Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


Anning, Senator Fraser; Censure

11:35 am

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I want to get a few of my thoughts on the record today. We've talked a lot, and rightly so, about the role the polity—this chamber, the other place—has played in the rise of the politics of division, hate speech and race-baiting. I want to comment a little bit on the role that the media in this country has also played in this.

It's quite clear, from Senator Anning's statements in his first speech when he talked in here about 'the final solution', that a policy adviser had said to him—and these are Senator Anning's own words—that he needed something that disgusting and that shocking to get his speech covered in the media. Since I have been here, I've noticed this trend towards outrage, towards shock. I noticed it with my previous Tasmanian colleague Senator Lambie. She was one of the first people in this place to race-bait, to talk about banning burqas and Muslim immigration. I've seen it degenerate over the years. It's about getting a headline. It's about their personal gain. It's about politics.

When I reflect on the role that the media plays in this, I recall what my previous Leader of the Australian Greens said when he talked about the 'hate media' in this country. I will call it out. There are Rupert Murdoch publications in this country, like The Daily Telegraph, that everybody knows, black and white, have traded on dog-whistling around Muslim immigration, around Muslim terrorism, around immigration, and so on and so forth. We've seen it in recent weeks, with Sky TV. How do they get people to come in day after day, hour after hour, to sing off the same song sheet and say the same words about the Greens? How do these Murdoch mouthpieces operate so effectively in this country?

I'm sorry, but we absolutely should be reflecting on the role the polity has played in race-baiting and the rise of hate speech, and ultimately the grooming and radicalisation of an Australian man who became a white terrorist—and I use those two words very carefully because they're often used in the hate media in discussions about Muslims. This man was groomed and radicalised, here and overseas, and the media played an important role in that.

So, while we should rightfully be reflecting on our role and how we can improve it, and always calling out race-baiting and hate speech within our own ranks, it is absolutely essential that the media, especially elements of the Murdoch media, do exactly the same thing in this country. They need to be called out every time they race-bait. They need to be called out for the role that they've played, and they absolutely need to change that as well.


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