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Brian Castro’s The Garden Book, then as now.

I have just read The Garden Book, a novel by the terrific Australian writer Brian Castro. One character, a fourth generation Chinese-Australian, quotes Arthur Calwell, Immigration Minister in the Ben Chifley government of 1945 to 1949 and Leader of the Australian Labor Party from 1960 to 1967: “Chinese living in Australia are ‘a readymade fifth column for communist activities’”.
Replace hatred of Chinese with hatred of Muslims, replace “communist activities” with the alleged threat of sharia law, replace Calwell with Prime Minister Tony Abbott Tony — “they’re coming after us” — and you have the new scapegoats and diversions to hide the political and economic crisis of Australia.



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