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By David Marr, Sydney
December 13, 2005
BY THURSDAY last week Alan Jones was screaming like a race caller whose horse was coming home. "I'm the person that's led this charge here. Nobody wanted to know about North Cronulla, now it's gathered to this."
The riot was still three days away and Sydney's highest-rating breakfast radio host had a heap of anonymous emails to whip his 2GB listeners along. "Alan, it's not just a few Middle Eastern bastards at the weekend, it's thousands. Cronulla is a very long beach and it's been taken over by this scum. It's not a few causing trouble. It's all of them."
Sunday's trouble did not come out of the blue. It was brewing all week on talkback radio — particularly on 2GB.
Radio doesn't get much grimmer than Alan Jones' efforts in the days before the Cronulla riot. He was dead keen for a demo at the beach — "a rally, a street march, call it what you will. A community show of force."
He assured his huge audience he "understood" why that famous text message went out and he read it right through again on air. "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day ..."
Daily he cautioned his listeners not to take the law into their own hands, but he warmed to listeners who had exactly that on their minds.
Last Thursday Charlie rang to suggest all junior footballers in the Shire gather on the beach to support the lifesavers. "Good stuff, good stuff," said Jones.
"I tell you who we want to encourage, Charlie, all the Pacific Island people because, you want to know something, they don't take any nonsense. They are proud to be here — all those Samoans and Fijians. They love being here. And they say, 'Uh huh, uh huh. You step out of line, look out.' And, of course, cowards always run, don't they?"
When John called on Tuesday to bluntly recommend vigilante action — "If the police can't do the job, the next tier is us" — Jones did not dissent. "Yeh. Good on you, John." And when he then offered a maxim his father had picked up during the war — "Shoot one, the rest will run" — the broadcaster roared with laughter. "No, you don't play Queensberry's rules. Good on you, John."
It was horrible stuff, larded with self-congratulation. And pity poor Berta — "not of a Middle Eastern family" — who tried to argue there were two sides to this story. When she reported hearing "really derogatory remarks" aimed at Middle Eastern people on Cronulla beach, Jones cut her off: "Let's not get too carried away, Berta. We don't have Anglo-Saxon kids out there raping women in western Sydney."
Yesterday, 2GB broadcasters claimed two-thirds of calls coming into the station supported "what happened" at Cronulla on Sunday. But Alan Jones is not around to deal with the aftermath. He's having a well-earned holiday.
CALLER TO 2UE, SYDNEY
MOIR: Look, you know, I feel like everybody else. I'm really upset about this whole thing. I grew up in Cronulla. I'm a Cronulla girl, and I reverted to Islam four years ago, and I get so upset to hear people talking about these thugs, these Lebanese thugs, in terms of Islam.
CALLER TO 2GB, SYDNEY
MARK: It's not about keeping Australia white, it's about keeping Australia right — having the right people, the right culture and the right feeling. What we've got here now is totally away from where we want to be.
CALLER TO 3AW
DOROTHY: I'd class those ones who took part in that yesterday, they're not fit to be called Aussies — dirty, filthy, drunken little scumbags.
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