Jones’ retirement doesn’t mean we can relax

12 May 2020

As so many in the media space scramble to congratulate him on his career, equating his longevity with some sort of reflection of his value when it can be directly correlated to the dominant mindset and power brokers, I reflect on the damage he has done.

When I heard the news of Alan Jones’ resignation and departure from the radio waves this morning, I searched the depths of my being to try and locate any semblance of sadness. I came up empty, unsurprisingly, when you consider the nature of the man, his ideologies and his unapologetic infliction of damage upon people he loves to punch down on.

Instead I found joy.

Joy at the thought of his voice and the words conveyed by him to soon be absent and their influence no longer inflicting the damage he is known for and celebrated by the reprehensible people who support his ideologies.

As so many in the media space scramble to congratulate him on his career, equating his longevity with some sort of reflection of his value when it can be directly correlated to the dominant mindset and power brokers, I reflect on the damage he has done.

In 1993, he described Uncle Mandaway Yunupingu a renowned musician, songwriter and educator, winning Australian of the Year as “ridiculous” and an “insult”, saying he won the award simply because of his colour.

Also in 1993, in a clash with Charles Perkins he said, “When you say this is your nation, it’s not, it’s Australia’s nation.” Australians, he barked, “are being asked to pay taxes to fund people who are seeking title to productive land to which they’ve made no contribution to its productivity”. Perkins rightly called Jones racist and a redneck and commented “You’ve sat on your white bum at 2UE in Sydney all your life so you wouldn’t know what goes on out there”.

We must remember that this man capitalised on racist attitudes and in fact incited them. He was convicted for comments “incited hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule of Lebanese Muslims” in the lead up to the Cronulla riots in 2005.

In 2016, in response to a listener calling in with disdain for the NRL All Stars game, he agreed and said “we need Stolen Generations” and sought to justify the removal of children.

He has, on a number of occasions in recent years, used the n-word on air. The most recent occasion was in August 2018, when he said, “The n—– in the woodpile here, if one can use that expression – and I’m not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden – the person who’s playing hard to get is Mathias Cormann.”

In 2018, in response to inclusive policy by NSW Health to include more Indigenous art in spaces like emergency rooms in an effort to bring comfort to Indigenous patients, Jones took umbrage and said, “This is absurd. This is apartheid. Where does the Anglo-Saxon Australian fit in? If you’ve got a culturally appropriate space in every hospital emergency department will we have a culturally appropriate space and designated Aboriginal waiting room in every pub? Will we have one in every school?”

He also has a long history of misogyny in which he has suggested Julia Gillard should be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea and has suggested Morrison should shove a sock down Jacinda Ardern’s throat.

He is the poster boy for white male entitlement and mediocrity. Allowed to continue permeating poison into the community, simply because they love to celebrate their own and spurn anyone that challenges their warped views of themselves as superior human beings.

Jones told a university Liberal club fundraising dinner that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father John had died of shame for his daughter. When the audience showed that not everyone thought the remark funny, Jones told them the Liberals were weak for not attacking Ms Gillard because she was a woman. After having made the ‘joke’ that Gillard ought to be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea –  he says that we have all just misinterpreted his ‘joke’ in his typical condescending and boisterous (if I yell over you, I will prove I am right) fashion.

Subsequent Liberal fundraisers sold chaff bags in an attempt to be funny, of which Jones himself bid on a jacket made from chaff bags.

Misogyny and racism has been labelled ‘conservative views’ by his supporters who seek to legitimise his ideology but the fact is, that it is damaging and influential. Having his voice no longer present on our airwaves, whether you listen to his drivel or not, is a good thing.

That said, this does not mean that the racism and misogyny goes with him.

For far too long have we heard that racism is generational. Yes, as generations progress and more people get educated more broadly because of the instantaneous nature of information these days, there is an increase in the number of allies who are supportive of our pursuit of land rights, self-determination and documents governing co-existence. But – and it is a big but – as we disseminate evidence of truth, the racists and agenda driven sycophants also disseminate propaganda to support the continuation of their racist ideologies.

It is a bit like whack a mole – we might lose one racist or misogynist but you can bet there are those waiting for their moment to shine in the shadows.

Only time will tell whether Ben Fordham will bring something new to the program or whether he will be a continuation, albeit younger, of the boys’ club. I hope that he offers a new perspective (yes I know this reads very naively given he is also a very privileged white man), one that demonstrates respect for women, one that provides space for more perspectives and one that challenges the status quo of unchallenged racist and misogynistic dialogue.

Time will tell.

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