This is the photograph the Australian published today showing Australian Federal Police in full riot gear, in training on Christmas Island to prepare them to force any recalcitrant asylum seekers on board their flight to Malaysia.
This is the beginning of the vile trade in perceived worthy and unworthy humans that the Gillard government has entered into with that country.
It’s in the Australian’s interests to show up the Gillard government as one that has essentially lost control of border security and boat arrivals as part of the Murdoch press on-going anti ALP/ Greens/ Independents campaign. So it is not surprising that the paper has suddenly acquired a conscience, and a compassion for asylum seekers that it did not exhibit during John Howard’s time as coalition Prime Minister.
Let’s not forget Howard’s overkill when he sent the SAS in full regalia to board the Tampa, when its captain had requested only medical assistance.
La plus çe change…
Julia Gillard, like many, many others who have made this country their home including me, came here as a child. Her family didn’t flee persecution, or a country torn to shreds by wars perpetrated by self-interested Western powers, in which the majority of the injured and dead are innocent civilians.
No, Julia Gillard’s family came from a peaceful Welsh village, and chose to immigrate to this country in large part to give Julia a better chance in life. She suffered ill-health, and doctors advised a gentler climate.
This privileged child now holds the highest political office in this country, albeit without a mandate.
This is a child burned in a US/ Nato bombing in Afghanistan.
The difference between the privileged child Julia Gillard was, and this burnt, devastated victim of Western powers is nothing more than an accident of birth.
Unlike those who flee war zones and the multiplicity of dangers they face in such places, the Gillard family, or so Ms Gillard proudly tells us, came here the “right” way. The Gillard family were the “worthy” immigrants who wanted a better life for themselves and their children. Families of children who are at risk from attacks such as those suffered by the child in this picture are the “unworthy” potential immigrants, even though they share the same goals and desires for themselves and their children as did the Gillards.
Families such as the one this injured child belongs to don’t have the privilege of doing it the “right” way, and doing it the “right” way is a privilege, let’s not forget.
These families do anything they can to get themselves or their children out. If they have money, they use it. So would I. And I’d like to meet one Australian who would not use every means available to them if their children or themselves were living in any of the countries the boat arrivals are fleeing.
In the Australian article, Gillard is quoted thus on the issue of expelling the unworthy humans to Malaysia:
“Obeying instructions here is not a question of volunteering,” Julia Gillard said yesterday. (Sounds like something they’d tell you when you arrive in hell. My comment.)
“People will be given an instruction to board a plane. We will be looking to people to obey that instruction. If it’s not obeyed, then we have security personnel, we have the Australian Federal Police, we also have counsellors available to talk things through with people.”
Asylum seekers arriving by boat are not criminals. They are legally permitted to arrive by boat, and to request asylum in this country. Asylum seekers are no more illegal than was the Prime Minister and her family when they came to this country looking for a better life. The Gillard family, due to nothing more “worthy” or “right” than an accident of birth, were able to travel here knowing they would be able to realize their ambitions.
At the very least, one would hope that the recipient of such privilege and generosity would show herself capable of compassion for those less fortunate.
Setting the riot police on a handful of frightened, confused asylum seekers who have fled war zones is the act of a craven coward. It is the act of a self-interested, privileged woman whose political ambition far exceeds both her common sense and her capacity for decency. It is a distasteful, disgraceful act that will bring shame on this country.
Gillard would do well to remember that history will record her role in these events as it has already recorded John Howard’s: with utter contempt.