(Image via @ideasatthehouse)

With our Indigenous suicide rates one of the highest in the world, Brendan Busch felt compelled to write an open letter to the creators of the FODI asking why Andrew Bolt who spreads xenophobia rather than fact is in the lineup.  

Open letter to the creators of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas regarding Andrew Bolt:

Dear Ann Mossop, Danielle Harvey and Dr. Simon Longstaff AO (Executive Director of the Ethics Centre),

In response to your hosting of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas this year and its sponsors, led by Samsung, I wish to register my concern about the addition of Andrew Bolt to the program.

Despite your asterisking of the below point:

By sourcing and accepting Andrew Bolt in this year’s line-up of speakers, you actually are aligning yourself with the views of Andrew Bolt. These include racism and the systematic oppression of Indigenous Australians by Australian Media, which contribute to the “suicide in Indigenous communities and as a [lack of a] social phenomenon” you wish to create discussion for this year.

Not only is audience given to someone who in past editorials has shamed Indigenous Australians because they did not fit his criteria for who they were but someone who, only in February, said that voices from Indigenous communities were making up excuses rather than explanations regarding painfully disproportionate rates of disadvantage in our country.

People wonder whether we are a racist country, or whether mandatory quotas for media outlets are a debatable topic — there has been a significant lack of accountability from all personalities occupying media space in making inequality of all Australians an important and valued topic. You have given audience to someone who spreads xenophobia rather than the fact Australia annually boasts one of the highest rate of suicide in the world amongst our Indigenous populations.

In trying to cultivate “dangerous ideas” you’ve just managed to highlight the biggest one of all — the blatant discrimination within our country permitted through the actions of Australians and who they allow to speak and act for them.

The ongoing neglected trends of discrimination moulded through our refusal as a country to take responsibility for the intergenerational racialized trauma and disadvantage which begun from the invasion of Australia, which is repeating into the Australian treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Can you please rethink your decision to treat Andrew Bolt as someone with "ideas" rather than harmful and divisive language — someone who actually does not speak on behalf Australians or “free speech” through his ongoing silence of it?

Please think about what standards you are settings for Australians.



Brendan Busch.


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