Australia’s Sham Elections: Rooted in Racism - Australian Politics - One Beast with Two Heads

02 September 2010

By Ghali Hassan

In a nation that prides itself of being a “tolerant” and a “fair go” for all Australians, one expects the candidates campaigning for Prime Minister position will be concerned with the Australia’s complicity in illegal imperialist wars, equality and the environment. Sadly, both candidates are playing the race card, because racism is deeply entrenched in white Australia.

An Election Rooted in Racism

Both Julia Gillard, the Labor Party installed Prime Minister, and Tony Abbott, the leader of the Opposition Liberal Party, migrated from Britain to Australia in search of “better life”. Gillard is from Wales, Abbott from England. You expect them to take a stand against racism and injustice, but it was not to be. Both Gillard and Abbott are products of one of the most racist societies in the world. They moved to a society founded on systemic racism and violence. Gillard is campaigning on the “right kind of migrants” and Abbott is campaigning on John Howard’s racist card, “we will stop the boats”. Both phrases are the result of a deep racism that has become part of the Australian culture.

When Ed Husic, an Australian from a Muslim background, was nominated to run for Labor in the West Sydney seat of Chiefly, the Liberal Party’s largest cabbage bag, David Barker, attacked all Muslims and Islam. “We don’t want Muslims in our parliament”, said the cabbage bag. Although he was disendorsed by the Liberal Party, Barker was not condemned for his outrageous racist behaviour and anti-Semitism. It should be said that the attack on Muslims during elections is not an anomaly, but rather the culmination of an increasingly anti-Muslim trend in Australia.

Abbott’s and Gillard’s election campaign rhetoric on population growth in a “comfortable” Australia is designed to appease racist Australian bigots and win votes. As former Labor Party leader, Mark Latham rightly observed: “It is not an immigration debate, it’s no debate”. Gillard’s position on “population” growth is “clever politics but it's a fraud. It's a fraud of the worst order". It is fraud because there is no policy in place for a long-term development of a sustainable Australia. Both Gillard and Abbott have been blaming migrants for overcrowding, failing infrastructure and lack of services. As Peter McDonald, a professor of Demography at the Australian National University rightly observed: “Migrants are being used as a scapegoat for the failure of government planning”. It is populism designed to appease racist voters, using a small number of desperate refugees fleeing U.S.-led Western wars as a tool to promote xenophobia.

Scapegoating a few desperate refugees has become a ticket to success. It is the politics of scaremongering used by the One Nation racist party and now integrated in the politics of the Labor and Liberal parties. The percentage of refugees arriving by boat to Australia is between 2 to 4 per cent of all “unauthorised” arrivals. The majority (95 per cent) of them are genuine refugees.

It is important to remember that, there are more than 60,000 illegal immigrants in Australia, mostly from Britain, New Zealand, U.S., Europe, South Africa India and China. According to Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens:

“There are another 17,000 who came in the last three years, queue jumpers legally, because they had either business connections, they've been in charge of companies with more than 50 people, or they've got $250,000 in their back pocket and they can get here at the front of the queue. But if you're poor and you don't come from an English-speaking background or a European background, you have much more difficulty getting to the country”.

They are living freely in Australia, receiving services and paying less in taxes. They are not incarcerated, like refugees, in isolated detention centres and prisons in remote Australia.

The majority of the so-called “asylum seekers” are Chinese arriving at Australian airports with one-way tickets. According to Patricia Cruise, a former immigration officer with the Department of Immigration, it is the flood of dubious applications from Chinese who claim “asylums” on false pretence after they fly to Australia. “They are well organised in terms of migration agents, tour operators, fraudulent documents which are readily available in China and also in Sydney”, she added. They turned Australia’s fine education system into an immigration racket, and forced low-income Australians into shoddy rental housing controlled by mafia-like landlords. It is a well-organised racket and most politicians know it, but it doesn’t pay dividends.

Australian Politics: One Beast with Two Heads

Furthermore, there is really no difference between Labor and Liberal. Both parties are white male-dominated right-wing parties, and their policies have converged long time ago. Neither party is offering anything that will serve the interests of the nation and the people of Australia. Their only interest is in winning power and preserving the political status quo. The election campaign is a show about instilling fear and promoting divisions.

The Greens in Bed with Labor

Furthermore, the Australian Green Party is like all Green parties around the world. Far from being an alternative progressive movement, the Green Party is a collection of opportunists and outright white extremists. While there some honest people in the Greens, political power and decisions rest with a few people at the top. They have an “attack response group” to threaten and frighten off their critics. The Australian Greens have been working in coalition with Labor on major policies. They are “in bed” with Labor on major issues. The so-called “secret backroom preferences deal” with Labor in this elections is just one example of the Greens dishonesty and betrayal.

It is utterly false to argue that Australia has changed to a “progressive” and “forward-looking” society. Australia hasn’t changed. The country is still accustomed to treating Aborigines like dogs and Australians from non-Anglo-Saxon minorities as second-class citizens. It is a racist and backward society. Racism formed the foundation of Anglo-Australia and was forged into the Australian national character, and remains so today, alive and thriving throughout Australian culture. A male-dominated society is not going to change because the Prime Minister is a woman.

The rise of Gillard is the result of a quota system in the Labor Party that is dominated by white males. She was installed as PM – to seduce the public – by a few “faceless men”, helped by her disloyalty and dishonesty to her colleagues. She was illegitimately installed as Prime Minister. The elections are not a substitute for legitimacy.

There is nothing serious about Gillard’s “Moving-forward” campaign catch cry. Australia doesn’t move forward, it moves backwards. The road to move forward has been deliberately blocked. Like all politicians, Gillard uses deception to manipulate voters. As Suvendrini Perera, a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University in Western Australia rightly observed: “Beneath the facade of a thoroughly modern, optimistic and relentlessly ‘forward-moving’ Prime Minister is a campaign that returns us to the ‘race election’ threatened by John Howard in the 1990s”. Abbott, on the other hand is not moving anywhere; he will continue with the Liberal’s old ideology.

Complicity in the U.S. War in Afghanistan

The one major issue missing in the elections campaign is Australia’s complicity in the Afghanistan bloodbath. According to official count, a total of twenty Australian soldiers have been killed and more than 160 have been wounded in the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan since 2001. Playing by the U.S. rule, the war on Afghanistan is a taboo for both Labor and Liberal. Gillard and Abbott are competing with each other to serve the U.S. imperialist agenda. Gillard said before the election campaign, “Our objective is clear: to combat the threat of international terrorism, to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a training ground for terrorists launching attacks against us and our allies”. She added: “That is why coalition forces are in Afghanistan under a United Nations mandate and with the Afghan government's full support”. It is a lie.

The invasion of Afghanistan is an illegal act of aggression in violation of the UN Charter and international law. The Afghan government is an illegitimate U.S.-installed puppet government. Australia’s complicity in Afghanistan is not about “rebuilding” Afghanistan, “democracy”, or “assisting” the Afghan people; it is about enhancing a U.S. imperialist agenda. In addition, the majority of the Afghan people want an end to the military Occupation of their nation. There is no justification of self-defence or “fighting terrorism” in Afghanistan, as many politicians and academics claim. Under international law, the U.S.-NATO war on Afghanistan is a war crime.

Complicity in Aggression and Sanctions Against Iran

On Iran, as requested by the U.S. – without a debate or the slightest hesitation – Australia approved new sanctions against Iran, similar to those adopted by the U.S. and Canada. Labor legislator, the pro-Israel Zionist Labor politician, Michael Danby, said: “History teaches us that going soft on hard-line dictators is a recipe for catastrophe. The Labor government under Prime Minister Julia Gillard will not shirk its historic responsibility to stand with Israel at its hour of maximum danger”. Gillard, of course, has an unquestionable “loyalty” to Israel.

Complicity in the Israeli War Against Palestinians

On a visit to Israel, Gillard was praised by Israeli leaders for her defence of Israel during Israel’s murderous attacks on Gaza where 1,400 innocent Palestinian women and children were massacred. “You stood almost alone on the world stage in support of Israel's right to defend itself,” said Israeli minister Isaac Herzog in welcoming Gillard to Israel. Her visit (with her partner, Tim Mathieson) has been organised by the pro-Israel Zionist lobby group, the Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange. While in Israel, Gillard met with leaders of the Israeli fascist regime. Like her predecessors, Gillard is following the Zionist rules of ‘We pay and You do what We say’. Even Gillard’s partner is employed as a “sales consultant” – despite having no property experience – by a Zionist and Labor Party benefactor, Albert Dadon of Ubertas Group.

Australian and U.S. Two Party Systems Mirror Images

It is noteworthy mentioning that the Australian political cycle closely resembles America’s. There are only minor differences between the two major parties in America (Democrats and Republicans) and Australia (Labor and Liberal). The electoral systems of both countries are nearly identical; they provide “an illusion of democracy”. As Ted Mack, the former independent mayor of North Sydney, accurately put it, in Australia, “neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives voting system reflects the will of the people”. (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2010). The people will be conned by the elections.

It is no surprise that Gillard has adapted “Yes we will”, Barack Obama’s election catch cry “Yes we can” which was a concoction of Sí se puede (Spanish for "Yes, it can be done"), the motto used by the oppressed United Farm Workers in 1974 in Phoenix, Arizona. Further, it wasn’t a coincidence that Australians re-elected John Howard and Americans re-elected George Bush in 2004. Howard showered people with the illusion of becoming rich in “comfortable” Australia. Labor is using the same tactics, bribing voters with the illusions of wealth and happiness. Australians, of course, are obsessed with money and material possessions.

In his seminal De la démocratie en Amérique (Of Democracy in America), the French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville observed that:

“As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

De Tocqueville’s observation of Americans is very true of Australians today. According to the fourth Australian Work and Life Index, ‘more than one-fifth of Australians spend 48 hours or more at work each week, and 60 per cent do not take holidays’. Like Americans, despite their material wealth Australians are becoming increasingly unhealthy and unhappy. Like America, Australia becoming an increasing unequal and divided society.

As some 14 million Australians are preparing to take part in the world’s most sham elections, they are unaware that their votes do not really count, because ultimately they have little or no choice. So, it doesn’t matter who will be Australia’s Prime Minister tomorrow, all politicians ought to be mistrusted.

Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.




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