As we know, white people, real white people, aren’t ethnic, aren’t racialised. Thus the Law Council felt free, in its Senate submission on the Crimes Amendment (Bail and Sentencing) Bill 2006, to continually distinguish between “people of multicultural backgrounds” and others. It doesn’t mean that one parent is French and the other German. This is multiculturalism at its finest.
public policy is class war continued by other means
The apparent speed of the intervention, the manufactured need for haste rather than discussion, the hundreds of pages of legislation rushing through parliament, what does this tell us, the pace of this intervention, the lack of build-up?
More than anything, I think it says that Indigenous people were already viewed by many as at best irresponsible children, already positioned at the margins of visibility and of citizenship, if not humanity, so that only a short burst of moral panic and implicit racism was necessary, rather than any substantial period of campaigning for their new status, of preparing the category of the outback Indigenous population as the people who need to be dominated, for their own good, with overwhelming surveillance, virtually total control of spending and consumption and no ability to appeal the content of this control, forced labour as punishment and because idle hands are the devil’s work, the seizure of land and property with which they cannot be entrusted, omnipresent police, and, significantly and so far without much media attention or comment, dictatorial management by one person appointed by the feds with wide-ranging powers over institutions, over services, over policing and over the lives of those to be controlled.
I keep repeating and re-formulating this list as if somehow these pieces might fall into a different shape.
The ease with which this intervention gained bipartisan support, with which people succumbed to Protect The Children hysteria, the credulity about governmental motivations - if the path of this intervention runs smooth, if nothing disrupts this consensus, if no solidarity beyond the “affected areas” can develop and touch the untroubled domination of these occupied territories, then the field of the possible can only expand. If this massive, intentional governmental ramping up of authoritarian, institutionalised racism against Indigenous people was difficult to imagine only a few years ago - for many, only a few months ago - then the unchallenged ’success’ of such an experiment in violent social engineering can only open the door for much worse, for Indigenous people and for many others also. This ease is truly frightening.