2019 ALISTAIR HULETT
SONGS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD
This song raises the issue of whether fascism is on the rise in a new form. It is about the exploitation of disgruntled voters by right-wing populist politicians, who play particularly on fears about immigration and refugees. The song discusses the skillful and insidious dissemination of right-wing propaganda and misinformation via social media by paid consultants who target specific voter groups in an effort to influence the outcome of democratic elections. The example referenced in the song is the influence exerted on the 2016 US Presidential election by Cambridge Analytica (though a number of other elections around the world have been affected).
In Australia and other countries, we have seen a rise of hard-right elements in major political parties, with the power to radically affect policy outcomes in a way that is progressively concentrating power and undermining civil freedoms. The example in the song is the establishment of the Department of Home Affairs which brought border control, immigration, federal policing, emergency management, counter-terrorism, multicultural affairs, transport security and cybersecurity under the purview of hard-right Minister Peter Dutton. The song warns that voters' interests, and potentially democracy itself, will be abandoned once the power-seekers have achieved their goals.