Monday, August 12, 2013

Please tell me the number?

I was feeling very ranty when I wrote  this. Is is intemperate to say the least. But it was a busy weekend on the Bellarine at Sister's and nothing is written for tomorrow so publish and be damned, or as Antikva's marvellous line goes, 'And she hit publish...'.

Australia takes in 20,000 refugees a year and has for some time. Is this figure inadequate? How many refugees should we take in? There are millions of refugees in the world. What is the correct figure for Australia to take in?

People bang on about a humane response to refugees, especially boat arrivals. Boat arrivals have the wherewithal to fly to Indonesia on a holiday visa and pay for a passage on a boat and seek status via a politically biased refugee intake system.

Of course we make a joke about The Abbott and his stop the boats, perhaps in the future sitting at Kirribilli House and shooting holes in the boat hulls of the refugee boats, but I will especially direct to The Greens and Sarah Hansen Young, what does Australia do about the millions of refugees in the world?

Of course we want to be compassionate, but to whom do we show compassion?

For mine, put defence boats in the seas to defend our territorial sea borders. You need a visa to come to Australia. You may have to queue in some hideous refugee camp for years, but that is how the system works. When the Indo Chinese came to Australia, most came here from refugee camps.

I don't know why refugee boats were not turned back in the first place years ago, but I think they need to be now.

Before you tell me what a heartless bastard I am , please do explain what your ideas are about and what to do with the millions of many deserving refugees in the world? I may not entirely agree with Pants but is it worth rethinking Australia?

Still, I can't get past that there are millions of refugees and many have waited a long time to get to a so called civilised country, and every boat arrival person who is accepted is one less patiently waiting person from a camp.

And then there are the climate change refugees from low lying islands who will need somewhere to live in the future. Australia as a huge creator of green house gas per person that has brought about climate change surely has some responsibility. Oh, does that include Bangladesh? 

It is all just too hard and selfishly I am blocking my ears to the plight of refugees.  I am relatively lucky to be born in Australia. I am not as lucky as some who are born in St Marys in Praed Street, Paddington.

But seriously, bugger the refugees. It is an issue that  will never solve itself, not matter what is done. What rich Western countries need to spend money on is education of the disadvantaged and health care in other countries. There is nothing a despotic ruler likes worse than an educated population who breed less.

Then just yesterday I read of how many African refugees arrive in Italy. How does Italy deal with the matter? Must check.

But I am no longer wringing my hands over boat refugees. Why would you when so many more arrive by aeroplane.

Oh, I haven't seen a really obvious
Muslim couple with a child on our street before. They are not leading a duplicitous life in a same sex marriage and heading for the synagogue with a bomb?


  1. Some interesting thoughts there Andrew. I would prefer to see more genuine refugees who have politely waited and less of the queue jumping boat/plane people.

    1. River, as did the Indo Chinese, for which us being fighters in their countries, we surely had responsibility for.

  2. Why not hit publish? If nobody "at the top" wants to openly discuss, engage, persuade or even learn from each other, then they should not set the standards.
    Honesty is refreshing, no matter how admirable or despicable an opinion expressed.

    If the policy proposals of rudds, rabbits and radicals seem ludicrous, it is because they are nothing more than advertising slogans – necessarily simplistic in a pseudo-democracy. The original, possibly workable models of democracy were not designed for the scale or technology of today’s “countries

    The Age of Empire [of which predominantly whites are the beneficiaries] postponed the inevitable: Imposing artificial boundaries on various peoples and not allowing them to resolve their problems in the past created an enormous build-up of pressure – the dissolution of empires removed the lid, and the slaughter began.

    Compassion would demand that we stop interfering in these resurfacing tribal battles.
    There will always be wars and genocide, but how do we help by killing civilians, and then calling the murders ‘collateral damage’? Our participation in the war on terror and ongoing involvement in other countries’ conflicts do not help; they cause more deaths and create more terrorism in the long run than they prevent.

    There are countless millions of refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers in the world.
    Outside UN definitions there are millions more, like JJ [our Filipina “housemaid”] whose lives are not immediately or personally threatened, but would prefer not to raise their children in a country where the risk of being blown up or shot is unthinkably high. I’m sure life in refugee camps might be likened to this situation – not ideal, but only marginally better than being on some despotic government’s shit-list.

    War and weaponry are good business. If every dollar spent dropping bombs was, instead, spent dropping seeds, tools, equipment, books or food, we could do less harm.
    You are absolutely right, Andrew: People will not stop trying to migrate until they have hope where they are born. We do not provide hope by dressing in army fatigues and dispensing our own irrational notions of summary justice.

    Let me take some of the heat for you, Andrew; the Greens are [to put it as nicely as possible] dickheads. But never say never. Whoever willingly and permanently trades places with a UN sanctioned refugee in an overseas camp will earn my undying respect.

    The Indo Chinese who came to Australia from refugee camps were able to do so because refugee camps existed within their region. We went out of our way to create them, and so we ought to have:
    The Indo Chinese who came to Australia after the fall of Saigon were running because they chose the losing side in yet another stupid bloody war we should have had no part in.

    If life in some other “free” countries is precarious, and life in refugee camps offers little in the way of luxury or hope, life for those where there are no camps at all [like those stranded in Indonesia] must be totally shitful.

    Common sense and human nature dictate we will not succeed in stopping the flow unless we provide an alternative. A deterrent [like PNG] may be necessary but will not be sufficient.

    1. Thank you for sharing the heat FC. I doubt many refugees will end up in PNG permanently. I see The Greens as conflicted with their environmental concerns and yet seem to want the population to increase in an unlimited manner.

  3. It grates at me, too, that those with the means to beg borrow or steal a boat-ticket are jumping what should be an orderly queue. They will do that until we provide a queue and a take-a-number service, and I agree with you that it should be a world-wide numbering system.

    In JJ’s defence, if she is using her advantages to jump through hoops these are hoops that are not outside the law – she is not cheating, she is in debt up to her eyeballs, and displays no sense of entitlement.

    The demands, gripes and complaints of the more extreme elements in our detention centres do not excite my compassion. The sense of entitlement I hear in the supermarkets at Frankston does not excite my compassion.

    Visa overstayers are not bona fide asylum seekers. They have the right to ask for asylum when they enter the country, but choose not to. They are the ones who are “illegal immigrants”.

    I am not angry with refugees etc, I’m pissed off with our governments, who act incompetently then use refugees as whipping boys.

    Should people who see family members tortured or murdered [possibly by Australian soldiers] not have mental health issues?
    Of course those in detention are despairing – they would be whether in our detention centres or in a camp somewhere else. But thousands of homeless Australians who have no access to decent mental health care, housing or hope are in the same boat, if you’ll pardon the expression.
    Despair and mental health alone should not qualify anyone for citizenship – if they did, we’d have to fling the gates wide open and suffer the consequences.

    It is one thing to say “never again” to holocausts or genocide, but quite another to suggest asylum seekers are more deserving than Australian citizens, whose parents fought in a succession of wars, lived in migrant hostels, and repaid their passage by doing the work allocated to them.
    Whose sense of entitlement is behind negative news reports – all detainees, just a handful of troublemakers in detention, or the press/ bleeding hearts/ opportunistic politicians?

    To answer your question, the current number of immigrants is reasonable. The proportion that are asylum seekers should be reviewed, along with the mix of cultures

    1. Have we learnt anything from the holocaust FC? Did were learn from Cambodia? Did we learn in East Timor where the very predictable happened and it took forever for us to act? We create the problem, look away while it all goes off, and then pick up the pieces.

      Thanks heaps for you insights.

  4. Haha! I think FC just 'out ranted' you Andrew :)

    1. I believe she did Grace. Her fingers are fast, as is her mind.

  5. Ok reverse everything, we are a poor country and one of the third world countries is above us in the pecking order, what would you do, I would fight for my home and I wouldn't bring children into a situation that was going to be harmful if I could avoid it.
    We have got to stop going into these war situations where the war is internal in most cases it only makes thing worse, war creates poverty for the people involved.
    I can't solve the worlds problems but until people learn to live together and while religion says I'm right and yours is wrong this will never happen we all should be able to make our own mind what we want to believe and how we want live not be told what to think.

    1. I agree Merle. One thing occurs to me though about fighting for your own home, in our case Australia, what if it has fallen apart at the seams and we just don't want to be here anymore?