Politics Analysis

How the ABC platforming the IPA is derailing The Voice & subverting democracy

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

The current hate-filled campaign by Far-Right conservative forces to derail the Voice Referendum is a shameful attempt to create division in order to ensure First Nations Australians remain voiceless.

However, it cannot change what we already know to be true about the Referendum:

  1. The establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution is the first step towards Reconciliation, as stated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  2. Only a Referendum can change the Constitution in order to formally recognise an Indigenous Voice to Parliament; and
  3. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has proven by his actions and statements over the course of his political career that he is a racist.

On Sunday (30 July) on Insiders, Greg Sheridan – proud mouthpiece for the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and shameless Far-Right flag flyer – was on the couch. Again. Sheridan’s mindless blabbering in this latest episode included his “expert” advice on when we can call Dutton a racist. More on that below.

Why are the extreme and often dangerous views of people like Sheridan constantly platformed on the national broadcaster?

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young gave an impassioned speech in the Chamber about the undermining of precious time in Parliament by extreme Far-Right senators denouncing the sexuality and/or rights of everyone else to do as they please, which, she said, was taken straight from the playbook of the Far-Right nutjobs in the United States:

“It is extraordinary, the time in this Chamber… [that] is being spent on the Right-wing moral diatribe that is not even unique, it is directly imported from the fascist right-wing arguments carried out in the United States.”

And a Tweet by Jenny Frecklington-Jones served as a reminder, this week, of the shunning by mainstream media, a couple of years back, of the late Bruce Haigh – tireless campaigner for truth and free speech and friend of this publication. Of course, the rot had started well before Haigh’s inability to get a hearing in mainstream media and the shunning affected many truth-tellers associated with Independent Australia, among them, lawyer, Greg Barns and IA founder and publisher, Dave Donovan.

The latter of whom was told, off the record, by an ABC insider the week before he appeared on The Drum:

“A lot of people complain about the IPA and people like Greg Sheridan appearing on the Drum all the time. The thing is that they don’t appreciate how difficult it is for us to get strong spokespeople for the Right to appear on the ABC, because they suffer so much terrible trolling, especially on Twitter.”

These are all symptoms of the same phenomenon: the slow, insidious creep of our mainstream media into the distant extremities of the ultra-conservative Far-Right, where even the less radical Right-wingers once feared to tread. A place where the completely ludicrous is suddenly normalised.

We now live in a universe where, as bushfires threaten trapped communities listening for emergency updates on local radio, Peta Credlin is given a platform to share her unscientific “free speech”, in which she insists that bushfires have nothing to do with climate change.

This is where “balance” is served up in the form of Big Brother host, Sonia Kruger. Kruger, among her other blatantly racist and ignorant statements, once proudly prattled, aloud, that all Muslim immigrants should be banned from Australia, before going on to win a gold Logie.

And it’s where people like Greg Sheridan can tell us that if the Referendum fails, it won’t mean Peter Dutton is a racist.

Opined Sheridan:

"If the Voice fails, Peter Dutton is suddenly legitimised, you can't call him a racist, 'cos he'll have the majority of the electorate with him."

Um, sorry, Greg, if by some horrific circumstance the Voice Referendum fails, it won’t mean Dutton is not, or that we can’t “legitimately” call him, a racist. It will only mean that, sadly, he was able to successfully peddle his hate-filled racist bullshit to a lot of others, via the compliant and increasingly extreme mainstream media.

To be clear, ill-informed opinions do not provide “balance", they only serve – like cigarette ads – to legitimise ill-informed opinions. For example, we know gravity exists as well as the consequences when we test it by, say, jumping off a mountain. Given what we know to be true about gravity, would someone who believes we wouldn’t die if we took a deliberate free-fall off Mount Kosciuszko’s summit have anything of value to add to the argument?

In the same way, how do Peta Credlin’s unashamedly unscientific, ignorant views on climate change – shared by the IPA and a large portion of the Coalition – help to provide “balance” in any way?

As mentioned earlier, the Uluru Statement from the Heart asks for the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament. Only a referendum can change the Constitution to effect a Voice to Parliament. And Peter Dutton has shown that he is a racist and this is the reason he is campaigning against the Voice.

This is also the reason Dutton is joined in his prejudiced campaign by all the Far-Right nutjobs like Sheridan and Credlin, and Pauline "I'm Not a Racist" Hanson.

Given the three things we know to be true about the Referendum, we can also conclude the following:

Anthony Albanese did not “politicise” anything by instigating a referendum in order to make this change, the one requested by Indigenous Australians.

Whether or not, you, or I, or Sonia Kruger, or Greg Sheridan think a Voice to Parliament is going far enough and we should start with a Treaty instead, or that it is somehow an affront to White Colonialists and Far-Right supremacists, everywhere, does not change these facts.

As the Far-Right-dominated mainstream media keep reiterating that the Voice Referendum is failing and the 'No' brigade is somehow gaining ground, let’s not allow them to sanction – by duplicitous means – this latest, insidious falsehood. Sure, the ‘No’ campaign is constantly shoved in our faces via the legacy media, in the same way the bigoted hate campaign against the same-sex marriage plebiscite was constantly given a megaphone. But just like most Australians wanted to effect change for people to marry whomever they choose, then, they also want to effect change for Indigenous Australians today.

Peter Dutton insisting up is really down – in spite of gravity – denying 200 odd years of Colonial oppression or blaming everything bad that happens on Labor and the Albanese Government’s Voice Referendum does not change any of the three facts we know to be true — the Voice Referendum is the first step to Reconciliation; only a Referendum can change the Constitution and Peter Dutton is a racist.

You can follow Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9 and Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and Facebook HERE.

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