No Avoiding This Issue: Australians must make a choice.


Asylum-seekers-fact-1Okay everyone lets talk refugees, boat people, illegal aliens or whatever particular term is the current label for asylum seekers. Here in Australia decency, social justice and democracy itself are being unraveled before our eyes.

This is at the behest of a government headed by a man whose rise to power was achieved by the disintegration of unity amongst the Labor Party, the promise to big business to protect THEM against new taxation and by ramping up fear of asylum seekers to a frenzied state that would have you expecting an invasion similar to that of the barbarian hordes.

However the buck doesn’t stop there, it stops with all who allowed either habit, greed or fear to dictate their vote and now we have the Abbott government dictating [and I mean that quite literally] policy for at least one term.  The damage they have done in the first six months of governance is staggering and what is to come I am sure will be worse. But there is one issue that will come back to haunt each and every person who voted that man into power and as the years go by I believe it will haunt Abbott and the members of his government always.

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Image courtesy of David Pope

In Australia the contentious issue of asylum seekers has recently come to a head when, in his address at the Lowy Institute, immigration minister Scott Morrison announced the creation of the Australian border force, a “single integrated border protection agency” of customs and immigration’s assets – including detention center management.

A commissioner, to lead the agency, will report directly to Morrison and “pick up where Operation Sovereign Borders leaves off”.  The overwrought reaction to what in reality is the movement of a small number of people has in effect created a de-facto “mega department” in Canberra, informal but central to the government’s agenda, and not overly concerned with the rule of law. Refugees legitimately seeking asylum, for that is what they are doing, do not constitute a security threat. Yet Morrison, acting on the hysteria generated by Tony Abbott, has chosen to couch asylum seekers’ legitimate quest for freedom in terms of an invasion. [The Guardian]

542690_10152563795570632_165216983_nOur military is being politicized and our navy is breaking Maritime Law by towing boats back over into Indonesian waters where a secret deal between their government and ours has seen to the detention of all those left there.  The immigration department oversees substandard holding camps on Manus and Naura, where they has already been one death in custody and numerous instances of self harm amongst children.

This department is responsible for overseeing and implementing policy which is inhumane and illegal, both in terms of Australian domestic law and international law.  Our attorney general’s department has not stepped in and has in fact acquiesced in the indefinite detention of over 50 refugees [mostly Tamils] based on the premise that it is a security issue.

Tamili refugeesThe information from which this decision flowed comes from ASIO and has since proven to be false as it was based on advice from the Sri Lankan government, the  victors in a civil war which has seen the defeated and persecuted Tamils seeking to flee the country.

Even more seriously we are now faced with a human rights issue that I believe will leave blood on the hands of this government and all who supported them.  Right now immigration officials want to send Syrian asylum seekers, currently being held on Manus Island back into the war-zone without hearing their case AND after revealing their names to the Syrian regime.  The Assad regime is known to have abducted, tortured and killed political opponents/protesters and OUR government is proposing to make these asylum seekers a target by revealing their names AND THEN DELIVER THEM DIRECTLY INTO THE HANDS OF THE REGIME.

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Image courtesy of GetUp – Syrian refugees at Manus Island

If we as a country allow this to happen we will be complicit in the murder of those people and whether you wish to face that fact or not it is true.  If they are sent back and we don’t even try to stop that happening we have to take part of that weight on ourselvesThe link to the Syria Campaign will take you the petition should you wish to protest this move.

Putting aside, for the moment, the politics, the fears be they real or imagined on the part of some of the Australian population and the endless bureaucratic nightmare that has ensued what are we really talking about here?

Australia is one of the richest countries in the world, we do not suffer from overpopulation, severe unemployment or even lack of housing and land. What is it that we fear to lose should we offer shelter and assistance to those fleeing persecution and poverty? I have a question, and it is a very simple one:

If allowing others into our country to find shelter meant that we lowered our standard of living slightly would you allow someone who has nothing to die so that you can have more of what you already own?

Yes OR No – because strip all the extraneous arguments, the pros and the cons, and attendant strategic difficulties away and that is what you are left with and if the answer is NO then what more is there to say, if it is YES then I am sorry for you.

The greatness of humanity is not in being human but in being humaneIf we do not stop the posturing and greed that has led to treating our environment like a limitless 7/11 and people as commodities we will cease to be human.  If I believed in the Devil I would say that until we accept that another’s freedom and safety is more important than money we risk damnation as a species.

Ask yourself what mark you will leave on this world in your passing, when in the chill of night and the dark recesses of your heart you judge yourself.  Will it be measured in dollars or compassion, in what you shared or what you hoarded, because believe me it will matter? Regardless of your political leanings, your religious affiliations or you economic status you are part of humanity and if we wish to keep our humanity then it is about damn time we started acting in a humane manner.

 

22 thoughts on “No Avoiding This Issue: Australians must make a choice.

      • From the sound of things, it probably is going to get worse first, unfortunately. I hate to see things happen like this, especially against those who are already helpless, broken people. Where are peoples’ humanity? Seems to fall to the wayside, for power or money, or both.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s the EU MP elections coming up, and I was researching the policies of all the different parties ready to vote. I can’t remember which party it was but they said they wanted to change EU law to restrict movement of people (we are overpopulated so a lot of parties are saying similar) but this particularly party wanted to being in immigration law similar to Australia. I will be using this post to explain to people why reading that policy filled me with dread. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the support. I know there are serious issues and problems that need to be addressed regarding refugees but at the end of the day we’re talking about people dying if we don’t help.

      We have such wealth in the first world nations even with all the problems going on and because of that our idea of a reasonable standard of living far exceeds what is necessary. We don’t understand true poverty or fear and are not willing to share what we have.

      It wouldn’t even really mean a drop in living standards but should it turn out that way, a minor adjustment will have little to impact on our lives. In this world we have 80% of the resources being consumed by 20% of the worlds population – how is that fair and how can we turn our backs on those in need.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Does Australia typically reject all refugees? Or just those from cetain countries or those entering in a certain manner?

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    • Those who come via boats without applying for visa’s etc in their own countries first. Of course the reason they can’t go through official channels is because they need to flee, or there is a war or they don’t have the kind of connections to bribe their countries officials to have the paperwork approved.

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      • Mmm, by definition refugees who are fleeing for their lives will not have the correct paperwork. WE get many who arrive in Canada claiming refugee staus and we will not send them home unless we can prove that they will be OK in their home country. It cannot be the other way around – prove you’re about to be killed or go home. Their numbers are quite small compared to the total number of immigrants and the population. Sounds like Abbott is setting up some kind of a monolith like the American Homeland Security. Unless there is a constant significant threat of terrorism to a country, it is nuts to institute such an agency – it has to be huge and will consume vast resources and funds. Kind of like buying 6 Poseidon jets when there is no ocean surface or subsurface drug smuggling or threats of naval invasion. Very nice if necessary but a totally useless waste of resources of not.

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      • Precisely and you can guess where and how he plans to use those planes [8 of them] to ‘protect our borders’. Immigration is already a mess, add a massive department which is connected in some way to each branch of the government and has the right to call the military in if required and POW there you have it and brand spanking new Security Agency.

        We are not under threat from terrorism here nor do we have the incoming drug issues. What we do have are asylum seekers and annoying Australians who like to protest against damage to the environment and wish to protect the rights of all people and so OBVIOUSLY we need a new agency to stamp out theses pesky types for our government.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree. (http://helenmeikle.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/why-im-more-intelligent-than-our-current-pm/). I’ve signed the petition. i think (hope against hope) that a lot of people who voted this elitist megalomaniac into power are now regretting it. Unfortunately his vicious and amoral hatchet job on Julia Gillard reduced the Labour Party to rubble in the process, and unless they find a leader with backbone (which Rudd and Gillard both had, despite their political mistakes) he’s going to get another term. At the end of which, Australia will be well down the path to oligarchy.

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    • Oligarchy instead of democracy. Maybe this is what people want?
      I believe, these Australians who have hardly any assets and maybe some debts, would not hesitate to vote this government out. But these are perhaps only one third of the voters who really have nothing to lose when there is another change in government.

      I have a feeling, most of the other voters, who do not want to risk losing whatever they own, would be prepared to keep this government in power just to ‘protect’ their assets. If this goes on, more and more people are going to slip into poverty in our own country. Instead of helping really worse off nations Australia puts a lot of our wealth into ‘border protection’ and protecting the assets of the rich.

      History shows that wars are great equalisers. This sort of thinking that mankind has to resort to war, makes me shiver. I do not think I am a coward. But I’d hate to think that mankind could slip into a nuclear war just because of some innate need for power and the accumulation of more and more wealth taking it away from all the needy people on this earth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly I have to agree – there is some hope that the Greens are becoming an alternative as they are broadening their policy scope and in fact a large number of them are previous members of the Democrats.

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  4. Ha! Did you see that? She (consumer2savlives [sic]) misused apostrophes twice. I can’t believe it – twice. I am also relieved that Australia is working to “…support corruption, lies, and death’s!” It makes me feel much safer. It also appears that the evil EU agents have yet again removed the invaluable contributions of consuner2savlives [sic]. Is there no end to the evil reach of the agents of world domination? Bwahahaha! Batman! Robin! Where are you when the world needs you? The forces of evil are growing. Come quickly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah – I was kinda stunned with that comment, moved to amazed and then swiftly over the line into creeped out which is why I removed it. It’s the first time I’ve done that and it feels a little odd.

      I don’t mind if someone argues with me etc but that little trip down paranoia lane wasn’t something I wanted anything to do with [even though she was sort of agreeing with me – which was hard to tell due to the complete inanity of her ramblings]. I do feel bad for her though.

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  5. While the moral stuff is useful, I think this issue will end up turning on the fact that illegal immigrants are economically useful. I have a bunch of research about the positive effects illegal immigration has on average wages, GPD growth, crime rates, social mobility and entrepreneurship.

    I really immigration comes down to this question, do you want purity or do you want money?

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    • Australia was built by immigrants, from the gold rush to the rails and I agree with the long term economic success of having them here but my point is that at the end of the day would you let someone die to save money – strip monetary and fiscal policy, fiduciary responsibility, cultural clashes and all the other issues surrounding the issue what you have is quite simple – we help or they die.

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      • I agree with your point about the stakes. I agree about the moral issue.

        However, it has also been my experience that normal people can and do morally justify all sorts of horrible things. Take any large scale outrage and behind it you will find thousands of perfectly normal people doing horrible stuff because they think it’s morally necessary.

        As such, restricting an issue like this to simply the moral dimension is, in my opinion, something of a missed opportunity at the very least.

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      • Oh when arguing in business or for policy I go directly to the economics of an issue and appeal to the ‘gain’ factor rather than the moral one. It’s just when I write here that I address what really lies at the heart of my concerns.

        I have ideals but am not naive and know that people as a rule rarely act without the promise of some sort of gain and can justify all sorts of things through sheer sophistry.

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  6. Pingback: Tuesday’s Thought For The Day | Unload and Unwind

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