On a recent episode of the ABC’s Q&A program, I was picked from the audience to ask about the Ramsay Centre’s attempts to partner with an Australian university to offer a degree promoting Western civilisation.
My question, directed at Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence, related to the centre’s extreme ideological bias. I quoted Ramsay Centre board member and former prime minister, Tony Abbott, whom I labelled an “infamous racist”.
This did not please Tony Jones, the notoriously obnoxious Q&A host.
“Before we go anywhere, Lily, you went off piece from your question as you proposed to us by suggesting that Tony Abbott is an ‘infamous racist’. We will simply say we do not believe that to be the case and there is no evidence of it”, he said.
Tweets flew in from viewers across the country, correcting Jones and assuring him that nope, Abbott is totally, 100 percent a racist.
Here’s the evidence.
When arguing why 26 January should remain Australia Day, in January 2018 Abbott claimed that the arrival of the First Fleet was a “good thing” for Aboriginal people, in effect praising the violent invasion carried out by British colonisers. What sort of a person says that genocide is a good thing for Blacks?
During the 2015 Oxford University “Rhodes must fall” campaign – which called for a statue of Cecil Rhodes, an early architect of South African apartheid, to be removed from Oriel College – Abbott defended the statue. What sort of a person defends statues of white supremacists?
Abbott’s favourite three-word slogan, “Stop the boats”, became a government policy of turning back immigrant boats. While Abbott himself is a migrant, born in London, England, he repeatedly and falsely called asylum seekers “queue jumpers”. What sort of a person spreads malicious rumours about brown-skinned people seeking asylum?
In 2015, Abbott shrugged off his decision to defund 150 Western Australian Indigenous communities, describing living on country as a “lifestyle choice” unworthy of taxpayer support. He does not treat MPs’ expenses scandals with the same scorn. What sort of a person holds such double standards?
In February, Abbott claimed on 2GB radio that cutting immigration would improve “stagnant wages, unaffordable housing and clogged infrastructure”. He described himself as the “infrastructure prime minister”. But during his watch, federal infrastructure spending declined by 17 percent, and he cancelled all public transport projects not already under construction. What sort of a person uses migrants to distract from a government’s rotten agenda?
Pauline Hanson was commended by Abbott in March for “saying the unsayable”. Sometimes, he said, “it’s the unsayable that we needed to hear”. What sort of a person praises Pauline Hanson?
Abbott repeatedly stokes false panic about the supposedly imminent threat of “Islamist terrorism” in Australia. Writing for the Daily Telegraph in 2017, he said that many passages of the Koran are “completely incompatible with modern Western life and even justify terrorism”.
But the number of people killed in terror attacks in Australia from 1996 to 2015 amounts to a grand total of eight, while the total Muslim population is more than 600,000. Abbott is not so vocal about the 182 deaths at work in Australia in 2016 alone. What sort of a person focuses on one but not the other?
I’ll tell you: a racist.
Human Rights Watch, an international investigative and reporting organisation, says that it has “significant human rights concerns” about Australia’s treatment of refugees and Aboriginal people.
To drive a whole people out of their land—to turn it into something akin to the Zionist myth of Palestine, supposedly “a land without a people for a people without a land”—requires many things. Most obviously, it requires the killing and terrorising of Palestinian people on a colossal scale.
What would you do with $1.5 million? You could put down deposits on ten median-priced Sydney houses, or you could buy one outright and spare yourself the crushing mortgage repayments.
The level of suffering in Gaza is more than the human mind can comprehend. As the war enters its twentieth week, it feels increasingly obscene to be going about daily life while an entire people are being systematically destroyed, their lives, histories and culture blown to pieces or buried under rubble.
The Banyule Palestine Action Group has collected more than 600 signatures on a petition calling on Banyule City Council, in Melbourne’s north-east, to pass a motion supporting an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in line with motions passed in other councils across Australia.
Asked how she stays hopeful as a 63-year-old socialist and Palestinian living in the diaspora, Reem Yunis replies: “I don’t have the luxury not to be inspired. My grandparents died without seeing a liberated Palestine, my parents died and were buried in the diaspora. Most of my people are living in the diaspora, and the ones in Palestine are being robbed of water, resources and every bit of land they have. We need to have hope and fight, because if we won’t fight for a free Palestine, who will?”