Time to draw a line

It’s unclear to me whether the string of recent expressions of support for racism  (or, if you prefer anti-anti-racism) from Sky, Bolt and Tudge among others) represent a campaign to normalise racism in Australia or a reflection of the fact that, at least on the political right, racism has already been normalized. Either way, it’s clear that this is going to be a defining issue in Australian politics, as it has become elsewhere in the world.

Sky network’s decision to broadcast a sympathetic interview with a Nazi represents a point at which our leaders can draw the line, if they choose. Despite the mealy-mouthed apology offered after a public backlash, this episode was entirely in character for Sky, which has a stable of racist and racism-friendly commentators. I’m pleased to see that Craig Emerson has announced that he is leaving the station. All decent people should boycott Sky until it cleans house thoroughly.

Qantas routinely broadcasts Sky in its lounges. Some reports say the same of Virgin, though that appears to be only occasional. I’ve written to Qantas to complain, and will be looking at alternative options unless there is a satisfactory response.  The more people do this, the harder it will be for them to ignore us.

24 thoughts on “Time to draw a line

  1. In some ways the apologies are the worst part, like the”Our thoughts and prayers go out…” after another school massacre. They are a signing off and reinforcement of the act that preceded them, lets move onwards to the next episode in a carefully choreographed “business model”. Or is it that simple?

  2. Racism needs to be publically identified, called out and rejected – that’s how free speech in a free society should work.

    Racism has no place in a free society, racism is the enemy of a free society.

    Racism is not just an opinion, it’s a breach of the law. A free society needs laws to manage and control its enemies.

  3. You’ve buried the lead. The bigger story is that a former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, an apparently mainstream, formerly very senior politician from one of our two major parties, invited a known Nazi with a series of convictions for violent crimes for which he did prison time, onto his television program.

    Not at all long ago Adam Giles sat at the COAG table with the Prime Minister and Premiers making decisions of national importance. And now this. Of course in half the western world mainstream politicians on the right are playing footsie with fascists and neo-nazis, and we should not expect Australia to be exempt.

    Those of us with long memories will remember Malcolm Fraser sacking from his ministry, the day after he appointed him, a Queensland politician called Glen Sheil for voicing support for South African apartheid. It would be nice if Malcom Turnbull would condemn his senior Liberal Party colleague Giles. But that would take strength of character and a desire and willingness to take on the ugly, crazies in his own party.

  4. Another thing. All this tut-tutting from the “respectable” Sky News people, like David Speers, is just a tad disingenuous. They know perfectly well what the Sky News business model is, which is to fellate their target audience of old, angry-with-the-world right wingers: with a cornucopia of shows featuring virtually if not every right wing Australian commentator with a pulse, (It’s hard to think of one who isn’t on Sky. Maybe Gerard Henderson, although he might not actually have a pulse.) This audience would have agreed with every word said on the Giles program, and then some.

    The Sky people know that this strategy sometimes means they go too far. When it happens, as it has before with Mark Latham and his mates, they put on a pretense of clutching their pearls and exclaiming “oh my goodness, this is unacceptable”.

    And then it’s back to business as usual. Who do they think they are kidding?

  5. respectabullies!

    there seems to be a pattern ay?

    widen the focus a bit to other aspects like, maybe, a scenario where a child says something like
    “that man did *** to me” and the response is
    “you wicked, wicked child, how dare you say such a thing about such a respectable paragon”

  6. “expressions of support for racism” are included in virtually every press release from The Right Honourable Minister for Homeland Security’s office.

    We have people on the ABC and almost every media outlet defending concentration camps, we have secret courts using secret evidence to imprison Australians without letting them defend themselves*, we have widespread public agreement that sending the Australian military in to take aboriginal children away from their parents is a good idea, we send refugees back to their country of origin where they “disappear”… and you’re worried about foreign fascists?

    I think you need to very clearly explain how their views differ from those of our Prime Minister and why only foreigners should be no-platformed. I don’t see how “there’s no pub in Lakemba” is a more serious threat to Australians than the secret police that both the Coalition and the ALP voted for.

    The time to be alarmed was… how long ago did the British arrive? Like Briggs said “Now Mr Abbott, think about it Me and you we feel the same … I’m just sayin’ We both unsettled when the boats came”

    * and you can be imprisoned for telling anyone, even your spouse, that someone is being held by ASIO under the anti-terror legislation… and ASIO can bug your bedroom if they think you might do so.

  7. I live in a true blue suburb of Sydney in a street with a few people who are x-generation Australian born, a few x-generation Australian mixed with 1950s European immigrants, a few mixed European immigrants of later years, some Indian or Sri Lankan or Pakistani – nobody bothers to find out the details, a couple of Asians – nobody bothers to find out whether they are Vietnamese or Chinese and I assume no-body bothers to find out where exactly the European immigrants came from. Almost all young school aged children play with each other. There are friendly neighbourly chats and there are often X-mas street parties with possibly all having come on at least one occasion. Everybody speaks English and to the best of my knowledge no household suffers financial distress. Some houses are bigger than others but none looks dilapidated. and none looks worth $10million or even 5. So, I live in an oasis of perfectly functioning multiculturalism.

    I understand multiculturalism doesn’t work so perfectly everywhere – probably due to socio-economic and status reasons. I also understand that the word ‘racist’ is sometimes used too easily in contexts where people want to voice their desire for slower social change or more familiar behaviour and accents. I also understand the constraints put on natural English speakers in their usage of the language when interacting with immigrants – so the occasional “bloody foreigners – can’t speak the lingo” isn’t something that would worry me, not least because it may be based in fact and is uttered in frustration. Some variation of colourful expressions like this can be observed among otherwise culturally and ethnically homogeneous groups of people.

    Today, the smh reports an attack on a student of Pakistani origin which, IMO, is an example of racism. According to this article, the University of Newcastle student was driving to the university’s library when he was stopped by a gang of men and at least one woman. The woman stole a mobile phone from one side of the care, while a man opened the door on the driver’s side and punched the said student in the face with a knuckle duster, while yelling “Go back to your f …. country. You don’t belong here.” . The student’s nose was broken, requiring surgery, and he was temporarily unconscious.

    Time to draw a line, indeed.

  8. Ernestine

    It’s a peculiarity of Australian racism that most people who express racist opinions do so in the abstract. They might say they don’t like people of a particular nationality but if they then happen to have them as neighbours they get on very well with them (or at least as well as any other neighbours, on the whole).

  9. Ernestine: Whereas I live in Lakemba, which is apparently a no go zone for people like me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been killed by an angry mob of Muslims upset at my rainbow letterbox (hint: it’s the roundest number) or how often the local RSL gets torched because it serves alcohol (also zero). Although I understand the local Anglican church was forced to offer services in Korean… because the alternative was not having services at all due to absence of parishioners. They also do a halal BBQ at the church fete which I find amusing.


    The abuse I get in the “mean streets” is because I ride a bicycle and even recent immigrants seem to quickly pick up on that bit of Australia culture.

  10. We cancelled our Foxtel subscription yesterday. Kick News Corporation where it hurts – in the wallet. Sadly neither of the helpful staff at the call centre that I spoke to had heard of the Nazis or even World War 2 (despite Manila having been flattened at a cost of 50,000 civilian lives), so it is doubtful our reasons for cancelling will register with management.

    My granddad enlisted in the Australian army in WW2 to fight the Nazis, so it is pretty easy decision to stop financially supporting this rubbish. Though come the weekend I will be having football withdrawal symptoms!

  11. I agree with Bolt- we need greater social cohesion. So let’s close down all those elite private schools and force the children of the rich to educate themselves with the pleb kids.

  12. Still, we have these eruptions down through the ages, over and over and it dies down ready for next time because tabloid racism sells newspapers, commercial tv and radio and sells conservative, reactive politics.

    Those responsible will nod sadly and ask, “who us?”, then grizzle about how hard done they are by “political correctness”, but soon it will come again because there are too many people who feel they benefit from it and while it works or makes money, on it will go toward eternity.

  13. So, Smith9, people are said to express racist opinion in the abstract. Well if they would do it in a abstract manner, it still wouldn’t worry me much. But, as I could convince myself by reading the article by Bolt (Andrew not Usain) referenced on the thread, the opinion is presented as if it would be based on empirical analysis, suitable for examining the plausibility of a hypothesis (testing wuld be too strong a word, IMO). Others than have to unscramble Andrew Bolt’s “mishmash” to reveal the racist undercurrent. My concern is the camouflaged racist messages, delivered by people in suits, are absorbed by people who are already wound up about something or other and they then act out the ‘abstract racism’ with their boots (or knuckle duster) or deliberate verbal insults intended to hurt and humiliate. Social media provides an easy way to spread the bile. Not unlike the problem with illegal drugs, it is more difficult to catch those in suits than those with the boots.

    As illustrated by Moz of Y’s lovely satirical comment as well as my less entertaining description, direct observations of the immediate environment is often sufficient to separate fact from fiction.

    Moz of Y, your suburb looks very similar to mine when viewed on google satillite – rows of houses, some bigger than others and quite a bit of green. No evidence of riots, etc. Your Anglican church is bigger than mine but my trees may be bigger than yours.

  14. Removing all sorts of vaguely right-wing crimethink from social media is a trend lately. Of course, Twitter and Youtube are doing it constantly, and the coordinated takedown of Alex Jones just a few days ago made international headlines. I see that as a political move, in preparation for America’s midterm elections, comparable to the removal of Milo Yannopoulos from Twitter in mid-2016.

    But I only learned about this Australian case of virtuous erasure today, from this blog. Of course, I went to find out what was actually said in the erased interview. The first place I tried, the Facebook page of Avi Yemeni. Oh look, it no longer exists either!

    Nonetheless, I found the erased interview. Listened to it once, will have to listen again, but I don’t think Cottrell even mentioned race. It was all about restricting immigration, preserving Australian values, and so forth.

    The fact that this game of media whack-a-mole against “white nationalists” and “defenders of western culture” is occurring, without anything like honest dialogue, more or less proves their case that our institutions are in the hands of a broad ideological tendency that is actively hostile to what they stand for.

    What I have never quite managed to figure out is, what are the core values of the people who are against the likes of Cottrell, and who have the power to de-platform him. Obviously the commenters on this blog are against him, but I don’t know if you’re that representative of the people who have the final say.

    One possibility is that the parties of the western center-left (perhaps starting with Clinton and Blair) decided that mass immigration meant more votes for them. Another possibility is, some kind of Anglo-American open borders fantasy in which nations, races and religions are supposed to dissolve into the one world society. Then there are the genuine Marxists who also want one world, and are keen to hasten that dissolution of traditional ties that capitalism was supposed to be producing anyway.

    I don’t know. But by now I am pretty sure that there is an elite agenda, or multiple agendas, that are actively hostile to the existence of majority white demographics in countries like Australia and America, whose supporters have been trying to produce a rainbow society almost by stealth, and who have resorted first to propaganda and now to censorship, in order to suppress any kind of organized resistance or even public expression of discontent, with respect to this transformation.

  15. “more or less proves their case that our institutions are in the hands of a broad ideological tendency that is actively hostile to what they stand for.”

    One should be thankful, but for how much longer will our institutions resist these neo-facists? It seems the LNP can’t resist.

  16. I don’t know what it is that Mitchell stands for, does anybody else know? I read right wing blogs and the comments and I can’t organise the ideas and complaints that I read there into a coherent list of things that they want, or any idea of what they would like their world to be; all I see is things they don’t like.

    The IPA puts out a clear list of what would underpin their ideal way of life but this list is not what many of the people on the right wing blogs want; I don’t think there is anything that they all agree about but there are themes or triggers that unite them every so often in burst of fellow feeling and it is always something negative and often so very trivial, about how bad the ‘others’ are that forms the nucleus of these pockets of agreement.

    Mitchell really doesn’t think he is a nazi; he doesn’t understand the current definition or he simply denies the conclusion that by the rules of western civilisation he actually is a nazi. If he doesn’t want to be a nazi he/they need to change the definition of this word as it is currently understood. And they are trying to do that bit of social engineering by creating fake news that because nazi is short for national socialist, the nazis actually were socialists.

    One could think that this was an agenda of some elites somewhere to discredit socialism or it could be that Mitchell is not very good at rational thinking. For example, he writes that he “don’t think Cottrell even mentioned race. It was all about restricting immigration, preserving Australian values, and so forth.”

    And I suppose he thinks that in that sentence he has provided a good argument for his point of view, but why can’t he see that there are other facts that he isn’t taking into account that render his argument inadequate and invalid.

    Cottrell has said other things that are about race or if Mitchell is typical of those who argue for right wing causes he will use the ultimate card – the fake news card – to refute this fact?

    We can read that “Sky hosted Cottrell, a carpenter and bodybuilder, in its Melbourne studio for a one-on-one discussion about immigration on Sunday night, tweeting his 10-minute rant about immigration based on race and his preference for white South African farmers to fill the migration quota.”


    So Cottrell is a racist. And..I’d like Mitchell to clarify the Australian values that he talks of; I am Australian and I have very different values to his. I am not an elite and I have no power to change anything except the way my neighbours think and vote.

    The emotion is strong, the fear palpable in Mitchell’s comment and that isn’t a good thing but is Mitchell to blame for his fears that are so irrational and ill informed? Do people choose to be right wing and should they be blamed for their ignorance?

  17. I’m not sure Jonathon Haidt is useful for much, but he offers an explanation of how the right approaches perceived problems. Although I don’t think he understands the left or more or less completely ignores it in favour of characturing rich american liberals, Another interesting question is to ask what happened to blue-collar representation. If you are looking for fakery then the alt-right is trying to pass itself off as that, dressing up in high viz gear.

  18. Haidt had some useful insights I think, as the beginning but he was never able to fit ‘libertarianism’ into his model or fully explain the factors that influence people to develop the belief systems that they do develop.

    He says that Libertarians “match liberals in placing a relatively low value on the moral foundations of loyalty, authority, and sanctity (e.g., they’re not so concerned about sexual issues and flag burning), but they join conservatives in scoring lower than liberals on the care and fairness foundations (where fairness is mostly equality, not proportionality; e.g., they don’t want a welfare state and heavy handed measures to enforce equality). This is why libertarians can’t be placed on the spectrum from left to right: they have a unique pattern that is in no sense just somewhere in the middle. They really do put liberty above all other values.”

    The final sentence is joke surely because it just leads back to the argument that has been made against libertarians every time they appear throughout history hat liberty is not a thing that one can have; it’s not a possession. It is a negotiated position.

    I think Haidt gives ‘conservatives’ too much credit for having values rather than seeing that they are just reacting negatively to things they don’t like as Corey Robin explains in his book “The Reactionary Mind” that is available as a pdf online. I find it unconvincing that he can say that conservatives have six (values: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and purity) and that liberals are only concerned about the first three.

    He says that liberals “fail to grasp conservatives’ concerns for loyalty, authority, and purity. Therefore, conservatives can predict liberals’ answers to specific questions quite accurately, but liberals do not understand conservatives–with consequences for elections and public debates.”

  19. The Far Right (Andrew Bolt etc… ) worry about Oz becoming a nation of disconnected tribes then do everything in their power to make the prophecy come true by sowing the seeds of hate, fear and distrust.

    As to African gangs etc. , I am happy to report that there is a thriving and accepted South Sudanese community in the country town nearest my farm. The only trouble I’m aware of is an incident in which a bunch of white yobs from out of town jumped out of a car and bashed a young South Sudanese man they had never met while racially abusing him. News Corp never picked up on that story but it was in the local newspaper.

    I understand that there has been a problem in some parts of Melbourne with male African youths engaging in home invasions and so on. My view is that you reform errant youth with love and compassion. You don’t demonise them and treat them like hardened criminals because if you do you’ll lose them forever.

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