The day after the Bourke Street attack of November 9th, 2018, Scott Morrison, came out and called on Muslim leaders to take “special responsibility” for stamping out radicalism in their communities and that they should “call this out for what it is”. Never to miss an opportunity to bring out the dog whistle, he said that Islamist extremism, rather than a corruption of any other religion, presented the most dangerous form of radicalism in Australia1,2.
A Neonazi demonstration, about which there was considerable advance notice, was held on Saturday, January 5th in St Kilda (Melbourne)3, ostensibly as a reaction to a non-existent ‘African Gang’ problem. This ‘problem’ was conjured up by the Federal government in the lead-up to the Victorian state election, in the hope that the dog whistle might induce some of the more gullible Victorians to vote for the Liberal Party. It turned out that this dog whistle didn’t have the effect the Federal government had hoped4.
After the Neonazi demonstration in St Kilda on Saturday, Scott Morrison has tweeted on Sunday (he was at the cricket on Saturday) firstly:
“I thank Vic police for their efforts dealing with the ugly racial protests we saw in St Kilda yesterday. Intolerance does not make Australia stronger.”
He followed this immediately with:
“Australia is the most successful migrant country in the world. This has been achieved by showing respect for each other, our laws and values and maintaining sensible immigration policies. Let’s keep it that way, it makes Australia stronger.”5
Having had considerable warning of the event, the Victoria Police were out in force and prevented this from descending into a riot. However, it is not Morrison’s justified thanking of the Police which is noteworthy, it is Morrison’s devious plural “ugly racial protests” which is alarming here. He was not condemning the Neonazis any more than he was condemning the counterprotesters, who were ‘anti-racist’ protesters. When you lump people who wish to have portraits of Adolph Hitler in schools and to have Mein Kampf taught in schools6, with those who reject racism and want our multicultural society to succeed and for all races to live in harmony, then you know there is something going on beneath the surface. What is going on is that Morrison and his government are desperate for votes and they seem to be under the misapprehension that they can pick up votes from One Nation and that this will be enough to save them from political oblivion. That is why Morrison will not criticise the Neonazis nor will he refer to them as racists and give them the opprobrium they deserve. Senator Fraser Anning attended the demonstration is support of the Neonazis3, and Morrison made no mention of him, because his government is so desperate for every single vote in parliament, and they may have to depend on Anning’s vote. This is where Australia is at, with a desperately incompetent government, pandering to criminal racists who would divide the nation even more than the government was prepared to do to win the Victorian election. Morrison has damned himself by not criticising these Neonazis strongly enough.