Mar 21, 2018

Dutton’s white farmer campaign represents a vicious factional play

The overt racism of this campaign is a new low, but will it help keep Dutton in his seat at the next federal election?

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


The campaign to "rescue" white farmers in the republic of South Africa is becoming the most extraordinary internal collapse of the right for a long time. It’s disgusting too, but we’re accustomed to that now. The racism of it is so bare, astounding and vicious that it will eat through what remains of Australian liberal-conservatism like acid -- is already doing so. But is it a new level of depravity? Or an utterly cynical campaign by Peter Dutton to retain preselection, and his marginal seat of Dickson?

The latter explanation would certainly fit with the way this hideous campaign has gone. Dutton has led it; selected elements of the yellow rightwing press have run with it – Jennifer Oriel and an astoundingly racist cartoon by Lobbecke (is there anything this man won’t draw?). Is it really being run by the "threatened whites" brigade, as part of a culture war? It’s a risky move if it is. Many Liberals, even those holding the line on mandatory detention, are going to find explicit race preference stomach-turning.

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6 thoughts on “Dutton’s white farmer campaign represents a vicious factional play

  1. Desmond Graham

    Guy – South Africa is Zimbabwe replay but in slow motion

  2. kyle Hargraves

    “Dutton’s sudden adoption of the “poooor white farmers” cause .. snip … is a branch factional play, projected onto the nation as a whole”.

    Guy, with all due respect, attention to detail does not seem to be your strongest suit (does it). In point of fact you seem to be having an ultra-subjectie “Alex Bhathal ” reaction to the entire topic. You may well be correct as to the matter (inter alia) being a factional maneouvre but you are going to have to do better than inference of mere electorate composition. Stats on this matter are requied if the assertion is to be creditable.

    Secondly, who comprises the “other” factions and what is their perspectie. I’m sure you appreciate the point. THIRDLY, you have (had) an opportunity to confront some of the objections to your article : “Politicians show their true colours…” but you have, blithely banged on (in a more or less duplicated the story) assuming that you are actually correct! For the sake of standards and respect to the readership do make some attempt to consider the other side – or at least report their assumptions even if you happen to disagree with them.

    I realise that the above may be asking a bit much given that objective reporting has disappeared but the process might cause articles in Crikey to approximate some form of uniqueness.

    1. [email protected]

      Africaans is the most common language spoken after English in the seat of Dickson according to the 2016 Census. I thinks Guy’s opinion is accurate in relation to factional manoeuvring. It would be interesting to find out the number of South Africans who are members of the Dickson LP branch.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        Perhaps not just Dickson and perhaps congregations of immigrants from elsewhere who may comprise a significant percentage of any particular branch party. In any event the remark “who comprises the “other” factions and what is their perspective” remains addressed – so say nothing of even an attempt at lip-service to a contrary view.

  3. Mish Mash

    Guy, I simply can’t stomach the excessive hyperbole in your introduction to this story.
    “Disgusting, vicious, hideous”…. etc.
    I don’t know the motivations behind Dutton’s comments. I know there are many minorities around the world who are victims of persecution. The Rohingya are one. Perhaps white South Africans are another, or they at least fear becoming that. I’d be scared if I was in their position, given the past.

  4. [email protected]

    Its long past time we stopped referring to the Abbott-Bernardi-Dutton wing of the Right in Australia as Conservatives. They are radical right wingers, bigots & Racists, but there is nothing traditionally conservative about them anymore. Not that I am one of the those ppl who subscribes to the David Brooks definition of Conservatism, Conservatism has long ago left behind the Burkean definition its wanna-be intellectual defenders try to sell, but even under the Goldwater-Reagan definition of conservatism which contains more than enough bigotry already, Dutton-Abbott do not fit, they are radical reactionarys, right-wing extremists, but not Conservatives. In fact the historical movement the modern radical right most resembles is not Goldwater-Reagan Conservatism, its not even Fascism, it is Bolshevism, Lenin-Stalin Bolshevism. The purges of the non-pure, the complete disregard for objective reality, the way they get their press lackeys to push the party line, even if it contradicts what they wrote a week ago. I am reading a lot about Stalin lately and to steal a phrase from The Castle the thing that keeps making me see the similarities between the two movements is ‘just the vibe of the thing’ You read about Stalin era Russia and it just ‘feels’ the same as listening to the modern right wing.

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