The Facebook page, NSW Conservative Support Page (ID: 449356591762452), was created on June 13, 2010. It has 1,364 likes and 1,398 followers. The page promotes right winged political views and regular xenophobia and racism.
The NSW Conservative Support Page has regularly made racist and xenophobic remarks under the guise of political commentary. The way in which the Facebook page promotes this behaviour is by finding articles online and making personal political comments in relation to those sources of news. In 2018 and 2019 the NSW Conservative Support Page can be seen making anti-refugee comments, they regularly call for the “need for a deportation day.” Further, the NSW Conservative Support Page is one which has been promoting a right winged political agenda for a number of years. They attempt to draw readers further right evidenced by the description section of their page outlining the group’s beliefs. Being a follower of this page means that you would never vote “Labour or Greens as they equate to a communist/socialist” regime, implies that a member would vote Liberal or One Nation. To highlight the fact that this page wishes to pull the audience further right, any liberal politician that is pro refugee, culturally understanding or varying from this group’s own racist xenophobic views is labelled as “bleeding heart”, seen as a “disappointment,” or idiotic and following “the Greens”.
Case Study on Islamophobic Hate Speech
A recent post from March 30, shared a Daily Mail article referencing the 25-year-old woman who was released on bail after allegedly spitting on a police officer whilst resisting arrest. Despite no inference in the tagged article, the author of this post refers to the fact that she should be deported. In light of the fact that there was no reference in the article to her immigration or even citizenship status, this highlights Islamophobic hate speech.
Comments from NSW Conservative Support Page Readers
This post attracted 20 comments. Some of which indicated general disgust of the act itself and how the criminal justice system was perceived to be inadequate. However, the 9 examples below are indicative that others were attracted to the Islamophobic undertones of the post and made various Islamophobic inferences. Others also included elements of misogynistic hate and a projection of white supremacy as well.
In this first example, the author’s use of the word ‘slag’ indicates elements of misogyny, whilst the reference to ‘her lot’ infers elements of Islamophobia with the assumption that the criminal justice system does not provide adequate punishment to people identified as Muslim or of Islamic faith.
Whilst this first comment in Example 2, although rude, is not targeting any specific hate speech. The reply, however, generates Islamophobia through the assertion that ‘only people from a certain religion does that’. It does not specifically refer to Muslim people, however, due to the image attached to the article showing the woman wearing a religious head covering, it is clear that the author of this reply is speaking about the Islamic religion.
This is another instance, similar to the author of the original post, that assumes, because of her appearance that she is not an Australian citizen, and therefore should be deported, clearly indicative of xenophobic views. Not only does this generate Islamophobia the comment that ‘we don’t want that type of person in Australia’ is also an inference of white supremacy dictating that only a certain type of person should be allowed within Australia.
The 4th example is a comment that indicates a classist perspective and makes another inference about her citizenship; assuming that because of her appearance and dress, she must therefore be a ‘second grade citizen’.
The use of the words ‘filthy…bitch’ and ‘slag’ generate misogynistic hate. Whilst the use of the word ‘filthy’ could be understood in reference to her allegedly spitting at the police officer, it would not necessarily be presumptive to assume, in light of the tone of this comment, that this was in line with the misogynistic agenda of this commenter.
The degrading term ‘bitch’ paired with ‘Muslim’ as an adjective to ‘bitch’ generates misogynistic Islamophobia, particularly when coupled with the sarcastic statement that her actions and personhood is ‘enriching our lives’, obviously inferring the opposite.
This is another inference that she does not belong here, inciting a white supremist and xenophobic agenda in the urgency that she needs to be removed.
This comment makes a generalisation in that all those associated with this woman’s identity are ‘degrading pieces of shit’. In the limited information in this comment, it is not quite clear whether this is in reference to her gender or religion, but in consistency with the general tone of the page and post, it can be assumed that this comment is making a generalised Islamophobic comment.
Not an Isolated Incident
There are other examples that this is a trend for this page. The page regularly links Islamic material with xenophobia with calls to deportation and calls for good or real Australians.
It was made in relation to Father Rod Bower, an independent state Senate candidate, who supports the inclusivity of refugees and Muslims, labeling him as a ‘bleeding heart.’ This is an attempt to discredit alternative views to the page.
The commentary presented above highlights the right winged views of the page. The group is upset by the fact that the liberal government is making more moderate legislation.
This is another example of the page commenting on news articles and making assumptions on the facts that lead to xenophobic remarks such as “deportation day.”
Another harsh example of xenophobia.
Example of the disappointment experienced by the group when a Liberal member of Government does not share the same right winged views.
Racist Views – Alive and Thriving
This page shows that the racist views are still alive and thriving, with this page in particular placing an emphasis on targeting Muslims and spreading an Islamophobic message. Their Facebook page oftentimes reposts news articles by the likes of the Daily Mail, a newspaper widely known for its reporting of inaccurate and harmful content. The link is accompanied by a post, which at times has no bearing on the contents of the article, but tends to be hateful and degrading towards Muslims. The whole aim of the accompanying posts is to use fear and misinformation to spread hate, by hiding racism within right wing politics. The post is then commented on by its followers who like the page, fail to use the facts of the article, but rather choose to comment on assumptions about the religion and citizenship of the person.
Researched & Written by Esther Goodrich, Maleeha Saeed & T.C.
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This article is primarily looking at Racism and Islamophobia, but also exhibits a high level of Misogyny. OHPI is currently running our May 2020 campaign to Stop Online Misogyny, which is part of a schedule of campaigns in 2020 to stop online hate. The full plan for our campaigns in 2020 can be seen here.