A Rational Fear
A Rational Fear
Apr 8, 2022
Jan Fran Has Issues - Ep2 - Race feat. Michael Towke
Play • 36 min

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Jan Fran Has Issues… with Race. Yup, we’re tackling race and Scott Morrison’s political origin story featuring the man who faced off against Scomo in 2007 - Michael Towke. And we learn about (recent) racist political history from Senator Mehreen Faruqi. 

Don’t forget to catch A Rational Fear Live at Melbourne Comedy Festival on April 10 featuring Australian of the Year Grace Tame, Lewis Hobba, Alice Fraser, Dane Simpson, Vidya Rajan, DJ Andy McClelland and special interview guest Independent candidate Zoe Daniel. 

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TRANSCRIPT: 

Unknown Speaker  0:00  
This episode is supported by the Jibb Foundation.

Dan Ilic  0:05  
The Prime Minister's still facing questions over accusations of racism from an ugly pre selection contests in 2007. I had a parliament selected by my party and have been pleased to represent my party at every election since then. We certainly use rice in the past on several occasions. Do you think he's like? I think it's pretty obvious he is in JAM frat house issues breaking down the election one issue at a time, brought to you by irrational fear. Hello, and welcome to the second episode of Jan Fran has issues the podcast where we break down the election, one issue at a time. I am Jan Fran, as always joined by my co host, Dan Ilic, who spent the last few days in the Republic of West Australia. I can tell I gotta tell you, I got my passport stamped. I got my vaccines removed by a guy who just sucked on my arm for an hour. It was amazing. It was great. I'd never felt so free. I do have to say no long COVID has disappeared. So if you if you're on the eastern states and you are walking around damp fly to broom, spend five days in the sun with my mum and long COVID will disappear.

Jan Fran  1:20  
It's true what they say there's no COVID in Western Australia. You want it gone. You just fly over there, mate. Well, today we've got a special guest on the show Michael Towke men who this week I'm sure you're across this story. Dan accused Scott Morrison of racially vilifying him in 2007.

Dan Ilic  1:41  
I mean, I applied on my Lebanese village connections, which I just found out. You also have some Lebanese village connections that I have no idea about either. Yeah, my mom's living in so I've got a huge Lebanese family. So this is really excited. For me. It's like how often in Australian media, do you get three Lebanese people on the same podcast? Well, I don't think you do. I think this is groundbreaking in so many ways. Oh, we need to still carry here and we'll have a good time.

Jan Fran  2:09  
Look, this was a massive story this week. The talk Morrison stuff if you're not across it, that's okay. We've got you covered in just a minute. Before we get there, though, as always, we have to take issue with something when you take issue with this week.

Dan Ilic  2:24  
Jan, I'm taking issue with everybody approaching the leaders of the major parties in public places. The electorate cannot approach leaders, it just shouldn't happen. Leaders should just walk around unfettered by public opinion. That's what that's what the camera bubbles for. That's what the candidate No, no one should be touching or seeing or making eye contact with Scott Morrison.

Jan Fran  2:44  
I love this story. If you haven't followed the press conferences, slash meet and greets of our pm and opposition leader. One of them was in Perth doing a press conference when he got accosted, I will say by a member of the public and I am going to take issue with that actual member of the public who managed to jump in the middle of a presser and ask he didn't ask a question. He asked whether he could ask a question.

Unknown Speaker  3:17  
I've got a tough break hang out. I've got a pop quiz. I'm absolutely up for it. Okay, you know, we're not we're just taking questions from journalists, because that's what you do at a press conference. So you're not if

Jan Fran  3:34  
you have the opportunity to ask a question. Don't ask if you can ask a question. Yeah, just ask the question. Anyone that's

Dan Ilic  3:41  
ever been in a press pack knows don't ask for permission just stomp your way in there because otherwise someone else is going to take that airtime away from you. Like have a lot to learn from operating in the press pack. Let me tell you

Jan Fran  3:54  
well, they can learn it from this guy who did just that just Scott Morrison he was up at a pub in new car. That's always dangerous places because people are not going back the beers you don't know what's going to happen. And and a gentleman a pensioner with a lot of opinions approached the pm

Unknown Speaker  4:12  
before the election, because this is two promises that we made, you know, another promises we made the integrity commission.

Jan Fran  4:25  
How it's done my

Dan Ilic  4:28  
point after point, just get right in there. You gotta gotta beat scomo because scomo will talk all over you. I did notice a headline that said scomo rejected the idea that he actually had a hostile reception. I just assumed that's the kind of reception he gets everywhere. So he's got that's what he's got to come to. That's always good to compare it to is like, Oh, that wasn't hostile. If you compare all the receptions, I've had it all the other pubs I've ever been to, that's fine.

Jan Fran  4:54  
And if you notice that gentleman did bring up an integrity Commission, which if you missed last week's episode, is exactly what we're talking about. So go ahead and give that one a read listen and get up to speed on why

Dan Ilic  5:07  
that was excellent question from old pensioner number two well done if you're a pensioner out there and you've got some questions just jump in there. Don't don't wait around because you haven't got quite frankly, if you're a pensioner, you've got a lot of time left.

Jan Fran  5:22  
Jan Fran has issues. Okay to the big story of the week the pm has been out defending himself against allegations that he racially vilified a man named Michael toke during the pre selection battle for the seat of cook in 2007. This is a pretty complicated story. So we're gonna go right back to the beginning for it. This story starts in 2007. In the electorate of cook in South Sydney, the safe liberal seat had been held by a man named Bruce Baird for almost a decade but he was moving on, and the leads needed to find a candidate to run in the 2007 federal election. So a press election ballot was held. This is when political parties vote for their preferred candidates. There were a number of people in the running, among them Scott Morrison, a former State Director of the Liberal Party, and a man named Michael Towke an engineer and local resident, long story short, toke won by a lot. He got 82 votes, guess how many votes Morrison got? Eight. So if Morrison lost the vote, how can he not hope ended up in Parliament as the member for cook? Well, if you believe Michael Towke it's because Morrison and his allies orchestrated a smear campaign against him to claims that senior liberals went digging for dirt, trashing him to journalists as a liar and a fraud. Part of his account is backed by former Labour Senator Sam Dastyari. Scott Morrison's lieutenants, and I'm sure with Scott Morrison has knowledge turned to the Labour Party and asked them to prepare the dirt file on his political opponent to be able to get rid of the guy and actually having this endorsed as Liberal Party candidate. Really I know this because I was the one who put the file together. But when the reason allegations of racism come into it, well, they were sparked by this. Morrison might profess to be Christian, but there was nothing Christian about what was done to Michael Towke. That was Senator Concetta for Avante Wells who last month towards Scott Morrison a new one in her outgoing speech to the Senate. It's a little convoluted to get into why but let's just say she's got a gripe with the man. She unprompted, brought up the tote saga and then said this, I'm advised that there are several statutory declarations to attest to racial comments made by Morrison at the time that we can't have a Lebanese person in Cork. You know, those stat decks that can shatter mentioned journalist went looking for them, and they found them one signed by a Liberal Party member named Scott Chapman. Another side by Michael Towke both attesting that the Prime Minister use toaks Lebanese background against him saying a lib couldn't win the seat of Cook and claiming that toke was quote unquote, actually a Muslim. Side note he's not that's not really the point here though. There's one more thing that you need to know about this for it to make sense. The seat of Cook is home to coronella beach, and in 2005, just two years before this saga, a wee thing called the coronella riots happen. Hordes of angry youths had been tearing around granola all day looking for a fight.

Unknown Speaker  8:44  
To target anyone is Middle East in appearance.

Jan Fran  8:48  
It was a race riot with 1000s of people draped in the Aussie flag rocked up to coronella Beach chanting fuck off libs, and bathing anyone who looked remotely Brown. Good time. The rest is history. Morrison wins cook in oh seven. After getting pre selected in a second ballot. He becomes the pm in 2018 after knifing Turnbull, and he wins the last election. This week. He has been in damage control, emphatically denying that he said any of this about taupe. I think I've been very clear. I absolutely reject that as malicious slurs that. That means someone is lying. And Michael Towke says it ain't him.

Dan Ilic  9:28  
Wow, what a great yard. You know, Jan, you know, it'd be great. It would be great if we could actually hear from the man himself. But he's probably you know, extremely busy. Probably every other journalist in Australia was to talk to him. You know, he just done the project this week. He's probably about 60 minutes lined up. There's no way we could get him. Well, you know what, it turns out that if you text Michael toe, he just calls you back and agrees to do a review with you. And oh my god.

Jan Fran  10:00  
So that's exactly what happened. I was like, This is gonna be a long shot. Let's give it a go. And like I said, leaned very heavily on the old Lebanese village connections, plus some hectic Lebanese guilt no one can ever say no to. And he has decided to join us on this party to talk about what happened, and so much more. So I actually sat down with him yesterday, 24 hours before recording this and let me tell you, our chat gets personal. I'm going to show you my nerdy side, the Lord of the Rings is all about good versus evil and the temptation of power and the ring. These are inherent human issues that have been debated. How were you in Lord of the Rings? And who is Scott Morrison?

Michael Towke  10:43  
Scott Morrison is Sauron. Absolutely.

Without any, any doubt he's Sauron. I would probably be happy to answer them without sounding cocky, because they're all I'm Sam wise, I think I'd be Samwise Gamgee. Frodo let you know took a lot of credit. But, you know, Sam, pretty much did most of the work. So I don't want to I don't want to create any enemies and Lord of the Rings, because I probably upset half of the fans.

Jan Fran  11:16  
Michael, first of all, thank you for joining us. I kind of just want to start with you here at the beginning. And when I say the beginning, I mean, like the beginning the beginning. So who is Mikoto tell us a bit about where you grew up your family and how you found your way into politics.

Michael Towke  11:32  
I grew up in Rockford. I'm the oldest of eight children. We didn't have a huge amount of possessions or, you know, finances. God bless my parents that I feel like we missed out. I don't know how many degrees between the eight of us we have including multiple master's degrees across a number of mediums whether it's business architecture, psychology,

Jan Fran  11:58  
politics, you went into politics what took you into that

Michael Towke  12:01  
but you don't need a qualification for that. As you can tell from some of the people that get elected. So

Jan Fran  12:07  
shade early, Michael jumping in with the shade early.

Michael Towke  12:12  
So I grew up in Redfern a Gough Whitlam came to my grandparents house in Redfin. They were community leaders of the Lebanese community. And I grew up hearing this story. I mean, it was a big deal in our community massive deal.

Jan Fran  12:24  
And what are we talking 60s 70s? How old do

Michael Towke  12:27  
you think I am? This interview is over. No, yeah, it's a bit of a melting pot for very low socio economic, non Anglo people, you know, indigenous people and Lebanese. But even before the abject poverty, drugs, I never felt like it was an unsafe area, there was a bit of harmony between people because we were all cut from the same cloth.

Jan Fran  12:51  
So did that upbringing then spur you to go into politics? And am I right in saying that you started your sort of, I guess career in politics in the Labour Party,

Michael Towke  13:01  
I got signed up, like most people get signed up, as I ended up signing and other people, and a lot of it was admin and, you know, bickering, people positioning posturing for positions. I don't know, maybe my expectations were, you know, way over inflated, for whatever reasons, I just sort of left it.

Jan Fran  13:21  
Okay. And so when When did you join the Liberal Party? How long before the cook pre selection? Did you become a member of the party?

Michael Towke  13:28  
Seven, eight years.

Jan Fran  13:29  
Okay, so you're you're running for pre selection in the state of cook in 2007. There's a vote. There's a number of people who've put their hand up for that vote, you and Morrison are among them, you win the vote pretty substantially. Yep. Then what happens?

Michael Towke  13:47  
They forced me to spend almost 1000 $100,000 in legal fees just to have the right to stand up to attend on the day and be considered by 160 delegates from across the entire state. They tried to knock me out from two months before the pre selection. On technicalities. And which all turned out to be nonsense.

Jan Fran  14:10  
When you say they will try they made you pay $100,000 in legal fees, or they pushed you to pay that much in legal fees just to be able to run in that first pre selection battle. Who were you talking about? And what were they throwing at you that you had to go down the legal Avenue?

Michael Towke  14:27  
So the state director who was a very close friend, Scott Morrison,

Jan Fran  14:31  
so you're saying that there were people in the Liberal Party that did not want you to run in the pre selection battle that you want at all?

Michael Towke  14:38  
So I'd get an email or a phone call, or we just had an allegation come in, you need to come into the office now. Like literally now. And I turn up and it's like, Oh, we've had an allegation coming that you're you've owned, you own and operate. You and your family owned and operate a number of brothels. What do you say to that?

Jan Fran  14:56  
What did you say to that?

Michael Towke  14:57  
What are you talking about? We don't know. You guys, would you be happy to put in the stat deck? Yeah, no problem did that a few days later, we had to come in. Now the allegations come in allegation that's coming out, you're involved in an altercation in the bar fight where you've stabbed someone. And then I've got all this in writing, right? And I'm happy to share it with you. And it's like, Well, that didn't happen. It's almost laughable. Right?

Jan Fran  15:27  
So who's putting these allegations? Do you can you name them?

Michael Towke  15:29  
Well, the state director at the time, the guy who's actually like, if it was a State of Origin match, he's literally the head referee. He's the main arbitrator of a free selection. And he's made to be extremely objective. And just make sure the due process is followed. So yeah, this happened a few times. So I was like, you know, WTF. I think I need to lawyer up. And lawyer up. I did. And this went on for months. It wasn't hard to see, you know, how you could easily rack up 100 grand in legal fees.

Jan Fran  16:05  
Why do you think that they were trying so hard to stop you from running for pre selection? Like, why did they do this too, because I knew I'd win. And what was the problem for them with you winning was pretty obvious. Now.

Michael Towke  16:16  
There's a couple of problems one, the seat was promised to Morrison. That's why he moved from his Hillsong base in Mitchell down to the southern Shire. And he was known leaning conservative at the time, moved into our very strongly held moderate area. It's not his base.

Jan Fran  16:37  
Okay, so let's talk about some of the stuff that you've sort of, you know, alleged has happened after you won that initial pre selection.

Michael Towke  16:46  
I'm not alleging objectively, demonstrably factually verifiable.

Jan Fran  16:52  
So what happened? Talk us through some of the articles that appeared about you in The Telegraph, which we should say you sued for defamation over and you won that defamation case,

Michael Towke  17:04  
I was in a pretty dark place after that episode, right. And I was really, yeah, I wouldn't say broken, but I was pretty close. I just felt the shame of people looking at me, like what have you done to our community? You've embarrassed us. And that's how I felt. I brought the whole community, not just the Christian side, but Middle Eastern community, you know, the first generation children of migrants into disrepute

Jan Fran  17:30  
by ending up in the paper where there were allegations that you had acted improperly

Michael Towke  17:36  
that you correct them because of course, we're here to have one of the pre selection being the Lebo, Melba cuckfield, Blue Ribbon seats in Liberal heartland. He either must have cheated and or been dodgy to this day. I cannot do go myself, literally is a slippery path. I don't want to go down. Maybe after the events of the last week. At some stage, when I have a bottle of scotch in front of me, I might for a laugh. See what's out there now.

Jan Fran  18:06  
What are you worried about a few Google yourself What stopped you from doing that

Michael Towke  18:09  
ripping scabs off wounds that have healed that I just don't need to go down there. I mean, I literally put it behind me to think I'd ruined not only my reputation, I mean, one of the articles we sued was that choke facing five years jail because that's the article that really upset my mom. So there

Jan Fran  18:25  
was you did do some press about what happened in 2007. In the years that followed, not a lot. And then this thing blew up because late last month, Senator Concetta for Avante wells mentioned this saga in the Senate. You say that you had no idea it was coming? It's really a How did you then hear about it? Did someone just text you and say Michael, you're on the news.

Michael Towke  18:54  
I had a long day at work came home did my dad Judy and passed out. Woke up Wednesday morning and glanced at my phone. And it had gone into literally meltdown. I was being tagged in Facebook's YouTube clips, multiple missed calls. I've been texted on multiple texting applications. So I was like what's happened? Like I actually was worried there was a nuclear incident in the Ukraine Russian conflict, like my mind was racing, I was literally half asleep.

Jan Fran  19:25  
So what So what goes through like what happens to someone when they're at a center, when they're at the center of a story like this? Where the day before they were just a regular person that, you know, nobody would have known their name and then suddenly, 24 hours later, you're just all over the press.

Michael Towke  19:42  
I remember thinking, okay, whatever, in some parts. And another part of me was thinking, Well, I'm glad some of the stories got an out there. Zero intention of talking to anyone. I just sort of blow over.

Jan Fran  19:56  
So you thought I'm not gonna say anything. I'm just gonna I'm just gonna lay low and just gonna wait till this blows over. But you do say something eventually you do obviously come to the decision that you are going to talk about it. Why did you decide that

Michael Towke  20:08  
certain documents were leaked? And I had my name on it, one of them had my name on it, there are others floating around? I'm aware of what are things out there? I know what I've seen in the past, and I wasn't sure what was leaked and what wasn't leaked. So when journalists were telling me, and on this occasion, very politely look, this is a very public interest story, we have to write it, we're going to write it. This is all text messages where I'm not responding. I'm not even acknowledging the messages. I'm not even saying no comment. I'm just ignoring all the journals, right? And then it was Hey, Michael, do you have the stat decks and then it was Hey, Michael, we've got the stat decks. And

Jan Fran  20:49  
so So escalated to the point where you felt that you had to respond.

Michael Towke  20:53  
So I have to make a decision. Right. My name my family name, was going to be out there again. Do I do what I did last time? Don't do what I've done the last 15 years, I think, or do I least make sure that was printed? is accurate?

Jan Fran  21:07  
Yeah, you've been pretty no holds barred in the last week about your comments regarding Morrison, I think you've called him a liar, said that he's probably not fit to be Prime Minister. That he that you were treated as a dodgy lab, you've reaffirmed those, what you had said in your stat deck that he used your Lebanese heritage against you. So you really you've you've gone hard.

Michael Towke  21:36  
I've just told the truth. But that's not the one made that made the story hard. They went hard. They went low and hard. And they were relentless. I'm just putting it out there. What happened?

Jan Fran  21:50  
What do you say to people who say that? You've got a gripe against Morrison because you lost the pre selection and you're trying to hurt him ahead of the federal election. And they

Michael Towke  22:00  
don't know what they're talking about. I don't have a gripe against Morrison. I don't think about Scott Morrison anymore. And if I wanted to hurt him, I could have heard him before he became prime minister, maybe he wouldn't have become prime minister.

Jan Fran  22:11  
You mentioned this week that you got a text from a cabinet minister that is close to Morrison saying I believe you and essentially backing you're speaking out about this, who's the cabinet minister?

Michael Towke  22:24  
I'm glad you asked that question with a straight face. Are you trying to trick me like a dumb Lebo?

Jan Fran  22:35  
There's if there's one person that could get away with treating one dumb limo, like it downloads maybe another dumb Lebo who's trying to get some information out of you that I knew there was no chance

Michael Towke  22:44  
texted me verbatim who was the cabinet ministers? Like?

Jan Fran  22:49  
I said, I'm not going to tell anyone honestly.

Michael Towke  22:54  
But, you know, I'm like Scott Morrison, who will use people abused him if you need to throw him under the bus if you need to do to protect himself. I'm not, I could show people that message. It would be absolutely front page news for the next few days, it would probably be the final nail in his coffin. But that would end someone's curry, who's worked very hard as I know what it takes to get into parliament. And that person has a family. And I don't do that. I mean,

Jan Fran  23:28  
but there's been sort of a bunch of reporting and, and accusations of Islamophobia within the highest ranks of the liberal party. I mean, I'm bringing this up because it pertains to this particular story. There's your story. There's reports from 2011 that Scott Morrison, who was then the opposition immigration spokesman, urged his cabinet to capitalize on the electorate's growing concerns about Muslim immigration. I'm quoting from an article there, he has denied this, by the way, I should say that,

Michael Towke  23:56  
sorry, he's denied, but other people who were there who challenged him in that meeting, have come on the record, which is extraordinary, and told him and actually affirmed it. So his denials mean nothing.

Jan Fran  24:07  
Yeah, there have there are people he doesn't deny the meeting. He denies that he brought up Muslim immigration to exploit it. He says he brought up Muslim immigration as a way of trying to address some of the concerns rather than exploit them. That's what he says. There's also Peter Dutton in 2016 Point Blank saying that it was a mistake to bring Lebanese Muslims to Australia under Malcolm Fraser. So all of these things kind of combined. I just want to ask you, do you think that the Liberal Party has an Islamophobia problem?

Michael Towke  24:36  
I sort of do. The southern Shire Liberal Party doesn't. I remember the time when the room of me being Islamic and the context of that rumor was identified the spelling of my name to fit in, after everything I've done in this country, including serving in the military, first class honours degrees charity, never been in trouble. Just being a good citizen, I still always felt there was a really big glass ceiling, like very silly in the back of my head, there wasn't too far I could go and got sick of, you know, people not being able to pronounce the family name like, oh, how do you spell that? You know, where's that from? So magnified well before the pre selection. And what are Scott Morrison's closest friends because I had to submit my birth certificate, well updated birth certificate, which shows my original name. They took my birth certificate with the change, and I'm running around showing people how He's changed his name. It's because we think he's a Muslim.

Jan Fran  25:38  
And you had changed your name to try and

Michael Towke  25:41  
assimilate and do the thing that these rednecks, ask of immigrants like, come here learn English, we've got all the other stuff, you know, the Australian values. Crap, which they tried to hide some of the stuff that's not really Australian values. Yeah, I, I tried to blend in. And they turned it against me.

Jan Fran  26:06  
Let me ask you one more question. One more question. We've got a federal election coming up in May. Is there anything that you would say to the Australian people before we go into that federal election?

Michael Towke  26:20  
I think people need to start exercising critical thinking on both sides. Where did on labor? And where did our liberal voters created these safe seats? Where power brokers on both sides can just put it any idiot? Put in a puppet? That's a huge existential threat to our democracy. I mean, democracy is a social a fragile social construct. It's only as good as the people involved. This rusted on support on both sides is next stop. I don't care if your great great grandfather was a Labour Party, and you just always voted labour to start looking. I mean, Anthony Albanese has actually been quite disappointed. He's no Paul Keating, the poor Katie would have won this election six months ago, like before the poll now about who's gonna fall over the line because Morrison's basically shot himself in both feet. He's really underwhelming and that ridiculous performance would have taken question from someone. You know, it just shows you that this these people have lost the the touch with people but more precisely to the Middle Eastern community. And what I said happened. In 2007, happened, he was heavily involved in it. He's played the race card, demonstrably for years. He's taking the Middle Eastern community as dopes, and some of them probably willfully, because they have business ties to him. And some just out of pure ignorance, they just have only ever seen the shiny, PR Scotty for marketing external image. But this is a divisive man who has used racial vilification not just with me, but with many other people, Islamophobia and bigotry on several occasions in his career, to divide us for his own political gain. And if the Liberal Party insists on keeping him as their leader, then you need to really think about think hard about not voting for or for the party, which sends a message to both sides. Because then that sets the standard

Jan Fran  28:26  
Mikoto pleasure to talk to you today. Thank you.

Michael Towke  28:29  
Thank you, what an honor to to meet you. Thank you for reaching out. Pleasure.

Dan Ilic  28:38  
And that's exactly what I say whenever Jan calls me I say what an honor to meet you. Thank you for reaching out. Oh, wow, what an impressive guy seriously, what Australia missed out on to have a man of his caliber in Parliament. Oh my god listening to hear him talk. He makes me hopeful for Australia. He makes me he paints a picture of an Australia that I believe in. So Stan, it's astounding. Let the complete separation of where we are. And where we could be with a person like Michael Tolkien power

Jan Fran  29:08  
did not feel like a sliding doors moment that preselection of Cook which, you know, he won in the first round ballot. It's like, Hmm, what could be different if he had won the seat of cook like the, the trajectory that you know, this this country has ended up on would have just been very different because Scott Morrison wouldn't have been in the Parliament at all. Not making a value judgment on that. I'm just saying that a very big part of Australian political life just wouldn't be there. But my question is what would have replaced it

Dan Ilic  29:41  
hmm it'd be a be a fool's errand to go and paint a liberal party that is very progressive on a progression wouldn't it but you know it who knows what could have happened you know, you've Scott Morrison was in power we wouldn't have had on water matters for instance, and and stop the boats. We'd have a whole diff We're in lexicon to deal with and so who knows who knows what that could be? Yeah, who knows indeed.

Unknown Speaker  30:08  
Jan Fran Has Issues

Dan Ilic  30:18  
Hey guys, I'm Monica to that one since we mixed it up.

Unknown Speaker  30:25  
Give it I'm gonna go. Yes, We'd like some history. This is a story of how a neo Nazi sympathizer ended up in the Australian Senate. It's my favorite story of all time. And the boy who tried to stop him with an egg. Oh God, who better to tell you this story than someone who knows the Senate and sadly, racism inside and out. We're talking about Mehreen Faruqi, Australia's first ever female Muslim senator. Take it away, Mehreen.

Mehreen Faruqi  30:51  
This story starts long ago, in the BC times before COVID Way back in 2016. One Nation had picked up two Senate seats, one for Pauline Hanson and one for Malcolm Roberts. Roberts was forced to give up his seat because of questions over his citizenship, leaving it to the third person on the one nation Senate ticket. A man named Fraser Anning. Want to guess how many below the line votes Fraser Anning actually got 19 one nine. That means only 19 people voted specifically for Fraser Anning, but against the odds phrase that became the Senator that almost no one wanted phrases honeymoon with one nation would end almost immediately, and he would give his first speech to the Senate brimming with pride. Some would say, white pride. The final solution to the immigration problem, of course, is a popular vote. In case you're wondering, Fraser's use of the term final solution was in regards to banning Muslim immigration. It sent shockwaves through the Senate.

It was even too racist for Pauline Hanson. Straight from Goebbels handbook from the Nazi Germany, but this wouldn't be the end of phrases crusade against Muslims. Fast forward to 2019 the Christchurch mosque massacre left 51 innocent Muslim worshippers dead and the mass shooter was an Australian white supremacist Fraser and he knew he had to take action. And he did what every self respecting politician would do. He composed a tweet.

Dan Ilic  32:39  
Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?

Mehreen Faruqi  32:45  
That's right. His tweet blamed the victims for being Muslim and migrating. The uproar was instant never been one missed an opportunity he scheduled a speech for the next day. A speech that would give birth to one of Australia's most iconic moments. Enter egg boy

Unknown Speaker  33:08  
secured in a chokehold after leaving egg on a conservative senators face.

Mehreen Faruqi  33:18  
galvanized by egg boy, Australians made their voices heard, and the racist Senator lost his seat at the next federal election. And while the fight against racism continues, one thing is for certain

Jan Fran  33:34  
this egg has united people. Yay, thank you the egg that united the country and thank you marine for that little storytime for us. And can I just say, marine Faruqi became Australia's first female Muslim Senator less than 24 hours after raise it adding called for Muslim immigration to be halted on a timely timely thing.

Dan Ilic  34:02  
Oh my gosh, we should also probably recognize the folks who have been led out of immigration detention this week, which has been an incredible effort from from so many activists getting this on the radar and keeping pressure up on the government for doing it. Just absolutely astonishing. Certainly

Jan Fran  34:21  
took nine years. But you know what, at least it's not 10. Well, we'll take what we can get at this point. Sadly, I'm sad to say,

Dan Ilic  34:29  
Oh, dear, speaking of taking what we will at this point, if you feel like it comes to a rational fear this Sunday at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, we've got a one big show. It's huge. Grace team is doing the show. Gabby Bowles doing the show and Lewis Harbor, Dane Simpson hours Fraser and independent candidate for Goldstein Zowie Daniel is also going to be joining us on stage as well. So tickets are selling fast. We are more than 60% sold. So you know just buy another 100 tickets come along. It's gonna be Right.

Jan Fran  35:02  
And make sure you join us next week we're going to be talking about, I believe the cost of living. But who knows what's between now and

Dan Ilic  35:10  
there might be another surprise prominent Lebanese person who jumps in the news feed. And Jan friend. Well, what are you to do there? No, of course, Jared, can I say your interview with Michael was fascinating, intriguing. And it's just a testament to you as a person and a journalist that he chose to sit down with you. So thank you for getting Michael. It's he's somebody I've wanted to hear from for about five or six years since that last story broke. So you know, thank you. And a big thanks to everybody who works on the show F and K media shout out to our amazing producers also big thanks to rode for helping us with some gear for the show, the jib Foundation, all of our Patreon supporters that irrational fear was that a big shout out to the Gadigal people whose land we make this podcast on. Thank you so much.

Robbie McGreggor  35:55  
And remember to vote rationally

A Rational Fear on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ARationalFear

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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