Racism row shameful all round
SPARE me the fake indignation, the faux outrage and the mock demands for an apology.
The racism row that has dominated Queensland politics this week was a veritable storm in a teacup, whipped up and served by the Labor Party machine and swallowed up greedily by a gullible Fourth Estate.
There's no disputing that the video at the centre of the row, which was posted by Young LNP members on Facebook, contained a racist slur against indigenous people.
The comment that Australians shouldn't "celebrate a culture that couldn't invent the wheel" was appalling.
But let's get some perspective here.
These words were spoken by an unknown kid at schoolies, late at night on the Gold Coast, who appeared to have a few drinks under his belt.
What he said was offensive and wrong. He should know better but he clearly doesn't.
However it was an episode unworthy of the political tumult that ensued and the overzealous involvement from the highest office in this state.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington surely could have handled the situation better.
Her repeated muttering of the same line about how the comment was inappropriate and the party was taking action looked lame.
It made for a terrible night of television for her but that's about it.
But it was true the LNP was taking action and had set this in train before Labor ensured the media got a hold of the issue.
The video was taken down and disciplinary action started. Those responsible have subsequently been suspended.
Hopefully, they'll learn their lesson and begin understanding how sharing such sentiment was callous and cruel.
However, the debate that's gone on about some comments by a few kids reflects, yet again, the sad state of political discourse and debate in this state.
There was no real intent to stamp out racism here.
Instead what occurred here was the Premier and her ministers leaping over these comments with unbridled enthusiasm for base political purposes.
Annastacia Palaszczuk set about trying to drag Frecklington into the fray by first demanding she take action and then demanding an apology.
"There is zero excuse and Deb Frecklington needs to apologise," Palaszczuk harrumphed in an early morning press release on Wednesday, clearly aimed at milking another day out of the story.
The Government's efforts would have been far more acceptable had it demonstrated a modicum of consistency on issues of racism and sexism in recent times.
Where, for example, was Palaszczuk's tub-thumping for action when NSW Labor Opposition Leader Michael Daley did his best Pauline Hanson impersonation and complained about Asians taking Australian jobs?
Is calling out racism somehow bounded by state borders? Where was Palaszczuk's apology over Labor MP Peter Russo's hit mic affair in State Parliament when he was caught muttering "she's a f---wit" at the same time Frecklington entered the chamber?
The Premier wouldn't even make Russo identify who it was he was referring to.
And Indian community leaders remain appalled at the xenophobic dog-whistling that Labor did during the last election campaign, but their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Racism is alive and thriving in this country. Yet these kinds of bawdy political bunfights just debase the real fight to fix it.
Last week I wrote about the Quandamooka people winning their fight for native title over Moreton Island, and how it could be a boon for Brisbane tourism.
I was appalled, but not surprised, at the vile racism that emerged.
One dullard emailed me about how two indigenous kids had written off a couple of government cars in the weeks before the Federal Court decision, and suggested more of this would now occur on Moreton.
"I suggest you do a bit of homework," he finished.
Well, news flash for you mate, white kids steal cars too.
Then there was the Twitter troll who said: "I'll just hand my house over to them so they can burn it down like they have for decades the free houses supplied by government."
Well I'll supply the matches.
But how does Labor's full-frontal attack on a few self-entitled ignorant little twerps who posted a stupid video actually help anyone?
It was a vainglorious attempt to paint Frecklington as soft on racism when in reality her husband has worked tirelessly to help indigenous kids for some time.
These issues should not be political playthings used for point scoring.
Surely the side of politics so convinced of its own moral superiority on these issues should know when it's appropriate to condemn racism and when piling on a couple of kids for partisan purposes is over the top.
This has been a shameful episode all round.