Public First Program


Shane Elson


email Shane

+61-3-5134 8556

+61-4-1349 7828

July 2007 # 1

(Right Click here to download Audio - MP3)

Back to Editorials 2007

Cold Racism

The Howard government recently sent in the troops to stamp out sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. Mal Brough, an ex military man, was almost slavering at the opportunity to send in some of his old mates to sort out the moral panic his government had created. After ignoring a pile of reports and inquiries into the woeful state of many remote Indigenous communities, it seems the sleeping beast that is our government awoke and began devouring the latest victim group. 

Isn’t it funny how, during an election year, race and class are dragged out to demonstrate how bad things are, could become or will become unless the Howard government intervenes.  

The first question I have, in relation to this latest bit of racialisation, is, when is the Howard government going to send in the troops to rid the church’s of their quite well publicised and proven paedophile community? My next question is, when will the government mandate that all parents who are unemployed must give up smoking, drinking alcohol and be required to send their kids to school? 

I guess the simple answer to the above is … never! Why? Because there are no sympathy votes in attacking the white people you want to vote for you. 

In the case of the churches, can you imagine the outcry that would ensue from the pulpits across the land. “They’re interfering with our way of life.” “This is something we can sort out if we have the resources.” “Why are they picking on us?” 

The conservative Christian community who Howard and his government (and by the way increasingly the Labor party) want to capture as their own, would never be attacked for the despicable record they have when it comes to looking after children, the disabled and the poor, many of whom were exploited for the gratification of a few. 

The reason Howard’s mob have attacked our Indigenous brothers and sisters this time, is simply because they stand out. Like the poor souls who populated the Tampa, our Indigenous community stands out because they are manifestly ‘different’ and the most obvious difference is skin colour. 

In forming the spin that accompanied the announcement to send in the troops rather than offering practical help (something Howard has been banging on about since 1996), he throws money into the military coffers so some of Brough’s mates can keep their jobs. 

The whole idea of sending in the military should be repugnant to any fair minded Australian. It would seem we are the only country in history to have invaded itself to rid itself of an imaginary enemy. Obviously our military has too much time on its hands! 

Turning back to my comments regarding banning cigarettes and alcohol from unemployed white people, it’s obvious why this would never be on the agenda. To be seen to attack his own race would spell the death knell for any politician. Hitler had the Jews, white America has Indians and Negro’s, South Africa has ‘the blacks’ and so do we. 

By turning our attention towards those with the most obvious differences the government hopes to unite the rest of us against an ‘obvious’ threat. Our Indigenous population has been the target of many political diversionary tactics  in the past. This latest attack on their ability to self govern is just another example of scapegoating and racialisation. The whole stated rationale for the Howard government’s current interventions fall to pieces if we were to apply them to all Australians. 

Howard has proved over and over again that he and his government are racist to the core. They have proved time and time again that they govern for their own class interests and not for all. They have proven time and time again that they are nothing more than power hungry hypocrites whose hearts are as cold as a winter morning in Canberra. 

The media also play a vital role in this latest outrage to assault the First Australian’s. As pointed out on Media Watch recently, it seems it is OK to show the faces of allegedly abused Indigenous children but you never show the faces of white kids unless you have their parents express consent.  

This use of race as the most critical marker in determining what is ‘newsworthy’ and what is not, demonstrates that those who control what we see and hear align their ideals with their masters and it is their masters who call the shots. Therefore, if their masters are prepared to use race, as is the Howard government, we can only conclude that their interests align and that those interests are not those of fair minded Australians. 

Our Indigenous community does not need the army to be sent in. They do not need more hand outs. They certainly do not need their children to be further traumatised by strangers who exercise all power over them. What our Indigenous community needs is self determination.  

Like all communities, races and societies, the Indigenous community has members who will exploit those around them for their own ends. We don’t need to look far to see examples of these types of people within the white and ethnic communities. However, thankfully, they are in a minority and all fair minded people are appalled by their actions and take all reasonable steps to make sure these types of people are weeded out, exposed and dealt with. The Indigenous community has had mechanisms to deal with these people for thousands of years. Why is it many non-indigenous Australians cannot accept that they are the best equipped to deal with it now? 

Many Indigenous leaders have been crying out not for a hand out but a hand up. The abolition of ATSIC – even though it was exploited but then again how many Liberal politicians have rorted their parliamentary allowances – was a major blow to those who were working to towards Indigenous empowerment. And it is at this juncture, we find the real reason the Howard government is so keen to raise the racial issue when it comes to child abuse. 

While our Indigenous community is relatively small, it can be mobilised and if mobilised it poses a threat to the power bases that have attempted (more often successfully than not) to suppress it’s voice. By playing on the fallacy that “those people” are unable to manage their own affairs, successive governments have attempted to discredit Indigenous leaders and delegitimise their attempts to organise themselves into a self governing collective. The current exercise in delegitimisation is just another page in the disgusting history we advance. 

The whitewash that is the so called ‘crisis of abuse’ in Indigenous communities is a smoke screen designed to avert us from the main game – the ability of this community to set its own direction and purpose. To allow the “black” man to determine his own destiny would, to conservative right wingers like Howard, be an “abomination of the divine order”.  

I guess what this attitude reveals is that while it is an “abomination” for Indigenous Australians to determine their own future, it is quite divine to allow the non-Indigenous abusers who populate many of our most respected institutions to continue to wreak havoc on those they are supposed to care for. When the army is sent in to sort out the paedophiles and abusers in the church, the judiciary, the houses of parliament, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and the military, I will acknowledge a good job well done. Until then, Howard, Brough and their cronies stand condemned for their racism and coldness of heart.

Recent Editorials

Unspoken Words Among Friends (MP3)

All Along the Watchtower (MP3)


The Bridge Keeper's Son (Feb '06)



Aquaman Meets Pell (MP3)


The Reigning Rein(MP3)


Johnny GM Seed (MP3)


When Generals Talk (MP3)


Madam Economy (MP3)


Hitchin' a Ride



ANZAC for Whom?



Jones, Race and Class Interests (MP3)


Bombay Nights



The Politics of Convenience and Liability (MP3)


Tears, Perks and People (MP3)


Technically Speaking(MP3)


Hicks, Burke and Howard (MP3)


The Free Market on a Lazy Sunday (MP3)


You Lose Power (MP3)


Rearranging the Deckchairs (MP3)


Educated Ignorance (MP3)


Young Liberals

go to Town (MP3)


In a Funk - A 2006 Reflection (MP3)


Our Legacy (MP3)


Away in a Manger (MP3)


The Devil and the Peso (MP3)


Charades (MP3)


Sands (MP3)


Hillbilly Dreams (MP3)

Rumsfeld's Henny Penny Excuse (MP3)

The Mufti and the Dog Whistle (MP3)

Colonialism, Palm Oil & the Solomons (MP3)

On A Mission from God (MP3)

Howard's Quadrant Memory Hole (MP3)

Greenwashing, Astroturfing and Gippsland's A-Team (MP3)

Wag The Dog (MP3)

Aussie Values the Howard Nelson Way (MP3)

Nothing Changes (MP3)

Howard's Brutal Language (MP3)