By Situation Theatre 22/3/2019
The period shortly after the white supremacist massacre of 50 Muslims is not the right time to send a clear anti-racist message by committing to preference One Nation last. It is the right time to send a clear pro-racist message by reminding everyone that Muslim refugees could be rapists, paedophiles, or murderers.
Without fear or favour, Pentecostal Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde approach to a 36-minute interview with Muslim journalist Waleed Aly, a man he had threatened to sue only days prior for doing his job.
At several points in the interview, the man who’s been involved in 120 actions to dehumanise mostly Muslim refugees over six years, seemed to have an identity crisis. Much of the time he appeared to forget his vital role in laying the groundwork for white supremacist violence and embraced an alternative identity as a teenager three eccies deep into a night he’ll regret in the morning.
It was especially jarring when the man who backed Peter Dutton’s claims that refugees would steal the hospital beds of Australians said “We need to keep hugging each other”. We all know the only thing the man who dismissed evidence of child sexual abuse in offshore camps keeps hugging is his “I stopped these” boat trophy. The man who incited a riot on Manus Island leading to the death of Reza Barati also waxed lyrical with lines like “The great victim is innocence, the great victim is peace”, which was either deeply ironic or a profound realisation about the consequences of his own failure of leadership.
The man who stood by Peter Dutton’s claim that Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi’s response to Christchurch was as bad as Fraser Anning’s also said “I wish we could disagree better, respect each other more, and not jump to conclusions about others”.
The man who insists on describing asylum seekers as “illegals” said “The answer is not to retreat into tribes. Let’s not line people up in teams.”
The man who spent $60,000 on a press conference in an empty Christmas Island prison to convince Australians he’s the only one to protect them from a Muslim naval invasion said “I’ve always been deeply concerned about attitudes towards people of Muslim faith in our community. I’ve always tried to bring people together.”
During another part of the interview, the man who back in 2010 attacked Labor for flying 22 asylum seekers to from Christmas Island to Sydney to attend the funerals of family members, said “Judge me not by my pursuit of an anti-Muslim strategy, nor my failure to condemn the extremist comments of my own coalition team, nor even admit the party has an Islamophobia problem, nor my six years of dehumanising, denigrating, imprisoning, torturing and even killing Muslim refugees. Judge me by the fact that I’ve been on a couple of hikes with some Muslims.”
The man who has violated more UN human rights conventions than the number of Liberal ministers embroiled in corruption scandals also said it would be hard to find another member like him when it came to relations with the Muslim community, and that’s probably true, arguably with the exception of Peter Dutton.
His identity crisis seemed to end when the interview got onto the safer ground of how Muslims could be rapists, muderers, or paedophiles, or perhaps all three. The truth-telling PM who falsely claimed Save the Children “coached” asylum seekers to self-harm on Nauru, said “you’ve got to be honest with people” so he was “not going to sugar coat” that threat.
He concluded the interview by saying “we’ve gotta love all Australians. But we’ve also gotta keep hating those foreign Muslims we store in island prisons because otherwise we’re absolutely fucked six ways from Sunday at the next election.”