Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is currently presiding over a state where violent crime is out of control, citizens are being terrorized by criminal gangs and thugs. But of course solving this crisis is too difficult for a leftist such as him as it might involve confronting some unpleasant and politically incorrect truths. So Dan is instead doing the only thing he is good at, and that is of course virtue signalling on social issues to show how progressive he is.
Leftist politicians’ favorite way of doing this is of course offering formal apologies for past policy mistakes. The reason why they are meaningless is because they don’t come from the people who committed these wrongs who are long dead, that is why John Howard decided not to perform an apology to the so called stolen generation. Plus these apologies do nothing in a practical sense to correct the injustice, they are just empty words while it is action which truly speaks.
Daniel Andrews has form on this as last year he apologized to gay men who were convicted under the state’s anti-sodomy law in the past 50 years. Most people would consider the fact that the law has long being repealed that correct course of action had been taken, not to mention that convictions for such offenses can now be expunged. But of course Dan wanted to show how pro-LGBT he was (as if implementing the Safe Schools program didn’t show already) so he offered this formal apology to be signal his virtue.
Well he may have outdone himself today, not by apologizing for a policy decision last century but for one that was in place in Victoria over 150 years ago. He offered a formal apology to Chinese Victorians for a gold rush era policy which placed a tax on Chinese people who came to Victoria by port forcing them to walk from South Australia to get here. Dan said “It is never too late to say sorry, particularly if you mean it”. Clarinda MP Hong Lim said that Chinese Victorians could now make piece with this racist episode in our history.
Forgive me for asking but apart from virtue signalling what does this apology actually achieve? I doubt deep down that this policy from 150 years ago is really grating on the minds of Chinese Victorians, none of whom were alive at this time and hence did not actually suffer under this policy. Those who were responsible for this policy and who should be the ones apologizing are long dead, why should people alive today be held responsible and apologize for the sins of their ancestors?
Australia and Victoria for that matter has corrected the wrong in this policy, we no longer have the White Australia Policy (maybe Bill Shorten will advocate for an apology for that too) and Chinese Australians now occupy some of the most prominent leadership positions in business and the community. In fact I recall that Melbourne had a very popular Chinese Lord Mayor John So for seven and half years. I doubt this past injustice has really hindered the ability of Chinese Australians to thrive in modern Australia.
Plus where does this apology for past wrongs end? Are we going to start offering apologies for every wrong decision governments make? This proposition was satirized by Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm last election when he offered an apology to Australian taxpayers on behalf of the government for wasting so much of their money.
Apologies are easy for politicians to give and get praise for, it also distracts from some of the current political problems they are facing. Dare I say some politicians may even cynically exploit the positive press coverage giving a apology provides them with. But if there is an injustice that has been committed the true way to apologize is to correct the wrong in a practical sense. Daniel Andrews apology for something that happened over 150 years ago where all parties affected are long dead would be appear most meaningless apology given yet and virtue signialling in its most pure form.