The opposition is quite within its rights to call for marching in the streets as a reaction to the Gillard government’s deal in progress with Malaysia to send boat arrivals to camps in that country.
What we know, however, is that the opposition doesn’t give anymore of a stuff about the well-being of boat arrivals than does the government. It’s just an opportunity to score points. The calls for demonstrations against the Malaysia plans are hollow and hypocritical. I can’t imagine why any one of the opposition would think the punters actually believe they care, except perhaps those who’ve forgotten the children overboard saga, and Woomera, and the sinking of the Siev X.
I’m not sure how much more sickening this whole thing can get. The human capacity for vile behaviour never ceases to amaze me, and that’s probably more a comment on my inability to to acknowledge that the triumph of hope over experience is far more common than the other way round.
What has to be accepted, it seems, is the reality that fear and xenophobia are setting the political agenda in this country. Emotion and irrationality have won the day.
Emotion and irrationality are never a good foundation for deciding anything. Yet the whole asylum seeker debate is driven and dominated by nothing more substantial than the xenophobic emotions of focus groups. People who’ve never seen an asylum seeker and likely never will, are in charge of making refugee policy.
When they’ve managed to stop the boats, these people will begin to notice that their lives are no better for it. It wasn’t the asylum seekers that were causing their misery after all. Their misery comes from the inside, and nothing is going to make it go away.
The policies of both major parties are held hostage by a demographic that lift its leg and pisses on the UN Conventions to which we are signatory. This demographic doesn’t give a flying f**ck about Australia as part of a global community, and the responsibilities that come with that. They have no awareness of the origins of white settlement in this country and could care less, or of how our presence here counts for less than a nanosecond in deep time. They just don’t want boat people here. They just don’t like them.
It would have been quite something to have a government that was capable of standing up to these bullies, instead taking a principled stand on boat arrivals in keeping with the Conventions to which we are signatories, and our domestic laws. But that ship has long since sailed.
It remains to be seen how much Chris Bowen will capitulate to Malaysian demands. We are quite likely already the laughing stock in our region. Our neighbours must be enjoying having us by the short and curlies. Rudd’s farcical “solution” with Indonesia and the Oceanic Viking. Gillard’s premature announcement of her plans for a detention centre in East Timor. Nauru just begging us to come back. And now, Malaysia having us dance to their tune. If we aren’t ashamed of the government’s treatment of asylum seekers, we ought to be cringing at how demeaned we are by our humiliating begging for someone, anyone (except Nauru) to make this all go away.
- Australia criticized over child asylum seeker plan (sfgate.com)
- Australia criticized over child asylum seeker plan (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Australia to deport lone children (bbc.co.uk)
- Children will be sent to Malaysia: Bowen (news.theage.com.au)