A nation holds its breath as families, workplaces and boardrooms huddle around television screens as they sit tight for ultimate judgement by the learned men and women of the Australian senate.
The bone crushingly heavy question they’ve been asked to consider, is it ok to be white.
The motion was narrowly defeated 28 vote to 31 but the results in some sections of the community were welcomed with rapture.
The reason they were celebrating is because the government of the day, used their numbers in the senate to support Hanson’s motion.
The delineation between One Nation and the LNP has never been more indistinguishable.
Here is how everyone voted:
A quick peruse of the names here is nothing special. You’ve got your usual suspects, your Abetzs, Hansons, Annings, your Leyonhelms etc. But sadly the list go well beyond the fringes and includes many of those who would usually be considered in the mainstream, albeit leaning very clearly to the right.
Among them is one Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Maybe the Minister is trying to outdo the Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs in trying to prove his anglo credentials, both were born in England, both of them take a paternalistic approach to first nation people and both seem to think that disadvantage is a lifestyle choice.
Here’s current Australian senator @PaulineHansonOz and former grand wizard of the KKK David Duke both making the same argument that opposing the slogan ‘It’s okay to be white’ is proof of anti-white racism. pic.twitter.com/FswdCmzp2s
Scullion has been Minister for Indigenous Affairs since 2013. It is harder to imagine a less effective government operative that has had the hefty carriage of the portfolio.
Scullion has been Minster for Indigenous Affairs since 2013. It is harder to imagine a less effective government operative that has had the hefty carriage of the portfolio.
This was the minister that was briefed five times on the use of tear gas at Don Dale detention centre and did nothing. The member for Alice Springs had hear some of the allegations around the treatment of detainees at the centre but it “hadn’t piqued his interest”.
What seems to have piqued his interest more was whether or not it’s ok to be white motion as put forward by his ideological partner Pauline Hanson. This on top of his most recent remarks on the National Wrap with Patricia Karvelas. When asked if there is still a massive issue with racism, particularly for Indigenous Australians his evasive answer was still illuminating, “well look, I have to say, it’s very difficult for me, I’m a white bloke.”
He went on to say, “But I really just can’t comment. I have no insight into what it’s like to be a young Aboriginal woman and suffer racism.”
That would be fine if he was asked, ‘What is it like to be a young Aboriginal woman who experiences racism?” but it is a complete copout when asked if racism against Aboriginal people, especially young girls, is a massive problem in Australia.
He doesn’t want to admit that racism against Indigenous people is a problem, because he has no plans to do anything about it.
But when it comes to so-called ‘deplorable rise of anti-white racism’ suddenly he is all on board.
We have a government that is blind to nuance, to race and to complexity in a complex world.
We have a government that is wilfully blind to nuance, to race and to complexity in a complex world.
Scullion’s response to the Uluru Statement, a solution to a complex problem gifted by Indigenous men and women was paternalistic and false, “a constitutionally enshrined additional representative assembly for which only Indigenous Australians could vote for or serve in is inconsistent with this fundamental principle.”
He continued, “it would inevitably become seen as a third chamber of Parliament. The Referendum Council noted the concerns that the proposed body would have insufficient power if its constitutional function was advisory only.”
It will only be seen as a third chamber if political leadership describes it as such!
In a final insult Scullion concluded, “our goal should be to see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians serving in the House and the Senate – members of a Parliament which is elected by all Australians.”
After yesterday’s vote who in their right mind would want to join majority rabble that is the Australian Senate.
Put very simply what we have is a very real problem. We have a Minister for Indigenous Affairs that seems to think there is a problem with racism towards white people, but can’t articulate if there is a problem with racism against Indigenous people.
Indigenous people across the country deserve better than this staggering ineptitude and support for white Australia policies. Australia deserves better than a government that is now captured by far right parties such as the One Nation, Katter’s Australian Party and Cory Bernardi’s Conservative Party. We are bigger and better than this.
Indigenous people certainly deserve better than Nigel Scullion.
Daniel James is a Yorta Yorta man on Wurrundjeri land. Daniel is a writer, consultant and passionate social justice advocate.