bloodly Bibi and his Likud Olami bunch! Such trouble and strife they've caused! What has the world done to deserve them?!

Rick said...

What a complete load of utter crap!
This drivel is just typical of the bleeding heart chardonnay sucking left wing socialist bull that we have to put up with.

I remind you sir that we have laws in this country, laws that you and I have to obey but it seems that idoits like you think that the multitude of illegals that break these same laws are exempt.

Perhaps we should locate a few dozen of these illegal immigrants in your house...maybe you'd like to take care of a few from your pocket....oh no I'm sure a socialist like you wouldnt be interested in that would you?

Damian Lataan said...


Anonymous said...

"chardonnay sucking left wing socialist"....
Ahhh yes, the war cry of the extreme right. They still don't get it do they?
As the election results have shown, more and more people are tired of the Laboral machine and want to see a more balanced view of the world. Not everything in this life revolves around profit and growth to the expense of everything else.....
As the election result shows, not everyone believes the sky will fall in if we actually exercise our right to a concience.


Baachan said...

Damian--first time I've come across your refreshing & enlightened blog. Keep up the good work! I'm an expat Ozzie who has lived many years in Asia doing volunteer work & now the last 9 in Africa. I always felt one of the most redeeming element of Oz that I enjoyed was that warm tolerance in the multi-cultural environment in Melbourne. It would be tragic if we lose it through such narrow-minded media-influenced thinking.

Damian Lataan said...

Baachan, perhaps it should be me suggesting that you keep up the good work; I just write and hope that some good comes out of it!


Anonymous said...

It's a more wider problem that Islamophobia. Unfortunately, they have become a lightning rod for the racism that saturates Australia.

I've known Australians to go out of their way to attack innocent people with vicious, violent ugly language, and more. If it's not that, the unfounded and inexplicable hostility,mistrust and hatred oozes from the body language, condescending and isolating behaviour. Why? Because some people think someone is darker or doesn't look right, they think they have a free and natural licence to treat them with ill regard. It's totally dumb and criminal.And then the victim is blamed if he/she reacts. Would you like to be treated like that? If not, then DON'T do it.

People are invited to come here to be citizens, to be part of life and to contribute like everyone else but they and their children have to live with a an oppressive and widespread attempts to treat them as second class. They have to be always on the defensive. To be treated as second class. How obnoxious, vile, unjust, unfair, mean and evil is that? How can people flourish in a toxic environment like that? They don't. Their lives are diminished. This is criminal.

And lets not slip what is done to Indigenous Australians in the past and still today.

Australia can't keep playing this double game. You cannot use people and disrespect them.

It will in the end hurt Australia. It already is.

Anonymous said...

Any one in favour of allowing illegal immigrants bringing with them a stone age culture of intolerance and bogotry
should go and live in the south of france, pakistan or afghnistan for a year. Come back and then share your views.
Wake up you naive fools.

Kosta said...

We and our "civilised" allies bomb them back to the stone age, as we have since there existed an Ottoman Empire, ....

So 'Anonymous'[Saturday, May 05, 2012 6:59:00 PM] your cousins [UK&USA, Belium, France and empires] are on a shooting rampage on the street, and you complain about the blood stains on your carpet as they run into your house for shelter.