8 Tweets That Make You Think “Ok, This Was A Shitshow But Maybe There’s Still Hope”
Parliament disgraced itself today, but it wasn't all bad.
Last night, Australia took a step backwards when new senator Fraser Anning told Parliament that he supported a ban on Muslim immigration — seeing it as the “final solution” to our immigration problem — an advocated for a return to the White Australia policy.
Today, Anning’s maiden speech has dominated the news. He has refused to apologise for the comments, and later in the day his party leader Bob Katter said that he “1000 percent” supported Anning’s points.
But not everything that emerged from federal politics today was entirely depressing and racist. Instead of seeing a strict conservatives-against-progressives divide, there was near-unanimous, bipartisan condemnation of them.
1. A Muslim Labor Frontbencher Hugging A Jewish Liberal Frontbencher
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) August 15, 2018
Ed Husic and Josh Frydenberg are from opposing political parties, but they have famously become friends outside Parliament. Imagine what they would be thinking when they walked over and hugged one another after a senator used an anti-semitic line to promote an islamophobic policy.
2. When Everyone In The Labor And Liberal Parties Voted In Favour Of This Motion
— Australian Senate (@AuSenate) August 15, 2018
It’s rare that you see a Labor senator move a motion that directly supports something that a Liberal prime minister did. But that’s what happened today: Senator Penny Wong moved a motion that was supported by Labor, Liberal and Greens senators, which said that “race, faith or ethnic origin” will never decide who gets to live in Australia.
What’s even more incredible is the way Wong spoke to the motion.
“Yesterday in this chamber we saw a speech which was not worthy of this Parliament,” she said. “We saw a speech that did not reflect the heart of this country. We saw a speech that did not reflect the strong, independent, multicultural, tolerant, accepting nation we are.”
“Think of what might be happening in some of the schoolyards in Australia today,” she continued. “Those of us who have been on the receiving end of racism know what it feels like, and know what leaders say matters.”
“To be prejudiced against a group, the first thing you have to do is to diminish them. Is to say they are somehow lesser and not deserving of the empathy that you would want for yourself and your family. And that is the worst thing about the speech we saw last night. It sought to make one part of Australia less worthy of empathy.”
3. The PM Reaching Over The Aisle To Shake The Opposition Leader’s Hand
Hard to imagine a more powerful symbol in our parliament – applause from both sides as Prime Minister @TurnbullMalcolm and Opposition Leader @billshortenmp shake hands – having both condemned and rejected Senator Fraser Anning’s maiden speech #auspol @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/d0AOP9KqWc
— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) August 15, 2018
Love them or hate them, it’s good that both leaders of our major parties moved swiftly to condemn Anning’s comments.
4. The Tweet That Reminded Us Just How Multicultural Australia Is
The current bipartisan Senate motion condemning the Fraser Anning speech is being led by a migrant from Malaysia, one from Belgium, one born in NZ, one born in Scotland. The first Australian born speaker was a bloke called Di Natale. Maybe we’re better than we think. pic.twitter.com/iAy1ShNhpd
— Hugh Riminton (@hughriminton) August 14, 2018
Australia’s parliament is by no means perfectly representative, but it goes some of the way to show the country’s diversity. Slowly, our parliament is becoming more culturally diverse. Labor and the LNP have never been lead by a politician who grew up speaking a language other than English, but the Greens are lead by Richard Di Natale, whose parents were born in Italy (baby steps).
Even better, the senate is about to swear in its first ever female, Muslim senator. In fact, I reckon that deserves its own number.
5. The Senate Is About To Swear In Its First Ever Female, Muslim Senator And She’s Ready To Fight Racists
I’m a Muslim migrant, I’m about to be a Senator and there’s not a damn thing Fraser Anning can do about it.https://t.co/tKkH6xqBPw
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) August 15, 2018
In a comment piece for Junkee, Mehreen Faruqi reminded us that she was going nowhere:
“If Senator Anning really wants to learn about the value of multicultural Australia,” she wrote. “He knows where to find me. I’m heading to the Senate and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.”
6. When You’re Too Racist For Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson speaking in the Senate condemns Fraser Anning’s speech: “Straight from Goebbel’s handbook from Nazi Germany.” pic.twitter.com/PJDhFRzgt7
— Brett Mcleod (@Brett_McLeod) August 15, 2018
Anning and Hanson aren’t on the best terms. They had a messy political break up which lead to Anning joining Bob Katter’s party when he came into the senate. But it brings a happy tear to our eye to see Australia’s most famous racist condemn Australia’s now-second most famous racist (again, baby steps).
7. When We Were Reminded That Hopefully This Will All Be Over Soon
The good news is Anning’s term expires next year, as do the terms of Brian Burston, David Leyonhjelm and Peter Georgiou. Ensuring they aren’t re-elected won’t clear all the trash out of Parliament, but it’ll be a bloody good start. https://t.co/W2eqWXtNAI
— Alex McKinnon (@mckinnon_a) August 14, 2018
Don’t. Vote. Them. In. Again. Please.
8. More Hugs
Labor MPs Ed Husic and Anne Aly embrace as the House of Representatives condemns Senator Fraser Anning’s first speech pic.twitter.com/QDv4w2DjLC
— Alex Ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) August 15, 2018