…Then the enforcer, Tony Abbott, brought the hammer down on Martin Pakula, the Victorian secretary of the National Union of Workers, who is part of the coup and was busy stacking Crean out of his seat.
Abbott: “Mr Pakula may be very appealing to Cambodian-speaking people, who are just 2 per cent of the electorate of Hotham but 30 per cent of the Labor preselectors of Hotham … he [Crean] still has the Greek branches but he has lost the Spanish branches, the Vietnamese branches as well as the Cambodian branches. I could not help but think, ‘Are there any Australians left in the so-called Australian Labor Party?'”
Opposition members interjecting.
Anthony Albanese, the shadow minister for the environment and the embodiment of the Labor machine, jumped to his feet.
Albanese: “On a point of order, Mr Speaker, the minister should withdraw that extraordinarily outrageous slur on every Australian who does not have an Anglo-Celtic name in this country. We have heard the dog whistle from this mob one after the other, but this minister, as usual, has gone too far and I ask him to withdraw it.”
Apparently, in Albanese’s world, it is an outrageous slur to call an Australian an Australian, rather than a member of some hyphenated ethnic sub-group. This is the worldview of a man whose career in politics has been entirely inside the party machine. A world that creates the classic insular, inbred political cretinism that is behind the coup unfolding in Victoria…
Tony Abbott’s smart mouth on this occasion revealed a deep-seated belief that any person without an Anglo name is not a REAL Australian. The dichotomy in his statement could not have been clearer, and it is precisely the dichotomy we saw on Cronulla Beach last December — on both sides then, unfortunately. According to this dichotomous thinking “Australian” really does take on the character of an ethnic label, including some and excluding others. The “the Spanish branches, the Vietnamese branches as well as the Cambodian branches” do not include any “Australians”, apparently. What else can Mr Abbott’s words — ill-chosen, I hope — mean? Mr Albanese was right to be offended.