Dear Senator Faruqi,
In the early hours of this morning, I happened to hear your appalling interview as it went to air on the BBC World Service. You are entitled to your views, but you are not entitled to trash your (and my) country to the world with your misrepresentation of facts.
First, a little humility would be in order. You may have been slotted into a seat in the red chamber, but you are in no real sense there representing New South Wales. Nobody elected you. Nobody voted for you. Winning a pre-selection contest in a minority party to replace a disgraceful crypto communist did not invest you with any special virtue – although you seem to believe it entitles you to proclaim your jaundiced views.
Second, although you stated that you and your family had left Pakistan, the country of your birth, because of increasing corruption, and despite your stint in the New South Wales Legislative Council, you seem not to have absorbed some of the fundamental precepts of Western democracy. Members of our parliaments are there to represent all their constituents, not merely those of their own political persuasion. So it was alarming to hear you declare that Australian citizens were not properly represented until their diversity was reflected in the makeup of the national parliament. In any case, a moment’s thought should have shown the stupidity of such an idea. Must every ethnic group, every religion, every one of the multiple claimed genders be represented in the Houses for their members to consider themselves adequately governed?
THUMBNAIL BIOGRAPHY: Mehreen Faruqi is a Pakistan-born Greens politician and activist. She took her seat in the Senate on Wednesday August 15, replacing Lee Rhiannon after a pre-selection contest. She came to Australia 26 years ago, and gained a Master of Engineering Science, and later a doctorate in environmental engineering at the University of New South Wales. After working in local government and the Australian Graduate School of Business, she was appointed to the Legislative Council in 2013 as a Greens member.
You present yourself as a champion against “racist rubbish”, as in your farewell speech to the New South Wales Parliament. You spoke movingly about the heavy toll such abuse takes on people on the receiving end: “I think we could be more aware of the sustained abuse that some of us have to weather. This might go some way to helping encourage others like me to put their hand up and make parliaments look a bit more like the streets and suburbs of the country we living in.” So why in your BBC interview did you descend to denigrating the members of the Australian Parliament as predominantly white males? So you have a special dispensation to spout racial slurs? I haven’t seen you disavow the Twitter comment of your son, newly hired ABCer and white-baiter Osman: “The white people are getting fucked, Yas, it’s happening.”
It was not a surprise that you shared your critical views and fantasies with the BBC on the supposed suppression of Aborigines and what you allege is the plight of asylum seekers — stranded on islands to be raped and driven to suicide. He, at any rate, was not competent to challenge these views, so in justice to your adopted country you could have included some balancing facts. Such as the $3 billion a year spent on Aboriginal issues, and by mitigating the slur on the many Australians of Aboriginal descent who are successful, articulate leaders. As to the refugee situation, the reality of protecting the borders and the difficulty of finding homes for those who illegally wished themselves upon us was clearly beyond you. You might also, just to fully brief the interviewer, have let him know that at least one cultural practice from your homeland, arranged marriage, meets with your approval.
The BBC diatribe echoed your several outbursts on the pop culture website Junkee, which young Osman edited, but unfortunately spoke ill of this country to an international, not merely local youth audience. Let’s hope you do not prove a worthy successor to Lee Rhiannon. You ended the broadcast with your pathetic oft-repeated wail: “I could stand on Bondi Beach, serving sausage sangers in an Akubra, draped in an Australian flag with a southern cross tattoo and for some, I still wouldn’t be Australian enough.” Perhaps you aren’t?