This is totally disappointing. Greens Deputy Leader Senator Mehreen Faruqi moved a motion in the Senate to censure Pauline Hanson for her racist tweets targeted at Faruqi. For memory purposes, here is what transpired:
So much talk in the public has happened on this, with many resonating with Faruqi’s strong stance and push to ensure Hanson is held accountable. But despite all efforts, the censure was amended by the Government and the Liberal Opposition ( it is no different from getting voted down) as the amended censure motion has removed Hanson’s name and her comments from it and replacing it with “a general call for peaceful debate”. Why? what difference does that make? It may as well have been voted down as this doesn’t address the racism and the triggering and traumatic nature of racism.
This is highly disappointing considering the release of the Jenkins Review which talks about workplace bullying, discrimination and safety for politicians in Parliament House – essentially highlighting the toxic Parliamentary culture in Australia. Isn’t this incident the most obvious and blatant example of the toxic culture?
In an interview with Channel 10’s “The Project”, Faruqi spoke about how she felt about the “amended” censure motion and how marginalised she has felt since entering the Senate:
“…That motion didn’t get up. It was watered down by the Liberals and the Labor Government. I was terribly disappointed in that because racism needs to be called out and those perpetrators need to be held accountable”, Faruqi said during the interview”.
She later continued answering other questions saying,
“I have lived in Australia for more than 30 years, and as a professional engineer I have worked in so many workplaces, in consulting, in universities and in local government. But nowhere have I experienced the marginalisation and you know making me feel so small and invalidated as I do in this place,” – ( Parliament House).
“What Senator Hanson put out there unleashed a barrage of emails, letters and phone calls to my office and of course social media comments which targeted me which has had a huge impact on my team and my family”.
In response to the accusations of her being racist and making those comments to Faruqi, of course Senator Hanson had that disgusting grin of satisfaction on her face and said in the Senate:
“This is blatant reverse racism. And I’m calling that out. I refuse to acknowledge the fact that I have made these racist comments constantly”.
Despite the Labor Government being part of the problem and watering down the censure motion, Senate Leader and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong made a passionate speech in the Senate supporting the censure motion ( I guess her lived experiences wasn’t enough for the Labor Government to support it wholeheartedly):
“I condemn Senator Hanson’s comments without reservation. I think they are appalling and these are the types of comments that have been leveled at me countless times since I arrived in this country. I remember getting them as a kid in the schoolyard. And I have gotten them still since”.
“They are not just the pathetic heckling of a schoolyard bully. They are presented to delegitimise someone’s right to speak and I don’t know what drives it. Perhaps its the fear of anything different – different races, different ethnicities, different opinions.”
Wong then picked up something Faruqi said when presenting the censure motion about all this being “triggering”.
“I’ll pick up something that Senator Faruqi said in her contribution about how triggering it is. It is true! It is triggering each time you hear it and I am the Senate Leader. I still get triggered and I wonder how it is for kids in the schoolyard who get the same thing”.
I guess what Wong said was just not enough for the Labor Government to keep the motion as is.
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