Hanson/Australians Against Further Immigration/white supremacist vote in 1998 caused mayhem for Howard/Abbott Coalition by splitting their vote. In 2001 Howard actually adopted the strategy to get that bigot vote back in the infamous Tampa Affair. Decency gradually shut down Hansonism and the Tampa strategy for being what it was - "dog whistling" and the "race card". So what is going on this time around issues of colour as the Americans call it in 2007?
Consider some apparently disparate facts:
Falung gong in their email broadcasts argue that Chinese Communist Party regime fund the Sudanese civil war (to annexe the oil) creating widespread misery.
Caller to Trioli 702 abc radio (5/10/07) - tension between Africans and the Asian shop owners in the Adelaide market area. Barely contained mutual hatred is the implication.
Eyewitness report from our source in Inner Sydney re Asian Australian Christian outreach folks, run in with African guy who upturns their table. Quite irrational, sad, unacceptable. Atypical contrast with the vast majority of African youth both well behaved and welcome in this diverse coffee coloured area.
Join the dots: The pragmatic Howard Govt need (according to their self interest I mean) to neutralise and shutdown the white supremicist ultra right at their heels in case their vote splits the Coalition again in a 2007 election already looking too tough. It was called One Nation 9 years ago, now its Pauline Hanson Mark II. On the other hand they need to avoid the muck of the racial gutter or be correctly condemned and lose the mainstream too. Their interim partial answer to Hansonism - just stop the flow of colour.
The Africans refugees with their very recognisable (and we say appealing) physical traits are an easy mark for the ultra right bigot/simpletons to the right of the Coalition govt. Ironically it was this same distinctiveness that served a useful real politik for the govt against the left pro refugee groups by demonstrating with symbolic small numbers of African refugees a moral riposte. But the bigots have closed down that Coalition govt angle now too. The govt in real politik terms is walking the tightrope of mainstream decency and ultra right jackals in a very fragile election profile.
To guillotine the African refugee programme is a real sign of electoral weakness by Minister Andrews , not so much appeasing racism as fearful of the 1998 demonstrated effectiveness of their evil ways.
We submit the African refugee potential Australian citizens enriching our society and pool of talent - are just another victim of this long drawn out election season for complex reasons.
Less a case of racist motive by Minister Andrews, more a case of real politik survival. One hopes post election decency will return on a bipartisan basis. Depressing to know the 5% racist vote are having their pound of flesh if only for a month or two until the vote.