Australian academics have advised the LNP to put “populist” parties like One Nation last on how-to-vote cards and to reject the “myth” of a homogenous Australian national identity, in their submissions to the Senate nationhood inquiry.
The contentious inquiry, headed by Liberal Senator for Queensland Amanda Stoker and Labor party fat cat Kim Carr, has been advised by individual academics and by a joint submission from Australia’s “Group of Eight” universities to remain vigilant in fighting the “threat” of populism.
Glenn Kefford (Professor of Political Science, University of Queensland) and Duncan McDonnell (Professor of Politics, Griffith University) submitted that “radical right populism” had been a “marginal force” in Australia but noted that “the degree of dissatisfaction with mainstream parties and the functioning of democracy is similar in both Australia and major Western European nations”. Kefford and McDonnell further warned that “Australia may be like countries such as Finland and Sweden where, once an effective populist leader of a well-organised party emerged, radical right populism quickly flourished in societies where experts had previously thought it would not.”
The two academics implored major parties to defend and advance multiculturalism and to commit to place populist parties last on their how-to-vote cards at every election, “as happened, until recently, with One Nation”. This last statement of course refers to the preference deal worked out between Pauline Hanson and the Queensland Nationals in 2019. According to Kefford and McDonnell, even doing a how-to-vote card deal with the evil One Nation risks weakening the “guardrails of Australian democracy”.
The joint submission from the “Group of Eight” universities (Australian National University, University of Western Australia, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of Adelaide and University of Sydney) urged the government not to attempt to “lock down notions of nationhood and citizenship”, warning that “national identity should not come at the expense of pluralism, tolerance and respect, indeed, these are core features of our national identity”.
The ANU school of history, in particular, proposed using major government statements to propagandise for multiculturalism and to downplay Australia’s Anglo-Celtic foundation and heritage by explicitly rejecting the idea of a “homogenous national identity”.
Why, exactly, Australian academics feel themselves qualified to tell political parties how to direct their preferences, to decide which political parties should be ostracised and whether or not Australia should be proud of its Anglo-Celtic heritage, is a mystery.
Perhaps funding for their various grants can be removed until this mystery is solved.