It is not just governments or private businesses that undermine free speech. There is, for example, a vast army of people who blame the current societal problems on “the other” — the other being people like asylum seekers and refugees, or immigrants, or Indigenous Australians, or Muslims. When the great uniformity of their ideas is challenged, they go into overdrive to shut down dissident views.
The treatment of Channel Nine reporter Brooke Boney is an example. Brooke is a Gamilaroi woman. When interviewed recently about Australia Day, she had this to say:
‘… I can’t separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to gaol than they are to go to school. Or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten and raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum.’
She went on to make clear that this began because of the invasion that started on 26 January:
‘And that started from that day. So for me, that’s a difficult day and I don’t want to celebrate it… That’s the day it changed for us. That’s the beginning of what some people would say is the end. That’s the turning point.’
The “thought uniformists” responded, both in the media and online. The Daily Mail, for example, called it called it ‘an astonishing Australia Day rant’. Failed Labor leader and wannabe One Nation NSW Legislative Council member Mark Latham described Boney’s comments as “victimology” and “absurd“.
Even worse were the responses from many ordinary Australians, many of whom have been force fed and accepting of commercial TV propaganda for years. The backlash included hate speech and racism.
The aim of those who want everyone to bow before the flag – dressed according to Scott Morrison’s uniform standards – and stand when the band plays ‘God Save the Queen’, or ‘Advance Australia Fair’ or whatever, is to shut the rest of us up. They want to marginalise those who disagree with the deeply ingrained racism and xenophobia in Australia, let alone raise questions about the nature of society.