17 March 2019

Australia’s discussion about the Christchurch massacre must begin with an acknowledgement that the monster who perpetrated it is ours. Not in the formal sense that he was an Australian citizen, but in the more important sense that his genocidal ideology was fostered here — as Bill Shorten rightly put it, “You cannot disown what crawls out of your swamp.” Jason Wilson notes how mainstream the murderer’s views, if not his actions, have been in Australia: “the decades-long drumbeat of xenophobia and Muslim-hate… has issued from some of the most powerful institutions in the country. This is the environment in which Muslims, refugees and immigrants have come to be understood as enemies of Australia. It may be an environment that has nurtured white supremacist terror.” This must change. Vigilante eggings and public shaming of racists show the right attitude — there must be real and immediate consequences for those who engage in hate speech, against Muslims or any other group in our community.