Letters //

Atrocities aplenty

A letter from Anna Egerton.

Dear Honi,

Chaneg Torres, your condescending portrayal of left-wing groups on campus in last week’s Honi was misguided and inaccurate. Thank you for your concern, but we are not ‘desperate to look for anything to protest about’ – the Abbott government has committed more than enough atrocities to fuel our fire.

Taking your example, George Brandis’ push to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is just one instance in which the Abbott government has used their power and privilege to silence minorities and ensure the continuance of oppression. It does not grant the left any more ‘freedom to spew forth the typical bile that the far left spews’, because it is the voice of the far right, not the left, which is used to racially vilify. Promoting vocal racism is not ‘fearless’, ‘principled’ or in any way deserving of the pride you convey – it is a shameful example of the regressive and prejudiced way of thinking that the government is encouraging.

If the reinstatement of the archaic system of knighthood and damehood is really in the top five achievements of the Abbott government that you list, surely that warrants an inquiry into their failures. The atrocious and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in offshore detention, repealing the carbon tax, total failure to take any action on climate change whatsoever (aside from giving large sums of taxpayer’s money to award the biggest polluters in the country), making Australians pay more for healthcare and education while investing $25 billion on fighter jets, and selling off vast expanses of priceless wilderness to be plundered by mining and logging companies (‘the true environmentalists’) are a few examples of the ways in which the Abbott government has done wrong.

For these failures, for letting prejudice erode compassion, for placing the interests of the privileged few before the many, for trading in morality and progress for self-interested political gain, we will continue to exercise our right to protest. We will continue to speak out when we disagree with what the government is doing, because without opposing voices in the conversation, democracy suffers.

So thank you for your concern, but we don’t need it. No amount of condescension can change our determination to fight injustice.

Anna Egerton