Monthly Archives: March 2013

Respect for Orwell

Terry McCrann (“1984, The sequel”, Herald-Sun, 26/3) invokes George Orwell to bolster his criticism of our ill-starred but nonetheless democratically elected government. This is a disservice to the memory of Orwell, a lifelong Leftist and class warrior who, if alive today, would favour Labor over the Coalition, and the Greens over both. In particular, Orwell would have supported the ownership restrictions in Labor’s failed media bill. One of his pet hates was newspaper magnates using their mastheads to peddle anti-Left propaganda such as McCrann’s.

Morrison’s blunder

The Australian’s editorial “All compassion, no solutions” (5/3) and Chris Kenny’s follow-up piece “Racism rant won’t wash with the public” (9/3) both attempt to apologise for Scott Morrison’s recent grubby dog-whistling, with misleading claims that “issues of identity, security and refugee status remain” for asylum seekers released into the community. In fact, normal identity, health and security checks are always done before moving people into community detention; any found to be a security risk are not released. 

Morrison’s latest blunder has little to do with community policing, and even less with immigration, “border protection” or deaths at sea. “Behavioural protocols” and “tracking” for asylum-seekers, among other “commonsense” proposals conveniently omitted from Kenny’s list, trample democratic principles – including equality before the law, which applies regardless of residency status.

Kenny denies any racial element in Morrison’s position. But can anyone recall such radical suggestions during the influx of white refugees from the Balkan wars?

Kenny may regard these concerns as “moral posturing”, but even Morrison’s colleagues share them, and several have already wisely distanced themselves from his remarks. Kenny should do the same.