Last month, in the wake of the Christchurch killings, I gave an interview to CNN International journalist (and Australian ex-pat) Sheena McKenzie on the current state of Australian politics, and whether I thought Australian politicians had ‘learnt anything’ in the wake of the tragedy.
Suffice to say, I think any ‘soul-searching’ that was done tended toward empty rhetoric, especially on the part of those on the right who have long used race to stir up tensions in Australia and elsewhere. I also sought to place the contemporary situation in a firm historical context, from the myth of ‘terra nullius’ and unceded Indigenous sovereignty, to the White Australia Policy, to the perpetual fear of refugees, a chief legacy of the Howard years.
My interview fed into an article entitled How Australia’s ‘everyday racism’ moved from political fringe to mainstream media, in which McKenzie sought to provide a balanced view of race in contemporary Australian society and politics. In particular, she was interested in the ‘mainstreaming’ of xenophobia ideas such as those peddled by Fraser Anning in the wake of the attack.
My contributions ranged from comments on Anning’s remarks, the debased tenor of the recent Medevac debate, the spectre of ‘everyday racism’, and the structural problems of white supremacy.