In 2011, then opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, sought to persuade the shadow cabinet to take advantage of what were perceived to be increasing concerns among the general public about Australian Muslims. That there was opposition by some members of the shadow cabinet to the suggestion is neither here nor there. The fact is that since coming to office, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government has used Australian Muslims as political tools to divert attention from its fledgling and uninspiring leadership.
Yesterday’s national security statement by the prime minister was no exception.
The message was unequivocal and unapologetic. The rhetoric, totalising and dehumanising. Australian Muslims were invested with meanings that positioned them as the antagonists of “Australian values”, as exploitative, duplicitous and problematic “guests”.
One might say the speech was almost refreshing in its unambiguous and unapologetic bigotry. I suspect that the prime minister, like me, had grown rather tired of dog-whistle politics and euphemisms.