A seed, in order to grow, must be nourished. A farmer when cultivating crops puts in the hard yards. The land must first be prepared, only then can he sow the seeds. The seeds are then painstakingly cared for, watered devotedly. When the first leaves grow they are nourished with fertiliser. Then finally, one day, after much effort and diligence, the fruits of their labour will appear.
Just as a seed needs to be nurtured and cultivated before it’s strong enough to emerge, so too does a publically proclaimed idea. An idea articulated by a person in a position of power is seldom made in a void. The groundwork must first be laid, and only when the climate is right can the seed sprout.
Much has been made of Senator Fraser Anning’s in recent days. In his maiden speech, he praised the White Australia policy, applauding the immigration program that actively discriminated in favour of Europeans. He goes on to call for a complete ban on Muslim migration, demanding a plebiscite on which migrants are selected to enter Australia, clumsily calling this measure a “final solution”. He ironically uses his divisive speech to argue that multiculturalism undermines social cohesion.
Criticism of the speech was unyielding, with both the government and the media showing overwhelming disapproval. Ministers from both sides of politics condemned the speech in the strongest of terms. Even Pauline Hanson, who rebuilt her political career on the back of Islamophobia was “appalled”. Much of the criticism was over his poor choice of words, “the final solution”. An obvious error in judgement, but reading some of the statements you would think the disturbingly poor choice of words to be worse than an open call to discriminate against a minority group.
The question remains begging, how did Anning get it so wrong? How did he earn the disapproval of all sides of politics? What gave him the courage to display such open bigotry? The answer seems clear. It was the hypocrites who made this possible – the phonies that secretly share his views but cautiously tread the water, careful not to overstep any boundaries, and all the while prompting these vile sentiments.
It was Howard, who sowed the seeds by making it easy for us to hate after his fabrications that refugees and Muslims are the types of people who throw their children overboard into raging waters for some perceived benefit. Who after sending our army to war based on false intelligence, went on to belittle his mistake, describing it as embarrassing and by doing so relegating the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives as a small blunder.
It was Turnball, who irrigated them in his famous phone call to Trump, where he reassured him that 80% of the refugees in a prospective refugee swap would be Christian, as if non-Christians, namely Muslims, were sub-human and born with an innate tendency towards violence. Later stating in a national security address that “our success as a multicultural society is built on strong foundations, which include the confidence of the Australian people that their government and it alone, determines who comes to Australia.”
Finally, it was fertilised by Hanson who warned against Australia being “swamped by Muslims”, referring to Islam a disease we need to vaccinate ourselves against, and demonising Muslims whenever given the time of day.
Is it really surprising then, that an opportunist, would use this fertile ground to create a name for himself? Is it any wonder, with our history of arousing hatred and Islamophobia, that an elected official would have the audacity to call for a direct ban on a minority group? Whether Anning’s political career survives the aftermath remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the fruits will emerge and the crops will be ready for harvest, and I dread what this means for this country.