Sparrow, Jeff: fascism not always an Australian freakshow

Sparrow, Jeff

If you oppose Reclaim Australia, remember fascism wasn’t always a freak show‘, Guardian Australia, 22 July 2015

Riffs off a minor ‘scandal’ over film of Queen Elizabeth as a seven-year-old essaying a Nazi salute (links to other articles on this) and the recent parades by the Reclaim Australia group. Attracted more than 400 comments.

Sparrow looks at a number of sources on Australia’s history of flirting with fascism. (There are more resources here.) He notes the roles of, among others, Eric Campbell, Archbishop Duhig, WS Kent Hughes, JT Lang and RG Menzies, and reminds us that there have been times in our past when fascism was not wildly remote from the Australian mainstream.

In 2015, we’re not in the midst of a social crisis comparable to the Great Depression. There’s certainly no radicalisation equivalent to Lang Labor to send the right into a frenzy. Nevertheless, the attitudes [historian Andrew] Moore describes sound strikingly familiar. Today, it’s almost a cliché to hear pundits complain that politics is somehow broken; that the political class is ineffectual and out of touch; that we need to replace squabbling parliamentarians with technocrats who might get something done.

 

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