In an extraordinary outburst in Federal Parliament yesterday, Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie singled out Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and Senator Cory Bernardi as being racists and demanded they be sacked. He said that "racism eats at the Liberal Party".
He said "As the families of the victims of the Christmas Island disaster buried their dead last month, we listened in disbelief as shadow minister for immigration and citizenship Scott Morrison took politics to a new low by whining over the cost of flying mourners to Sydney, including the orphan boy who probably watched his parents drown..
He accused Senator Bernardi of "rants whipping up the fear of Islam" and quoted him as saying, "I, for one, don't want to eat meat butchered in the name of an ideology that is mired in sixth-century brutality and is an anathema to my own values". He compared these remarks to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's maiden speech, in which she claimed Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians. "I say to Mr Morrison and Senator Bernardi, you are a disgrace - a disgrace to the high office you hold and the people you represent" He added "And I say to Mr Abbott, you must lance this boil once and for all."
Last month, the University of Western Sydney released results of a survey about our attitudes to Multiculturalism and it appears that the Muslim population does pose a threat in the minds of many Australians. New South Wales reported the highest levels of anti-Muslim attitudes (54.4 per cent) and in Sydney's central west, it ran as high as 60 and 61 per cent. These findings seriously challenge Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's boasting that Australia's multiculturalism is the best in the world.
It's a good thing that our politicians like Mr Wilkie have taken the high moral ground on racism, but this survey shows that the majority of the people of New South Wales don't agree with him.