Disgusting. ALP to voters: Can you trust Habib?

It’s easy to get caught up in politics, especially at election time. A sense of hurry and importance changes how decisions are otherwise made.

However, this isn’t an excuse for racism. This is an official ALP endorsed campaign flyer targeting a Liberal candidate, Carolyn Habib, in the South Australian state election:

(Source: Adelaide Now)

This is sickening, but as an ALP member, I feel a great sense of shame.

As Tory Shepherd outlines here, it is clearly designed to appeal to underlying racist attitudes. It is disgusting – no ifs, no buts. This flies in the face of what the vast majority of people in the ALP believe in but more meaningfully, undermines their passion for stamping out this type of behaviour. Multiculturalism is meant to be led from the front by politicians, instead of being undermined by racist campaign methods.

I’m sending an email to the National Secretary to express my displeasure as an ALP member (albeit from a different state). You can do the same: National.secretary@cbr.alp.org.au 

(Note: I received a reply and of course this is a state issue. You can instead contact the State Secretary of the SA ALP here:  Reggie.Martin@sa.alp.org.au)

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3 Comments on “Disgusting. ALP to voters: Can you trust Habib?”

  1. It would seem to me that ‘Habib’ is a surname, much like ‘Smith.’ Where is the racism?

  2. Henry says:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, Habib is the surname. A point made elsewhere is that this wouldn’t be an issue if it had of been part of a state-wide campaign, targeting every Liberal candidate. I agree with this point however, I do not believe this is true, as this hasn’t been raised either in the media or by the ALP campaign spokesperson. If anyone can point me to a state-wide campaign where the name “Barry” (candidate for Colton) or “Roberts” (candidate for Enfield) are included on the same leaflet targeting those seats, I’ll edit this post and put up an explainer.

    The racism appears when a person is singled out, because of their name, which is deliberately linked to very particular stereotypes based on race and religion. This was done in a negative context, by conflating the issue of social trust with somebody with a different ethnic heritage. The combination of the words and the background do create this effect.

    By focusing exclusively on Habib, the leaflet is dog-whistling, able to communicate a negative intent without being overt.

  3. I agree that this flier is in ill-taste, however I don’t think it is racist, as such. I think the flier is designed to remind voters of Australian Guantanamo detaninee Mamdouh Habib and there are obvious negative connotations there but not necessarily race-based. Regardless, I think it has no place in Australian Politics and I will make that view known to SA Labor.


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