OPINION: Vile Senate speech points to politics of hate

It’s difficult to put into words how riled and sickened an event this week has left many in our community and country.

The Australian Senate. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

The Australian Senate. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

That a federal senator can use the platform of a maiden speech and parliamentary privilege to spew forth bile, racist hatred and a phrase last used by Nazi Germany in its persecution of Jews and widely condemned the world over is beyond the pale.

The speech even attracted condemnation from Pauline Hanson...

He won’t be named here. You’ve likely already seen and heard the speech and backlash, but he is not worth naming again via these pages (and other appropriate terms aren’t publishable).

Thankfully he was roundly denounced by (most of) his parliamentary colleagues.

In the Bega Valley we’ve just celebrated a wonderful Multicultural Day, with people and food from around the world that are creating a fascinating community here on the Far South Coast.

We’re told 50 distinct nationalities were identified in the shire and invited to take part in the day, with invites also extended to our First Peoples via the Local Aboriginal Lands Council.

In recent weeks we’ve also seen the council vow to engage more closely with our Indigenous community and make sure their voice is represented in both how visitors are welcomed to the shire, as well as in a federal court hearing on a native title claim.

In the starkest of contrasts, we have an elected federal representative essentially calling for a return of the White Australia Policy, an end to all immigration from countries with Muslim communities and doing so by using the vilest of fear-inspired (and fear-inspiring) language.

Where would Australia be if not for a vibrant migrant population willing to make a home for themselves here and contribute to building a nation?

Then again, this “merchant of hate”, as he was termed by Australia’s first female Muslim senator who took her seat this week, was elected to his role by his community.

We could argue relentlessly – and do – about whether Liberal or Labor is best at running the country. But while the majors continue the in-fighting and bickering of negative politics, the wider population is increasingly turning towards supposed alternatives.

Given that path, there are two large (white-led, English-speaking, class-divided) allies we can look to and see our possible future. Heaven/Jannah help us if that happens.