James Massola is a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and stated on Twitter:
“I got some over-the-top, partisan responses after tweeting a bit of Josh Frydenberg’s speech yesterday. This one – comparing the Liberals to the Nazis – is the worst. I am genuinely shocked at what a cesspool #auspol has become. When did we lose the capacity to politely disagree?”1
The reply to which he referred was in the form of a meme and consisted of two columns. The column on the left was under a nazi swastika and listed the following: “Right Wing – Conservative; Opposed to Communists; Opposed to Unions; Wanted to eliminate Jews; Opposed to Immigration; Opposed to Working Class; Supports Corporations; Wants Heterosexuals to breed; Supports WAR; Believe in a Church State; Fixated with Law and Order; Propaganda laced with lies and full of victim blaming; Spies on own people”. The right column, under the Liberal Party logo, listed much the same: “Right Wing – Conservative; Opposed to Socialists; Opposed to Unions; Wants to eliminate Muslims; Opposed to Immigration; Opposed to Working Class; Supports Corporations; Wants Heterosexuals to breed; Supports WAR; Believe in a Church State; Fixated with Law and Order; Propaganda laced with lies and full of victim blaming; Spies on own people”.1
While most memes are simplistic at best (including this one), this is not the first time that parallels have been drawn between attitudes of the Liberal Party and the far right (whether nazis or otherwise).
Massola asks ‘when did we lose the capacity to politely disagree?” I have a few suggestions:
Perhaps it was when the Howard government lied about asylum seekers throwing children overboard2, or when they used the dog whistle to demonise asylum seekers and used the Tampa incident to win an election3. Perhaps it was when Julia Gillard was the target of all sorts of opprobrium while Prime Minister, where reference was made to her breasts, her backside and apparently her vagina4, and was called ‘Juliar’ ‘Bob Brown’s bitch’ and subject of chants of ‘ditch the witch’ ‘liar, liar’ at a rally for climate change deniers5. Perhaps it was when Alan Jones suggested Gillard’s recently deceased father died of shame6, and that Julia Gillard should be murdered by being dumped out at sea7. Perhaps it was when disgraced Liberal MP Andrew Laming shared a photoshopped image of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in a nazi uniform (her grandparents had been tortured by the Nazis during the Second World War)8. Perhaps it was when Murdoch’s Telegraph ‘newspaper’ had a front page illustration of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in nazi uniforms9. Perhaps it was when Victorian Premier Dan Andrews was called ‘Dictator Dan’ by the malevolent Alan Jones10 and in Murdoch’s Herald Sun ‘newspaper’11, and Dictator Dan and Chairman Dan by sundry Victorian Liberal MPs12.
This is what gets me about so many (but not all) Australian journalists these days; their apparent inability to contemplate what they are about to say; their inability to retain some perspective; and their apparently very short memory, such that what has gone before does not register in their consciousness, or perhaps their conscience. If they could defeat these shortcomings before they opened their gobs, perhaps they would not make fools of themselves so often.