The stereotype of the innocent, asexual child is crude, antiquated – and dangerous. As Steven Angelides has persuasively argued, linking childhood with asexuality ‘misrepresents and simplifies child sexuality, sending children the message that sexual behaviour, for them, is dangerous and wrong’. This link makes it more difficult for children to discuss sex and sexuality, and to report sexual abuse.
There has been a surge of public outrage following Merlino’s interference with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) processes – but the degree of alarm is quite remarkable considering how comfortable Australia has been with state censorship in times gone by.
If nothing else, the incident showed just how normalised Islamophobia has become in Australia. Had Kruger called to ban Jewish immigration, her TV career would (quite rightly) have come to an abrupt end – and no mainstream broadcaster would have dared pipe up on her behalf.
But Aly’s intervention was especially odd given that Kruger had shown no sign of wanting forgiveness.
In calling on the outraged to employ laudable virtues such as empathy, patience, and understanding towards those seeking to harm them, Aly performs an act typical of mainstream liberalism. That is, to obscure systemic injustices and destructive political realities in preference of a terse symbolism that fails to address those material realities. In this case, an orchestrated appeal to an abstract forgiveness that does nothing to alleviate the suffering already felt by those on the receiving end of Australia’s many violent practices.
As the dust settles on another Australian election campaign, in which the population resoundingly supported no party, no program, no leader, British Politics is undergoing a sea change. Thrust into the centre – almost like a feat of the imagination, some flight of fancy recalling A Very British Coup – came Jeremy Corbyn, a social-democrat in the old style. For the first time in decades, there is a national leader in the anglophone world arguing against neoliberalism in Old Left terms.