Australian Notes

Australian notes

3 February 2018

9:00 AM

3 February 2018

9:00 AM

18C for Tarneen?

Last Friday marked the 230th anniversary of a penal colony being founded on the shores of Sydney Cove by Royal Navy Captain Arthur Phillip. Australia Day and the Australian Open tennis finals mark the end of the summer holidays and the start of the school, work and political year.

But as we heard ad nauseam all January, not everyone’s happy. Professional black and white agitators backed by the luvvie Left, virtue-signalling columnists and narcissistic celebrities, decry Australia Day as the ‘invasion’ of the continent by Europeans, starting two centuries of dispossession, misery and exploitation for Aborigines. Protests got ugly in Melbourne when one speaker, a young, well-fed indigenous woman, Tarneen Onus-Williams, of some mob called Warriors for Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), berated onlookers, ‘F— Australia, hope it f—–g burns to the ground. If you celebrate Australia Day, f—er, you’re celebrating the death of my ancestors’.  In Brisbane, police were so fearful of the marching mob that they forced Queensland’s Parliament House to lower its flags to half-mast, like Louis XVI was forced to wear a Revolutionary cap after the storming of the Tuileries.

Against incitement like this, Malcolm Turnbull did his best to keep his head down while muttering platitudes for the status quo. Bill Shorten did his damndest to express no view whatever. It was left to Tony Abbott to defend British settlement and the Western civilisation and values it brought. ‘It’s possible that Aboriginal life could have continued for some time without modernity bursting upon it, had governor Arthur Phillip not raised the Union flag and toasted the king on January 26, 1788, but it’s hard to imagine a better Australia in the absence of the Western civilisation that began here from that date’, Abbott wrote in a fine piece for the Australian. ‘The rule of law, equality of the sexes, scientific curiosity, technological progress, responsible government — plus the constant self-criticism and lust for improvement that makes us so self-conscious of our collective failings towards aboriginal people — all date from then; and may not have been present to anything like the same extent had the settlers fanning out from Sydney Cove been other than British’.

Yet the most powerful voice in defence of Australia Day wasn’t middle-aged white bloke Abbott, but the mild-mannered Aboriginal councillor from Alice Springs, Jacinta Price. She has spoken loud and proud, rightly dismissing the ‘change the date’ agitation as ‘a pathetic attempt at appeasing resentment, anger and white guilt’. Price says she has ‘lived and worked all of my life in the far north, in Darwin and Alice Springs and in remote (Aboriginal) communities. I have never heard anybody talk of the pain of Australia Day. Maybe there are some people, but everybody I know celebrates the day with enjoyment and pride’.


But let’s return to Ms Onus-Williams, an Oxfam employee and appointed to two publicly-funded advisory bodies by the ideological Left Victorian Labor government of Daniel Andrews. It’s notable neither Turnbull nor Andrews so far have condemned Ms Onus-Williams for her, ahem, incendiary comments last week.  Yet her vile implication is that all those disagreeing with her – let’s call them ‘you f—ers’ – are racist. It’s hate speech if ever there was. Her comments merely are racial vilification directed at everyone who isn’t Aboriginal.

If our elected leaders are going to overlook such hate speech, ‘you f—ers’ have another way to get redress. Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act survives like a cockroach after a nuclear blast, so let’s use it for good not evil. If it’s fair for the Human Rights Commission to use it to prosecute innocent students of Queensland University of Technology, it’s fair to apply it to Tarneen Onus-Williams.

Let’s run the 18C tests over Ms Onus-Williams’s hate speech:

The act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people: ‘You f—ers’ appears to mean anyone not an aborigine. That is a bloody big group of people but a group it is, and the offence and insult her disgusting comments generated speak for themselves.

The act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group:  Accusing ‘you f—ers’ of rejoicing at the deaths of her ancestors, and threatening to burn Australia to the ground, surely is a racist comment motivated by racial hatred.

If the Human Rights Commission has any integrity, it should do as it so disgracefully did to the QUT students and initiate its own investigation and prosecution against Ms Onus-Williams. Let her be called to account for her offensiveness to Australians of all other races, colours and creeds. Somehow, however, the Commission would weasel its way to defending rather than condemning this otherwise insignificant individual. She is, after all, an Aboriginal woman, not a white middle-class male. To the grievance industry that protects her, her savagery is noble.

The racist Australia that Tarneen ‘Burn Baby Burn’ Onus-Williams condemns so vilely, where Aborigines were treated contemptibly well into the twentieth century, is long gone.  This pathetic woman, and mindless activists like her, spit in the faces of all Australians who so willingly lend generous helping hands to help overcome historic Aboriginal disadvantage in health, education, living standards and community self-determination.  All the arrogant rabble-rousing of the Onus-Williamses of this world won’t change that.

Fortunately, and despite the best efforts of the likes of Ms Onus-Williams, there is no Australian identity crisis. We like things as they are. Opinion polls – including in luvvie house journal the Guardian no less – show 70 per cent plus support for 26 January and a positive view of Australian history. It seems most Australians want Australia Day left alone, with its citizenship ceremonies, backyard barbeques and yet another Roger Federer win at the Australian Open. Take that, Tarneen.

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