Had you tuned into Channel Seven’s Sunrise at just the right moment on 13 March, for a second you might have thought that right wing commentator Prue MacSween cared about Aboriginal children and the abuse they face at the hands of racist politicians, mining magnates and police officers.
“We can’t have another generation of young Indigenous children being abused in this way”, she said.
Seconds later, MacSween – who previously said she would like to “run over” Yasmin Abdel-Magied for expressing empathy with refugees and victims of Australian imperialism – clarified her intentions.
“Just like the first Stolen Generation who were taken for their wellbeing, we need to do it again”, she said, to thoughtful nods of agreement from Sunrise host Samantha Armytage and radio presenter Ben Davis.
This all-white panel proceeded furiously to agree that Aboriginal children must be saved from rape, abuse and neglect by being taken from their homes and placed with white families.
For the likes of MacSween, Armytage and Davis, “rape, abuse and neglect” seem to be synonyms for “Aboriginal parenting”. But they are words that best describe the treatment that Aboriginal people suffer at the hands of successive racist governments.
The Stolen Generations never ended. More Aboriginal children are taken out of home now than ever. And many Aboriginal kids are already living with white people – often in abusive situations. Last October, a white foster carer was charged with physically abusing a 5-year-old Indigenous girl in her care.
If MacSween wants to fret about the “silent conspiracy” of child abuse, perhaps she should investigate paedophile rings in the Catholic Church, instead of falsified statistics from the Northern Territory Intervention, which considered Aboriginal children co-sleeping with their parents grounds for removal.
Davis pointed out his respect for Warren Mundine, a man “in the ear of prime ministers” and denouncing “PC madness”. It’s almost as if politicians will listen only to the very select Indigenous voices with appropriately right wing views.
Of the hundreds of Aboriginal people who visited Sunrise studios over the subsequent mornings to protest the show’s blatant racism, none will ever be considered a “community leader” by mainstream politics. For daring to demand justice and resist 230 years of genocide, they will be demonised as extremists who don’t speak for “ordinary” Aboriginal people.
There’s a small sense of vindication in the humiliating image of David Koch and Samantha Armytage nervously smiling with stock footage of Martin Place behind them to hide the protests, while their social media team neatly swept any traces of the segment from their official accounts.
But it is not enough. In the words of one protester, “Indigenous people are always scrutinised and accused of dishonesty, while white media outlets continue to deal in lies and racist myths”.