Australia: Politician Sprayed Over Migrant Deodorant “Dog-Whistle”

This post is part of our special coverage on Refugees.

There has been a contest for the worst pun following remarks by Teresa Gambaro, a Federal Member of the Australian Parliament. She called for immigrants on work visas to be taught ‘social norms’ such as the use of deodorants and waiting in orderly queues. (My post title is a poor contender.)

Teresa Gambaro

At Independent Australia, Tess Lawrence's post ‘Gambaro goes the raw prawn‘, is biting in its satire:

I am calling on Teresa to organise a Senate Select Committee so we can really thrash out this serious issue in the first session of Parliament. In fact, I want to see the wearing of deodorant become mandatory and written into our Constitution.

And shameless in its play on words:

You are clearly Prime Ministerial material by any measure, Dear Teresa. From henceforth, let the armpits be the electoral litmus test. You bring a whole new meaning to the hair of the dog.

Before any politician should covet the Upper House, we the People, should examine their Upper Lip.

Unless politicians pass the sniff test, they should remain on the nose of the Australian people.

The Castlemaine Independent’s satirist suggests that Politicians must wear deodorant:

Politicians should be taught about the importance of wearing deodorant…

Ms Gambaro said …she was concerned about politicians not integrating into the community because they were behind the eight-ball on health, hygiene and lifestyle, as well as on climate change, industrial relations, refugees and a host of other issues.

Marion Elizabeth Diamond of Historians are Past Caring doesn’t use deodorants and wonders during her musings on the “great unwashed”:

But I never knew before that my personal habits made me un-Australian.

Gambaro has her defenders. Dom looks at the broader issue of “cultural awareness training“:

… We can provide these people with assistance that they need in a way that respects them as people, and is flexible enough to see them as individuals and people capable of independent thought.
We're all so sensitive of difference, and its denial, that we're not willing to assist people with basic cultural training that could help them. Gambaro's right, she just needs some media training.

Speaking ‘In Support of Integration‘, Suzer, “an American expat living in Australia with her Aussie husband”, also supports her:

Taken out of context, one might easily judge Ms Gambaro. I'm dissappointed to see migrant advocacy groups take immediate offense, rather than seeing that Ms Gambaro might actually be an advocate herself for new migrants. Diversity training in Australian workplaces is not only a good idea, but a necessity, for both current and new Australians, so that we can learn about each other.

Your Democracy was less than kind to either Gambaro or cabbies when it reposted from Crikey:

Teresa Gambaro clearly encountered a smelly taxi driver or two over the festive period. It sparked a thought-bubble (to be generous) in the opposition citizenship spokesperson's mind…

Meanwhile, amid accusations of dog-whistling, Teresa Gambaro backs off migrant remarks after a rebuke from a senior Conservative parliamentary colleague. She claims to have been “misconstrued”. She can join the end of a very long, orderly queue of pollies claiming that!

(Dog-whistling “employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience”.)

Even the cartoonists are commenting, though it is probably not that kind of dog that Jon Kudelka has in mind:

Image courtesy of Jon Kudelka Cartoons

Finally, Opposition spokeswoman Teresa Gambaro has cracked the age-old question of why we all can’t just get along, and the answer turns out to be deodorant. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

The Twitter hashtag #gambaro has more dreadful jokes and some serious comment. Check it out while the poop is still fresh.

This post is part of our special coverage on Refugees.

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