The author of this paper, Elaine Kelly, tries to look at the inter connection of liberalism, sovereignty of Australia as a state and its hospitality. This interconnection is brought about through the incessant cultural wars in her country, Australia. These wars, she argues, are being perpetuated by the Liberal Coalition government, headed by John Howard. This, she says, is done through the promotion of past phenomena and ideologies strengthened by the notion of whiteness. The article tries to explore the consequences of these cultural wars on the country’s hospitality and its sovereignty.
Whiteness, she explains, is the study of the continued white dominance on socio-economic, political, cultural and legal aspects of the country. She adds that the government, aided by this concept (whiteness), was able to remodel the policy and law making, and public debate. Under the leadership of Howard, the Liberal government managed to have a telling impact on matters touching on hospitality shown to those seeking asylum in the country and the immigrants.
The author raises the issue of racelessness which loosely translates to disclaim the notion that race is crucial, for instance, for liberalism. She adds that through liberalism racelessness will be manifested in politics and culture. The paper explores the inter lacing of racism and liberalism under the Liberal government and tries to connect to the treatment of the aforementioned minority groups; asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees.
She accuses the Howard government that by painting liberalism as being universal and unrelated in any way to race, it has managed to change policies, laws and peoples’ opinions. Liberalism, she adds, in this regard has been concealed over the uninterrupted continuation of racial echelons and also hides the racial consequences of this when it comes to policy making and the respective laws associated with this liberal agenda. In this regard, therefore, she argues, we can’t say that this new form of liberalism is the innate deviation from the original liberalism. Therefore, we cannot presume that liberalism is chaste or that much different to the racial wars. The author is convinced that these au courant kinds of liberalism are mainly aimed at reinforcing the rights of the white people in Australia. She fears that, in essence, this act would exclude the original, inherent sovereignty.
“ Our national practices of hospitality are tied to our conceptions and enforcements of sovereignty; biopolitically in relation to the fostering of some life over others; necropolitically in reference to the production of death or the structural negligence; and in terms of political notions of statehood which constantly refuse Indigenous claims to sovereignty”.
The author concludes by challenging the masses to look at this interrelation more closely again. She says that the only hope for moral interventions into the country’s volatile political landscape lies with the revelation of the abstract complexities of both hospitality and sovereignty of Australia even when it is facing the decrease of these concepts due to the different political and economic agendas. She is hoping that the investments in both hospitality and sovereignty and their respective expressions, have clearly been elaborated in this paper in light of individual liberalism, neo liberalism and the John Howard led Liberal government.
Cultural wars are really divisive topics that always draw a wide range of opinions from all walks of life. Elaine Kelly’s article is no exception. In this paper, she comes up with some really debatable findings. She starts off by claiming that the John Howard led liberal government has tried to conceal the racial investments of its engagements in these cultural wars. She has also stated the implications of these cultural wars for the better understanding of the country’s hospitality and sovereignty. She found out that the governments under Howard have always been able to imply that an individual of liberalism, the enlightenment individual is required as the foundation of any political engagement so as to restore an apparent absence of balance in favor of the minority or group rights. She says that this position has significant implications especially when it comes to the conceptions and mannerisms of hospitality shown to asylum seekers and refugees, and also the assumptions of the nation’s sovereignty. Kelley, also comes to the conclusion that neo liberalism is chiefly interested in protecting the group rights of the white people. Lastly, and mainly, the author’s overall find is that Australia’s cultural wars are part of what she calls” a larger teleological narrative of modernization and racial progress”
The findings listed are, in my opinion, quite accurate. This is best exemplified by his treatment of the Aborigines. This is because the policies that are passed favor heavily the whites. For example, the government has been putting all the stops to deny them -Aborigines- their rights unlike the international community that recognizes them. For instance, the policies put in place have made it hard for the Aborigines to reclaim their land which are now occupied by extensive ranches. This is a backward step bearing in mind that the world is heading towards integration. On the contrary, Howard wants us to appreciate more the role being played by the whites in the development of the country and its culture. However, robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn’t make them saints. A country’s treatment of all of its citizens is key for national development.
The article offers some interesting challenges to the people of Australia, the government and its leadership. As a student, it enlightens me to the intricacies of the Australian politics. It’s my hope that all the points raised will be clearly studied by everyone and the solutions sought. It is a valuable read as it tackles the matter of cultural wars head on, with no bias. A well researched paper it is.