Comrades! After many years of debate on the left on how to win socialism, a clear path has opened in Australia — hack the attorney-general office’s email to instruct federal Coalition MPs to vote for a motion to socialise the means of production.
Sometimes the most powerful protests are those made in silence by brave individuals deciding to take a stand.
Anyone who is a public figure can expect a bit of hate mail. Recently I received about half a dozen colourful phone messages after WA One Nation parliamentarian Charles Smith published a Facebook meme attacking the City of Fremantle for having "the most Un-Australian [sic] council in the Nation". Included were my contact details and those of the Mayor, with outraged right-wingers encouraged to communicate their rage at us for "destroying Australia Day".
I had considered the racist abuse hurled at Labor Senator Sam Dastyari to be a deliberate publicity stunt by a group of neo-Nazis, enabled by a climate of rising bigotry and white nationalism, on the grounds that they deliberately sought out the senator, filmed their racist abuse and posted it on Facebook.
That was before Pauline Hanson explained otherwise. The senator, campaigning in Queensland, pointed out that Dastyari was just using abuse he faced in a pub on November 8 to sell his book.
The seeds of the current crisis of confidence in the capitalist parties in Australia go back to the 1980s when the Bob Hawke Labor government implemented its version of Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal economic policies. The Hawke government also managed to achieve what previous Coalition governments had failed to do — seriously weaken the union movement.
While these reforms did not immediately create right-wing populism, once the reforms started to really bite by the late 1990s, it began to develop around Pauline Hanson.
A poll of 1000 people by Essential Research has found 49% of respondents supported a blanket ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, 40% opposed the ban and 11% were not sure.
Young people aged 18–24 were the most likely to oppose a ban on Muslim immigration. Fifty-eight per cent of young people opposed a ban, compared with 28% who supported it.
Simon Hunt is a lecturer at UNSW’s Art and Design school as well as a political satirist. Hunt found success and notoriety in the 1990s as Pauline Pantsdown, releasing song “I’m A Backdoor Man” (1997) and “I Don’t Like It” (1998), which parodied far right politician Pauline Hanson. In 2004, Hunt released “I’m Sorry”, a parody of then-prime minister John Howard that was released as “Little Johnny”.