Thursday, 13 February 2020
Statements by Members
In 2020 we should be talking about fascism as a historical curse of the past and not as a present threat; yet, here we are, a dangerous place in history where far Right populism is back on the rise in Europe and in America, and we need to be vigilant against those who promote it here in Australia.
The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, has a history of promoting far Right tropes, including anti-Semitic ones. He leads a government which has used its power to attack freedom of the press, the judiciary, the opposition, academia, NGOs, asylum seekers and religious groups. Under his leadership, Freedom House has downgraded Hungary to only 'partly free'. So what on earth was former Prime Minister Tony Abbott doing appearing as a headline act at the Budapest Demographic Summit, a Hungarian-government sponsored conference, together with far Right leaders from Italy's Lega party and Marine Le Pen's French National Front?
At this conference, Mr Orban spoke about the replacement theory, which argues a sinister conspiracy theory exists from globalist elites to breed out whiteness from Europe to collapse Western civilisation. Tony Abbott not only appeared at this conference but also praised the man who made these horrid racist comments, saying he had the 'courage to defy political correctness'. Boris Johnson's UK Conservative Party gave a formal reprimand to one of their MPs, Daniel Kawczynski, who attended the conference, and yet the so-called Liberal Party of Australia still fetes Tony Abbott as a hero. There's nothing liberal about Viktor Orban's reign over Hungary.
Just a few months ago, the Morrison government appointed Tony Abbott to the board of the Australian War Memorial. Australian soldiers fought fascists to defend freedom and democracy in this country. No man who stands next to these sorts of far Right antidemocratic ideologues should be on the board of the Australian War Memorial, not even a former Prime Minister of this country. Former Prime Minister Abbott should apologise, or he should remove himself from the board of the Australian War Memorial, a position I think everyone in this House would agree is of the highest importance. I will finish with this: we need to be vigilant about racism in this country. We need to call it out at every single turn. We are seeing it on our streets, and it is time this government took action on it.