There are clearly no Fascist regimes in Australia, or any regime with even the slightest of Fascist agendas. We’re a luckier country than that.
Broadly speaking, Fascism is:
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
This clearly does not exist in Australia.
But as this guest post by Paul Cannon disturbingly points out, the ‘rhetoric and behaviour’ of the current federal government (and state governments) could easily have us believe otherwise.
In the current federal government there is:- a complete disdain for human rights (treatment of indigenous communities, gay people, people who need welfare support payments, disability pensioners, refugees);- they have manipulated the population by identifying an enemy and scapegoats (“terrorists”, Muslims, refugees);- the military is not supreme but it is being utilised for civilian purposes, therefore it has been elevated (customs and border control, the indigenous intervention); there is sexism (as demonstrated by Abbott, Pyne and Bernadi among others), and to add – Umberto Eco writes that fascism thrives on creating fear over difference;- there is a sense of control by cronyism with media, and there is censorship in regard to the refugees coming by boat;- there is an obsession (pathological) with national security; – religion is not intertwined but members of the government use their religious affiliation as a bargaining point and they use religious rhetoric to push agendas (Bernadi on the traditional family – whatever that was or is);- corporate power is definitely protected, even exclusively with environmental considerations, workers rights, and community needs overlooked;- the corollary is that labour power is suppressed by legislative means; – there is an unmitigated obsession with crime and punishment (this would be more true of State rather than Federal government but it is present in both).
Umberto Eco makes the point that the very first appeal of a fascist movement is the appeal against the intruders (find a scapegoat and you control a large portion of the voting public).
So is Australia Fascist, well no, not in the historical sense of 1920 or 1933, but there is an alarming trend towards fascist methodology (whether overtly or otherwise) and there is a trend towards corporate control, which is a move away from the rights of groups and individuals, and there is a disregard for our international treaty obligations. The government clearly uses manipulation of the population as to be judged by the government rhetoric that is parroted back on talk back radio by the public often couched in fear ( the refugees would be the clear issue here). There is a disdain for the environment too. And in the proposed education review there is a desire by the education minister to go back in time in terms of how we present contemporary history, labour history, indigenous history, international history (it was Herman Goerring who liked the phrase “when I hear the word culture I reach for my gun”).
The fourteen points demonstrate that what is at stake is freedom, language, history, culture, national identity, and human rights. Fascism is an attitude, albeit a political one, but one that pervades the way governments think and behave.
With seven of the fourteen points by Britt recognisable in current government action and rhetoric there should be more concern in the community about our identity as a nation and therefore our future as a nation. Umberto Eco puts it well when he says “Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plain clothes.”