Margaret Court
Margaret Court (Image: AAP/Scott Barbour)

Lobbing Australia’s highest honour at Margaret Court was a fiendishly clever thing to do. The outrage was anticipated and desired; that’s why the news was, unusually, leaked days early. Playing progressive Australia off a break, the reactionaries who run the country urged us to look over there, and we did. Meanwhile, the broader scheme moves ahead.

The game here is not the endless culture warring annually provoked at this time of year by some freshly appalling act of insensitivity -- that is meat and bones for the Coalition parties and Murdoch press, and it keeps the “left” distracted.

The real game was unsubtly re-introduced when Tony Abbott was our prime minister, brutally stumbling along the path the infinitely smarter John Howard had laid. Central to the campaign to turn Australia backwards once more was the violent assault on the Racial Discrimination Act. There is a straight line of sight between Attorney-General George Brandis’ famous statement -- that we all have the right to be bigots, you know -- and the official celebration of Court’s overt faith-based bigotry.