John Howard's career in government is coming to an end with the same cloud hanging over it as it began: RACISM.
There have been countless decisions by the Howard Government which have displayed a meanness to humanity beyond belief. But let's recall the inherent racism of Howard.
- Remember those dreadful political advertisements where Howard was shown with a map of Australia in black and white which purported that 70% of Australia would be in Aboriginal hands under Native Title. A false, racist beat-up.
- Remember his views on Asian immigration and that he had to swallow big and change his tune. Were his original views the views he held in his heart of hearts and he only changed for political expediency?
- Remember how Pauline Hanson was rebuffed so close to election day that the ballot papers could not reflect the fact that Howard had dis-endorsed her? And remember how many concessions were made to racist Hansonite views to ameliorate the near wipe-out of the National Party by One Nation.
The fact is that, under Howard, the Liberal Party is racist. Miss Eagle does not suggest that all Liberals or even Liberal Members of Parliament are racist. Miss Eagle believes that there is a dominant strand within the Liberal Party under Howard which means that racism is always bubbling away beneath the surface and influencing policies such as those on immigration, national security, citizenship, defence, foreign affairs and trade.
Howard and his team have long stood accused of dog-whistling. The term "dog-whistling" derives from the fact that dogs are able to hear high-pitched whistles and sounds that human beings cannot. Dog-whistling in its political context refers to being able to enunciate or signal views in a way that larges slices of the body politic don't detect the full meaning being enunciated or signalled but those who are on the right wavelength do.
So when Howard has slammed into "political correctness", the sub-text or dog-whistle message is that there are all those left-wing people out there who stop us saying what we want to say. What we want to say just happens to be slanderous, libellous, racist, discriminatory, hurtful, unkind and mean but we must have the political freedom to say it. All those politically correct lefties are wrong and are to be despised.
Similarly, Howard despises a black armband view of history. Woe betide the historians who have opened up Aboriginal history to scrutiny and outlined the massacres and other disasters that have befallen Aboriginal people since their contact with white settlers. This sort of activity is to be despised and those who challenge the black armband view are to be rewarded - even unto seats on the board of the ABC.
And now there is the written form of dog-whistling as practised in the seat of Lindsay whose retiring member of parliament, Jackie Kelly, has been such a great favourite of John Howard. Notice that Chijoff, whose husband was one of the ringleaders in this escapade, has not been nor will be dis-endorsed. Howard does not want a repeat of the Pauline Hanson episode, does he. Howard condemns it - and the rest of it is left with the NSW branch of the Liberal Party to deal with. Ethics are not high on the list of the Liberal Party in the seat of Lindsay - and, perhaps, in the NSW branch of the Liberal Party.
So Howard has finished as he had begun - a dog-whistling racist.