Australia: Andrews is right — we’re sliding toward a more violent, extreme US political culture

Victorian Election 2022: Dan Andrews is pesters voters in one safe electorates with texts

  Victorian Election 2022: Dan Andrews is pesters voters in one safe electorates with texts Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is making a sad plea for votes via text messages in electorates traditionally held by Labor. In a clear sign the election is tightening, voters in the party's heartland in Melbourne's west on Monday began receiving direct messages from the premier spruiking his plan to revive the State Electricity Commission. Mr Andrews then hit morning television programs on Monday to peddle to his power plan.

A second candidate calling for the murder of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews; a Victorian Liberal candidate making misogynist, racist comments; another revealed to be the spear tip of a concerted (and seemingly successful) campaign by religious extremists to infiltrate the Victorian Liberal Party — the Victorian election increasingly resembles the removal of a bandage from a festering sore.

(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media) © Provided by Crikey (Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)   Andrews is right — we’re sliding toward a more violent, extreme US political culture © Provided by Crikey

Anatomy of a conspiracy theory: stairgate and the Republicanisation of Australian conservatism

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Crikey readers will fall over themselves with surprise, but Andrews is right in his response to Legislative Councillor Catherine Cumming’s reference to turning Andrews into “red mist”, that this represents the Americanisation of Australian politics — or more accurately another stage in that process.

Dan Andrews’ ‘big and bold’ success shows why Albanese needs to get a wriggle on

  Dan Andrews’ ‘big and bold’ success shows why Albanese needs to get a wriggle on The Victorian premier has repeatedly charmed the state by 'getting things done', with visible projects overshadowing the party's missteps elsewhere.Prime Minister Anthony Albanese no doubt aspires to similar longevity in power at the federal level, and to likewise forge a historic legacy. But Albanese is yet to emulate what we might call Andrews-ism. Critics suggest the polarising premier lacks a “guiding philosophy”, but I’d argue Andrews-ism constitutes a coherent theory of centre-left leadership.

A Liberal candidate has already called for Andrews to face justice for murder — and retained his Liberal endorsement. The Liberals are preferencing a candidate who called for the murder of Andrews ahead of Labor. As Crikey’s Cam Wilson reported, a Liberal candidate is spreading “Big Lie” style claims designed to undermine perceptions of the integrity of the election. And the Liberal Party has already tried to spread conspiracy theories about Andrews.

Each of these — violent rhetoric, religious extremism, misogyny and racism, claims political opponents are criminals, attempts to undermine the legitimacy of elections, conspiracy theories — can be checked off against a list of Republican tactics in the US in the age of Trump.

Greens have five demands from Dan Andrews if he is forced into a coalition after Victorian election

  Greens have five demands from Dan Andrews if he is forced into a coalition after Victorian election Labor is expected to heavily favoured to win the November 26 Victorian election, but the left-wing party is eyeing key inner-Melbourne seats that could force a coalition government.Labor is heavily favoured to win the November 26 Victorian election, but the left-wing party is eyeing key inner-Melbourne seats.

It’s unsurprising in the sense that right-wing extremism in Australia is very heavily derivative of US extremism, and readily borrows its tactics, ideas and slogans.

While the Victorian Liberal Party is the centre of this shift toward a far more extreme and dangerous political environment, it is only going where other branches of the Coalition have gone before it.

Those with long memories will recall that a key issue that caused problems for the Howard government was preferencing One Nation, with John Howard happy to allow Pauline Hanson and her candidates to be preferenced ahead of Labor and other senior Liberals, who regarded her racism as beyond the pale, wanting her to be put last in all circumstances. Eventually Howard had to succumb to more moderate opinion.

In recent years, the Nationals simply abandoned that policy and began preferencing One Nation ahead of Labor — even after Hanson and her apparatchiks were revealed to have sought US help to undermine Australia’s gun laws. It took that scandal to force Scott Morrison in 2019 to announce One Nation would be preferenced below Labor by the Liberals. But in this year’s election, the LNP in Queensland put One Nation ahead of Labor in most electorates.

Victoria election 2022: Daniel Andrews clashes with reporters over voting system scandal

  Victoria election 2022: Daniel Andrews clashes with reporters over voting system scandal Daniel Andrews has clashed with reporters after they bombarded him with questions about allegations Victoria's upper house voting system has a major loophole. The Victorian premier held a press conference on Thursday to announce $67million of funding for three mental health clinics in the electorates of Northcote, Narre Warren and Leongatha.But his mental health announcement was met with little fanfare, with reporters instead hounding Mr Andrews about the state's electoral system after a political strategist claimed he had legally organised upper house preference deals for a fee.

That all occurred with minimal outrage from the media — John Howard must have wondered why he copped so much heat for something that the press gallery mostly now ignores.

The Nationals and the LNP’s treatment of Hanson was another step in the normalisation of right-wing extremism in Australian politics — by which blatant racism was no longer seen as a disqualifying feature for participation in political life. It’s little wonder that a young Victorian Liberal candidate should attack Indigenous Australians and call for nuclear waste to be dumped in Alice Springs — such views are little different to the ones espoused by parties preferenced by the Nationals and the LNP.

  Andrews is right — we’re sliding toward a more violent, extreme US political culture © Provided by Crikey

Violent words beget violence in the mind of the fanatic

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And despite the efforts of candidates guilty of urging the murder of Andrews to crabwalk away from their comments, such rhetoric has real consequences. The more that violent rhetoric is given a platform, the more people it reaches. And the more people that it reaches, the more statistically likely it is that an individual will be motivated to engage in violence.

The curious case of Daniel Andrews, the receding premier

  The curious case of Daniel Andrews, the receding premier Where a political leader traditionally spends the morning before an election in media blitzkrieg, the Victorian Premier offered dead air. He didn’t go on any of the morning TV shows and didn’t do any radio spots. He has refused to go on the two leading talk stations, ABC Radio and 3AW, throughout the campaign.

Urge the killing of a politician often enough, loud enough, with enough amplification, and eventually the message will reach someone who is at risk of acting on that urging. And if it comes from a mainstream, legitimate source — a Liberal Party candidate, for example, or a serving politician — that increases the odds still further.

That’s exactly what’s happened in the US as political violence and violent assaults on synagogues, mosques, LGBTIQA+ people and women have ramped up as Republicans regularly use violent rhetoric and right wing media like Fox News try to shift blame and play down violence.

This is not something that will be turned around easily or quickly. Especially not if one of the principal vectors of it, the Victorian Liberals, do nothing.

The post Andrews is right — we’re sliding toward a more violent, extreme US political culture appeared first on Crikey.

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