The Federal Multicultural Affairs Minister – Gary Hardgrave – has today declared that Hansonism is dead and that the ALP were the reason for its rise. (see: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/07/27/1090693963128.html?oneclick=true.)
Why? Because “[t]he Labor Party created division in society, and cut people into tribes and funded them differently, and created a sense of resentment.”
I’m sure you all find this laughable and it is an obvious sign that the Libs are trying to win the Multicultural vote in their election campaign.
It’s interesting none the less. Howard used Hanson to gain considerable political leverage. The previous Keating government had taken huge steps forward on race related issues. For a little while there it was not ok to say racist things. While many Australians where just aching to do so I see this as desirable because there was a clear message that this was unacceptable.
So Hanson spoke up, she made outrageously racist comments and the Prime Miniature simply replied by saying “it’s cool – that’s free speech”. But as we all know with freedom comes responsibility – Hanson was irresponsible.
So I guess I draw your attention to this for a few reasons. Firstly it is a follow up on my comments about ATSIC.
Secondly it’s amazing how sort the electorate’s memory is.
Thirdly it’s a clear indication of the Libs philosophical background – some thing that seems to have been popping up a little more of late and something I think they have shied away from in the past. The Libs are unashamedly Individualist. No surprises there. The old metaphor I’ve always liked is that life is like a race. The individualists put everyone on the same starting line and have the world sprint champion on the same line as a little kid with no formal running experience the idea being that everyone has the same opportunity. Obviously the little kid will never win. I much prefer the Stawell Gift – a handy cap race.
Finally, I think that Hanson actually had a point. In many ways One Nation and the Greens had similar concerns. Let’s put the One Nation racism aside for a moment (and, in reality this is simply not possible as it is far too big an issue to just overlook). Let’s also put aside the fact that Hanson was/is just plain dumb. Let’s look at the other policies. Protectionism, neglect of rural and regional Australia and an anti-economic rationalism. While the Green’s policies are considerably more complex (we all remember Hanson’s “well just print more money” comment) and their motivations are often different it is important to remember that these are legitimate concerns that are not addressed by either major party. There is a “market” out there for people who probably should vote green but in the end the Green’s are labeled and in reality they wear that label with pride. They get called elates – and well, perhaps they are – just not in the way the term is used.
I like the comment at the end of the same article: “The director of the Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies at the Australian National University, Dr James Jupp, said Mr Hardgrave’s comments were a revival of the divisive debates of the 1980s.
“It sounds dangerously close to bullshit, I would say,” Dr Jupp said”
I think that just about sums it up.