Oh my God! Talk about laugh! I am almost cacking myself as I type this! Paul Sheehan is really really upset that the SBS asylum seeker reality show isn’t objective. Wow! From Pauline Hanson minus the lippie this really makes sense. Sheehan himself is as objective on these matters as a Dragons supporter would be on his/her team’s chances in the Grand Final. Yes, I do remember the poisonous diatribe Paul published as an “objective” account of the Chinese in Australia in the post-Tiananmen years of the 90s. To quote Anne Henderson at the time:
Paul Sheehan is a Sydney Morning Herald journalist who returned to Australia in 1996 after a decade in the US and, according to his book he liked what he found: “The overt culture of the nation – its language, cuisine, music, writings, film, dance, architecture, design, sport – all, at their highest expression.” Australia, Sheehan believed, had triumphed from a cultural revolution.
But in his time away, other changes had also occurred. Bob Hawke and Paul Keating had achieved what no other Labor leaders had managed – more than a decade in power in Canberra.
Sheehan is obsessed with the notion that “national problems have been caused by shoddy management and by the racial politics played by the Labor Party and its surrogates in the multicultural industry”. Multiculturalism in Australia is nothing more than “Labor’s prodigious political bluff, a bluff that has cost Australian society uncountable billions of dollars and ruined lives.” Forget Jeff Kennett, forget Nick Greiner, forget Kate Carnell, the only multiculturalists are Labor.
On 25 May 1996, Paul Sheehan wrote a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald entitled “The Multicultural Myth”. In the article, he claimed that SBS television was “a metaphor for the evolving fantasy that Australia should be a cultural federation of glorious diversity”, opined that complaints to the Anti-Discrimination Board were so numerous they were having a “carcinogenic effect on racial cohesion in Australia”, called the president of the Anti-Discrimination Board, Chris Puplick, the “unofficial Godfather of Grievance in NSW” and said one of the reasons for high unemployment in NSW was “the plethora of Thought Police employed by the State”. Somehow multiculturism was threatening Australia’s egalitarian culture “built through trial and error, and fought for and protected with blood and suffering of millions of Australians”…
Among The Barbarians is a longer version of Sheehan’s 1996 article, even repeating the view that Australia will be an eco-superpower, a naive claim given Australia’s stance at the Kyoto summit.
What makes Among The Barbarians a disturbing book is
Sheehan’s defensiveness and obsessive selectivity, matched with conspiracy theories.
Despite years of key conservatives as regular commentators in Australian newspapers, more than a decade of Hanson-style voices filling talkback radio on race, immigration and indigenous issues, saturation propagandising by top rating radio presenters like Alan Jones and Stan Zemanek, Sheehan earnestly believes that, under Labor, “so strong and so ruthlessly imposed were the protocols constraining discussion of racism, discrimination, affirmative action and immigration, it would be a foolish move to smash through and express, with undisguised resentment, the unpleasant fears felt in much of the electorate”.
Among The Barbarians is a skewed Australian canvass, self-justified as setting the record straight. Just one side of the debate on the grounds that it’s never been heard. Sheehan picks at topics rather than digests them, often relying on a handful of opinions to support his…