Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our return to the dark side

The so-called “Pacific Solution” to Australia’s refugee issue is a fraud and a national disgrace.
 The politicians on both sides may have deluded themselves into thinking that they really care about the refugees, but its crap.
Their objective has nothing to do with refugees – it’s all about getting re-elected. It’s all about opinion polls.
The whole issue hangs on two flawed assumptions:

  1.  We are being inundated with boat people.
  2.  The rest of the world wants to come and live in Australia.
Compared to refugees around the world, the boats coming to Australia are an issue only to the politicians and the journalists who feed on them. The numbers are just not significant that is la verita.
That the masses in Australia should be ignorant and parochial enough to think that “this is the best little bloody place on earth” and therefore we must protect it from being overrun by the hordes is only natural. For the politicians to join in this delusion and feed it is unforgivable.
Very few people in this world ever want to leave their home – that is la verita.  Australia is a great place, but so is Disneyland. They are great places to visit on holiday.  But if you ask people from anywhere on earth where they want to be, where they want to raise their children, you will soon realise “there’s no place like home”.
That’s where they were brought up, that’s where their parents were brought up and that’s where their grandparents were brought up.
So don’t worry Aussie’s, they are not all planning to come over here to steal your telly.
We have some of the most poverty stricken people on earth living just off our shores – almost within swimming distance – but they are not piling on to boats to get to “a better life” in Australia. They want to stay home.
Boat people do not come from our near neighbours, they come from war zones.
So, with respect, Mrs Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, here’s an idea – if you really want to stop “boat people” coming here, then why don’t you stop bombing their fuckin’ homes!
If you really want to stop refugees, focus your efforts and your resources on ending the wars, and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Now really, why the hell do I have to write this stuff? What has happened to our journalists?
I’m really busy right now. I left newspapers 15 years ago. I am just recovering from the flu and I was looking forward to having a nice easy day on the couch playing my son’s Xbox.
Then this morning, as our politicians are debating their “Pacific Solution” legislation in Canberra, I hear Richard Towle, UNHCR Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Pacific, reveal to Fran Kelly that he hasn’t yet been consulted.
Talk about ruin my day! I couldn’t fuckin’ believe it! What the fuck is going on!
Now the legislation has just passed the House of Representatives – well hoo-fuckin-ray!
And protesters have come out in the streets to object – well God bless them, but they haven’t got a chance. They don’t understand the political forces, the levels of delusion they are fighting against.
With no leadership in Canberra, most journalists out to lunch or out of a job, and both major parties now singing to the choir of xenophobia. the poor refugees haven’t got a fuckin’ chance.
Let’s be clear here, former Defence Force Chief Angus Houston may be an expert at creating refugees but he is not an expert at dealing with them -- Richard Towle is.
As Richard told Fran this morning he had “some concerns” with the Gillard Government’s “Pacific Solution”. Which is diplomatic speak for “it stinks”.
His idea of a regional solution would involve raising the standards of treatment in the region, not lowing Australia’s standards. That’s why he wasn’t consulted.
The fact is torturing refugees is not the way to solve the problem. Nor is it the way to thwart the people smugglers. The way you do that is make it safe for people to stay home.
And as for Tony Abbott singing the praises of the Howard solutions – and calling on the Prime Minister to apologise for criticising them – I would like him to explain to me why those responsible for implementing the Howard policies should not be charged under The Crimes Act with child abuse.
As Richard mentioned in passing this morning we are still trying to deal with the mental illnesses caused by the Howard policies.
I still shudder when I remember a child being returned to Wimmera Detention Centre against the medical advice (and protests) from the government phychiatrist, back in those dark days. Torturing refugees maybe a vote winner in this country, particularly in some marginal electorates, but it is also a crime against humanity.
I’m not a lawyer, and I’m frankly too busy to look it up right now, but I would like Tony to explain to me why members of the government can be exempt from child-abuse laws – particularly given that the Immigration Minister is the legal guardian of unaccompanied minors.
If this had happened in Bosnia in the ‘90s, we would be pursuing them to the ends of the earth. So why aren’t we charging all those who knowingly inflicted harm on refugees, and all those public servants who sadly “were only following orders”.
That’s enough, it’s time to start treating refugees like refugees. Don’t make me have to tell you again.