Posts Tagged ‘boatpeople’

Australia’s Dilemma with Boat-people baffling the World

July 22, 2013

Australia’s Dilemma about Boat people.

The swap to process refugees to PNG (Papua New Guinea) instead of on Australian soil is dreadful. If we are concerned about our borders, fearing that an armada of refugees will be landing, clambering over our colour bonded zinc alumed fences & stealing our women and Billabong T-shirts from the Hill’s Hoist. Where is the concern for PNG’s borders?

Not a good thing with Australia already at the bottom of overseas estimation of care for refugees.
Yes, it does improve ALP’s chances at the next election, but at a dreadful cost.
Listen to this.

The problem is ‘us’ rather than the leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott or present Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Our previous PM J.Howard knew our tolerance for the foreign/ unknown was paper-thin and smartly capitalized on it, blowing it up. He sailed into government on the back of the anti-refugee vote.

Sure, we tolerated migrants but at first only those of good and sturdy Anglo stock. We loved the introduction of mutton and cold cabbage. Devon was about as far we dared to go in culinary delights…It took years to accept the ham pierced and wrapped around the gherkin.

Even though, the owners of this nation are black, we, the whites, were quick off the mark to make and paint it as white as possible. The White Australian Policy was introduced excluding 3/4 of the world’s population from living here. Ah well, we tolerated the original owners but they did not count, did they? The indigenous were not given a vote but were gladly accepted getting killed in wars.

When the Poms decided Australia wasn’t so crash hot after all, Continental Europeans were invited (grudgingly). Reffos (refugees) were preferred to swarthy Dagos; at least they were whiter and did not eat stinking garlic and strange looking sweaty gnarled sausages.

They were expected to wholehearted embrace the ‘new country’ from the minute they arrived no matter if this arrival was being housed in corrugated sheds miles away from work, transport or populations. There were riots then as well as suicides. Did it ever cross our minds that brutalizing migrants never works?

I am just giving a short version of migrant/refugee history and this includes that ‘foreigners’ were always viewed with suspicion. They were often seen, as is still today, of raping our virtuous sheilas, stealing our jobs and watering down our Anglo yeoman culture. It was J.Howard who thought all migrants should have the basics of Cricket playing knowledge well grounded. It’s amazing they still wanted to come after that ordeal!

Today, sadly it is often the settled migrant’s siblings who are most vehemently opposed to ‘boat people’ and use the same old and tired arguments of ‘border protection’ etc, conveniently forgetting their fathers or grandmothers arrived by boats as well.

If we keep blaming the politicians we will never overcome this fear of the foreign.

Australia is one of the least populated continents in the world. The Northern Federal seat of Kennedy is twice as big as the UK and larger than Spain; it is fertile and could hold, ah well 80 million people. At present there are about a 100.000 living there. The state of Victoria is about the size of UK as well, fertile and green, could also hold 80 million. At present Victoria holds 5.3 million. So, no nation or country is better equipped to handle asylum seekers, yet no country is so vehemently opposed to welcoming refugees that come here on rickety boats.

Go Back Where You Came From. ( never darken our doorstep again)

January 17, 2012

This is now the well entrenched refrain echoing around Australia’s colour- bond fenced off and secluded suburbs. It took us years to get where we are. We are proud of having our own homes, own children, own wives, own Holdens, world’s largest T-bone steaks and we all love our sporting heroes. Never mind those millions displaced through wars or famine. We need security first and if people come here and expect a hand-out, they’ve got another thing coming.

We have forgotten that bit about being a nation of migrants who often came here also from wars and famine. The ‘reffo’of the forties and fifties was also vilified and denounced as knife pullers, garlic munchers, women pinchers and with hairy armpits to boot., but that was a long time ago and Australia was different. Our hearts have ossified since through the long and relentless ranting by politicians with a keen eye on voters. Shock jocks renting the airwaves; have put on the final touches, richly nourishing our dormant xenophobia of years long gone by.

We now have reached new levels of anti ‘illegal’ boat people opinions morphing into ‘facts’ after every bit of Murdoch’s publicity. Those strange looking people, wearing flowing white garments and whose men are bearded have the nerve to arrive unasked and uninvited at our shores. We will continue locking them up without trial for years on end. Deterrents are what we finally aim for. We massage our residents with messages of “all boat people are violent and terrorists, hell-bent on bombing our lovely brick veneer homes and life-styles.” They are also very rich and as a matter of course destroy their birth certificates and all identity papers.

Fortunately we also lock up dozens of children. We know they are not children by x-raying their wrists.

We don’t believe their Indonesian parents or other relatives who tell us that they are still children. They all lie and are all potential illegal future terrorists. Never mind that those children back in Indonesia are sorely missed by parents and siblings. They are also missed for not being there to help out. Often survival is a daily struggle. They do not have large T-Bones. That’s why some were lured on those dangerous ocean boat journeys. It would bring some food on the table, perhaps even an opportunity to give the children the chance to go to school, learn to read and write.

Our intelligence service is not answerable to anyone or anything either, above the law, taking a leaf from North Korea perhaps? People are escorted ‘back to where they came from’ with many questions asked by asylum seekers supporting lawyers, but remaining unanswered. ‘A murderous regime’ is always elsewhere but not here in the land of our dreams, with jailed children and locked away boat people, languishing and out of sight and miles from care or conscience.

The dangerous journey in rickety boats is a last resort for many of those that have already languished in many other camps, often in countries that are overrun by tens if not hundreds of thousands refugees. No one wants to leave home and hearth. As some of them have said; better to drown at least with trying. We have nothing more to lose.

Go back where you came from.

Will Boat People save our Real Estate?

January 6, 2012

There are still some who reckon that a half glass full is fuller than those who swear by a half glass being half empty. I cheerfully belong to the latter mob. You know the saying; “a pessimist knows the world is crook, an optimist is always finding out.”

With the Christmas over and the traditional Sydney to Hobart finished, the Boxing shopping spree exhausted, with millions having scored yet another T-shirt or Blue Tooth bargain, we can all take stock prepare for the coming year. Prepare will be the buzz word alright. Get ready folks. Tighten you belt and hold on, it’s going to be a wild ride. If anyone through their chardonnay’s-addled brain managed to get a look at the last of this year’s Newspaper they would have found articles with some rather depressing set of numbers. Unbelievably but irrefutable, according to those whose job it is to churn through the stats, there are now over 60.000 families whose mortgage is higher that the value of their ‘own-home’. In other words, our almost impenetrable conviction that property never ever goes down is getting a bit of a dog’s leg cocking up.

I’ll refrain from stating the worst States in falling prices, but falling they are in all States and that is with the two interest rates cuts. Gloomy figures, and who wants that to ponder over just when we get ready to stroll and watch the fire-works?
Many eternal optimists reckoned that the fall in real estate would never happen and they had theories of migration and under supply that would hold the housing-market up. Then that old time worn truth or excuse; to own our own home is the ultimate fulfillment of the Australian Dream, it’s not very patriotic to go against that. It ought to be the ultimate aim and ambition for all families and all peoples. “We need our own home,” and the more the merrier. It stood the test of decades. Every time the prices took a bit of a dip, hordes moved in, bought up into the slack and yippee, up and up, our ‘own home’ went again.

At parties and dinners, people would regale the most fantastic tales of millions having been made from juicy real estate deals. You could buy a house, sweep it out, bang it back on the Internet Market and make thousands. Thousands they repeated, rocking back on their chairs or heels, while masticating the croutons.

What about those numbers a while ago that Australian City housing apart from being the largest were now also the most expensive in the world. Australian property is more expensive than Hong-Kong, oh no, surely not? Of course Hong Kong had that dubious distinction some years ago as Tokyo did, but now, down, down and more down as the Coles ditty rambles on.
Instead of taking heed of the old saying that what goes up will go down, we increased our buying orgy and till about the middle of this year it rocketed on regardless, it had a life of its own, but…. look at it now? Each week brings a new set of numbers confirming that the downward spiral is increasing its tempo. Most real estate sections in Newspapers still try and put on a brave face but they can’t deny that auction figures have slumped which is an indication that sellers are now faced with either sitting tight and risk further downfalls or meet what the market might still be offering.

Those who bought on speculation with taking mortgages out on equity in own homes to buy more property are getting a bit nervous, and so they should. No party goes on forever. We do not have the ‘strategic default option’ that many in the US enjoy. In the US if the value of the house gets much less than the outstanding mortgage you can simply walk away and the debt belongs to the bank. That’s why the US banks went broke. Here in Australia, people still remain in debt even when walking away from the home.

Here is the optimist view:

The fall in prices is just a blip. Soon they will go up again. You just have not reckoned on how many of us, true blue Aussies, are going to welcome boat people. We have always relied on migrants and refugees to join our society, get jobs and pay tax, become enchanted with the idea of owning own home and become part of the Australian dream. A drop in prices will just be seen as an opportunity to get back in again. It has always been like that and migration has been the backbone of real estate prices going up decade after decade.

The party will just take a rest, a kind of nap or fiesta. We might just have to change our attitude to boat people. We just know we were a bit stupid to try and put in place ‘deterrents’, instead of ,as we did in the past, put out the welcoming mat. Refugees are the salt of the earth and have always underpinned our economy. Above all, they have also always helped to put a solid ceiling under our national dream, our ‘Own Home’. Think about it!

Just love those cows(But not so much Boat People.)

October 28, 2011

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Careful, watch it! Here is another one. A controversial piece, whose words could easily cause dangerous empathy, or for some, irritating disdain or dismissal, no one is obliged to read any further.

The ABC 4 corners have come up with 2 sessions that I found to be somewhat related. A few months ago there was this exposure of the mistreatment of cattle. It resulted in a nation-wide outrage. Who can forget footage of the poor cows being beaten, their sad pleading eyes as they went into their final death throes. Of course, this was all done in a naughty overseas country. Our condemnation went instantly into automatic or overdrive. Within days the export of cattle was halted and reassuring footage was shown of thousands of cattle being put back into holding yards and given rich grains pouring from laden bins. Thousands flocked to the NT and even Queensland and stroked cows. Thank goodness for our humane treatment of all thing living. Tearstained faces on the telly and many cancelled their holidays to Bali or Java. How barbaric. At some stage old footage of sheep being loaded alive in boots of cars by white frocked men, again in an evil overseas country, was again dug up and dusted off, just in case we had forgotten. We all felt a warm glow of empathy. We were not like that. We are caring and full of humanness. We felt good about ourselves.

Now, I find all this love and sweetness for animals somewhat at odds with what we saw last night on the 4 Corner programme on boat-people. There were sad and pleading eyes as well. There were people being beaten, shot at. Some were driven into suicide. There were lip sewing, knife or razor cuts, self-harm percentages, children in jail without parents. Opioids medicated people suffering the torment of indefinite detention without having committed a crime. Those ghastly scenes of boat people running around the dark with tracer bullets lighting up the sky, something reminiscent of a Kristalnacht.

This has been going on for years now. How odd, that we seem to accept that. Where is our indignation and love of humanity? I suspect that much of this lack of empathy can be squarely laid at the feet of the commercial TV and Radio world. Last night on the ABC’s media watch, Jonathan Holmes pointed out about the way the commercial TV and Radio manipulate and hijack our national conscience and managed to change an entire nation into a kind Joseph Goebbels mentality. (Goebbels was Reich-minister of Propaganda for Hitler) There is a sizable portion of the Australian population who genuinely believe that boatpeople are being treated like royals. They are given red carpet treatment, palatial housing and benefits that other can only dream about. No matter how they are presented with facts or how often the UNHCR or Amnesty International points the finger at Australia, many persist in believing the gospel of Commercial Media.

I don’t know what the answer is. I haven’t got it. I am surprised that the Commercial media is so popular. I would not even know where our channel 9 or 7, 10 are. We haven’t watched those ever. The ads are too distracting. Perhaps, the freedom to corrupt and enslave us into Goebbels is not freedom at all. Should a Government be far stricter on the likes of Bolts, Ackermans, and Jones’ of this world?

Orang-utan and Boatpeople

August 2, 2011


Orang-utans and boat people.

Does anyone see the irony of the complaints by Malaysians about Australia’s treatment of Orang-utans at Melbourne zoo and the habit of caning people in Malaysia, or even more relevant, the treatment of our boat people in detention?

The latest news tells that a representative of a Malaysian Palm oil counsel had made complaints about the Orang-utans’ treatment at a Melbourne zoo. They were horrified about the Orang-utans being somewhat cold. They had heard sounds of sad crying and signals of distress from the animals. The Orang-utans were shivering and a picture was even shown of one of them carrying a coat. Melbourne Zoo retaliated and stated that the outside and inside temperature in their environments was kept at a cosy constant 20celsius. “They are the happiest Orang-utans in the world,” they replied.

At the same time, we are all being reassured that the latest boat arrivals to Australia that will be sent back to Malaysia will not be caned. We also are now being told on the news that those unwilling to board the plane back to Malaysia might be forced to do so with full authority given to the Federal Police to use whatever they can muster for the boat people to comply. There are lawyers busy on a formal protest about the possible use of force on people already traumatised.
Are we getting care for Orang-utans and people somewhat mixed up or confused? If the Orang-utans are the ‘happiest’ in the world, I wonder about the level of ‘happiness’ of boat people being returned to Malaysia.

The federal police have been given ‘carte blanche’ by our PM Julia Gillard to ensure the boatpeople would board the plane back to Malaysia. This, we were assured might involve whatever the federal police have at their disposal. This, it was suggested, could well include the use of ‘potential lethal force’ with no ‘blanket exemptions’ even for unaccompanied children. This lethal force has been used on Christmas Island already. We are not shy from using lethal force when it comes to boat people. Bean bag bullets fired from shotguns, batons, tear gas, capsicum spray, handcuffs, the whole arsenal at the Feds disposal has been used to force compliance on more than just one occasions. So far our treatment of boatpeople and refugees is not showing the world much about our compassion towards the less fortunate.

While we don’t cane people in Australia, we are not far from it, edging inexorably closer. Not the cane, instead the possible use of electric Tasers or cattle prods instead. It could be debated whether being stunned by a Taser or bean bag bullet is better or worse than a caning. The concern by the Malaysians about treatment of Orang-utans in Melbourne could perhaps be best answered by giving a Malaysian delegation a grand tour of our own Australian refugee camps in isolated Australia’s outback and on Christmas Island. Let’s show them how we do it so much better, so much more humane!

I am not sure about the percentage of self harm by our zoo inhabitants including the alleged shivering Orang-utans but I bet it is a lot less that amongst our own boat people locked up for long periods, living in uncertainty, in isolation, behind gates, fences and barbed wire. The ombudsman had all the figures, mind numbing it was.
Was it fifty a day, twenty or was it a hundred a month or just a couple of real or attempted hangings daily? Did it include lip sewing, roof jumping, wrists slashings and hunger strikes? Razors for shaving are taken away after the shower. Just in case. All points of possible hanging are removed. Suicide has been made harder as well. It has not only become mind bogglingly numbing, it is now heart numbing as well. We just let it go on and we shut our hearts and prefer to focus on royal weddings or the passing of a bill in the US.

It’s getting harder and harder to push away images of the Holocaust whereby people were also traumatised and pushed onto transport by the use of force. Most countries are coping with refugees in the tens of thousands, some in the millions. Even overcrowded Malaysia is coping with over eighty thousand refugees registered with the UNHCR. We seem unable to just treat people like we do with the Orang-utans at Melbourne zoo. We are using the same Jack Boots methods that were so popular in dealing with another traumatised and defenceless people some seventy years ago.

One can just imagine within the next day or so, footage of boat people being herded by force into the plane. Journalists will have their cameras focussed and the world will again learn about us.
When did we lose our hearts?