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Extremist political parties are a danger we can end

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Menaces to society - our RIght-wing politicians are disrupting social harmony (Screenshots via YouTube)

The dangers presented by political parties stirring anti-Islamic sentiment can be prevented when it comes time to vote, writes Noely Neate.

AN AUSTRALIAN, a far-Right extremist, a white supremacist, just massacred 50 innocent Muslims in an Islamophobic terrorist attack, in Christchurch.

This man didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to be hateful. This man, 28 years old, has grown up hearing anti-Muslim bigotry and fear of “other” – mostly asylum seekers – rhetoric his entire life.

Australian politicians and media, bar a few, have been at pains to point the finger at social media for breeding the likes of this terrorist. To a certain degree they are correct. Social media has played a massive role in allowing these types of extremists to breed, but that is not where it starts.

  1. Leaders in Government set the tone and narrative for national discussion = normalise this hatred.
  2. Mainstream media amplify the Government's message = communicate this hatred.
  3. Social media gives “ordinary people” the ability to discuss these messages amongst themselves = reinforce this hatred.

When the message from the top is harmful rhetoric, amplified uncritically, what the hell do you think happens when it hits social media?

Ever since the infamous “Children Overboard” or Tampa affair back in 2001, the “others” have been used to fearmonger for base political purposes. Asylum seekers, Muslims in particular, have been demonised. While the fear of others has been used as a political tactic globally for hundreds of years, the reason it “works” is because it is based on some tiny little nugget of misrepresented truth. What we have seen in Australia, thanks to Howard, is truly baseless lies to create fear which now many believe are fact. It is now 2019 and racist dog-whistling is still the go-to for the Government for base political purposes.

Not that our Government will accept any responsibility in the rise of the dangerous far Right – predominately white – extremist. Sadly, our media are not holding them responsible, either. Just social media.

The reality is, their rhetoric does matter whether they admit it or not. When you mainstream hate and normalise racism, you embolden the Annings, One Nations, Australian Conservatives and Katters of this world to feel free to have policies that actually promote racist, anti-Muslim or anti-Aboriginal ideologies.

To up the ante, One Nation has now been sprung actually dealing with the NRA over in the U.S., trying to scam donations out of them and even getting advice on how to relax our gun laws in this nation. Worse, One Nation don’t actually seem to care about gun laws in Australia, they just want the NRA money, power and more ammo for their fearmongering.

In light of what happened in Christchurch, it is reprehensible for any political party in this nation to be sprouting either anti-Muslim bigotry or relaxing of Australian gun laws.

I would go so far to say it is actually collaborating with Right-wing extremists to do so.

We outlaw bikie gangs because they are dangerous, maybe we need to outlaw political parties who promote extremism as well. Pretty sure if the parties I mentioned above were “foreign” and advocating for “vaccinating against white Australians”, they would be shut down pretty quickly.

We have an election coming up and the opportunity to get rid of these types of extremist parties.

We need to have a talk about preferences

Many say preferences given on how-to-vote cards (HTVs) by candidates don’t really matter, many just ignore them. Anecdotally, from my experience in a few different states over 30 odd years, I would agree. I think this is why media tend to treat the ‘will you put last…’ line as a bit of a game.

The problem is, Government and who wins is not a game.

MPs and Senators who sit in Canberra have the opportunity to have their voices heard, they have reach. What they say and what they do does have an effect in reality.

This is why preferences are important on HTVs. Yes, most will ignore, but party faithful won’t and politically ignorant won’t.

They know the campaign for “their guy” has done the numbers, done the research and that is the best order of preferences to get him over the line so they will follow that HTV faithfully.

Again, you may say to me, “well, there are not that many paid-up political party members nowadays, so no big deal”. Well, you would be wrong — it is a big deal.

There are an awful lot of electorates in this nation that are held by very small margins. In some cases, this will come down to less than 2,000 votes – often smaller numbers – as to who actually wins that seat. “Faithful” following that HTV can be the difference between an MP getting over the line in a marginal seat.

I live in the electorate of Wide Bay. Sadly, it is a pretty safe LNP seat, though I am hopeful that will change. Anyhow, at the last Federal Election in 2016, this seat had a One Nation vote of 15.6 per cent — that was 14,022 people who voted for One Nation.

If you think that the latest revelations about One Nation dealing with the NRA are enough for people to not vote for them, you are kidding yourselves. Yes, there is a percentage of One Nation voters who are just trying to “give it to the man” voting for them, but the vast majority do have racist sentiments and particularly in regional areas don’t want the Government telling them what to do with their guns.

This is why preferences matter.

The only way to get rid of extremist influence in Government and their voice in media is for them to be voted into oblivion. The only way this can happen is if they are put dead last on the HTVs over single major political parties in this nation.

The Nationals have already said “The Greens are more dangerous than One Nation”, besides the fact that is an utterly ludicrous premise, it is totally immoral. It should be called out as such.

The Liberals – bar a few – are trying to be dodgy saying they “won’t do deals” or “wait until we see who is nominated”. Again, this is a ludicrous premise and weasel words. They, like the Nationals, know that in a tight marginal seat, if One Nation know they will be above ALP and the Greens on the LNP HTV, One Nation will do same and that could be difference between the LNP winning that seat or not.

Weasel words should not be accepted, extremism is dangerous — it literally kills innocent people.

Scott Morrison likes to blather on about “Keeping white Australians Safe”, well how does that work when you are actively supporting far-Right extremists who advocate for relaxing our gun laws – which keep us safe – or advocate for wiping out a segment of our society?

Media have been happy to call the likes of Anning and One Nation for what they are, dangerous and racist, so what do you call political parties which collaborate with them?

Stop treating politics like a game.

IF The Liberals and Nationals don’t put the likes of the Annings and One Nations dead last on their HTVs, they are collaborating with Right-wing extremists. Call it out.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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