If we allow Australia's White Privilege agenda to be fuelled by groups such as One Nation we are simply complicit, writes Gerry Georgatos.
THE DEMOGRAPHY of this nation is not reflected in our parliaments, which remain the citadels of "White Privilege", bastions unleashing vice like assimilation.
The racists of my generation are the parliamentarians of today.
They may disguise themselves as "progressives" but they perpetuate racism.
Those who control the Australia we live in carry on with a hostile denial to the racism, to the oppressor/oppressed dichotomy, to the pain they inflict and exploit. They damn the One Nation Party but they are all as bad as each other.
Nearly 90 per cent of Australia’s parliamentarians are the children of White Privilege — a privileged lot who will not share power with non-white Australians who have not "assimilated". There are no crash through visionaries in our parliaments who will take on the racism — who will defend the soul of the nation’s demography. There is no place in the nation’s parliaments for authentic polycultural power-sharing, for polycultural harmony. It is ironic that nearly one in four Australians have been born overseas and more than half the Australian population has at least one parent born overseas.
Assimilation is the nation’s tight agenda. Surveys of third-generation Australians show that the majority want immigration restricted to mostly white migrants. Assimilation’s propaganda is relentless, reeling in not only the working classes but also the so-called progressives, academics and "chattering classes".
Few other nations on earth have as high a proportion of citizens who were born overseas as Australia does. It does flicker images of a future that may put an end to the vicious selfishness of White Privilege that negatively racialises this nation — where only a few generations past apartheid and segregation made miserable the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (the First Peoples).
During this period of abominable inhumanity, the only respite for the descendants of this continent’s First Peoples was for those who were prepared to assimilate despite leaving behind their people to rot on the missions and reserves. It can be argued that the agenda was to work up, over generations, a share of the power but for those of their immediate generation, they were indeed left to rot.
This was not only so for the descendants of the First Peoples but also for those born overseas and for the children of migrants. They too had to assiduously serve the same master.
The 2016 Census is likely to report that nearly half of Sydney’s residents were born overseas. The 2011 Census reported that 42 per cent of Sydney residents were born overseas and, in Perth, 41 per cent were born overseas. How beautiful is this? But the ugliness is in our parliaments, where the demography of the nation is not reflected. White Privilege rules on the back of a Freemasonry vice-like nepotism. Scientology comes nowhere near the ruthless passage of rites White Privilege exploits. Our parliaments and government instruments, the nation’s institutions have one message — assimilate or perish.
The nation’s racism is the child of White Privilege — whose whole triumph is to exploit. Racism has no other parent. Australia cannot function without high levels of migration, otherwise its economies would crumble. Unlike other nations with lower proportions of migration, Australia has tighter policies to ensure assimilation.
Australia is indisputably fundamentally racist — mired in racism. This is shown up when immigration occurs by a different manner than that which our parliaments have prescribed — when people arrive on our doorstep without permission such as when fleeing wars, civil strife and persecution.
Only 15 years ago, then Prime Minister John Howard infamously responded to the arrival of desperate refugees with,
“We have a proud record of welcoming people from 140 different nations. But we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”
Has it ever been different? I am not going to resort to exploiting the misoxeny of Pauline Hanson.
“Of course, we should have compassion, but people who are coming in this way are not the only people in the world who have rights to our compassion. Any sovereign nation has the right to determine how it will exercise its compassion and how it will increase its population.”
Before Ben Chifley became prime minister in 1945, he damned the government for allowing:
“ ... so many dagoes and aliens in Australia that today they are all over the country taking work which rightly belongs to all Australians.”
The slurs of "dago" and "wog" carried on into the sixties and seventies. At the primary school I attended, I was the darkest skinned student. The memory of a teacher trying to move me along to school assembly has never left me. He butt kicked me and bellowed,
“Be a good little wog and move quicker.”
It was my generation’s norm.
What is different today? White Privilege continues to own everything – government, the nation’s institutions, the boardrooms and the media – the Australian narrative. How is it possible that in a nation with nearly one in three Australians born overseas, with half the Australian nation comprised of residents with a cultural and linguistic diverse background, that we do not equitably factor in as parliamentarians, bureaucrats, board members and in the media?
Gough Whitlam’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975 sought to condemn the White Australia policy and journey Australia in a new direction but the generations since have been betrayed of the expectation that polyculturalism would flourish. The concept of multiculturalism was led by charlatans. The first multicultural offices were not filled by migrants and their children but by White Privilege — by the "white" Australians. They delivered a blueprint that for those who were to follow them only the assimilated could rise to office. The White Australia Policy continues.
Australia’s racism stands defiant even in the face of modernity. Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund Barton was one of the authors of the White Australia Policy. Alongside the nation’s academics, the highest office penned a racist dictate and racialised the national Constitution (formalised in the Immigration Restriction Act 1901).
The founding fathers of the White Australia Policy continued into Australian politics till nearly the middle of the last century and with every prime minister up to 1923 having been a member of Barton’s first parliament. This is not that long ago.
The first Australian government was delivered on an injunction that only British subjects could be elected to our parliaments. The Anglosphere continues to dominate the Australian nation.
The generation of racists I grew up with are the ones who became the generations who delivered the Northern Territory "Intervention", who destroyed the hopes promised by Mabo’s Native Title, who failed to establish the long overdue national conversation on racism and the ways forward.
Instead, we had to soak up the Cronulla riots, Islamophobia, every imaginable xenophobia and misoxeny, the turning back of boats of asylum seekers, the SIEVX, the degeneration of immigration detention centres into dungeons, where children, mothers and fathers are cruelly tortured for having sought a better tomorrow. Today, Australia boasts the shame of Manus and Nauru which pale the hovels of Galang and Hei Ling Chau — the offshore detention camps of the 1980s and 1990s.
My childhood taught me how hard it would be for those who challenge the oppressor. In the late 70s, as a 15-year-old, there were bullies who picked out fellow students to beat up. There was a student, newly arrived from Cambodia. He dragged his right leg — the victim of a landmine. He spoke the bare minimum of English. He was picked out for a beating. I could see the fear in his eyes. Other students went silent, some ready for the kill, while others with some compassion and, in general, who are no different to the chattering classes, they tensed into silence.
He had no chance of holding his own in any fight. I said,
“Leave him alone.”
I have never regretted this.
“What has he ever done to you?”
The rest — well they turned on me. I have never forgotten that fight and its viciousness. I have never forgotten the ones who chanted "Fight! Fight!" and particularly, I have never forgotten the silence of those who should have spoken up for both of us.
Something inside me died that day.
Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention researcher, a prison reform expert and advocate who believes that children and adults should not be incarcerated for non-violent offences. He has visited prisons on a number of occasions to inspire the incarcerated to hope and various opportunities pre-release and post-release. He has been involved in the refugee rights movement for more than three decades and is a prolific writer on the ways forward from racism and discrimination.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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