TRUE OPINION: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing accusations and even statutory declarations that he is racist against Muslims. Irfan Yusuf wades into the claims and counter-claims.
Here’s a question hardly any punter will be asking on election day. Is the Prime Minister a racist? Liberal Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells reckons he is. She mentioned in her final speech recently that the PM went around telling anyone prepared to listen that the guy who beat him in the internal ballot for the Federal seat of Cook (which takes in Cronulla, home of a famous race riot) happened to be Lebanese.
My God! Michael Towke, a guy whose surname reminds me of an amazing chicken kebab dish, is one of those people! You know. Those people from that country 10% of which was occupied by Israel. The folk that the drunken and stoned Cronulla rioters referred to when they screamed out “FUCK THE LEBS! FUCK THE WOGS!”
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But it gets worse. Apparently Towke wasn’t just Lebanese. He was also possibly a Muslim. Or rather, a MOOOZZZZLEM. Who cares if Towke is actually a Christian Maronite?
That’s pretty bad. Unelectable, apparently. No one in Cronulla would vote for a Lebanese Mooozzzlem, would they? We all know that Lebanese are all Mooozzzlems, and that all Mooozzzlems are Lebanese. We also know that Mooozzzlems want to rape our women, infiltrate our supermarket products with halal stuff, blow up our stadiums and poison us with greasy kebabs at the tail end of a big night out on the town.
Lebanese Mooozzzlems in particular are a huge problem. The Fraser government was said to have made a mistake by allowing a heap of them into Australia. At least that’s what we often used to read in the Murdoch tabloids (including their rather large tabloid known as The Australian), but it was also a line repeated by Peter Dutton in 2016. Dutton suggested that most people charged (but not convicted) of terrorism offences were Lebanese Muslim. That’s 22 out of tens of thousands of Australians of Lebanese heritage from Sunni, Shia, Alawi and other nominally Muslim sects.
Mooozzzlems don’t belong in Parliament. Certainly they don’t belong in the Liberal Party. Who cares if the Liberal Mayor of the City of Liverpool and the former Deputy Mayor of the City of Adelaide are both Muslims. Who cares if the writer of this article spent 10 years in the Liberal Party and was a Federal Liberal candidate in the 2001 Federal Election before allowing his membership to lapse in 2002?
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Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun is a Muslim of Lebanese heritage who speaks with a North American accent. Which makes sense given that he migrated from the United States at age 10. He was recently elected under a popular vote, which makes perfect sense (?) given that the largest religious group in Liverpool are Roman Catholic.
Houssam Abiad went from being Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide to being Chief Innovation Officer at the Royal Commission for the City of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Plenty of non-Muslims lived in Adelaide under Abiad’s reign, though non-Muslims haven’t been allowed in Makkah (or Mecca if you like) since about 650AD. Abiad speaks English in a South Australian accent. He likely speaks Arabic in a similar accent.
It’s true that Australia was a slightly different place when Michael Towke won the preselection for Cook. We were still scared of Arabs, Lebbos, Mozzzlllems, reffos, Afghanistanis and all those people over there. Morrison boasts about his role in stopping the boats and making sure that darker-skinned Afghans, Tamils, Iraqis and others who arrived by boat were locked up until they became mentally ill, have sown their lips together or even committed suicide.
Refugees weren’t all bad. Quite a few WA Liberal MP’s supported the idea of white South African farmers being granted refugee status. Today, Morrison is talking about white Ukrainians being given fast-tracked immigration status.
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Personally, I don’t think using a competitor’s race to win an internal Liberal Party ballot is enough to make our PM an absolute racist. But the problem Morrison has is that his party has benefited so much from the perception that they are hard on refugees and run a tough “border security” policy. They are also hard on brown-skinned terrorists including Australians who go to fight other people’s wars in Iraq and Syria (though not in Israel or Ukraine, it seems).
John Howard used the same dog whistling attitudes throughout his Prime Ministership. And what happened? In his final press conference before he lost both the Federal Election and his own seat, Howard was forced to answer questions not on the economy or national security. Instead, he had to answer for members of his own party who were caught handing out Islamophobic literature in the letterboxes of homes in the marginal Western Sydney seat of Lindsay.
It’s kind of ironic (and in my opinion appropriate) that Howard’s successor looks like he might meet a similar fate. Though I think it wasn’t just racism or religion that did the trick.
Most voters don’t care if their candidates belong to a particular religion. I’d be happy to vote for a candidate even if I didn’t share his or her religious label. But I will be happy to vote on his or her record. Judge the Liberals, the ALP, the Greens and everyone else on their record and their policies in all areas.
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