Soutphommasane accorded that Australia’s success as a multicultural society is under threat. This threat is not from extreme factional groups or mask-wearing fascists, it is from the mainstream of Australian public life.
The real danger, he argued, comes from “dog-whistling politicians” and “race-baiting commentators” eager to harness populist attention through the careless “mixing of race and politics”. Just about a week later, Senator Fraser Anning proved how devastatingly true that was when he called for a “final solution” to “ethnocultural diversity” in Australia in his maiden speech.
And as I indicated in the Facebook post, “The Road to Anning” has not surfaced overnight. Along the way to getting to that piece of unmitigated and unfettered racism that was his maiden speech, we have had a Parliament that has:
- continued to treat refugees abhorrently;
- continued to preside and perpetuate discrimination against people of Aboriginal heritage and ancestry in a systemic fashion;
- given voice to such people as Pauline Hanson and others who continue their campaigns of hatred towards anything non-Anglo-Celtic; and
- allowed racism to exist in its various manifestations along the way.
Anning is not a new phenomenon. He is but a by-product of a society that places little or no value on diversity.