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Speech: Gaslighting in Parliament

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 24 Nov 2021

What Senator Scarr did this morning was a textbook exercise in gaslighting and condescension. It should be condemned and Senator Scarr should be ashamed. At a time when far-Right extremism is on the rise, when there has been a refusal by members of this government, including the Prime Minister, to unequivocally and directly condemn the far-Right racist extremists embedded in the recent protests, Senator Scarr instead chose to directly patronise me and call my motives into question. Senator Scarr's assertions and insinuations that I and we on this side are dividing the country are absolutely contemptible. But this is what usually happens when you call out far-Right extremism and racism—as if we are the problem rather than racism and far-Right extremism itself. We need to wake up to the harm that this is causing so many who live here.

Senator Scarr's assertion that bringing emotions such as this is playing politics or constructing a straw man is equally contemptible. This is an extremely serious matter. Just because white, privileged men in here don't face abuse day in and day out, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Believe me, I wish I didn't have to get up here so often to talk about my community being under attack. I wish I didn't have to get up, week in and week out, and call on the government to reject racism and extremism rather than indulging in it. I wish I didn't have to talk about the abuse I face every day because of who I am. But it is the reality of my existence, and this is the reality of what is currently being normalised and, in fact, encouraged in this country. It has to be addressed. Senator Scarr should apologise for his gaslighting and condescension, and the Leader of the Government in the Senate should show leadership and make it clear that this is not acceptable.

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