Fraser Anning and The Uncomfortable Reality of Australia as White, British and Invasionary

It was laughable recently to hear notorious race-baiter John Howard say that the use of the phrase “final solution” in regard to Australia’s non-discriminatory immigration policy was “particularly distasteful”.

He was commenting on right-wing Senator Fraser Anning’s maiden speech which called for a return to cultural and racial bias in the immigration program and to the good old pre-Whitlam days of White Australia, Sir Joh and the cultural supremacy of the British race which invaded and colonised the continent in 1788.

I listened to the speech and am paraphrasing from memory because right now it isn’t available online from Hansard. It really doesn’t matter though because I’m not interested in attacking the Senator and his views. He’s an old-school Queensland White Christian Joh supporter. The sort of white supremacist stuff he went on about is to be expected. His honesty is appreciated.

Appreciated because the modern nation-state called “The Commonwealth of Australia” is founded on white supremacy. Founded on the old manifest-destiny type notions that the arrival of white British colonisers into the wider realms of the Empire would be good for the spread of “civilisation” and bring light to the world.

The white dreaming creation myth that the Australian invasion was built upon can be seen repeatedly in the correspondence of the time, let alone in the parliamentary debates of the early federal parliament, where the leading lights of the time such as Deakin, King O’Malley, Billy Hughes and all those 18th century white men believed firmly in white supremacy and that the civilised white British man was superior to other “races” and “castes”.


(Image) The sort of “Existing facts” the nation state called “Australia” is founded upon.

The eugenic pseudo-science that maintained the mission era on this continent didn’t appear in isolation. It was the justifier for the barbaric acts of “dispersal” by the brave farmers on the frontier. It was the foundation myth that still underpins Anning’s idea of what “Australia” is.

How can it not be?

That the Senator praises later European immigrants for their “assimilation” speaks to the fact that Australia is, still, just a British cultural institution. It is—culturally—simply still Britain, in the south.

“Oh, but we have our own character. We aren’t British anymore…”

I’ve heard Gubbah people say this with a straight face in conversation.

In reality, apart from some environmental differences (open spaces, distance, weather, heat, flora and fauna, etc), the Gubbah culture that exists here is exactly British. The language is British, the ontology is British, the cities are still very British (in design and appearance, not to mention the city and street names), the dress style is British, the flag, the laws, the courts, the parliament, the head of state, the multicultural “model” now pursued, the economy, the privatisations, the (dismantling of the) welfare state, etc, etc.

Are they so blind they can’t see that?

(In the words of the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the Australian flag is “Britain at night”…)

In Anning’s speech, he praises the policies and moral certainty of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland. That was that era when the notorious 1897 Queensland Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium “Act” was in full swing. When Murris were locked away in the missions. There are some important accounts recollecting the era from a black perspective including the Unaipon Award winners “Is That You, Ruthie?” by Auntie Ruth Hegarty and “Not Just Black And White” by Leslie and Tammy Williams. Also “Auntie Rita” by Rita and Jackie Huggins and “Under The Act” by Willie Thaiday.

What these accounts show are the underlying assumptions that the British invasionary project called “Australia” was created for: the superiority of British values, spirituality and, most of all, the British economic system. Aboriginal people, at least those with enough white blood to be “saved”, would be taught these values under the comforting protection of God’s British missionaries. Taught whilst around them their ancestral lands were looted by Brits on the make/take.

Has that underlying assumption changed at all?

Now we Aboriginal people have self-appointed “leaders” like Warren Mundine hosting Indigenous business shows on right-wing TV networks. Although some mob sadly buy into this “don’t be a victim” white nonsense (the new missionary era?), the true answer to the alleviation of our poverty (and the wider question of sovereignty itself) is simple: the just payment of rentals and tributes on all that glittering freehold land we own. Especially in the big cities.

That’s a much larger story for another day, though.

The point is that the Australian economic system is still very much “British” in imagining. If it was Aboriginal there would be, for starters, more public housing and far fewer Aboriginal families in dire housing peril, if not sleeping rough in places like Sydney’s Central Station and Brisbane’s King George Square.

We must face the simple and honest fact Senator Anning reminds us of. Australia is just Britain relocated.

So, the question remains, why the outpouring of anger at the Anning speech when all he is articulating is the very foundational essence of the Australian nation-state?

Is it because sometime around the rise of the Whitlam government in 1972 and the winding back of many of those “old” policies, including White Australia, the Australian nation-state “grew up” and become a leader in racial and cultural morality around the world? A shining beacon to all other nations on how to non-racist and all that?

Is that why, when I was in high school in the 1980’s, state to state interaction with apartheid South Africa was banned and white South Africans may as well have been Nazis for the way the media and society here portrayed them?

Perhaps not. It turns out we were naive because, in true Gubbah/British fashion, the whites of South Africa (and, let’s face it, they are pretty much exactly the same as the whites of Australia in worldview and moral outlook) have since arrived in great numbers here and seem to be integrating (“assimilating”) very nicely indeed, thank you very much.

And if those guys—the supporters and maintainers of apartheid—aren’t “terrorists” then who is?

One South African family even lobbed into my old street on the extremely achromic Sunshine Coast (the landing strip for “white flight” from Sydney and Melbourne) bringing their apartheid-era South African flag with them to proudly fly. I don’t think it raised an eyebrow until I pointed it out. And even then, no-one did anything about it. The local newspaper didn’t think it worthy of even replying to my email about the troubling occurrence.


(Image) The apartheid-era South African flag flying proudly in my old street on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

I assume that South African family loved it in there in their new, very white environment and integrated nicely. My Sunny Coast was the conservative-voting, white, southern Queensland former Clive Palmer electorate of Fairfax. Mal Brough’s (architect of the 2007 intervention) electorate was handily next door. Says something.

Again though, why the apartheid-denial?

In the words of Paul Keating in this interview the nation only just got out of White Australia/apartheid “by the skin of its teeth” around the time Whitlam came to power and made all those sweeping changes.

Changes which are loathed to this day by conservatives like Anning. He said so in his speech.

And anyway, if so many of the progressive policies of Whitlam have been wound back (free education, social housing, free healthcare, etc) then why is there a reluctance to simply admit that Australia would be no different to South Africa if the Indigenous population was a lot larger. I mean, it is just South Africa in many ways, isn’t it?

Which is why, to throw the recent Aboriginal response to all this frontier-fascism into the mix, the “Uluru Statement From The Heart” is so particularly naive, if not nauseating.

The ultimate outcome of the fanciful “Recognise” campaign to kiss-and-make-up (on white terms) after an apocalyptic, catastrophic and genocidal invasion, the Statement was produced from a gathering at the sacred site and came up with the partly united response after roaming around the country for years trying to get something—I never really quite knew what—to take to white voters for the good of… erm…

The outcome was that a lot of the same faces (our “decision makers”, who basically have no real power whatsoever) came up with a plan to have a “voice to Parliament” advise the Gubs on what they might be doing wrong whilst the 200-year-old-plus carve-up of the “good” bits of the continent for greedy white self-interest continues apace.

It is all way above my current impoverished pay-scale, but I know that the carve-up main game must have something to do with all those glittering harbourside mansions I see below me when I get the m52 bus in from the western suburbs across the Gladesville Bridge. All that wealth is coming from somewhere. None of my mob is seeing it…

Aside from the fact that the “voice” would just be sidelined and tweaked into irrelevance like Native Title was back in the day, I find two things about the “Statement from the Heart” to be particularly infuriating…

Firstly, haven’t mob learnt not to trust Australia after all these years?

The nation-state called Australia is a British colonial experiment. It is the invasion. Simple. So, why do we keep thinking it is anything but the invasion? Why keep believing the Kool-Aid will taste different each time?

The state is the invasion. Don’t go back to that poison waterhole. Bad spirits down there…

Change a few lines in the Australian constitution? The Australian constitution is a document written by racist British white supremacists from the exact same era as the White Australia Policy itself. They are indivisible.

Why would mob want to go anywhere near that? Change section 51? What about sections 1-50 and 52-128? This document is an act of the British Parliament. The invaders themselves. Why would it even be considered by us? It should be viewed the same way a glowing green puddle is… toxic and radioactive.

Not that any amendment would actually “get up” in a referendum. It would be seen as being against “Australian” interests. It might also be called, laughably, “apartheid”. So the whites wouldn’t have a bar of it. Good. Let them keep their cosy British status quo.

We should be setting our site on our own full sovereignty. Our own nation-state. Sharing the continent with the invader “Australia”. On our terms.

That was the sort of yarn mob should have been having at Uluru. Invoking the lightning and thunder ancestor spirits…

The second thing which is infuriating about the statement is the fact that it had to come from the “Heart” in the first place. I loathe the fact that nowadays “authentic” Aboriginal people and culture is only seen by “Australia” as being in the north or centre of the continent.

The truth is that Martin Place in Sydney is just as sacred Aboriginal land as Uluru is.

Just because it doesn’t “look” Aboriginal doesn’t make it any less Aboriginal. Or any less sacred. The same way as my fair skin doesn’t make me “look” Koori.

I get that racist comment from the Gubs I come across all the time.

Why buy into that worldview?

Didn’t the power of the Keating Redfern Statement partly come from the fact that it came from the “Heart” of the invasion? It came from ground zero.

Making the “Statement From The Heart” just plays into every white stereotype about the invasion, and Aboriginality, imaginable. It marginalises the vast majority of Aboriginal people. Urban Kooris and Murris who struggle with their “invalid” identities and belongings according to the powerful British invader law, lore and culture.

As a final thought, and another example of where mob have been led too far down the invasionary path by Gubbah self-interest, I notice the old “we can’t go fixing constitutions when our women are getting bashed” line being used again by some vocal Aboriginal commentators recently. The sort of Aboriginal “leaders” who seem to get very easy access to the great white (often Murdoch) megaphone. A platform far larger than the audience of their own people who usually don’t give a toss about any of their opinions.

This year’s NAIDOC theme was “Because Of Her We Can” which rightfully celebrated our deadly and strong women. The poster too was deadly. But one aspect I found disappointing was that some of those same old commentators used the occasion to push the line about dysfunction and domestic violence in our communities. This is a difficult issue of course, but using a mouthpiece like “The Australian” to air these same old opinions won’t actually change a thing. In fact, it just causes more pain.

What never seems to be mentioned is, in my opinion, the actual problem.

Our young men are—in mainstream society terms—mostly disempowered and mostly impoverished.

If you look at the cultural pathways for Gubbah men you see how they are empowered by default. They are given the heavy lifting to do in the emergency services, as police officers, in security, as government officials, politicians, armed forces, etc. Roles which have legal power and can be given a type of “warrior” status.

Our men, on the other hand, are discriminated against from assuming any of these powerful right-of-cultural-passage roles in the mainstream invader/British society. They are told they must stop being victims, integrate and become part of the white system to get themselves out of their current malaise.

Stop colonising us!!

We need our young warriors as the basis of our own security, our own police force, for our own sovereign courts in our own parliaments collecting our own taxes-from the invaders-for using our land in their cities. We need them to be the builders and protectors of our own empowered (not bullshit “empowered” but actually sovereign not-part-of-Australia empowered) communities and institutions.

Even if we started with our own gaols or correctional facilities it would be something significant. Make these institutions the pathways to power for our young men, not the white dead-end hallways they currently are.

Most of all, let’s see Australia for the British invasion it embodies, remains and will always institutionalise. Let’s see the way it uses its young men to maintain and support its power, giving them status and wealth along with the power those young men gravitate toward. And let’s realise that those roles merely reinforce the invasion.

When a real treaty comes and the giant white rent-free holiday on all that freehold land we own finally ends, let’s build the powerful sovereign roles we used to have for our young men to give them the status they rightfully deserve and require.

The truth is that the most powerful thing an Aboriginal person can say is simply “I am not Australian”.

At that point, the invasion is exposed to the plain light of day. And so is our pathway to healing and true reconciliation for all our mob.