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US far right in the centre of OZ

COMMENT by JULIUS DENNIS

When you move to a new area one of the first things you do is join the local community Facebook group. Generally, these are places to discuss local happenings such as block parties, fundraisers, dances and the quality of local business, and to ask passive aggressive questions about who isn’t picking up their dog’s doo doo right next to the sidewalk. 

In Alice Springs, you could be forgiven for thinking you may have joined the wrong group, perhaps one located somewhere in the United States, where vocal Trump supporters offer inaccurate information daily.

Posts that have appeared on the page have ranged from doctored videos of Joe Biden appearing confused and disoriented, to long winded and disproven ‘proof’ of electoral fraud from websites such as the Gateway Pundit.

Some days, on local Facebook it seems like the only thing happening in Alice Springs is the fraudulent delivery of a new democratic leader in the United States.

The Alice Springs Community Open Forum is “an open forum for those who live or have lived in the Central Australian region”.

If “your profile shows no evidence of an association with Central Australia your request may be ignored,” but there are no rules on what the content of posts pertains to. Racism on the page has already been covered by the News in the past. 

There are over 15,000 members of the Forum. There are only a handful of Trump content-farm workers, but they do have likers and commentators that will join in a good old lefty internet bash if one crops up.  

There is no shortage of Americans in the Centre, but it is doubtful that these posters are American voters. 

Earlier this week, Mark Kenny wrote for The Conversation that while Trump may be leaving office, his political operating manual has ended up in the hands of some Australian politicians. Trump may be gone, but the loud and proud use of misinformation, and more commonly, the denial of facts, is likely to stay. 

Within political leadership, Kenny notes particularly in NSW and at a Federal level, there has been an “insidious adoption of Trumpist methodology within Australia’s political right”.

One could argue that here in the Territory, a lack of accountability has defined the political scene for years.  Strangely enough, could it be that this lack of accountability is what has led these vocal few to Trumpism? 

Also this week, and again for The Conversation, Greggory Melleuish wrote of the downturn for populism in Australia. Political figures like Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson have lost momentum and threaten to keel over and disappear; people are voting for what they know in uncertain times. 

But that’s Australia wide. Here in Central Australia we are in the wake of an election that saw a Top-End obsessed Labor government returned, despite a turning away from the party in the southern electorates. If things that matter to people here are to change, it is unlikely that it will be from government action. 

So in light of that, someone who preaches the tearing down of the elite (even if he also brags of being extremely wealthy) and the bureaucrats along with them, might sound pretty inviting, especially if you already tend to swing the way of the right. Or if you have xenophobic tendencies.

Back to the idea, well, that is The Conversation.

Clare Corbould and Michael McDonnell wrote:After Barack Obama’s presidency, Trump gave voice to the grievances of his largely white supporters who feared they were being displaced in their own country.”

There is a strong correlation between Trump supporters in the Forum and those who have posted racist and xenophobic content throughout the years of the page, especially regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. 

All of this said, most likely is that these people are going to the Forum for interaction more than anything. Support or disdain, when they post on the Forum they get what they are after: engagement on a topic that they have passion for, no matter how deluded it may be. 

Some on the Forum argue that keeping a watchful eye on American democratic comings and goings is well within the purview of the page, considering they are our biggest ally on the world stage and that we play host to a key part of the American war machine in Pine Gap. 

That is an argument that stands true, but not to defend much of the American political discourse that takes place on the Alice Springs Community Open Forum as the information put forward is neither true nor informative. 

As the past few weeks have unfolded in the United States, the messaging of the Trump presidency and the media that surrounds and supports it has shown its full effect.

The Trump posters on the Forum are a few people rambling to whoever will listen. It is trivial to break down and at times funny. In the United States, the same messages received by these posters in Central Australia resulted in a shambolic insurrection.

The only real difference is that one is hitting where it is supposed to and the other is a by-product of a globalised online world. 

Perhaps the inauguration of Joe Biden will be the end, but it seems unlikely.

 

Last updated 21 January 2021, 1.07pm. Different images; examples added.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “There are over 15,000 members of the Forum. There are only a handful of Trump content-farm workers, but they do have likers and commentators that will join in a good old lefty internet bash if one crops up”
    This is a quote from quite a long article from the perspective of the Left wing of politics, citing the The Conversation, a Left leaning media outlet, by a chap named Julius Dennis, whose bio profile is not provided in this article.
    I do not know Julius Dennis. An American chap? An Aussie? Does he vote Labor? Liberal? Green? I don’t know. I apologise if I appear ignorant of a well known chap in today’s Alice.
    It does appear to me, on the face of it, that he may be an American chap now living in Alice. Would I be correct in drawing this inference?
    Julius does offer his opinion about Australian politicians as well as about American politicians, citing a narrow biased media outlet, so I presume he believes himself to be a across Aussie politics as well as American political issues of the moment.
    It seems obvious in his opinion piece that Julius equates the alleged “handful” of Alician and expatriate Alician “farm workers” who don’t think Left like he does as the Aussie equivalent of Hillary Clinton’s ignorant, racist “Deplorables”.
    As Julius is having a shot at quite a considerable number of mainstream Aussies (not just Alicians) and appears a tad uninformed about what the majority of Alicians and mainstream Aussies actually may or may not think about the American election and Aussie politics today, it would be good for Julius to “out” himself.
    Would Julius be so good as to give readers a bio shot of himself to enhance healthy informed debate on the claims he makes in this article?
    [ED – John, the problem you seem to be having with the “bio profile” of Mr Dennis is that you are referring to him variously as Julian Dennis and Julius Dennis. The latter is the by-line on his comment piece to which you are referring.
    I corrected those apparent errors in your piece – if there is a problem with that let me know and I’ll change it back again.
    Had you googled “Julius Dennis” in the Alice Springs News he would have popped up for you around 100 times (best guess), as a reporter and comment writer in the past 12 months.]

  2. @ Erwin. Erwin. My apology for the typos. Auto correct trips me up a bit sending comments on my mobile phone these days. I didn’t Google Mr Dennis simply because I just did not recognise him as anyone in the public domain. Thought he might simply be an average punter like me who happens to be living in Alice and perhaps American, just writing in an article which you published. My apology for that misunderstanding. So there you go. As a reporter I guess Julius has open slather to say whatever he likes. Just like any other contributor to your great informative (and sometimes controversial) cyber newspaper. It is a bit disappointing though that Julius makes some sweeping assertions that are not supported by hard factual evidence or actual comparative statistics in an exercise of due diligence that one usually expects from an investigative journalist. An interesting insight into Julius’ political leanings, all the same. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing his name in the byline in future.
    (PS not sure how one goes about ‘googling’ anyone in the Alice Springs News. Apology for my Baby Boomer IT neanderthalism!😊)
    [ED – John, more digging isn’t going to get you out of the hole you’re in.
    Auto-correct doesn’t turn Julius into Julian.
    “As a reporter I guess Julius has open slather to say whatever he likes.” No, he hasn’t. As a reporter he is bound by the Journalistic Code of Ethics. Practice your googling on that one.
    Next you accuse Julius, without providing evidence, of failing to apply due diligence as an investigative reporter. Julius is expressing opinions in a piece clearly labelled COMMENT.
    How does one google the Alice Springs News? One puts the words into the search box under the masthead and clicks on the magnifying glass symbol next to it. Try it.
    And please don’t insult Neanderthals.]

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