Indigenous professor and public commentator, Marcia Langton planted a stake in the ground on last night’s Q&A, condemning Australian parliamentarians for allowing alt-right provocateurs to spread hate freely.
Referencing the neo-Nazi protest at St Kilda Beach in January (an event attended by former Senator Fraser Anning), Langton lamented Australia’s lack of legal repercussions against inciters of hate and fascism.
“I don’t understand why Australia didn’t– just as Europe did– many years ago, make it a criminal offence to deny the Holocaust.” she said.
“When I saw those lunatic fascists in Melbourne on St Kilda Beach giving the heil Hitler salute, in our city– and Fraser Anning was with them– I was just enraged that there was no law to stop that. The police were there, there was a counter protest, but it just should be illegal. Then they daubed anti-semitic filth all over the walls around the suburb, including on a Jewish old people’s home”.
Langton then went on to speak about the pervasiveness and prevalence of this behaviour– the reason why she supported commercial litigator and refugee Nyadol Nyuon’s Change.org campaign to block right wing extremists from coming to the country. The successful petition generated nearly 100,000 signatures.
But outside of social protests like Nyuon’s campaign, Langton emphasised the responsibility of parliamentarians to shift the status quo- a duty they routinely forget.
When Pauline Hanson’s motion ‘It’s Okay to be White’ was backed by several Liberal MPs, Langton said she “felt sick” and “started to lose hope”.
“When our senators voted for Pauline Hanson’s idiotic resolution ‘It’s Okay to be White’ — which is a Ku Klux Klan slogan, I felt sick, and I started to lose hope. I thought: ‘How can apparently intelligent people vote for that resolution? I was so disgusted,” she said.
“Just look at the list of people that voted for that resolution. It’s shocking. It’s absolutely deeply, deeply shocking. And to this day, I have to say I’m going to find it very, very difficult to be civil to the people who voted for that resolution in the Senate.
“This movement has brought disgrace to our Parliament, this filth is in our Parliament, and there’s barely an objection. Why didn’t the people responsibly in parliament put a halt to this? How could anybody let Pauline Hanson’s resolution go through to the Senate Chamber? How could that happen?
In her final remarks, Langton stressed the importance of re-education, suggesting many Australians don’t know crucial history that could change their perspective on these issues.
“I think really, the whole of Australia needs to be re-educated and the government had better start doing it,” she said.
“Do you know there are young Australians at school who don’t know what the Holocaust is? They don’t know anything about it. Most people don’t know about the genocide convention, they don’t know about the Nuremberg trials, and you know, I could go on and on. I would like to see the government take these issues much more seriously.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) May 27, 2019