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The Rise of Australian Far-Right Politics

Milo Yianoppolous has imported his performance politics to our shores. Meanwhile six hundred men on Manus Island are kept out, and pushed into shipping containers with a wall of guards wielding batons.

But Australia can’t possibly be sucked into the chaos that engulfs Donald Trump’s presidency, can it? Nah, we’re the fellas who take it easy and sink piss, not the type who vote to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.

And while we laugh at Youtube compilations of ‘Trump’s stupidest moments’, we ignore that our government keeps 1,351 refugees up in offshore detention centres in countries like Papua New Guinea, whom we pressure to pay for and resettle our refugees on their land.

It is partially because of this pandering towards xenophobia that the popularity of the far-right has risen among Australians recently. Every Australian TV show has sought a ‘balanced’ discussion of the same-sex marriage debate with a No-voter and a Yes-voter throwing down. We’ve given a platform to the homophobic right.

Meanwhile Milo Yianoppolous has performed sold out gigs across our country. The arrival of Milo’s theatrics is timed with the events of our news cycle for maximum coverage: (1) the postal survey left wounds on the queer community and on Australia that are still fresh and (2) it emboldened the voice for the far-right of our country in its campaign for ‘free speech’ to dominate our news cycle with discrimination against queer people.

But Milo is one more headline in a thread of sagas that have dominated our news recently. The purpose of modern propaganda is not just to mislead, but to drown the truth in a rising sea of distractions.

So while we are busy celebrating that Aussies voted for love #voteYAAAS we are distracted from our government signing confidential and multi-billion dollar weapons deals with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who whips, imprisons, and tortures its own gay citizens.

It’s obvious that Malcolm Turnbull has pushed the postal survey out of self-interest rather than good will. The dual citizenship crisis leaves Turnbull’s government hanging upon the thinnest parliamentary majority. His coalition’s survival rests on support from the far-right of his own party, while he competes with the further-right One Nation for votes.

In all of this, Australia has chosen to stay on a sinking ship, and that ship is our alliance with America. Turnbull has announced we’d follow Trump into war with the speed of a tweet – despite that this is a deeply unpopular move – but he saw it fit to consult the Australian public in a $122m postal-survey that no one wanted, hurt us, and drained our energy dry. This moment in our democracy is a farce.

And with our readiness to join them in war, Australia has been welcomed into the abyss of the American political circus; where theatre come first, and sensibility last.

We are now stuck in a theatre that never closes. Like the American presidential elections – which saw the world bombarded with a new Trump headline every day since mid-2015 – we have been drowned in a debate about whether we should have a plebiscite, then whether this was a plebiscite at all, and – after all this – when it was decided this was a non-binding postal survey we had a few months more of endless campaigning for the No-vote and Yes-vote.

We are not part of a normal news cycle anymore. When it comes to properly discussing our home-grown Aussie issues, we’d would rather laugh at America than self-analyze, and sift through the bulllshit.

And just like America, our Australian news cycle is running in overdrive, sapping our mental energy, and those who hold power over us are learning how to exploit it. Our ignorance towards our problems is exactly what makes us primed for the same mistakes.

Beneath the mass-distraction of the marriage equality survey lies the crimes against refugees on Manus Island, the corruption behind the Adani mine, and a cyber-war with Russia where we back America blindly but no one knows what the fuck is going on.

We don’t pay attention anymore because our governments can hide any injustice behind a smoke-screen of exhausting scandals.

And amidst all of this we have become a breeding ground for extremism which supports the xenophobia behind Manus Island, the crony capitalism behind Adani, and the warmongering against the Russians.

Russia isn’t perfect, and as Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov said himself, “the point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Australia is not impregnable to the far-right threat that brought Trump into the White House.

Awareness is our most powerful defence. Let’s keep our heads above the drowning, rising tide of information. Let’s fight the good fight.

Yaakov Aharon Dec 11

Commenting on this Story will be automatically closed on February 12, 2018.