The Coalition just can’t help itself, and why should it ? A good dogwhistle to the heaving sea of xenophobic paranoia lodged in this nation’s 45-75 yrs demographic and mostly glued to Sydney talkback radio throughout electorally crucial slabs of Sydney’s metropolitan area is still worth a seat or five.
That’s why Joe Hockey and Sharman Stone (Shadow minister for Immigration and Citizenship) have both nonchalantly dropped the aside in recent times that
yellow scum China will end up holding a fair share of Australia’s debt over the next decade.
First was Ms. Stone, staining an otherwise classy performance on ABC’s Q&A of May 7th ‘Taxes, Torture and The Taliban’ by observing that we’re accumulating debt at a rate of a couple of billion dollars a week, all borrowed mostly from China. From the transcript:
SHARMAN STONE: … we’ve got a long way to go and we’re accumulating debt at a rate of a couple of billion dollars a week, all borrowed mostly from China; borrowed for the future generation to have to pay back. Now, you can’t generate jobs…
TONY JONES: Is it bad to borrow from China, by the way, the way you said that – I’m just wondering?
SHARMAN STONE: I beg your pardon?
TONY JONES: Is it particularly bad to borrow from China?
SHARMAN STONE: It’s bad…
GREG SHERIDAN: It’s bad for China.
SHARMAN STONE: It’s bad for a government to borrow money to throw into individual’s pockets at $900 [rabbits on dodging Jones’ question.]
This was followed up by Joe Hockey on the following week’s Q&A, ‘Budget Special From Canberra’, in which Hockey foreshadowed Coaltion plans for a publicly-accessible register of government borrowings.
JOE HOCKEY: …we’re going to move an amendment in the senate at the first available opportunity, to make sure there is a proper disclosure about who we are borrowing from because we’re borrowing on a scale that we’ve never done before…
Jones immediately identified the Dog Whistle…
TONY JONES: What is it you’re worried about, though? Are you worried that we’re borrowing from China? Are you worried we’re borrowing from the Middle East?
Hockey confirmed he’s up for a bit of Yellow Peril scaremongering:
JOE HOCKEY: Well, China…
TONY JONES: Which countries are you actually worried about?
JOE HOCKEY: I think it’s important to know where we are borrowing from because ultimately you take the government of China. If the government of China is now the biggest single lender to the Australian government, the Australian people should know it.
The Return Of FrankenHoward
I find it disturbing that the Coaliton is still willing to fan the flames of Xenophobia in this country.
Having been though the extremely distasteful Howard years in which Hanson’s xenphobia was not criticised until her votes returned to the Coalition, One Nation supporters were mollycoddled and wooed, in which the existence and experiences of the Stolen Generation was denied and Aboriginal entitlements portrayed as a fraudulent and bogus ‘industry’, in which the provocations to racially-motivated thuggery of Alan Jones were defended and the thugs themselves sympathized with and in which refugees fleeing war and persecution were portayed as villanous, deceitful dole-bludgers, it is incredible that the Coalition still wishes to plumb these skanky depths.
It is as if the undead Howard-Coalition cadaver of 2007 has risen again, unable to lie still through the sheer intensity of xenophobic poison Howard injected into it over the period of his leadership.
I’m very critical of John Howard. He wrecked the party and himself. He just couldn’t let go and I think he believed he could win, but he was completely out of touch. I blame Janette. I think she’s very ambitious.”
I agree with Dame Murdoch. Observing Howard’s Prime Ministership was like watching a man lose his soul in public while enjoying the experience.
Other Legacies Of Howard
Howard purged his party of actual liberals and even conservatives insisting instead on turning the Liberal Party into the political arm of Business-Corporate interests typified by the forces that created the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and attempting to de-legitimize any other viewpoint from the Australian polity.
Electoral support for this horrible vision was gained by pork-barelling the Middle Class and inflaming xenophobic paranoia in the blue-collars and pensioners. Along the way he vandalised the economy by introducing a severe structural deficit into the budget by the aforementioned middle-class welfare and tax cuts. Howard’s budgets and welfare could only be sustained by a permanent commodities boom. Now the hard times are here, the Labor party will once again have to do the work of economic (this time fiscal) reform that Howard could not stomach for the simple interests of getting and maintaining power.
Stumbling Onto A Strategy
The Coalition’s current Yellow Peril dogwhistle appears to have come about from justified concerns about Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon’s relationship with Helen Liu who is a roving functionary for the Chinese government.
This thread, More On The Yellow Peril, at Lavartus Prodeo contains that story and the comments make for useful supplementary reading including a suggestion that the Australian right are merely following the American right in smearing China since it constitutes a rival to US Economic/Military hegemony.
Breathing Foul Air
It is disturbing and offensive that the Liberals cannot discipline themselves to refrain from feeding at the trough of xenophobia. It only poisons them and us.