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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Weaponising the flag, Islamophobia & white supremacy

Weaponising the flag, Islamophobia & white supremacy

Back in the 1990s, Prime Minister John Howard hit on a winning formula that ensured election success, guaranteeing he would be Australia's longest serving prime minister. The formula: weaponise xenophobia by wrapping it in Christianity and the Australian flag! Since then, the LNP has weaponised fear of refugees, Muslims, Asians, indigenous people, welfare, socialism ... kind of sounds like they've been reading Mein Kampf. Weaponised? They have used it to justify an illegal invasion in Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction. This killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and gave rise to ISIS. The LNP has used their weaponisation of xenophobia to justify the indefinite and illegal detention and torture of innocent people on remote islands.

Following the tragic massacre in Christchurch, where 50 innocent Muslims were gunned down by an Australian white-supremacist, many people pointed out just how weaponised hate-speech had become under the LNP and their fringe nutcase politicians, such as Fraser (Mr 19 votes) Anning, Pauline Hanson's One Nation and Cory Bernardi's whatever his party is called.

On 21 March 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was interviewed on Network 10's The Project by Waleed Aly, amidst accusations that Morrison had suggested to the Liberal Party in a shadow cabinet meeting in 2011, that the party should use Islamophobic fears in the community to their political advantage. In other words, stoke fear and hatred of Muslims and appear like they are the only party who can protect Australia from Islam. Perennial deadshit racist, Pauline Hanson of the One Neuron Party, declared Islam to be a virus that needs to be vaccinated against. This is where Australian politics is at.

Morrison denied for years that he had ever mentioned Islamophobia in that shadow cabinet meeting, despite two people who were there confirming that he did suggest taking advantage of Islamophobia. In the interview with Waleed Aly, Morrison finally admitted that he had mentioned Islamophobia in the meeting, but only to ask the party to lower the temperature on it. Now, if this was true, then surely we would have seen fewer attacks on Muslims by LNP members. Instead, they ramped up the vitriole against refugees and Muslims.

Even during the interview with Waleed Aly, Morrison continued to make his claim that refugees on Manus Island and Nauru comprised of rapists and murderers. Waleed pressed him for numbers and Morrison said there were around 60 with 'character' concerns. Under further pressure from Waleed, Morrison admitted that not all with 'character' issues were murderers or rapists, but refused to give a number. Just like Trump declaring the refugees on the US southern border to be 'very bad people', Morrison is continuing to maintain this generalised rhetoric to label refugees on Manus and Nauru, who are predominantly Muslim, as murders and rapists. This is dehumanisation, it is racism, it is Islamophobia. In the interview, he stated that under Labor these people would be living in the general community. Fear-mongering at its most raw to position the LNP as the great saviours of Australia. This was during an interview when Morrison tried to claim he did not suggest the LNP should exploit Islamophobia. Morrison's actions speak far louder than his hollow and deceitful words!

This Islamophobia extended to demanding that Australian Muslims apologise for terrorist attacks across the globe. Australia's Grand Mufti was accused many times over the years since that shadow cabinet meeting, of not doing enough to combat terrorism or of expressing appropriate contrition. Following an Islamist terrorist attack in Paris in 2015, Morrison condemned the Grand Mufti for not being contrite enough and for daring to suggest that racism, Islamophobia and unwarranted military interventions in Muslim countries were to blame. Even though the Grand Mufti had been condemning terrorism for years, Morrison and others in the LNP forced him to issue a further statement directly condemning the Paris attacks (Donelly 2015, Jones 2016).

Then in 2018, when a Muslim man stabbed another man to death in Melbourne in an attempted terrorist attack originally aimed at a tram, the Grand Mufti was again called on by Morrison to condemn terrorism (Clench 2018).

Contrast this with the terrorist attack in Christchurch that killed 50 Muslims. No leading Muslims called on leading Christian or Australian figures to condemn it. Of course, many of those leaders did issue some sort of statement condemning the terrorist and offering condolences. Was this enough? Well, let's look at what followed. Morrison continued demonising refugees, he refused to rule out a preference deal with One Nation, he refused to rule out preferencing One Nation or Senator Fraser Anning below Labor and the Greens in the upcoming federal election, even though both have been extremely racist and Islamophobic. Anning in particular, continued his anti-Islam hate-speech after the Christchurch terrorist attack. It's almost like Morrison is trying not to offend his extreme right-wing base. One could be mistaken for thinking it is a type of right-wing political correctness, in which one dare not use the racism word ... or bigotry word or white supremacy words or Nazi word ... for fear of offending racists who don't like being called racists, or bigots who don't like being called bigots, or Nazis who don't like being called Nazis, or Islamophobes who don't like being called out for what they really are.

What did the community do following the Christchurch massacres? Thankfully, many Australians turned out in support of Muslims and attended vigils and rallies across the country condemning racism, Islamophobia, and right-wing extremism.

But there were those who felt it was a good time to misrepresent old stories of Islamist attacks or massacres. One such article regarded ISIS bombing a Catholic church in the Philippines, which was accompanied by the inflammatory comments that it happened a day after the Christchurch attack and was not covered by the media. Unfortunately, it is true that the bombing occurred. However, it happened in January, seven weeks before Christchurch, and received significant media attention (Evon 2019). The bombing is clearly horrendous, so what does it say about those who would exploit it and lie about it to whip up fear and hatred of innocent Muslims also killed by a terrorist?

Further to this, many Christians shared a report from Breitbart and the Christian Post that claimed Muslims had murdered 120 Christians in Nigeria. Again, this was a tragedy that did happen, but why share it now when it happened in mid-2018? Both Breitbart and the Christian Post failed to mention that the week before that attack, Christians had massacred 130 Muslims. Both these questionable journals also conveniently ignored the fact that these massacres had little to do with religion and a lot more to do with farmers and herdsmen (who just happened to be of different ethnic and religious backgrounds) clashing over access to natural resources, such as water (MacGuill 2019).

People are sharing these tragedies to distract from the Christchurch massacre and to dehumanise the victims, to paint them as possibly deserving of being massacred. They are terrorism-apologists, condoning by their words and actions, the terrorist attack in Christchurch. Where is their contrition and condemnation of the Christchurch terrorist attack when they express their sympathy one minute, and the next are sharing old and inaccurate news to dehumanise Muslims. Since the Christchurch massacre, there was an attack on a Mosque in Australia (Garcia 2019)  and a surge in attacks on Muslims in the UK (Dodd 2019).

 Why do people choose now to share months-old Islamist attacks? It's part of the dehumanisation of Muslims by terrorist-apologists raised on normalised language of hate by politicians who weaponise the flag purely for political point-scoring. If these people are so concerned about terrorism, why weren't they campaigning for an end to illegal wars and sponsoring of terrorism, for the protection of the victims of terrorism & persecution? Because they'd rather spread hate and fear than actually do something productive. They'd rather persecute the victims then help them. This is what happens when the government weaponises xenophobia for political power.

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, showed true and heartfelt leadership by embracing the Muslim community following the Christchurch terrorist attack, and ensuring they knew that they were welcomed and loved and that her deepest sympathies were with them, while she stood bravely and staunchly against the hatred that drove the right-wing terrorist; the very hatred that many of Australia's right-wing politicians have been voicing for years. Ardern is a true leader, while Australia is left with Morrison, an incompetent and racist politician. Comparing Ardern and Morrison is like comparing Barack Obama to Donald Trump, or a highly intelligent PhD candidate to a petulant, six year old child chucking a temper tantrum for wetting his pants. Meanwhile, Ardern has received death threats from Islamophobes (Harvey 2019).

Australian politics has normalised and weaponised hate speech. It is so bad, that those who stand up for refugees, Islam, and who dare to question the malicious racism espoused by right-wing politicians and media, are considered to be traitors. In a country that fought Nazis in the war, those who now question hate-speech and neo-Nazi ideology are considered traitors. White supremacists think of themselves as patriots. Think about that. Take all the time you need.

When politicians and the media continue attacking Islam, continue demonising minorities, continue spreading fear and hate, and even employing Nazi enthusiasts (Hasham 2019), there's clearly no contrition over the role they've played in the radicalising of the Australian coward who massacred 50 unarmed, peaceful people (including a three year old child) because of the hatred & fear instilled in him by this xenophobic hate-speech.

This matters.


The Grand Mufti and other Islamic leaders have called out the abuse that Muslims have suffered in Australia, both physically and verbally. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, Grand Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, has stated that he 'partly blamed the killings on the "hate that some media reflect in its handling of Muslims ... They always portray Muslims as violent terrorist".' (Baker 2019).

Check where these politicians and media deadbeats sit on the hierarchy of white supremacy. They are not in some periphery where they have no influence. Instead, they are well advanced on the path to white supremacy, they are enabling and empowering white supremacists and far-right extremists. As the pyramid shows, Australia is at the upper-end of normalising white supremacy through government policy, rhetoric and media reports falling easily within the 'Discrimination' field. Some people have crossed over into the 'Violence' field by attacking Muslims and Mosques. This should be a concern to most Australians. Instead, far too many will continue sharing inaccurate media reports to spread fear and hate to detract from the mass murder committed in Christchurch.

Source: Olsen (2019)

It should be kept in mind that people can change. In New Zealand, we've seen Ardern, various non-Muslim politicians, media identities and police, wearing hijabs, while Islamic prayers are recited in parliament and people have come together like never before. This is encouraging. In Australia, there are people who have realised that maybe the hate-speech here has also gone too far and they are finally seeing the bigotry behind the policies of federal LNP.

Tom Olsen, a former neo-Nazi, explains that his beliefs were turned around through an act of kindness by a black South African man. Since then, he has worked with police to combat right-wing extremism. He has met hundreds of former white supremacists and each one has a similar story, that they turned from their racist ways when they experienced kindness from those they hated (Olsen 2019).

Those who claim they are not racist or white-supremacist, but are quick to respond to the Christchurch massacre by sharing further hatred of Muslims, need to take a long hard look at their values. They are indicating that the victims deserved to be murdered because they're Muslim. How does that make them any better than the coward who perpetrated the Christchurch massacre? Those who portray Islam as a religion of violence, while themselves calling for violence against Muslims, are no better than the Islamist extremists that they claim to oppose.

If people really want to combat terrorism, then they can start by not blaming innocent people.

Australia's ingrained racism goes back centuries to white settlement which resulted in massacres and genocide of Australia's indigenous population. Through this time, many white Australians have lived in fear of those who are different, fearing a loss of their Caucasian culture. Yet, Australia is the most successful multi-cultural nation in the world, which provides so much opportunity to experience the enjoyment and beauty that every culture has. Rather than denouncing and rejecting multiculturalism, surely, it is to be celebrated and embraced!


Baker, N 2019, 'Muslims in Australia say there are lessons to be learnt after the New Zealand mosque attacks', SBS News, 15 March, viewed 22 March 2019,

Clench, S 2018, ''Making excuses': Scott Morrison doubles down in response to Bourke Street attack',, 13 November, viewed 22 March 2019,

Dodd, V 2019, 'Anti-Muslim hate crimes soar in UK after Christchurch shootings', The Guardian, 23 March, viewed 23 March 2019,

Donelly, B 2015, 'Paris attacks: Grand Mufti 'has condemned terrorism all his life'', The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November, viewed 22 March 2019,

Evon, D 2019, 'Did Muslim Terrorists Bomb a Church in the Philippines “Yesterday,” Killing 30 Christians?', Snopes, 18 March, viewed 22 March 2019,

Garcia, J 2019, 'Man allegedly rams car into gates, shouts offensive words outside Queensland mosque', Brisbane Times, 17 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Harvey, M 2019, 'Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received death threats on social media', New Zealand Herald, 22 March 2019, viewed 22 March 2019,

Hasham, N 2019, 'Fraser Anning staffer and alleged Nazi enthusiast employed by Home Affairs', The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 March, viewed 22 March 2019,

Jones, C 2016, 'Factcheck Q&A: has the Grand Mufti of Australia condemned terrorist attacks overseas?', The Conversation, 22 July, viewed 22 March 2019,

MacGuill, D 2019, 'Did ‘Muslim Militants’ Kill 120 Christians in Nigeria in February/March 2019?', Snopes, 19 March, viewed 20 March 2019,

Olsen, T 2019, 'How a simple act of kindness from a stranger ended my career as a neo-Nazi', SBS News, 21 March, viewed 22 March 2019,

Monday, March 18, 2019

The terrorism empowered by far-right politics, media and religion

The terrorism empowered by far-right politics, media and religion

On 15 March 2019, an Australian far-right, white supremacist massacred 50 innocent Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prior to the massacre, this terrorist released a rambling manifesto that he called 'The Great Replacement'. To be frank, it sounds like the maiden speech of Pauline Hanson or Fraser Anning ... or a poor translation of Mein Kampf. It blamed Muslim migration for the woes of the western world. His manifesto acknowledged US President Donald Trump as a 'symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose'. 

That he was Australian is no surprise. Australia has become known globally for the hate-fuelled, fear-mongering, far-right rhetoric and actions of many of its politicians. Hence his manifesto sounded so similar to the garbage spouted by politicians such as current prime minister Scott Morrison, former prime ministers, Tony Abbott and John Howard, and a raft of front-, back- and cross-benchers, such as Petter Dutton, Pauline Hanson, Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi, and George Christensen, to name but a few. It's not just rhetoric. Australia has imprisoned innocent asylum seekers and UN-declared refugees indefinitely without charge and tortured them, confining them to remote islands; out of sight, out of mind (Doherty and Hurst 2015). A generation forgotten and abused so conservatives can harvest the votes of xenophobes.

For years, conservative politicians, media and voters have been accusing Islam of being violent, of fomenting terrorism, of treating murder as a religious tenet, of condoning pedophilia and of trying to take over the world. While these right-wingers were apoplectic with rage over their perceptions of violence in Islam, they didn't see the extremism that they were fostering, that they were responsible for. Just like the poor crab being slowly boiled to death, Islamophobes have focused on Islam and not noticed just how radical they were becoming.

Until Christchurch, 15 March 2019! 

That day one of their own unleashed a murderous terrorist attack that killed 50 people and left dozens injured. Many of these Islamophobes expressed horror at the attack and even changed their profile pix to cute little koalas hugging a sad kiwi. How fucking rich is it that these arseholes have previously demanded the banning of Islam, halal, the burqa; they have praised people who have vandalised mosques and thrown pig's heads and blood into sacred areas, that have torn burqas or other head-coverings off women walking in the street, that have mocked Muslims from the floor of parliament, in the street, on TV and in social media. Some of these very same people are now hand-wringing and asking where such hatred could come from. Mind you, not all of them have expressed sympathy. There are some deadshits who think it great that this brain-dead racist would kill so many people. 

Australia's conservative media has long portrayed Islam as evil. The Murdoch rags, such as the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph, published 2891 anti-Islam articles; almost eight articles per day attacking one religion - Islam (Brull 2018)! The world's media has noticed the radicalisation of Australia where right-wing political parties and media outlets blatantly target Muslims (Taylor and Noack 2019).

Anyone who dares defend Islam or criticise the main-stream media's inaccurate and racist reporting is treated as some lefty, politically-correct snowflake. Yet for all their brazen talk, the right-wing are driven by fear. They are running scared, seeing every Muslim as a terrorist, accusing them of trying to take over the world through halal easter eggs. Sensitive little petals, these conservatives. They issued rape and death threats against Sudanese-Australian engineer, Yassmin Abdel-Mageid for an innocuous tweet about Anzac Day (Zhou 2017). Yassmin eventually left Australia because she did not feel safe here. These right-wing snowflakes believe every lie told to them about Islam, about refugees, and then when one of their own goes on a murderous terrorist attack, rather than self-reflect about the role they played in his radicalisation, they blame the victims. Victim-blaming is pretty typical of the right-wing. As are extremely violent outbursts at the slightest insult, with Nobel-prize winning Paul Krugman detailing that these outbursts are predominantly occurring from the right-wing (Moran 2019).

Queensland Senator, Fraser Anning is most notable for a pathetic media release on the day of the Christchurch terrorist attack, in which he expressed his horror, then immediately blamed Islamic migration for it. In the context of such horror, this amounts to hate-speech. It was designed to justify the actions of the terrorist, not to express remorse or sympathy for the victims. The following day, 17 year old William Connolly casually walked up behind Anning and smashed an egg into the back of his head (Winter 2019). One of Anning's henchmen who wrestled the boy to the ground, was Neil Erikson, a white supremacist who attacked a church last year for daring to defend Muslims and refugees. There is a warrant out for his arrest in New South Wales. Disturbingly, many right-wingers are more upset about the egg being thrown, than they are about the Christchurch massacre or the radicalisation of everyday Australians. 

Fraser Anning gave a speech in parliament that called for a final solution against refugees (Murphy and Remeikis 2018), invoking memories of Hitler's final solution that resulted in the genocide of millions of Jews, socialists, dissidents, gypsies and anyone who didn't fit his idea of what a German citizen should look or act like. He also praised the White Australia policy and declared in his maiden speech that Muslims should be banned from migrating to Australia, while European migration should be encouraged. He is a white supremacist. He regularly attends neo-Nazi rallies with the likes of Blair Cottrell, who called for a photo of Hitler and a copy of Mein Kampf to adorn every Australian classroom. You still wondering why the Christchurch terrorist was Australian?

A petition was established calling for Anning to resign (Price 2019). Of course, he is too arrogant to do that, however, it is encouraging that more than one million people signed the petition in 48 hours ... keep in mind that Anning only received 19 votes at the last election: loser.

Fraser Anning's response to the Christchurch terrorism event on 15 March 2019
Australia's conservative political parties have drifted so far to the right, that they are in the realms of Nazism. They encourage white-supremacy through fear of the other, through propagating xenophobic messages that whip people into a frenzy.

This is driven by the mistaken belief that Australia is being taken over by Muslims. The Christchurch terrorist reflected about a takeover of western nations by Muslims. Pauline Hanson and other right-wing politicians have ruminated on the same thing. Is this really a threat? According to the Pew Research Centre, just 3% of the world's Muslims live in developed regions, such as Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan (Pew Research Centre 2011). This body of research identified that migration from Muslim majority countries has declined sharply over the last 25 years. In the mid-90s, Muslim-majority countries were losing population at a rate of 160 per 100,000 per annum (0.16%). By 2010, this had declined to 42 per 100,000 per annum (0.04%). The report identified that there would be further declines in migration from developing nations that have a Muslim-majority population as economic conditions improve. Migration in western nations is likely to increase by 180 per 100,000 per annum (0.18%). This is hardly a take-over. For Australia, Muslim growth was around 0.12% in 1990. Over the years this has been declining, and is predicted to only be (0.07%) by 2030. So why do they believe there is a Muslim takeover? In 2010, the Muslim population in Australia numbered 399,000, which is about 1.6% of the population. By 2030, it will likely be 714,000 based on net birth-rates and migration, while Australia's population is forecast to have grown to 30 million, so Muslims will account for 2.4% of the population. This is less than 1% growth in Muslim population in 20 years. Australia's population growth is currently forecast at 1.6% (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018). Muslim population growth in Australia will be less than Australia's net population growth, so based on that, Muslims will never be a majority in Australia ... not what any critically thinking person would consider an invasion or take-over. 

Many of Australia's far-right politicians who exploit xenophobia and white supremacy also claim to be Christian. Many right-wing Christians are more than happy to attack Islam and take its scriptures out of context. Quote distasteful biblical scriptures and these same Christians will try to provide context. They will say that the Koran promotes violence, yet their own bible calls for the killing of every man, woman and child. They will say that Islam promotes paedophilia, yet the bible says to kill every man, male child and female who has slept with a man, but for the young girls (children) who have not been with a man to be taken into sexual slavery ... then there is the issue of God getting a pre-teenage and betrothed Mary pregnant with Christianity's namesake (Jesus, in case you missed the memo), which raises all sorts of questions about paedophilia, adultery, and consent given her age and the power imbalance. Oh, is there no context? Context is not a luxury that racists allow Muslims to provide.

These Christians will claim the Koran promotes violence and terrorism, yet Christianity has been responsible for most of the wars of the last 1,000, including some of the biggies that most of us are familiar with in recent times, such as World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf Wars I and II, and Afghanistan. These wars killed hundreds of millions of people during the 20th and 21st centuries, far more than have been killed by Islamic terrorism - yet these Christians will ignore that and continue spreading hate and lies about Islam. 

Actually, the bible bangs on about hate-speech. It tells Christians not to do it! Scriptures like Proverbs 12:18 - 'There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing'. Proverbs 11:9 is one of my favourite, considering that Evangelical Christianity has proven itself redundant with the willingness of many of its leaders to embrace the lies and hate-speech of Donald Trump and the far-right. This scripture declares them to be godless: 'with his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbour, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered'. All that white supremacists want to do is destroy anyone who is not white, European, Judeo-Christian ... and right-wing Christianity is going along for the ride, as it has done for some time. Nazi Germany is a case in point.

Hitler used Christian-speak to whip Christians into committing horrendous crimes against Jews. Read Mein Kampf and see the similarities between what Hitler said, what today's conservatives speak and what the Christchurch terrorist wrote in his idiotic manifesto.

Christians funded Islamic holy-war in Afghanistan under the Soviets during the 1980s (Cooley 2002), yet Muslims get the blame, while Christians conveniently ignore their role in terrorism. Out of this, we saw the rise of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and eventually ISIS. Christians then ignore and lie about the role that their own had in the rise of global terrorism - instead, they blame Islam. So much for the religion of peace and truth when many Christians are not interested in either peace or truth. Oh yeah, there is also the claim that Christianity is the religion of love, yet many Christians revel in sharing hate against Muslims.

The day after the Christchurch massacre, a Christian radio host named Bryan Fischer defended the attack as 'vigilante justice' because 'Islam has to be stopped'. (Stone 2019). Apparently, terrorism is fine as long as it is waged by Christians.

The radicalisation of the Australian terrorist responsible for the Christchurch killings, has been coming for a long time. Far too many Australians have been saying exactly what he said in his manifesto. Hanson rose to power in 1996 on a Mein Kampf-like platform (don't believe me? read the book). Her white supremacist platform was later comandeered by John Howard to win elections on fear-mongering of Muslim refugees. Australian hip-hop band, The Herd aggressively called out Australia's racism & hate-speech in 2003 with their brilliant song, 77%. Sadly, right-wing snowflakes were more offended by the song's strong language than they were by their own government's lies, demonisation, persecution and physical and mental abuse of innocent people. Australia needs to wake up to itself. Islam isn't a threat, right-wing extremism is.  

The Christchurch terrorist's rambling manifesto showed that he was emboldened by Donald Trump and it repeated much of the hate-speech spewing forth from Republicans in the United States Congress (Fuller 2019). It was telling that Trump condemned the terrorist attack, and then immediately condemned migration by using the same rhetoric the terrorist used to demonise migrants (Blumberg and Blumenthal 2019). Immediately, following the attack, Trump tweeted a link to an anti-Islam website (Vidal 2019). This is from a president who thinks neo-Nazis and Klansmen are 'very fine people' (Gray 2017). Trump claims there is no rise in white nationalism (Campbell 2019), even though 98% of terrorist attacks on US soil are by white nationalists(Kivel 2019). Meanwhile, globally, there has been a surge in deadly attacks on Muslims (Al Jazeera 2019a). With such a rise in Islamophobic attacks, one would expect a corresponding increase in reporting of these acts, but no! Islamist terrorism received 357% more coverage than terrorism by non-Muslims; there are an average of 105 headlines per Islamist attack, compared to 15 headlines when the perpetrators are non-Muslim (Chalabi 2018). 

The United States is on a downward spiral into far-right extremism. Three years ago, the US voted AGAINST a United Nations resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom of speech (CBS News 2016). Seventy-five years ago, the United States battled against Nazis, today it defends them.

The Christchurch terrorist's manifesto railed against Islamic immigration. For years, Australia's conservative politicians have lied about Muslim refugees, equating them with terrorists, even though they are often victims of terrorists. Only a few weeks ago, senior ministers of the government, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, and the Finance Minister, Matthias Cormann, made the ludicrous claim that refugees (less than 1000 of them) would force Australians off hospital waiting lists; a claim which has been debunked as baseless (Das 2019). It is pure fear-mongering and evidence of the blatant lies the federal LNP has been ramming down the throats of Australians. Morrison has previously claimed there is a benefit in exploiting anti-Islamic sentiments to gain votes (Taylor 2011). No wonder, there is so much hatred of migrants and why someone became radicalised enough to murder 50 Muslims.

The Christchurch terrorist modelled his attack on that by Anders Breivik in Norway (Werleman 2019). In his manifesto, he declared support for other mass murderers, but emphasised his idolising of Breivik. Christian and far-right extremist Breivik, killed 77 socialist students to fulfil his hatred of leftists and migrants. Both elements that Australia's conservative politicians and media are constantly railing against. 

Interesting that the Christchurch terrorist wasn't on any terrorist watchlist and authorities said he was not known to them, even though he'd been planning this for some time and had travelled to North Korea, Pakistan, Bulgaria and Turkey as part of his preparations (O'Grady 2019). If it was a Muslim planning such an attack or travelling to those countries, Australian authorities would have been all over it and he would have been arrested immediately. But hey, white privilege.

Hard-right conservatives are running around upset that people are blaming them for the Christchurch attack. 'We're not all like that'. Oh the irony! They don't show such nuance when attacking Islam. 

Hours after the Christchurch terrorist attack, a Muslim man was assaulted with a hammer and batten in an Islamophobic attack in London (Al Jazeera 2019b). The following day, in a case exemplar of white privilege, a 23 year old moron deliberately drove into the gates of a Mosque near Brisbane, yelling anti-Islamic hate (Garcia 2019). The Queensland Police Commissioner excused him because he was drunk so therefore, it was not a hate-crime! Had a Muslim done that to a Christian church, he'd have been arrested and charged with terrorism. White privilege!

Thankfully, most Australians have expressed horror and revulsion at the attack. The Christchurch terrorist perpetrated the very act that he detests Muslims for. Clearly, not a very intelligent specimen. If anything, it is clear that he is projecting his own hatred, animosity and violence onto people who are actually peaceful and tolerant. He isn't the only one. 

While the Christchurch terrorist is apparently a 'lone-wolf' attacker, he should not be considered in isolation. White supremacy is a global issue that is on the increase (Anderson 2019). When the President of the United States defends Nazis and empowers white supremacist terrorists, there is a significant international problem. These extremists carry on about the danger of immigration, while exporting their terrorism to the world.

What can be done? Stop normalising hate-speech. Stand up against the fear-mongering, demonisation and racist rhetoric of these horrid politicians who pretend to be Christian but instead are driven by hate-filled agendas. Instead of Christians losing their collective shit over halal Easter eggs, how about they invite Muslims to their churches, their homes, into their lives and get to know them as friends and family, not as the enemy. 

Love your neighbour!


Al Jazeera 2019a, 'A summary of attacks on Muslims in Western countries', Al Jazeera, 16 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Al Jazeera 2019b, 'Muslim worshipper assaulted at East London mosque after NZ attack', Al Jazeera, 16 March, viewed 16 March 2019,

Anderson, T 2019, 'White supremacy is ‘being exported and globalized’: Experts respond to New Zealand mass shootings', Boston Globe, 15 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, '3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101', viewed 24 March 2019,

Blumberg, A & Blumenthal, P 2019, 'Trump uses same rhetoric as New Zealand shooting suspect after condemning his actions', Huffington Post, 16 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Brull, M 2018, '2,891 Murdoch Media Stories Trashing Islam In a Single Year, Study Reveals', New Matilda, 3 March, viewed 16 March 2019,

Campbell, A 2019, 'Donald Trump: 'I don't really see a rise in white nationalism'', Huffington Post, 16 March, viewed 16 March 2019,

CBS News 2016, 'U.S votes against anti-Nazi resolution at United Nations', CBS News, 17 November, viewed 17 March 2019,

Chalabi, M 2018, 'Terror attacks by Muslims receive 357% more press attention, study finds', The Guardian, 20 July, viewed 18 March 2019,

Cooley, J 2002, Unholy wars: Afghanistan, America and international terrorism, 3rd edn, Pluto Press, London.

Das, S 2019, 'The government says Australians will lose out on medical help if refugees are brought here for treatment. Is that correct?', ABC News, 15 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Doherty, B & Hurst, D 2015, 'UN accuses Australia of systematically violating torture convention', The Guardian, 10 March, viewed 18 March 2019,

Fuller, M 2019, 'The New Zealand shooter's rhetoric sounds like something you might hear in Congress', Huffington Post, 16 March 2019, viewed 17 March,

Garcia, J 2019, 'Man allegedly rams car into gates, shouts offensive words outside Queensland mosque', Brisbane Times, 17 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Gray, R 2017, 'Trump defends white-nationalist protestors: 'some very find people on both sides'', The Atlantic, 15 August, viewed 18 March 2019,

Henriques-Gomes, L 2018, 'Australia's population forecast to hit 30 million by 2029', The Guardian, 22 November, viewed 24 March 2019,

Kivel, K 2019, '98% of All Domestic Terror Attacks Last Year Were Committed by Right-Wing Extremists', Gritpost, 15 March, viewed 16 March 2019,

Moran, L 2019, 'Paul Krugman breaks down why conservatives are the real snowflakes', Huffington Post, 12 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Murphy, K & Remeikis, A 2018, 'Australian Senator calls for 'final solution to immigration problem', The Guardian, 14 August 2018, viewed 17 March 2019,

O'Grady, S 2019, 'North Korea, Pakistan, Bulgaria: The unusual travels of the New Zealand shooting suspect', The Washington Post, 16 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Pew Research Centre 2011, 'The future of the global Muslim population - Projections for 2010-2030', viewed 24 March 2019,

Price, J 2019, 'More than 1 million sign petition to have Anning removed from Parliament', The Sydney Morning Herald', 17 March, viewed 17 March 2019,

Stone, M 2019, 'Christian host Bryan Fischer defends New Zealand terror attack as 'vigilante justice'', Progressive Secular Humanist, Patheos, 16 March, viewed 18 March 2019,

Taylor, A & Noack, R 2019, 'Australia provided fertile ground for Islamophobic culture, experts say', The Washington Post, 15 March, viewed 16 March 2019, 

Taylor, L 2011, 'Morrison sees vogtes in anti-Muslim strategy', The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February, viewed 16 March 2019,

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Pell conviction - a character test of his defenders

The Pell conviction - a character test of his defenders

This week the world witnessed the extraordinary revelation that the third most powerful Catholic in the world, the Cardinal once touted as the next pope, had been found guilty of child sex offences. Cardinal George Pell, former Vatican Treasurer, was convicted of molesting two choirboys during the 1990s. And yet, prominent people have come forward defending him regardless of his crimes.

One of the two choirboys died of a heroin overdose in 2014, while the other came forward about the abuse after his mate died. The one who died had been a normal 13 year old boy, but by 14 was using heroin and not wanting to sing in the choir anymore. Numerous times his mother asked if he had been molested, but each time he denied it. It is not unusual for children to deny being sexually abused. It is evident that something had happened to trigger his downfall; whether it was abuse at the hands of Pell or other clergy. Both boys had scholarships to the prestigious St Kevin's College. It is likely that one of the reasons for the boys not coming forward at the time, is that this would likely have affected their scholarship, putting financial pressure on their families.

Disturbingly, a number of people immediately leapt to Pell's defence following his conviction. Perennial shit-stirrers, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine immediately began the victim-blaming and waffled on about the unfairness of the conviction. Two former prime ministers jumped in to defend Pell immediately, namely Tony Abbott and John Howard; neither of whom are men of integrity anyway. Both Abbott and Howard had lied about refugees, demonised them, used them as political pawns to win elections and maintain their power, while locking them up in remote or off-shore detention centres indefinitely. Sadly, these two are considered conservative heroes, because truth is less important than fear-mongering, xenophobia and lies, as long as it panders to conservative bigotry.

Howard wrote a glowing character reference for Pell, which is exceptionally concerning and is indicative of the issues facing conservative politics and right-wing christianity. It's one thing to say that Pell had done a lot for the community, or that Howard didn't believe he was guilty. However, it is an entirely different ballgame to declare that 'none of these matters alter my opinion'(1)! Keep in mind, that 'these matters' involve Pell raping two twelve-year old boys. As far as Howard is concerned, he doesn't care what Pell did, he still thinks Pell is a great guy. Howard described Pell as a 'lively conversationalist', as if this outweighs sexually abusing two young boys.

According to people who knew him, Ted Bundy was a 'great guy' too. He was a great conversationalist with a small character flaw: he liked to rape and murder women. But hey, he was a 'very nice guy' and some people didn't believe he did the crimes he was eventually executed for. One of Bundy's friends even compared his character to President John F. Kennedy. But Bundy was a chameleon - he tailored his persona to fit each situation(2). Not unlike others who have dark secrets they are keeping from others ... such as those who molest children.

With all his gushing reverence of Pell, perhaps, Howard will go on to produce 'Pell the musical' and have some handsome Hollywood actor play the part of the misunderstood pedophile priest who is a lively conversationalist while raping a teenage boy.

It is almost inconceivable that Howard still thinks of Pell being a great guy regardless of his conviction as a pedophile.  Conservative politics is seeing this type of unconditional acceptance of depravity played out time after time. Regardless of what a politician has done, many conservatives will continue supporting them. Donald Trump is a case in point. He has been accused of deliberately walking into dressing rooms of teenage girls, of making lewd comments about dating them when they're a bit older. He has admitted on TV to sexually assaulting women by 'grabbing them on the pussy'. Yet conservatives, right-wing Christians, ignore this and continue voting for him. Trump once said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and people would still vote for him. He was right. It also seems that a Cardinal can rape teenage boys and still be welcomed by some conservatives and Christians.

Whether Pell's appeal against his conviction is successful or not, Howard's willingness to accept him regardless of 'these matters' will echo for years and reflect on the character of Howard. A man who was willing to still consider a convicted pedophile as a great person. For Howard, Pell's guilt or innocence wasn't the issue. If Pell really did those things, Howard's high opinion of him remains.

For all those conservatives who have defended Pell, particularly Howard, Abbott, Bolt, Devine, what if this was a Muslim cleric, or an African refugee, or an indigenous elder, who was convicted of raping two boys on the testimony of one eye-witness. Would they be defending him then? Howard lied about refugees throwing children overboard, so that he could stir hate and fear purely for his own political ends. Abbott also demonised refugees and asylum seekers. Bolt has been attacking Muslims, African gangs, indigenous people for years. He was convicted of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act over two of his articles because of the lies he wrote about indigenous people(3). It is a bit rich of Bolt to claim that Pell is a 'scapegoat not a child abuser'(4), when Bolt has been scapegoating refugees, indigenous people, Muslims and Africans for years. Current Prime Minister Morrison defended Pell in one breath, then the next was scapegoating refugees, saying they would cause Australians to be kicked off hospital waiting lists. Did he care that doctors stated this was garbage? Nope. He used them as scapegoats for years of government inaction and defunding of health budgets(5). But don't dare scapegoat George Pell for raping children.

Chief Executive of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Kon Karapanagiotidis, nailed it when he tweeted, 'to see the same people who are smearing innocent sick refugees as criminals to deny them medical care in Australia on basis of character, defend the character of a convicted pedophile tells me the ugly truth of how power, privilege, class, religion & race works in my country'.

The victim-blaming includes criticising victims for not reporting the crime immediately. Many victims of rape do not report it straight away for all sorts of reasons, including shame, threats from the perpetrator, and fear that they won't be believed or will be somehow blamed for it. The following letter to the editor, captures the pain that victims suffer when they aren't believed. Clearly, the victim-blaming from Bolt et al is the very reason many victims do not come forward. It is people such as Bolt, Howard, Abbott and all the other pedophile apologists, who cause victims to not report the crime.

Pell is not a nice person. As Arch-Bishop of Sydney, Pell sued a victim of child sexual abuse, on behalf of the Catholic church. John Ellis had sued the Catholic church because of the abuse he had suffered, but a legal loophole caused his lawsuit to fail. Pell was instrumental in this failure by developing what is called the 'Ellis Defence', which prevented individuals suing the church. Being even more vindictive, Pell then spent $1.5 million of church money to sue and destroy Ellis(6). As Arch-Bishop of Melbourne, he instituted the 'Melbourne Response' which capped payouts to $75,000 for victims of child sexual abuse only if they agreed to remain silent about the abuse(7). Pell also covered up child abuse by Australia's worst pedophile priest, George Ridsdale. In 1993, Pell supported Ridsdale when he appeared in court charged with 30 counts of sexual abuse, for which he was found guilty(8). Pell denied knowing about the abuse, even though they worked together and shared accommodation together. Pell supported a pedophile priest, just as Pell's supporters are doing now. Even before Pell was found guilty of child sexual abuse, he was an enabler of sexual abuse within the church.

Fairfax media revealed that Pell was at the centre of numerous allegations going back decades, in which he was accused of committing child abuse and covering-up sexual abuse by other priests. A former counsellor, Helen Last, who was hired by the Catholic Church to help victims of clerical abuse, has blown the whistle on allegations against Pell. She claims she was sacked in 1997 for raising concerns about the Doveton parish which had endured six pedophile priests in a row. She alleges that Pell and vicar-general Denis Hart, had warned her to stay away from Doveton. Some of the claims that Last documented in 1996, included one from a former seminarian who alleged that during the 1980s, Pell and several other priests were having sex parties with young men who were trainee clerics at Mannix College. Last heard many allegations of Pell covering up abuses and that Pell was one of a number of offenders from Ballarat to Melbourne(9).

In 2006, allegations were made of widespread child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory. Then Prime Minister John Howard responded by sending in the military(10). Howard did not hesitate to unleash the Army into indigenous communities on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. But when there's a white, Catholic priest convicted of child sexual offenses, does Howard send the military into the Catholic church? Of course not. Instead, he writes a letter praising the convicted pedophile regardless of the crime. This is what white privilege looks like. This is what someone looks like, who has no genuine concern for the welfare of children abused by pedophiles.

The craven hypocrisy of these right-wing, self-appointed defenders of truth and faith, is astounding. They accuse the left of being snow-flakes, of over-reacting with moral outrage whenever the smallest slight befalls them. Yet we have these right-wing snowflakes losing their collective minds over trivial issues such as the date for Australia Day or Cadbury's not writing Easter on what is clearly an Easter Egg. These same right-wing snowflakes then rush to defend a convicted pedophile without thought or concern for his victims, or the victims of the pedophile priests whose crimes he covered up.

Each of these defenders of Pell fought vigorously against marriage equality, claiming it would destroy family values and the moral fabric of society. Pell's defenders are not defending family values or social morals. Each of them has a long, shameful history of moral turpitude in which they lie about, attack and scape-goat innocent people. Pell's apologists are the biggest threat to 'family values'.

While people are entitled to their opinion on this case, to defend Pell regardless of whether he did the crime or not, speaks volumes about the character of those who revere him. And to revere Pell regardless of his documented behaviour of cover-up and silencing of victims, demonstrates a complete lack of concern or respect for victims of sexual abuse.

Instead of defending a perpetrator and an enabler of heinous crimes against children, Pell's defenders should defend the victims and their right to be listened to. They should be calling for justice for the victims of clerical abuse, not denigrating them.

No wonder many victims do not report these crimes, when they know they will experience such vitriol and debasement from politicians and the media. In fact, many victims don't report these crimes because they have no faith in the system. Yet when the system does work and a high-profile priest is convicted of sexual abuse of children, other prominent people criticise it and attack the victims.

Defending Pell regardless of his crimes, speaks volumes about the character of those who continue supporting him.


1. The Age, 27 August 2019, 'None of these matters alter my opinion': John Howard's character reference for George Pell, viewed 2 March 2019,

2. Psychology Today, Katherine Ramsland PhD, 18 August 2015, The Bundy Effect, viewed 3 March 2019,

3. ABC News, 29 September 2011, Bolt breached discrimination act, judge rules, viewed 1 March 2019,

4. Junkee, Tom Clift, 27 February 2019, Andrew Bolt And Miranda Devine Are Furiously Defending George Pell Because Of Course They Are, viewed 1 March 2019,

5. SBS News, Evan Young, 2 March 2019, Scott Morrison claims medevac bill will disrupt Australians' healthcare, viewed 3 March 2019,

6. Medium, Caitlin Johnstone, 27 February 2019, The Monster Pell Has Been Caged At Last, viewed 2 March 2019,

7. The Age, Nick O'Malley, 26 February 2019, Pell was always crucial to the church's war on its own victims, viewed 3 March 2019,

8., 26 February 2019, The sickening photograph that has haunted Cardinal George Pell for 26 years, viewed 2 March 2019,

9. Brisbane Times, Barney Zwartz, 7 March 2019, Church knew Pell was at centre of decades-old lurid sex claims, viewed 7 March 2019,

10. NITV News, Amanda Copp, 21 June 2017, Writer of report that sparked NT intervention condemns government, viewed 2 March 2019,