Is this the best bloody country in the world?
There is no doubt about it. Politics in Australia have sunk to a level not even comparable with a cesspit. The ongoing kerfuffle about the boat people, year after year and in the news almost daily is as tedious as it is sad. Almost, because it’s the people involved that are the saddest part. Tediousness can be done away with by simply putting the newspaper aside or switching off the Telly.
What is it that our form of governing can be so hopelessly lost in empty rhetoric instead of acting? Both sides seem impossible to clear the deck and deal with the issue of boat people. How can dealing with a fairly non-political external issue such as dealing with those that arrive on our shores become so entrenched in dividing an entire nation? The numbers are, compared in other parts of the world insignificant. The deterrent factor has been bandied about as if we are being threatened by millions. There are indeed many millions of refugees swirling around mainly Africa and the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands are in camps directly adjacent to where terrible wars are being fought. They are the countries that are really coping with an unimaginable magnitude of refugees flooding over their borders.
Australia is dealing with a miniscule almost negligible number. The problem is in the hardship for those few that in desperation are risking the boat trip… It’s not hard for us Australians, is it? Are we suffering because of boat people? Has anyone lately been robbed, raped or pillaged by a boat person.
On the world stage our position on refugees has been damaged. Footage of a boat smashing against the rocks of Christmas Island and the numerous times of protesting refugees on roof tops of detention camps has been beamed around the world. Our harsh stance seems incomprehensible to most when the low numbers are considered.
And then we have this yearly self congratulatory orgy of navel gazing with the oi, oi Australia Day. We whoop it up, jump around manically and go to bed assuaged by having ingested large T-bones and imbibed copious quantities from our beloved Liquor-Land. A plethora of Australia Day awards given to many that excelled in so many areas, especially in sport. We mustn’t be too mean-spirited though. An artist, Geoffrey Rush won the Australian of the Year award. No mean feat!
A bit of a spoilsport was this little unsettling message from Dr Charley Teo on the ABC that our racism has subsided somewhat but… still dormant, still lurking around, ready to raise its ugly head at the slightest arrival (or hint of arrival) of anything foreign or smacking of the tags ‘Boats, unwelcome, our border, protection, uncontrolled, off-shore, detention etc. Not so much a response with tags s a ‘compassion, welcome, help, on-shore. It was so not long ago when over 150 000 Vietnamese were welcomed, many came by boats as well.
Those indulging of driving around blowing horns and sticking our national little flags out of car window are apparently, according to a recent survey, most likely to be xenophobic inclined racists. When will it end?
We used to be proud of being a nation built on the back of boat people.
What has changed?