Violence and hate in Australia

Violence and hate in Australia – by Darin Sullivan

Two things have initiated this post:

1. Some comments I’ve seen around the Packer vs Gyngell fight being ‘the old way of sorting things out’; and

2. The NSW under 20s NRL player suspended for calling another player a ‘‘f—ing gay c—’’, and the fallout from that.

Violence is not OK

I bumped a Facebook comment in my feed today saying what an outrage it was that Packer and his mate have been highlighted for sorting their issue out ‘the old school way’.

Fair enough, there’s always a boof head who doesn’t understand that violence is not ok, but the comments of support for this view surprised me.

So for what it’s worth, here’s my view: Firstly, just because ‘that’s how we used to do it’ doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it legal, and it doesn’t make the behaviour ethical or acceptable. It’s violence. There is no good violence. Secondly, I think you’re missing the point here that if you and I did this now, we’d be charged and prosecuted. These two guys are not like us, they are filthy rich, and born to those riches. They will be treated differently to you and I because they are rich, spoilt brats. The police won’t charge them, they will get special treatment. That should offend us if nothing else does. And lastly, this sort of behaviour is not the behaviour of ‘men’. It wasn’t when our fathers did it, and it isn’t when spoilt fat cats do it. It’s the behaviour of Neanderthal thugs. Always has been, always will be. And until adults like us start reflecting and teaching that to our kids (especially our boys) we will always be a violent society. It’s not ok, it’s violence – it always has been, on and off the sports field.


Offensive language = hate

Speaking of boof heads and sports fields, Miranda Devine weighed in with some comment on this today. She does have a knack for tapping into the hate that society secretly condones, this time with a view that it’s ok to call someone ‘gay’ because our young have changed the meaning of the word.

Separate to that, some friends of mine are frustrated by the suspension of this player too. Not based on Devine’s points, but more around not being able to say hateful things at all. They feel it’s an over-reaction and the right of sports people in particular to be able to speak this way in the heat of sporting battle.

So there’s a theme here. Just like violence, hate is not ok. Homophobic, sexist, and racist remarks are not ok in our vernacular. This is especially the case by sports people who are role models. Calling someone ‘gay’ is not ok. Our young have not changed the meaning of the word, we are letting them misuse it and condition society to allow such hate to become the norm.

On the one hand we have a right wing Govt trying to dumb down laws and legislation on freedom of speech to allow more hate into our society, and on the other we have people still privately chomping at the bit to display just that.

Hate and violence are not ok. We all have a responsibility to call this out of order when it happens, whether it’s right wing hate media like the Telegraph, whether it’s Packer and the rich end of town, sports people on the sporting field, or our kids at school and home.


About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.

1 Comment on Violence and hate in Australia

  1. Well said Darin!


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