A visitor to this country over the past week might wonder where, or in what year, he or she has landed. It’s now nine sleeps since ANZAC Day 2017, and hundreds of articles and hours of rolling outrage have been expended on a few words posted on Facebook by part-time ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied on 25 April: “LEST. WE. FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)”
The post was quickly taken down and an apology published.
Too late. Immigration minister Peter Dutton called it a “disgrace”; assistant multicultural affairs minister Zed Seselja, one of several Coalition figures calling for Abdel-Magied’s sacking, found it “despicable.” Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce gleaned from the incident a “sense that the culture of the ABC is in some instances at odds with the culture of Australia.” Former prime minister Tony Abbott invoked his beloved “Team Australia” to explain that “the ABC is supposed to support Australia, it’s supposed to support Australian values, and there’s nothing more Australian, nothing more sacred than the commemoration of ANZAC Day.”