Bolt’s column illustrates the steady and sinister drift of Australia’s national conversation towards a permissible racism
Murdoch press – has been towards refusing permission to anti-Anzac sentiment and granting permission to racism. This latter drift can be demonstrated objectively.
On 6 January 1996, a letter, written by the preselected Liberal party candidate for Ipswich, Pauline Hanson, was published in the Queensland Times. It claimed nothing more than showering the admittedly once-wronged Aboriginal people with “money, facilities and opportunities” not available to other Australians was harming them and “causing racism”. The letter caused pandemonium at Liberal party headquarters. Hanson was stripped of her preselection. (The rest as they say is history.) Today, such a letter would be barely noticed by anyone.
Twenty-two years later, on 2 August 2018, the country’s most influential columnist, Andrew Bolt, regularly published in four Murdoch tabloids, claimed that Australia was being destroyed by waves of immigrants – Chinese, Jews, Vietnamese, Indians, Muslims etc – who refused to assimilate and who, as colonists, treated Australia not as a home but as a hotel. That a column like this could be published in the mainstream media, unthinkable 20 years ago, is a consequence of the steady and sinister and perilous drift of Australia’s national conversation towards a permissible racism.