This is the fourth and, fortunately, the last comment on Scott Morrison’s embarrassing speech at the Canberra citizenship ceremony. Previous efforts have commented on Morrison’s abrogation of Commonwealth responsibility for quarantine and aged care1, his downplaying of the suffering of indigenous Australians ever since 17882, and the brutality which we have not ‘risen above’ despite Morrison maintaining we have3. Morrison didn’t stop at these, he drivelled on:
“And as the many peoples of the world joined our journey, we have become even stronger, The [sic] most successful and cohesive immigration and multicultural nation on earth. The home of the world’s oldest living human culture. A modern, prosperous and generous nation. Fair minded, hard working. A standard bearer for liberal democracy, in a world where authoritarianism is once again seeking to push itself forward. An honest nation that continues to confront the truth of our past and to reconcile this with our future.”4
This “most…cohesive immigration and multicultural nation” used to be more cohesive some years ago. It is this government and its cheerleaders in the Murdoch media who have used the dog whistle at almost every opportunity, which have made this nation less cohesive. They use the dog whistle to divide the nation when they think there is some political advantage to be gained5-7. Indeed, it was Morrison who was sprung in a shadow cabinet meeting in 2010 urging his party to use community concerns about Muslims failing to integrate as a political strategy8,9.
Some of the Coalition’s most avid supporters in the media look upon the word multicultural as dirty word. Andrew Bolt hates it, and has blamed it for ruining Christmas, and for violence. He even blamed the second Covid-19 wave in Victoria on multiculturalism10,11. Peta Credlin did the same; blaming it on Australians of South Sudanese origin11. Indeed, even some of the elected members of Coalition parties hate multiculturalism, believing it has failed12. Some Coalition politicians extended that disparagement to boycotting the apology to the stolen generation delivered by Kevin Rudd in February 2008. At least some of these were at the nasty end of the Coalition spectrum; people like Sophie Mirabella, Don Randall, Dennis Jensen, Alby Schultz, Wilson Tuckey, who are fortunately all gone from Parliament. However, one boycotter is still there; Peter Dutton13.
Morrison also characterised Australia as: “An honest nation that continues to confront the truth of our past”. This is laughable. This government and its supporters in the Murdoch media have done just about all they can to deny the truth of the nation’s past. That is what the ‘culture wars’ were all about. Whether it be to deny the reality of Indigenous agriculture and land management (in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu)14; or to deny the reality of massacres of indigenous people15. These culture warriors also still deny climate change16, and even the severity of Covid-1917,18. This culture war was epitomised by the government spitting the dummy when the Australian Broadcasting Commission included the term ‘Invasion Day’ with ‘Australia Day’, when a proportion of the population do call it Invasion Day19. This is just more denial of reality, something this government is very good at.