After the Charlottesville neonazi-antinazi demonstrations and murder, Donald Trump maintained that both neo-Nazis and the anti-Nazis were to blame for the violence, and that there were good people ‘on both sides’, despite the neo-Nazis shouting anti-Semitic slogans and one of their number committing the murder1. Now, in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has had a similar brainfart. He has seemingly agreed with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. The latter equated the disgraceful utterances of Fraser Anning2, who blamed the atrocity in Christchurch on Muslim immigration into New Zealand, with the statement by the Greens holding Dutton to account for stoking anti-Islamic sentiment. Indeed, he stated that the Greens were “just as bad” as Anning3. When Dutton gets caught out, he sometimes flails around striking at anything just to make himself feel better.
In a speech Morrison gave a day or so ago, he said, in part, he wanted to “remove the demarcation lines between Australians”4. This is rich, coming from someone who has spent most of his political life deeply inscribing demarcation lines into Australian society, by constantly demonising asylum-seekers who happen to be mostly Muslim, and equating asylum-seekers with “paedophiles, rapists and murderers”5, and by berating the Muslim community for not doing enough to discourage radicalisation6. This is in addition to his adherence to the failed neoliberal ‘trickle-down’ economic model, which has only increased the disparity between rich and poor7. What is all this if not separating Australians from one another?
Morrison also denounced racism and “mindless tribalism”4. This from someone who was quite happy to use the fear of Muslims in the Australian populace for political advantage8, and was keen to use the African gang scare campaign in the leadup to the Victorian election late last year9. Referring to mindless tribalism is just a way of saying that all ‘tribes’ are to blame for atrocities like Christchurch. This is much the same as Trump saying there are ‘good people on both sides’. While Morrison did mention the atrocity, there was no acknowledgement of the role played in normalising the bigotry by this government and the Murdoch media. It is just lying by omission, yet again. The lying never seems to end.