The social media sewer is polluting Australia’s election

PM Scott Morrison assists an elderly lady knocked to the ground after a leftist protester egged him at a CWA function

The McCarthyite strategy of trawling social media accounts in search of something, anything, that can be remotely pinned on a politician or candidate continues unabated. At the moment, the game is paying off handsomely for all sides, as column inches are dedicated to self-rigtheous outrage and sniffy indignation, and a slew of candidates are humbled and cast aside. But, like all these silly political gotcha games, it’ll surely all end in tears.

From the 90s “travel rorts” scandal to last year’s imbroglio over MPs’ citizenship, these attack strategies have a way of getting out of hand. On the one side, social media nastiness is spilling over into real life. On the other, censorious opportunists are already salivating at the chance to regulate their fellow citizens’ speech ever more.

First, the schadenfreude. Quote:

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has been accused of double standards as he stands by two of his candidates who made racist jokes on social media despite condemning other parties over hate speech.

The Greens candidate for the seat of Lalor, Jay Dessi, joked about having sex with children and dead people, made a racist joke about an Asian man’s eyes, posted a cartoon about oral sex and liked a post about abortion and child pornography. Next to a photograph of an Asian friend wearing a frog hat, Mr Dessi wrote: “Which eyes are the real eyes?”

In the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, Greens candidate George Hanna has refused to apologise directly for sharing a meme in which Liberal candidate Jacinta Price was called a “coconut”. End of quote.

While it’s tempting to take guilty pleasure in the holier-than-thou Greens once again being hoist on their own petards, and while Di Natale really is a sanctimonious hypocrite, these latest indiscretions are almost beyond trivial. The only one worthy of any real notice is the only one where the offender is unrepentant: it’s all very well for Hanna to bleat that “coconut” isn’t a racist slur, and anyway he’s Aboriginal so it doesn’t matter, but it really is a racist slur. Jacinta Price has had to endure months of racist abuse, often directed from Aboriginal Australians, for not being the “right kind” of Aborigine.

But Di Natale is not just a hypocrite, he’s a dangerous opportunist. At the same time as his own candidates are indulging in typical social sewerism, Di Natale is using exactly that kind of nonsense to try and silence anyone he doesn’t like. Quote:

Scrutiny of Senator Di Natale’s candidates comes after the Greens leader pushed for legislation to regulate the media and stamp out alleged hate speech, targeting Sky News and News Corp commentators ­Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny and 2GB radio host Alan Jones. End of quote.

I suspect that the main reason that leftists like Di Natale are so determined to stamp out speech that they don’t like is because their fellow leftists are so obviously unable to differentiate between speech and actions. To the Greens and their cronies, there is no line to be drawn between babbling online about “punching Nazis” and actually going out and assaulting anyone they disagree with (who are, in defiance of all rationality and historical veracity, labelled “Nazis”). Quote:

Senator Di Natale also downplayed links between his party and the woman who tried to egg Scott Morrison yesterday at a Country Women’s Association event…Senator Di Natale distanced himself from the protester, telling the ABC: “There are millions of people who vote for the Greens.” He branded the attack on Mr Morrison “disgraceful”. End of quote.

Di Natale does have a point: it’s backwards reasoning to argue that just because someone supports the Greens, the Greens must also support them. Yet, it cannot be dismissed out of hand that the violent extremists who besiege speaking events are so closely aligned with the Greens. Quote:

[Scott] Morrison described the ­alleged egging attempt as an “ugly type of protest”, and called on Australians to disagree better.

He compared the incident to vegans who invaded farmers’ land and members of militant unions who “stood over” small business owners and employees. End of quote.


Not to forget the unionists and activists who smashed their way into Parliament House in 1996, or the violent Aboriginal mob who besieged then PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott in a Canberra restaurant in 2012. Then there is the incident of a Liberal supporter’s dog being shot in an apparent message, last week.

There’s a common thread to all this violence. Can you spot it?