Andrew L. Urban
Why is Australian democracy so overly, dangerously tolerant as to seem craven and weak, as it watches the ignorant aggro of a member of the Senate who has declared that “This is war!” against Australian society. She, Senator Lidia Thorpe, has appointed herself as leader of the newly formed, Blak Sovereignty Movement (BSM, eh?), brandishing a bludgeon. Not a clue?
The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Philosopher Karl Popper in 1945 described it as the seemingly self-contradictory idea that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must retain the right to be intolerant of intolerance. Popper went on to say: “We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
Perhaps the Australian Parliament should ask if the self-appointed leader of the BSM can remain in the Senate as a (highly paid and unruly) elected representative of citizens who she regards as the enemy in a sovereign country she wishes to delegitimise?
The deliberate misspelling of ‘Black’ as ‘Blak’ by her BSM is an affectation symbolic of the dishonest and belligerent blanket in which that movement is wrapped.
As Janet Albrechtsen summarised in The Australian (Feb 9, 2023) “The Blak Sovereign Movement that Senator Thorpe says she now represents wants every homeowner to pay 1 per cent of wages to the relevant Indigenous body as a tax or rent to the original inhabitants whom, she says, are still really the current legal owners of Australia. According to Thorpe, those who came since 1788, and their descendants, are permissive tenants only with no absolute right to be here.”
We know from accumulated studies that the original inhabitants were not nations but often warring hunter gatherer tribes who did not have – or ever claim – ownership of the land. That relationship is claimed to have been characterised by a spiritual connection.
Would the majority, the assimilated Aboriginals and part-Aboriginals who are homeowners be asked to pay the rent? How would that make sense – or would it emphasise the benefits assimilation into Australia’s post 1788 society?
As tenants paying rent to the ‘relevant indigenous body’, are the homeowners entitled to receive reimbursements for the massive improvements to property and the provision of health care, education and welfare services, national defence and infrastructure since 1788? Would the tenants be asked to stop spending $30 billion a year on Aboriginal assistance programs?
Will Australia ask these questions?