Asylum Seekers not treated harshly enough, say vengeful Australians.

9 Jan

TONY ABBOTT ASYLUM SEEKERS PRESSERAccording to a poll reported in The Age yesterday, 60 per cent of Australians surveyed want asylum seekers arriving by boat treated more harshly.

59 per cent of those surveyed oppose government welfare for refugees.

Although there is a strong perception that boat arrivals are not ‘genuine refugees,’ in fact 99.7 per cent of asylum seekers from Afghanistan held on Christmas Island were assessed as refugees, as were a further 96 – 98 per cent from Iraq, Iran, and Burma.

The efforts of both major parties to reframe asylum seekers as illegal and threats to the country’s sovereignty, appear to have succeeded.

The chilling reality is that the majority of boat arrivals are fleeing conditions so severe that they are willing to undertake such a journey rather than remain in a country where they are at great risk, yet the majority of Australians, if the poll is to be believed, wish to see them further tormented when they arrive here.

Apparently the majority of Australians have a crippling lack of imagination coupled with a complete lack of desire to consider circumstances that drive others to flee their homes and beg for refuge at the other side of the world. Worse, they want asylum seekers treated more harshly than they already are when they arrive, a desire that borders on the psychopathic.

I suppose it is still possible to deal out harsher treatments, but people might die and that would be awkward.

The argument is frequently made that our treatment of asylum seekers is ‘inhumane.’ Asylum seekers are human beings, just like us, and because of that are entitled to as much consideration as we afford ourselves. This argument is obviously falling on deaf ears. According to the poll results, the majority of Australians lack any concept of a common humanity from which notions of equality and rights  spring.

Actually, it’s worse than that. They also want to harshly punish the suffering for bringing their suffering here.

My impulse is to beat such people around the head with a stick until they beg for mercy and flee, seeking refuge from my persecution. Of course that would achieve nothing, but it’s a gratifying fantasy. The minds of those so opposed to decent consideration of refugees’ circumstances are unlikely to be changed by any intervention, kind or unkind. However, the good news is 68 per cent of the 60 percent of Australians hostile to refugees are over 70 years of age, so they’ll hopefully cark, or become too demented to vote, and be replaced by saner minds.

Challenging such entrenched ignorance and lack of imagination is a formidable task, and those who undertake it haven’t made many inroads so far, though not from lack of effort.  Asylum seekers are now treated more harshly than they were nearly two decades ago. It was possible then for anyone who was prepared to jump through bureaucratic hoops to visit detention centres. This is no longer the case, and asylum seekers are almost entirely isolated off-shore, from those who would otherwise give support and assistance. This is still not sufficient for vengeful Australians. That their water is ridiculously rationed is not sufficient. That their medical care is below decent standards is not sufficient. That the children are imprisoned, that the latrines are foul, that many have no shoes, that we force them to suffer in high temperatures while offering no relief, that they live in an emotional and psychological limbo sure to destroy what their original persecutors didn’t manage to destroy, no, none of this is sufficient. Our vengeful Aussie majority want them treated even more harshly, which to my mind can only be putting them to death. Painfully.

I don’t think there’s any point anymore in speeches about our inhumanity to other humans. Frankly, not enough of us give enough of a shit about our common humanity, and the quaint notion that if you cut us we bleed just like you.

What, then,  is to be done?

78 Responses to “Asylum Seekers not treated harshly enough, say vengeful Australians.”

  1. gerard oosterman January 9, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    What hope is there that to be even seen to care about boat people will result in ad hominem attacks on our own home grown residents? It is no wonder this dislike of the foreign spilled over to anyone from a foreign country especially if the skin is dark as well. The horrendous vilification on blogs and MSM on a relative small problem of a few thousand boat people starkly contrasts and negates our image of tolerance and acceptance. The Christmas Islands, Manus’ and the Nauru’s and now the towing back of boats, demolishes any pretence of tolerance. They are too reminiscent of a White Australia.
    If we can recognize our racism it would immediately also do away with our appalling treatment of those that did make it to our waters.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      I don’t know what we can do next, Gerard. After years of protesting these things.


    • Gandalf January 29, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      The Lucifer Effect is alive and completely accepted in Australia these days by the Conservative cloth-heads. Remove people’s humanity and then, “who cares about them” they’re only illegal country shoppers.
      Also, shame on Bob Carr for his lying comments about 95% of them being “economic refugees”.


      • paul walter January 30, 2014 at 12:36 am #

        Being unemployed during the seventiers, I took the dole, to survive. Was I an economic or any sort of refugee (by Christ, at the worst of it, I felt so)?

        I think I was just someone taking a helping hand when offered.

        How much more obvious, a person booted out of their country for no good reason, flat broke and living in a sweaty hell hole in a country that cant and doesn’t want them.

        Of course they take their chance, if by some fluke one turns up.

        How far from the experience of adversity must some of our policiticians be?

        Time for “Send Them Back Where They Belong” to resurface on television.. only this time on a COMMERCIAL channel!!


    • Anonymous March 23, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      What planet are you on? Forget the racism remember the violence and hatred that the majority of these people feel against christians


    • Anonymous March 23, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      how about we bring back the white australia policy


  2. gerard oosterman January 9, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    And now $ 8000.- ( non refundable) for a journalist Visa to be allowed access to Nauru.


  3. gerard oosterman January 9, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Did anyone watch ‘Borgen’ last night?
    At least in that series Denmark is portrayed in seeking a peaceful solution in a dark and unholy blood soaked African country?
    I somehow can’t see Abbott or Morrison going to Syria to try and broker a peace.


    • cre8focus October 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      Not up with it? Morrison is not the Immigration Minister, you know. Dutton is.


  4. helvityni January 9, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Thank you Jennifer for posting this. I have feared and believed that this is the case for some time now…


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      It is so discouraging. The situation gets worse & worse for asylum seekers, in spite of years of efforts to make it otherwise


      • cre8focus October 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

        You aren’t a realist, are you Jennifer. How many billions of them do you want to flood Australia then? You DO realise that it won’t stop with a million or so of them. Remember we already have close to a million of them that we have housed and fed and placed on our welfare system, some for their lifetimes.


  5. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) January 9, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    From Philip Dorling’s 8 January item in The Age linked to by Jennifer’s hyperlink ‘treated more harshly’ in the first paragraph of her blog post:

    “The poll shows the government’s current
    treatment of asylum seekers is approved of
    by 48 per cent of Australians and 39 per cent
    disapprove. The poll does not show, however,
    how many of those who disapprove think the
    government’s policies are too lenient or too harsh.”

    Note the apparent difference with the claim that ‘60% of Australians want asylum seekers treated more harshly’.

    We have not seen the questions and structure of the poll. Such are often revelatory in themselves as to the relevance of a poll. But everybody can read, and react to, a headline.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      Yes, Forrest, I wondered about that. But I’m not very informed about polling.


    • Marilyn January 9, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      It’s 1,000 people, why do so many have to report these silly racist polls that have no fucking meaning.


      • paul walter January 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

        Cronulla proved media manipulation DOES work (as it did back in Europe in the ‘thirties of last century).
        I honestly think some of you have still to realise just what a firecracker, gut-emotional thing racism actually is.
        Did you honestly think the politicians would take the road less travelled on a cause subject to the sort of msm manipulations that have ocurred this century in this country, on this subject?


  6. John Samuel January 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    It may be time to settle for the lesser virtue.

    If we cannot summon the compassion and the honour needed to live up to the UNHCR, then let us at least summon the honesty to withdraw from it.

    If we are to be bastards, then let us at least be honest bastards.


  7. saturnreturnsurvivor January 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    I am so embarrassed to be Australia sometimes. How have people forgotten that at some point in time, we all arrived here by boat? Surely these asylum seekers, regardless of whether they are deemed worthy of becoming Australian citizens, deserve basic human rights.


    • Anonymous March 23, 2014 at 11:18 am #

      Stop living in the past.. Back then we had the white australia policy so in effect we were all kinda the same.


    • cre8focus October 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      You forgot to mention that the first European settlers came to a shit-hole with primitive Aboriginals throwing spears at them. They hardly got a warm welcome. They had to battle the elements, build mud huts and hunt and fish and survive however they could. This lot (economic scum) were quite safe in Indonesia, also with their own kind. Why were they risking their lives on shonky boats to get to Oz? One thing, free welfare – free housing, medical assistance, food, clothing, etc. etc. Why were you feeling embarrassed to be an Aussie? At least we worked hard for what we acquired and didn’t take from foreigners, not like this lot.


      • Jennifer Wilson October 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

        See, this is why people get upset about free speech…


        • cre8focus October 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

          You mean this is why lefties get upset. Wanting to save the world at Australian’s expense. You should feel ashamed of yourself for thinking that way. One day there won’t be facilities that Aussies can access because we would have spent all our money saving the rest of the bleeding world and it’s problems. They are not even people we like and trust, and if you do, you are an ignorant fool.


          • hudsongodfrey October 29, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

            You seem very fearful on a number of levels as if Australia isn’t capable enough to cope with the things that lurk behind those phobias. Maybe you’re not so much defending Australia as exhibiting your lack of confidence in us as a nation to meet the challenge doing our bit when it comes to meeting a few humanitarian obligations.

            You know, for a while now we’ve been able to walk upright and chew gum, I think we might be up to it. Not to mention the fact that immigrants when they come have usually honoured their own commitment to pull their weight and contribute to our economy. It’s you who ought to take shame from that pessimistic attitude, we do deserve better and frankly you’re in the way.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    I agree that it is necessary to criticise cruelty in and of itself but I think it isn’t so much vengeance as permission to privilege ourselves that has led to the attempt to out-persecute in response to refugees’ well founded fears of persecution. Indeed if the only point that is made here is to shine a light on what kind of country Australia at an official level has become then you won’t get any argument from me. We may well say it makes us ashamed to be Australian!

    But I’m also moved to add that the elephant in the room is the tacit permission to racism* that was given us in the words “We will decide who comes to this country, and the manner in which they come.” – John Howard circa 2001.

    * Far from trying to describe racism by definition here I’m characterising facets of bigotry that takes several names, racism, tribalism, xenophobia, discrimination and prejudice being just a few of those used here by me to describe our antipathy towards refugees. Many have pointed out that a white Christian British backpacker would inevitably fare quite differently than a Muslim person of Middle Eastern or Asian extraction. So I don’t think we can in good conscience afford to recoil from a somewhat pejorative term while it remains necessary to intellectual honesty to examine the role of our prejudices in shaping the kinds of utterly cruel responses we’re at odds to account for.

    One of the facts of the way that racism works is that it is predominantly characterised by those in the majority and the more privileged within society pressing their advantage unfairly upon newcomers and outsiders for superficial, discriminatory and bigoted reasons. Sure you’ll get some reflexive racism from minorities as well, and two wrongs never make a right, but it doesn’t matter where you go in the world, the general modes of prejudice follow the same familiar patterns.

    Ours is a country that educates its people and has constantly engaged in conversations about ethnicity and racism that have gradually rejected colonial attitudes replacing them with tolerance and later multiculturalism leading in many quarters to the embrace of immigration as part of our national character. That alone ought to lead us to question the outliers whose xenophobia is at odds with the Aussie maxim of a fair go for all.

    Racism in modern Australia should be more widely regarded as un-Australian, if only because we, almost all of us, came from somewhere else within a few generations adopting, as do migrants today, this place and this nationality as our own. Yet we’re held back by anachronistic visions of this place as a white enclave in the Asian region. It seems to me that we can never really succeed in both maintaining that fiction and overcoming racism while the later functions merely as an outward suppression of the former.

    That the “white enclave” vision and the multicultural one are incompatible is one of the issues I place at the very heart of the matter. If anyone missed that then, assuming that one wishes to offer an honest critique, it seems necessary to air our own dirty laundry in her stead. We have quite a challenge in that regard, I hope readers will agree. I trust we can succeed.

    The maxim I would offer in place of Howard’s would be the hope that an accident of birth is not regarded as the main determinant of privilege in the world of tomorrow.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Brilliant post, HG. You have hit the nail on the head, again.
      But I fear the outliers have taken over the centre.


      • hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

        Absolutely, the former outliers have taken over part of the centre. I doubt we’d be as capable of discerning their bigotry had they infected all of us, but its the permission for entitlement that’s acted as a catalyst here. Take that suit away and the emperor is revealed in all his naked splendour. Your observations of cruelty being but one of the less endearing aspects of it.


    • doug quixote January 9, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      All very well, but as long as Australia is a desirable destination we will have to have restrictions, and strong restrictions at that.

      “Accident of birth” has been the determinant of status and privilege from caveman days, and in any advanced social animals you care to name : the offspring of the dominant female (and ostensibly the dominant male, but less certain!) have always had the better of things.

      “the hope that an accident of birth is not regarded as the main determinant of privilege in the world of tomorrow” is a pious wish only.


      • hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm #


        Trust me, there are fuck all people in this world who’d call be pious!

        You can if you wish to prevaricate place too much emphasis on the accident of birth and too little on the challenge to the notion of privilege. In the context of its use as contrast to Howard’s “We will decide who comes to this country” I think that underplays the significance of the word “main” in my sentence, and perpetuates a sense of entitlement to inequity ingrained in the notion of Australia as a “Lucky Country”.

        Nobody is asking that those born here be assessed on their apparent merits before a grant of citizenship is made. Refugees however are asking that somebody at least assess their claims rather than simply rejecting them on sight for reasons that are undeniably linked to a prejudicial assessment we’ve already made in stereotypical fashion. Surely in that vein there’s something to be said out of a sense of a fair go that would have us consider the implications of a well founded fear of persecution without necessarily denying that there are limits to our capacity to deal with an infinite influx.

        Saying that the number we intend to accept from Indonesia is effectively zero simply does not meet any sort of criteria for anything besides the majority taking permission to afford unmerited privileges unto themselves. Nobody of any intellectual soundness would demure from recognising in this behaviour a comprehensive failure of character.


        • doug quixote January 9, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

          I wouldn’t be so “demure” (sic) 🙂

          But rather than the majority exercising their power it is more analogous to the present occupants being able to determine who will join them in their place of residence.


          • hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

            Taken on the basis that our place of residence is not necessarily the specific dwelling we occupy but the community as a whole then I’d say there are plenty of refugees I’d prefer to live on the same street with ahead of some of Australia’s less savoury natives! That’s a determination based on merit though. I’m more than happy to point out how very different it is from the kinds of sentence we pass against refugees at the present time. 🙂


        • way-out-west January 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

          Wow and Wow, again. What in the hell is wrong with you, to waffle on the way you do. …Howard said we decide who comes here blah blah blah. I wonder if you have ever tried to live in another country or visited one? Ever heard of a VISA? Yes, yes I know a lot of countries have scrapped them but you will still need to leave said country after a certain time. Every leader decides who lives in their country. They, the government, give permission for foreigners to live in their country. What in the hell is wrong with you people singling out John Howard for voicing what every other country is also doing. Your biased opinion(s) of the Howard government is as obvious as my dislike for the Labor Party and their sheep mentality. But this does not change the fact that if we open, as everyone here seems to want to do, the floodgates so to speak and take in everyone who wants to come here, then how may I ask will we feed everyone. These people fee war and famine (amongst other reasons) only to come to the driest inhabited country in the world, for what? So their issues will soon continue on in Australia? I wonder if anyone has come out to rural areas during drought to see livestock dying of starvation and thirst? See farmers committing suicide because of their farms being repossessed because their livestock has died, the water has dried up the crops have failed and so on. So oh yes, lets bring in more people we can’t support. The Howard government paid off the Labor governments debt about a year before they lost the election in ’07 since then the Labor Party have managed to get Australia in debt up to our eyeballs and then some, because they could not say NO. If the Labor government had any sense at all, they never would have changed the Howard policies and we especially my rural neighbours, wouldn’t worry on how Australia will support all of the extra influx of people you all think we should allow into Australia. Oh and for those idiots who are still of the opinion that Australia is big enough to take everyone, I wonder how you would go without the available water supply you all seem to enjoy and take for granted. No water, no food to eat; no matter the size of the country. The restrictions on who comes and who does not, must stay in place to ensure our survival. Else, Australia will soon be another Ethiopia in the 80’s. Will all of you armchair doo-gooders, still want to take everyone, when there is nothing to eat, no water to drink not to mention to wash in. Water is not an infinite resource in case you didn’t know. More people means less necessary resources. But I suppose in your eagerness to accommodate everyone, you don’t mind eating insects and such instead of what you enjoy now? So please, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SHIT Australia is in and THINK. If everyone here seems to want the refugees to come to Australia at whatever cost, I say be realistic and put restrictions on them. Give them temporary protection visas and send them home when things are back to normal in their home country. That is the sensible and responsible thing to do. Oh and by the way, I did NOT arrive by boat, I came by airplane.


          • way-out-west January 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

            Correction: the sentence … fee war and famine… Should read flee war and famine…


          • hudsongodfrey January 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

            Who is this? James Joyce! One garbled sentence the whole thing and you expect me to try and respond to make sense of this crap.

            You’ve mischaracterized almost everything that I’ve written largely by simply projecting you own fears and prejudices onto it.

            Nobody, and certainly not me, is saying advocating the scrapping of visas. If you’d read me here in the past, and I respect the fact that you may not have, then you’d know my most preferred solution is to go over to Indonesia, process sizeable numbers of people and then resettle them here in an orderly manner.

            Nor do our leaders strictly “decide” after the fashion of monarchs or dictators. We live in a representative democracy where they derive a mandate from the electorate and act in our name, though not in mine at the present time. I therefore exercise my democratic right to protest.

            Nor do floodgates arguments work, not even under the current practice of stockpiling unprocessed claimants to inflate the figures. The numbers go up and down, but I’m simply yet to see any credible proof that if we took say 10,000 per annum from Indonesia then it would be unsustainable and it would not do a lot of good. Your arguments only work if the management of an intake is open ended. Argue that if you will with somebody who advocates that kind of system, but not with me because I don’t!

            Labor’s last seen policy was only marginally better than the Coalitions, but you’re right to characterise my sentiments as leaning away from the Abbott’s and Morrison’s of this world. It’s a judgement I make on the merits of a situation whereby Morrison refusing refusing to even release timely information to the press is determined to stage manage a failing apparatus in the attempt to out persecute refugee’s persecutors hoping vainly to drive them back whence they fled. It may therefore be that Labor represented the lesser of two evils on this issue, but the current situation in my view is truly deeply beyond despicable!

            Nor will I brook hyperbolic and emotive bilge about droughts and sustainability within Australia. Essentially what you find yourself postulating is that we can’t do two things properly both at the same time. That just because there may be a drought here or a shortage of employment elsewhere that we don’t have life giving floods and labour shortages elsewhere. We’re nothing like overpopulated in global terms and we may even have a responsibility to do our part for humanity as those pressures mount, but it simply isn’t sensible to argue that some tens of thousands of refugee migrants would shift that balance appreciably for the time being.

            The only thing that I think may not survive, and I rather hope it doesn’t is the kind of bigotry that derives from the view that Australia is a white enclave in the Asian region. The sooner we’re shod of that crap the happier I’ll be. That may be a reflection on my personal appreciation of cultural factors that you don’t share, but it is one born of time spent living and working overseas in China, Japan and beyond for shorter periods. Something you seemed to think I might not appreciate.

            The only thing you put forward that made any sense is that if some people want to return to a former homeland when the situation there improves then I have no problem with that. I just think it would be agonisingly hard to predict something like that given those are circumstances over which we simply have virtually no control.

            You’ve built your whole critique of my comments around a somewhat partisan script for what I’m supposed to think because of an impression you formed that is probably more stereotype than anything.

            We may barely still have a humanitarian program in this country, but to the extent that we do and it is to be hoped that we retain some will to pursue it I’m always happier when we do our part. Under the current circumstances as I see them our challenge in that sense is with overcoming the dog whistle and the fears it evokes of something approaching a “yellow peril” mentality. If you read this with the merest modecom of open mindedness and perhaps a little willingness to examine your conscience then you might there are solutions that don’t require us to trample upon the human decency of little brown people as means to shore up our own insecurities.


            • paul walter January 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

              A bit naive, wasn’t it HG?
              On an other issue, STILL trying to find out what happened to the asylum seekers turned back early in the week.

              Have I said some thing wrong again?


              • hudsongodfrey January 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

                Naive? Maybe!

                I have to admit it annoys me, as I suppose it might anyone, when others are quite so presumptuous.

                If you mean to communicate with people of a different political stripe then the last thing that will be well received is ranting and seemingly random criticisms of views that they don’t hold.

                If somebody just wants to rant, then I see no reason not to take it as a window into their psyche that might at least provide us with a little food for thought. They may in that sense be revealing more than was intended some of which bears arguing against or merely allows us to offer some much needed insight in what we would consider to be a more thoughtful vein.


                On your other issue I don’t know, but I do think its more than likely to emerge in the worst possible way for the government, because they’ve tried so hard to control the received message on this issue that every negative that does come to light devastates that intent.


                • paul walter January 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

                  Ha, ha, tell ’em, sport!

                  Am amazed at this information hole as to the tow, no-one seems to know, or if they do, can’t or won’t say.


      • Marilyn January 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

        Why do we have to have restrictions so harsh we murder unborn babies? REally Doug, you are just a racist selfish clown still.


        • doug quixote January 12, 2014 at 9:45 am #

          I’ve had it to the back teeth with your insults Marilyn. I have asked Jennifer to moderate this post, but it seems not to be happening.

          I”ll explain it to you once more : whilst we had a Labor government, one infinitely preferable to the disgrace that is now in power, I was constrained to defend it.

          I am under no such constraint now. Anyone reading my recent posts would understand that I support a significant improvement in our treatment of refugees, and an increased intake.

          Really Marilyn you are an obstinate self-centred sanctimonious bigot – always were, probably always will be.


          • Marilyn January 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

            Being non racist, non-discriminatory and a human rights advocate for all does not make me a fucking bigot Doug, your cries for strict regulations and controls does though because you demand those controls only for one small group of humans.

            Human rights advocates like me are universalists, you are a selfish parochial twat. While you might think is it marvellous that we should treat asylum seekers better you seem to think that should be a special endowment rather than a legal right.


            • doug quixote January 12, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

              Bigot : One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

              Face it Marilyn, you are a fucking bigot.



              • Marilyn January 15, 2014 at 3:17 am #

                I have no particular group of people I don’t like, I don’t like most people.

                I don’t have a fucking group, jesus, bigot?


    • cre8focus October 29, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      Multiculturalism today is one hell of a failure. Look at Europe, look at England, look at the rest of the western world. Hell has come to us in the form of Islamic shitheads. Muslims today are an infestation that the western world does not want on its’ soil. There is a minority of lefties that stand by them because they fear them and their terrorist children and want to appease them. Some of us remember growing up in White Australia when terrorism was something that happened somewhere else. Because of a few pathetic organisations like the UNHCR and Amnesty International, we are stuck with this disease on our soil now. I know we can’t revert back to White Australia, but wouldn’t it be lovely if we could cull the lot of them that are here.


      • hudsongodfrey October 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

        Now I could be wrong, but my feeling is that the failure is that of the bigoted on both sides to practice tolerance. After all what exactly is it that you think Muslims have done “wrong” in Europe. Be visible? Be different?

        Even the way we’re made aware of terrible crimes involving Muslims is often coloured by an antipathy towards cultural difference that speaks of intolerance. The truth as it emerges both here and overseas is that Muslims aren’t at all overrepresented in any crime statistics anyone can find. You’d think that they were, but its largely anecdotal and interracial or religious frictions have to be excluded from that reckoning because, well basically it takes two to tango.

        Being an agnostic atheist I’m not about to defend their religion, but I understand the concepts of reverence and respect for traditions are both valuable at times and stubborn to shift at others. That fight is a battle for the hearts in minds that calls on us to be persuasive and have better answers at the ready. So I’m just going to stick my neck out and say trolling a blog thread that’s twenty two months old with a bunch of bile about how Muslims are a “disease on our soil” isn’t exactly a charm offensive!

        You seem to want the White Australia policy back and I think that unless you’re aboriginal then you’re not long enough off the boat yourself to start assuming the right to come here is your prerogative over anyone else’s. We will I am sure continue to disagree, but I would be even happier to leave it at that and ask you to go away and have a think about why you’ve written as you have and what it was that motivated you to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Anonymous January 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    “However, the good news is 68 per cent of the 60 percent of Australians hostile to refugees are over 70 years of age, so they’ll hopefully cark, or become too demented to vote, and be replaced by saner minds.”

    that doesn’t look right.
    if two thirds of the 60% of people who hate refugees are over 70, then about 40% of the Australian population is over 70 and hate refugees.
    but the 2012 estimated resident population has only 14% of the australian population as over 65.

    the quote from the article is:
    “Groups most strongly favouring harsher policies are older Australians (aged over 70 years – 68 per cent),”

    so those over 70 are only 8% more likely to favour harsher policies.
    also the sample is 1,000 people, so they only polled about 144 people over 70%.
    and there are no significance tests or measures of error reported.


    • Alex January 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      oops, didn’t include my details. sorry.



      • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

        I know, I don’t understand either, but I thought it was just my statistical ignorance.


    • hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      The danger is that 100% if the social influences behind older Australians thinking persist then as they die off an aging generation may become equally callous.


  10. samjandwich January 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Hmmm, well regardless of what the actual stats are I must say I do feel as though our esteemed fellow countryspeople are getting meaner all the time. Does anyone else get that impression?

    It might have something to do with the fact that our news is now soaked with references to what the current government is doing. I still haven’t seen a good analysis of this government which really hits the nail on the head, but one thing I do think is that, whereas Howard seemed to have the talent of making people feel less guilty about being selfish (without and dysequitable (that’s not a real word by the way – I just made it up!-), the current lot seems to have cast these behaviours as virtues. Apparently, if you don’t take the liberty of grabbing up every scrap of advantage for yourself and your mates, while simultaneously ensuring that those who are different from you are deprived of it, then you are now officially a mug.

    Or it might just have something to do with the fact that we are more likely to notice the things that upset us. I drive to work and back in Sydney, which means that the majority of human beings I am exposed to on a typical day will be those who whizz past me at well beyond the speed limit, change lanes without indicating and so forth. Just generally inconsiderate people (and interestingly I’ve noticed recently that most of them hold their steering wheels at the top, and with one hand. What does it mean??).

    I will maintain that people who show an interest in being unkind and abusive towards others do so because they suffer from a deep sense of personal insecurity, combined with fear, ignorance, and a lack of imagination. This would suggest that all that’s required is to enlighten them a little… which would be quite feasible in many situations. If the government were of a mind to portray asylum seekers positively then I’m sure people would come ‘round eventually. But perhaps one aspect of a democracy is that, if the government gives the people what they want so that the people give the government what they want, and vice versa, then once you start doing something it’s very difficult to go back.

    So what to do is, get more people to vote for the Greens. Or alternatively d’you think if we started a “no sheep” party we’d win? Jennifer could be PM, Hudson could be treasurer, Gerard Minister for foreign affairs and disarmament, Helvi Min for humanity, Marylin immigration, Paul Attorney-General, Forrest communications, Doug health and the arts (aren’t they one and the same?), Elisabeth education, Catherine infrastructure, me… I don’t know? Endangered species? Any further nominations??


    • samjandwich January 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Oh, I’m not sure what that “(without”) is doing there, just in case you were wondering…


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      Both major parties feel they must court those who want harsh treatment for asylum seekers, but Paul Keating said it was a leader’s job to save the county from prejudice. When did that attitude change I wonder?


      • paul walter January 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

        2001, with 11/9, an upcoming election here and Tampa and Kids Overboard.


        • Marilyn January 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

          No, it was 1992 when Keating approved the refugee prisons, why do you continually blame only Howard.

          It was Whitlam who didn’t want Vietnamese refugees, the ALP who wrote the white Australia policy, Hawke who invented the so-called refugee queue and starting illegal deportations of Vietnamese refugees to China.

          It’s all very well to claim it was just HoWARd, but it is a lie. The ALP is the racist party designed and grown to keep out brown workers.

          And it was 1986 that the ALP wrote laws to deny citizenship to babies of brown islanders who came for pre-natal care.

          Again, the human rights conventions are universal, they are not party political.


  11. doug quixote January 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    I completely agree that asylum seekers should be treated more humanely; and that if they are accepted as refugees, treated in accordance with our international responsibilities.

    However Australians are not alone in rejecting irregular immigration :

    Shows similar figures in the USA; UK polls are in line with these as well.

    In fact, I have yet to see a poll which favours irregular immigration.

    (I use the word irregular as a more neutral term than illegal or unlawful.)


    • hudsongodfrey January 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      It’s a good point that you make. But given the right poll on the question of taxation….., do you see where this might be going?

      Some things are in the public interest despite being somewhat unpopular especially among the short sighted and those whose myopia derives from narrow self interest. We used to think that humanitarianism was both broadly in our interests and somewhat popular, and this was especially the case when it didn’t have to be argued in terms of being “irregular”.

      See the problem is that we can’t complain about the irregularity of refugees pressing their cause while we so blatantly contrive to ensure that no genuine “regular” options exist.

      If you go back to the 50’s one might argue that ethnicity was a problem with the kind of migration that we had, but governments stood up to the bigotry because they recognised that apart from being morally defensible it was also in our interests. We cannot but in the present day wonder why this is not still the case?

      I don’t think I should bore everyone with comparisons at length, but if you can see how far apart the idea of current antipathy and disinterest in the fortunes of others has come from ideas we used to embrace in this country then surely the spark of questioning those positions is ignited!


    • paul walter January 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      I think the right position for samjandwich might be social security- yet another portfolio in need of judgement finally balanced balanced with abit of humanity.


    • paul walter January 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      If it’s a bait, I’m taking it.
      You would think that Australians were the only selfish, narrowminded and self indulgent people in the world, from what we read from some quarters.
      It’s global and specie-al; whether for biological or cultural reasons, or a bit of the both: anything but unique.
      I think human behaviours are often disgusting, too and I would expect Doug might feel the same.
      But let’s make sure we have the right people identified as to blame, the politicians are only a visible manifestation of the underlying system.


    • helvityni January 11, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      “However Australians are not alone in rejecting irregular immigration …”

      We can’t forever defend ourselves by saying other people, other nations, do bad things too. Sometimes we can be the first in doing something good, something positive, like we did with the plain packaging of cigarettes…

      Calling asylum seekers ‘illegals’ is wrong, calling them ‘irregulars’ sounds like you are talking about their bowel movements…


    • Marilyn January 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      Irregular is just as incorrect as illegal or unlawful. What is irregular about walking across a border, or driving a car across without papers, or coming to an island on a boat?

      The language Australia uses is lazy, racist and deranged.


  12. megpie71 January 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    We’re coming up to Australia Day. You know the one – the day on which, 226 years ago, a bunch of boat people arrived here without permission from the governing body of the day, and then promptly set out to annex the place. They succeeded, too. Possibly our worries about “illegal immigrants” and “boat people” are driven by projection?


  13. paul walter January 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    I don’t blame Labor as much as the Tories as to malice and I accept that Labor followed a powerful meme set in stone in 2001- Megpie21 describes it neatly as involving “projection”- rather than challenge precribed appearances, from Beasley’s time on, so it’s true Labor matched them for gutlessness on asylum seekers.
    Btw, we read the Tories bragged at “Turning Back Some Boats”.
    What actually happened to those people?
    I must be looking in the wrong place in the papers and media.
    Did they get back to Indonesia, drown, or what?
    What happened to them?


    • paul walter January 11, 2014 at 12:20 am #

      Come on.
      Surely someone knows what has happened to them?


      • Marilyn January 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

        Apparently 4 drowned, the rest are in jails in Indonesia after being abandoned at sea.


        • paul walter January 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

          Well, FFS!!……

          I’ve been tracking at this for days.
          As usual, you are the only one who has what appears to be likely information on this. And they are slyly, surreptitiously keeping mum on it?

          And not a peep from places you should be able to get information like this from…getting worse and worse, like Europe in the thirties.

          You are a bad tempered witch sometimes, but gee you pay your way, MS.

          I must say, yesterday I had a right slap across my psychic dial when I read an Anne Summers report that the detention camps are denying women access to sanitary hygeine articles.

          For some reason I utterly reeled at this, for a long while.

          I can’t think of any thing lower. This is, to use Ms’s term, genuinely depraved, surely?


  14. paul walter January 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Actually, there is a fairly reasonable piece by one Andrew Porter, on Bernardi, at the Drum, which could be useful for some.The cancer that developed after 2001 is well advanced now,


  15. Jo Abrahams January 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    It is disgusting that there are people in this country, who can advocate even worse treatment of these asylum seekers than is already being dished out to them.
    Reality is however, that it was probably a poll of say 1000 people (if you can call them that!) from a major right wing area, mainly centred in retirement homes. Not real information, as usual. Unfortunately, the media report it and it is believed by the gullible.


    • hudsongodfrey January 11, 2014 at 1:22 am #

      Jo, Paul, Doug, Jam, anyone who’s joined in wondering WTF is going on here or whether this 1,000 people are decent folks or unrepresentative swill, I have a small theory for you all……

      What if one did dummy up the questions a bit, and not just to the poll respondents but to politicians as well and the widest possible cross section of people in general from the business community to student bodies and back again. And what if people’s personal hopes and ideals were interrogated in a way that brought out a contrast between what they want and what they think is possible, or perhaps I should say what they’re told is possible?

      Now that would be a question wouldn’t it!

      Because I wonder sometimes how it could be possible that a people who less than a generation ago more or less aspired to the moral high ground have fallen quite so far……unless?

      Unless maybe our politicians are so focused on a few marginal polls that mattered once and have virtually battered us into submission ever since. They think we’re telling them to be harsher, and we in turn blame most of the harshness on their leadership. there’s a vicious circle that we’ve simply yet almost unaccountably been drawn into this vortex of bigotry wherein for lack of anybody seriously yelling STOP we’ve almost completely lost our bearings.

      It’s an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole fantasy. Perhaps! But credit the notion with some much sanity, because even when my temper is most frayed and my intellect at something of a loss my memory isn’t failing me. I remember what it used to be like when we didn’t behave like this towards refugees, we wavered quite a bot at times, but we choked back the urge to respond to the dog whistle and for a while we won. It didn’t even seem all that hard at the time!

      When these topics are raised an oft heard adage is “Hater’s gotta Hate”, well I know after a fashion that to be apparent, but I also stop to thing that hating is a choice, we don’t have to choose that path. In a democracy we can make other choices.


      • paul walter January 11, 2014 at 4:18 am #

        I agree.
        It seems like a dream.
        A bad dream.


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