In a recent article in The Sunday Times the Australian Liberty Alliance announced with some considerable fanfare that Dr Marion Hercock was to be their new senate candidate. Dr Hercock is an academic at the University of WA. I am on one of the UWA’s Equity and Inclusion committees and immediately raised the matter with the Deputy Vice Chancellor. In my letter I indicated that I felt that there was little that UWA could do to impact her employment. This was because everyone is entitled to have their own views and universities have traditionally been the breeding ground for dissenting and opposing views to those held in the mainstream. Universities have been the venue of political differences and this must always be preserved. Let me explain however, what my opposition is to the views of Dr Hercock. First let us look at what it is that this person advocates: (I have added the emphasis in bold).
“Senate candidate Marion Hercock said the Australian Liberty Alliance was “interested in freedom of speech, maintaining our western values, individual liberty and a small government”.
However, Ms Hercock admitted the party’s primary focus was anti-Islamic.
“Most of all we are concerned about stopping the Islamisation of Australia, which we see as a growing threat to our society,” she said.
“We’re saying why can’t we have a critical debate, why can’t we criticise Islam?”
Ms Hercock said she opposed letting people of Islamic faith immigrate to Australia.
“We stand on reducing Islamic immigration, for example these Syrians who’ve come here, they would be much better off in a country with similar values like Saudia Arabia or Oman.”
But Ms Hercock rejected accusations her party harboured a racist element.
“People from alien cultures are better off going somewhere they will find more familiar,” she said.
When pressed for examples of the “encroachment of Islamic culture and laws upon Australian values” she cited the existence of prayer rooms.
“The new stadium has a prayer room which nobody else will be allowed in, and also Halal certification; why should everyone else have to pay for Halal?” she said.
Ms Hercock said she had no problems with Christianity as it had long been part of Australian culture.
“Well, Christians aren’t out to kill people,” she said.
“Several” people joined the party, according to an Australian Liberty Alliance media statement.”
Let me address these matters in turn:
- Islamisation of Australia. The current population of Muslim faith adherents in Australia is 2%. This has not changed significantly for some considerable time. The Islamisation is hardly significant.
- Non migration of Muslims to Australia. Clearly a statement of xenophobia and religious bias.
- Prayer room at the stadium. The three prayer rooms at the stadium are not Muslim only prayer rooms. They are MULTI-FAITH rooms, Ms Hercock. See this article in The West from Daniel Emerson, here: and here:
- Halal certification: The senate inquiry into Halal certification of foods concluded the following observations and recommendations:
- The committee recommends that food manufacturers clearly label products which have received third party certification.
- The committee recommends that the government, through the Department of Agriculture, consider the monitoring and compliance of Halal certification of meat for export; and becoming the sole signatory on the government Halal certificate.
- The committee recommends that the government, through bilateral and multilateral forums, promote greater acceptance of a ‘whole–of-country’, government-led Halal certification system.
- The committee recommends that the government consider requiring certification bodies to register their operations under certification trademarks.
- The committee recommends that the government consider requiring that Halal certification of goods in the domestic market comply with the standard agreed for export.
- The committee recommends that the Halal certification industry consider establishing a single Halal certification authority and a single national registered certified trademark.
- The committee recommends that meat processors clearly label products sourced from animals subject to religious slaughter.
- Note that there is nothing about stopping Halal certification. In fact, the committee found that it was an extremely lucrative market that Australia needed to be involved in.
- Killing by Christians: There is ample material around that highlights the verses of the Bible that call for killing and violence. Responding that Christians aren’t actually doing it is facile. The likelihood of a terror attacker being Non Muslim is much higher than that of the person being Muslim. That data has been provided by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. “Terrorism Is a Real Threat … But the Threat to the U.S. from Muslim Terrorists Has Been Exaggerated. An FBI report shows that only a small percentage of terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by Muslims.”
Having addressed each of Dr Hercock’s comments above, let me emphasise my issue with this whole matter. I have no issue whatsoever with Dr Hercock being a candidate for any political party of her choosing. I also have no issue with dealing with matters she raises that are factually correct. Nothing above is correct. But far more importantly for me is the issue of the type of teaching that this person will be imparting to the students at UWA. The total student enrolment at UWA is around 24,547 (as at 2015). Assuming that UWA has a culturally and linguistically diverse population slightly lower than the rest of WA society (around 35%), say 30% will give us a CaLD population in UWA of around 7300 students. Add to that a CaLD staff population of around a further 1000 (total staff 3677).
So, this person who is perpetuating falsehoods based on her own xenophobia will be in a working environment with around 8300 people of CaLD background. And she will be imparting some of that xenophobia and religious intolerance to some of those people. This promises a very poor long term outcome.
We all know what impact our teachers can have on our minds and attitudes. Teachers have the potential to formulate the outlook of our future generations. To have someone with the level of bias and hatred that Dr Hercock demonstrates does not bode well for a healthy multicultural and multi ethnic community as we hope to have in Australia.
Now to sit back and await any intervention by the Federal Ministers for Multiculturalism and Education! I suspect that the icicles will be forming on the walls of Hades before that happens.