In the wake of the shooting outside Parramatta police station — which left Curtis Cheng, a civilian police employee, and 15-year-old schoolboy Farhad Jabar dead — Parramatta mosque chairperson Neil El-Kadomia told the Daily Telegraph he was preparing to advise his congregation that “if you don't like Australia, you should leave.”
Australia's new, more silver-tongued PM raced to echo this sentiment, as did the no-serious-opposition leader Bill Shorten.
The racist and far-right Party For Freedom organised a rally outside Parramatta mosque on October 9, calling for it to be closed down.
A Muslim man who came to pray at the mosque gave an articulate rejoinder to this bi-partisan racist mantra.
"I am Muslim and I was born in Australia 40 years ago", he explained to the 100 or so anti-racists who far outnumbered the 15 anti-Muslim protesters.
"So I have the same right as all of you to be here.
"I love this country and its multicultural community, but I will not say I love everything about this country.
"I don't love the way Australia has treated the Indigenous people of this land. I don't love the way refugees are locked up on Manus Island and Nauru. I don't love the racism.
"And just because I don't agree with everything about Australia, it does not mean I have to leave."
In one off-the-cuff speech, this brother totally demolished the "If you don't like Australia, leave" slogan.
Why should we uncritically "like Australia or leave"? Is that the new rule: we all have to become passive, uncritical, well-behaved subjects?
Meanwhile, the secret police have been given even more powers, teachers and parents are being urged to become the frontline of political policing and the latest wave of officially-sanctioned racism has been given a powerful boost.
All this suits a small vocal minority in Australia. I am not referring to the tiny far-right racist outfits that recently tried to flex their muscles in Bendigo and Sydney, but to the super rich minority who just scored some significant wins while the rest of the population was distracted by the hysterical carry-on about stopping the radicalisation of young people.
For example, Heath Aston reported in the Age on October 16: "Tax paid by companies controlled by Australia's richest business people, including Gina Rinehart, James Packer and Lindsay Fox, will remain secret after the Coalition succeeded in exempting private companies from new tax disclosure requirements.”
The exemptions passed the Senate on October 15 following “a low-profile lobbying push by wealthy business owners against obligations due to take effect in December".
The move came a day after federal environment minister Greg Hunt re-approved the Carmichael coalmine. In August, the High Court rejected the previous ministerial approval for the proposed mine that will cover an area seven times the size of Sydney Harbour.
Green Left Weekly argues that the racist divide and rule politics summed up in the “If you don't like Australia, leave” slogan plays into the hands of the rich and powerful, whose insatiable greed created the global conflicts that continue to fuel war and terrorism by states and individuals.
We can keep on countering the propaganda of the ruling elites — but only with your help.
You can make a donation today to the GLW Fighting Fund on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia). Donations can also be made to Green Left Weekly, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account no. 00901992. Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007.