a harmonised australia

rc&am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Wed Dec 16 07:09:29 PST 1998

hi lists,

some time ago, there was a couple of rounds of debate on the character and future of One Nation (hereafter ON) in australia on the marxism list. at the time, debate centred on whether ON was or wasn't a qualitative break with the racist policies of various other parliamentary parties in australia; the historical continuity (or not) between ON and fascism/nazism of the 1930s; and probably most heatedly, whether or not ON should be the defined target of the anti-racist protests of the left in australia.

my own position on these debates was no, irrelevant and no - in that order. i don't reiterate this to open up those exact debates again, but rather in order to give an update on today's (dec 16th) events in politics, and to move the discussion along in these terms. even outside of this debate on the lists, a good deal of attention needs to be given to this stuff, especially as the thing the australian govt fears most at this stage (or only fears, rather) is a tainting of its image and a deleterious effect on tourism in the lead up to the 2000 olympics in sydney.

the liberal-national govt announced two things today:

- the abolition of abstudy: the scheme that has been in place since 1967 (approx.) to provide an income to indigenous post-school students that was secure and included some small things like distance travel. indigenous students now must apply to receive the highly stringent youth allowance, which has increasingly been used to force kids to be economically dependant on their parents, and to force them to work or study or to be ineligible for benefits of any kind.

- the announcement of its promised 'anti-racism' campaign: this is to have as its motto, living in harmony, with what used to be the international day for the elimination of racism now to be called the 'day of harmony'!! various bodies, such as the cricket board (you might recall my posts about cricket as the british empire in australia) being given lots of govt money to run stuff for this day, and much of the funding and organisation for the official celebrations (or should i say, official enforcement) of harmony is to be undertaken by major corporations such as woolworths and macdonalds. (i kid you not, sounds like a bad joke, doesn't it).

the upshot of this is that it both fulfils a long ambition of the liberal-national govt to destroy welfare measures, especially those which apply to indigenous peoples that are not repressive, and to lay the basis on which to accuse those radicals who denounce the govt's racism as the one's generating conflict and disharmony. this ties in with the govts previous announcement of a reconciliation task force, which does not intend to make a final report until 2001 (or 2002) - that is, well after the tourists and international cameras have gone home and to try and keep the conversation going (a la rorty?) until well after then.

riot 2000!

it gets so dull when i have my unpatriotic sentiments confirmed over and over and over again.



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