Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is Australia’s Donald Trump.
Since I last wrote about this, Dutton has renewed his attacks on Africans, called for Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews to resign, and has blamed "civil libertarian" judges in Victoria for youth crime.
Some of the American press are now rightly calling the President a racist. We should do the same for "our" racist Home Affairs Minister. Dutton is playing Donald Trump’s game of fanning racial division, with the added "bonus" for reactionaries like him of a law and order scare campaign.
Facts, however, are difficult things.
As the Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said:
"It’s not a structured or organised gang, it doesn’t have a name or organised meetings. It’s young people coming together in an ad hoc way and engaging in public misbehaviour."
"Youth crime in Victoria has also fallen in the past decade from half of all incidents recorded in 2007-2008 to 40 per cent of all incidents in 2015-2016."
And, of course, in his famous "too scared to eat out" comments, Dutton said that you don’t see this in New South Wales, in Queensland ...
"Any cursory look at the crime statistics will tell you that the youth crime rate in Queensland and the youth crime rate in NSW is higher than the youth crime rate in Victoria and the crime rates for young people in those states are going up, whereas the crime rate for young people in Victoria is going down."
Mr Dutton spends every day talking about Victorian youth offending because, in his words, “it’s not happening in Qld or NSW”— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) January 12, 2018
Well, let’s see what the ABS says
Youth Offenders per 100,000
NSW - 2741
Qld - 2632
Vic - 1573
So what’s it really about Mr Dutton? #springst #auspol
SBS confirmed Pakula's statement in the same article:
‘According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW had 20,051 youth offenders in 2015-16, Queensland 12,931 and Victoria 8726.’
Melbourne, like Sydney, is one of the most liveable cities in the world.
It is true Sudanese and South Sudanese born youth are overrepresented in a few crime statistics.
‘People born in Sudan only make up 0.1 per cent of the population in Victoria. While in 2016, they accounted for 1.5 per cent of the overall crime rate. Out of 14,479 crime incidents, 222 were attributed to Sudanese people, which is still a relatively low figure overall.’
The horror and trauma their families have fled from is one important contributor.
Research into why young Sudanese Australians committed offences found some of the reasons were related to the unique challenges faced by the members of that community - such as language barriers, obtaining stable housing, facing unemployment and unresolved trauma prior to migration.
"These are the kind of factors that we really need to be addressing, not the kind of 'gang'-related material," Mr Wood said.
Unemployment, disadvantage and poverty are key causes of much crime, including by Sudanese youth crime. Over-policing of black men and boys also contributes to their representation in some of the crime statistics.
Victoria police chief Graham Ashton: Certainly from my discussions, the vast majority of law abiding member of the African-Australian community are hurting as well. MORE: https://t.co/F7enUzpzFV pic.twitter.com/4X3edWPlSa— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) January 10, 2018
Instead of addressing these issues for all young people, the bigoted Home Affairs Minister has decided to racialise crime through his lies. This will only worsen the situation, since racism contributes to the disadvantage, poor education standards, poverty, unemployment and alienation of some Sudanese Australians.
This is a desperate government heading for a catastrophic defeat at the next election. All they have is racism, xenophobia and a class war on the poor and workers.
One problem is that Dutton has a ready audience for his fear and racism. You only have to read the comments on relevant posts on the Victorian Police Facebook page to understand the depth of racism and fear in our society. Stop immigration. Send them home. Lock 'em up and throw away the key...
They are the sort of law and order people who think judges and magistrates are too soft on crime. Dutton’s criticism of libertarian judges encourages this death penalty for littering brigade. Dutton is arguably in contempt of court. A long stretch on Manus Island might be an appropriate sentence for him if he were...
As a colonial settler state, this fear is of the original inhabitants and of anyone who might take away Little England from the settlers. In times of economic uncertainty, fear and racism play well to an audience incapable or unwilling, because of their class position or ruling class propaganda, to consider the systemic failures of capitalism.
A look at history might help. Hitler and his Nazis won 2.6% of the vote in 1928. In 1930, after the Great Depression began, the fascists won 18.6% of the vote. After the parliamentary parties proved incapable of dealing with the economic crisis and the Stalinist Left failed history with its concentration on the Social Democrats as the enemy, rather than the Nazis, in July 1932 Hitler won 37.4% of the vote. In the November elections that year, he won 33.1% of the vote. However, the President and the rest of the ruling class once again mistakenly thought they could control him and the concentric rings of respectable middle class members, and street fighting lumpen proletariats, and other thugs in the party.
"This is not a crisis. There is no crisis" - Victoria Police deputy commissioner Andrew Crisp flatly rejects @PeterDutton_MP's assessment of youth crime and his #AfricanGang comments pic.twitter.com/fEhtmtytzr— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) January 11, 2018
Dutton too thinks he can control the situation, but he is in danger of unleashing forces far beyond his ken or control. Already, there are reliable reports of people assaulting an African family as a gang. On top of that, the fascists are manoeuvring to take advantage of Dutton’s fear and loathing.
In calling a meeting to organise "defence", local neo-fascist group the "True Blue Crew" said on their Facebook page, according to The Age:
The 2nd part [of the meeting] is for those ready to take a stand on the streets, this part of the meeting isn't for the PC (politically correct) so keep that in mind. PC is not going to stop people's houses being invaded, innocent people being attacked etc.
It is not for the 'faint hearted'. It is time everyday Australians take a stand and take back our streets and sense of safety.
Clearly, the thugs of fascism are getting organised. Indeed, one of their groups has been patrolling Melbourne CBD since May 2016.
The respectable racists in the middle class, at this stage, congregate around One Nation. Given we are, according to Pauline Hanson, being invaded by Asians (1997), or Muslims (2016), it should come as no surprise that, in October 2016, Hanson called for "African gang members" to be deported. She was 15 months ahead of Dutton. Now he has caught up and passed her by.
Economic crisis could move the fascist thugs and One Nation "respectables" closer, and bolster support for both of them. But that speculation is for the future. Right now, we have to stop the normalisation of fascist ideas that Dutton – and Turnbull – are encouraging and fanning with their racist lies and stop the fascists successfully organising on our streets.
Across Europe, far right and fascist groups have been organising and winning mass support — in France, Poland, Greece, Germany and Austria, for example. There has been a political response that has also seen the radical and progressive Left grow – for instance, in Greece, Britain and the United States. It is time to build a broad based Left, on the streets and in the workplaces, that can challenge the Nazis and their enablers — Dutton and Turnbull.
Thanks @PeterDutton_MP, @KellyODwyer, @GregHuntMP and PM @TurnbullMalcolm for unleashing such individuals on others in the name of fighting #AfricanGangs. Hope @VictoriaPolice investigates. Video is frm David F. Anei on Facebook @GuardianAus @callapilla @susanamet @BenjaminMillar pic.twitter.com/tdUUSW7yg0— d e k u e k (@dekuekd) January 11, 2018
Read more by John Passant on his website En Passant or follow him on Twitter @JohnPassant. Signed copies of John's first book of poetry, Songs for the Band Unformed (Ginninderra Press 2016), are available for purchase from the IA store HERE.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
#auspol— TOM IN OZ (@SirThomasWynne) January 14, 2018
FAR RIGHT GANG SET TO MEET TODAY, TO BELT THE LIFE OUT OF THE "AFRICAN" GANGS OF MELBOURNE - ALL INCITED BY PETER DUTTON!
> Australian police to monitor far-right group's meeting against African gangs...https://t.co/JcUXTSOSYG pic.twitter.com/Q7GxYxX360
its wonderful that nazis make regular appearances on the news opining on the issues of the day https://t.co/88hn2YKG1G— j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) January 14, 2018
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