Wooing or appeasing ethnic communities for votes is an artform Australian politicians are yet to master and this week Senator David Leyonhjelm’s much criticized speech thanking Brown men for their services just proved it once again. The Senator’s speech goes as follows,
“The young brown men I come across in my day-to-day life are often in low-paid jobs. They drive me in their Ubers and taxis. They deliver my online purchases, my groceries and my pizza. ‘Australia’s young brown men are typically the ones who turn up their sleeves in the face of jobs that many other Aussies would turn up their noses at or would not turn up at all for, ‘They serve me at my local 7-Eleven, at my local service station and at my local restaurants.’ . He finished the speech praising the hard work of “young brown men and women” for “changing the complexion of Australia for the better.”
At best Senator’s speech can be described as a sugar-coated racial slur emerged out from his ignorance and superiority complex. Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate solely because people mistook his party Liberal Democrats for the Liberal Party. That may give some solace to Australian voters and help them wash their hands from the guilt of sending an ignorant man to the Senate. Senator also failed to note that in Australia’s IT , Finance sector and medical profession, these Brown men are a very dominant force.
Leyonhjelm argued that Australia was not taking full advantage of these “young brown men,” 40 percent of whom are over-qualified for the jobs they do. He continued his speech saying, “brown pay gap” and racial discrimination in the workforce are strong oppressive factors for these workers, but noted they continue to strive “without whinging.” But Senator’s lip service and crocodile tears without any concrete plans to fill the brown pay gap, turned out to be hollow and a foolhardy attempt to appease the brownies. In the nation building process, we are all equal partners and it is unclear who gave him the right to separate us based on our color and compare what we do with the rest? The senator is not new to controversy and ignorant outbursts.
Senator Leyonhjelm previously called for Australia to enforce an “entry fee” for migrants as they have not contributed to existing national infrastructure. During the 2016 Australian federal election campaign, Leyonhjelm attracted criticism after he suggested women’s sport was not “interesting enough” to receive government funding, in response to Labor’s proposal to increase the amount of women’s sport broadcast on Australian television. In 2018, Leyonhjelm said “fuck off” and “stop shagging men” to Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, during a debate of a bill moved by Katter’s Australian Party senator Fraser Anning to allow the importation of pepper spray, mace and tasers for women’s self-defence. He also sparked outage this year for refusing to apologise to television host Angela Bishop after calling her a ‘bitch’.
It is no wonder, a speech that was set out to be empathetic exposed the true colours of a sick man with an agenda of white supremacy. One cant be blamed for wondering how a sexist, bigot and racist became an Australian Senator.