Leading article Australia

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9 May 2015

9:00 AM

9 May 2015

9:00 AM

Yet again, the world looks to Australia’s Coalition government, and in particular to Tony Abbott, for guidance on a problem of international security. No other government, and indeed no other leader since John Howard, has managed to tackle the vexed and ever-increasing problem of illegal boat arrivals as efficiently, as humanely, and as decisively as these two conservative Australian leaders have done. Now, as the tragic mass-drownings in the Mediterranean courtesy of people-smuggling sees the Italians also seeking their own way of ‘stopping the boats’, politicians and pundits constantly refer to, and look to, Australia’s successful methods.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop was right to point out that the geographical logistics of Europe and Australia are very different, and some aspects of our policies may not work in certain circumstances, but it is the philosophy, rather than the specifics, that are crucial. As Tony Abbot said: ‘The only way you can stop the deaths is in fact to stop the boats.’ This somewhat obvious observation, simplistic as it may appear, has eluded the best minds of Europe for over a generation. As indeed it continues to elude Labor and the Greens, despite Bill Shorten’s paying lip-service.

The EU’s open borders policy has been a disaster, as was ours. Europe’s once-great cities are now plagued with poverty, youth unemployment, chronic welfarism, cultural ghettoes and police no-go areas. Whilst Europe’s leftist elites have wallowed in their feel-good progressive fantasies, their countries’ economies have been trashed as waves of (understandably) eager economic migrants have poured in to take advantage of all the freebies on offer. Now, probably too late, Europeans are starting to question whether such largesse is sustainable. Meanwhile, with the region continuing to implode, north Africans are easy prey for people smugglers. The result? Hundreds, possibly thousands, perishing at sea.


Last year, it was during the twin nightmares of the rise of the Islamic State and the downing of MH17 by Russian-backed ‘rebels’ that Tony Abbott’s forthright, no-nonsense moral clarity was sought and heeded.

Mr Abbott was the first international leader to condemn unequivocally the evil of Isis; insisting on calling the caliphate a ‘death cult’ and immediately recognizing the need for military action. This he did loudly and clearly whilst a confused and ineffectual Barack Obama flipped and flopped on the issue. Similarly, it was Mr Abbott who stared down – or ‘shirtfronted’ as the saying now is – Vladimir Putin on his Ukrainian warmongering.

Eschewing the convoluted posturing of today’s ‘compassionate’ leaders, Mr Abbott’s forthright ability to call out the bad guys and propose tough, single-minded, effective solutions is viewed with envy by many around the globe. Here, the chatterati prefer fictitious stories about Mr Abbott snubbing gay ambassadors than admitting he has successfully solved fraught issues.

Sneering BS

Back in the early ‘90s, a British film company in cahoots with an excited ABC helped themselves to a wad of taxpayer dollars with the explicit aim of revealing just how uncouth those crass, aspirational Aussies really are. In 1992, it was the hapless Donaher family of Sylvania Waters who foolishly allowed a fly-on-the-wall camera crew to trawl through the entrails of every grisly minute of their exuberant family life. According to wife and mother Noelene, the series falsely portrayed her family as ‘vulgar, racist, drunken materialists’. For the progressive left, and the elitist academic sophisticates of Nick Cater’s The Lucky Culture, this was the proof of what they had long suspected – that the traditional blue-collar Aussie working class had given way to boorish yobbos unworthy of Labor. The series was a huge hit both here and in Britain; never mind that the mother contemplated suicide at the time.

Now the public broadcaster responsible for harmonious relationships within our community, SBS, is again forking out a million or so taxpayer dollars to humiliate and belittle those on the bottom rung of the ladder. Cultural highlights (since edited out due to the backlash) include a fat man farting and a woman lamenting her lack of loo paper. A furious Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali has decried the series as ‘poverty porn’.

Whether those individuals who ‘star’ in the series end up loving their fifteen seconds of fame or depressed and suicidal is not the point. The taxpayer has more important things to spend their money on. It’s time those ABC/SBS cuts got a bit more targeted.

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  • Shayne Chester

    Contrary to the assertion that Europe is interested in
    his ‘solution’ to the asylum seeker ‘problem’ by turning them all away, Italy’s
    Admiral Donato Marzano, host to a seminar of navy supremos from 26 European
    countries, said it is not a consideration, morally or economically. Morality
    isn’t an issue for this government and as the Commission of Audit’s report shows
    offshore processing costs Australian taxpayers 10 times more than letting asylum
    seekers live in the community while their refugee claims are processed, it seems
    there is no limit to what we will pay to abuse refugees either. At $3.3 billion
    in 2013–14, hurting the innocent is the fastest growing government
    program.

    ‘On water’ matters’ are never reported and are kept secret by the Australian government, but the truth about what is happening to all those asylum seekers we were told had been
    ‘stopped’ is even more alarming. Thousands of them are lying in mass graves in transit
    countries, dying at sea or festering in subhuman camps We’ve slammed the vault door shut, the tumblers have fallen
    into place, on our borders, on our humanitarian responsibilities and on
    our hearts. We pretend that somehow the atrocities that refugees flee
    have stopped, or that asylum seekers somehow just disappear with the
    magic words, “we stopped the boats.” And next election we’ll carefully
    consider which party will give us an extra ten dollars in our pocket and
    not have to think one jot about desperate neighbours knocking on the
    door, pleading for sanctuary. Three cheers for our brave new Australian
    values.

    The
    UNHCR system was ALWAYS intended to work to provide resettlement for
    people who do exactly what those we call boat people do..cross borders
    and ask for asylum. There actually ISN’T any other way to seek asylum.
    If we chose to respond in a tolerant and hospitable way to asylum
    seekers, we would increase our humanitarian intake (to 30,000) and we’d
    expedite processing in the camps in Indonesia and Malaysia because
    desperate people who aren’t allowed to work in the transit countries
    can’t simply wait there for years at the minister’s pleasure. We would
    end mandatory detention, which is illegal, by implementing supported
    community housing and make the visas we offer permanent. No child would
    ever be incarcerated. If asylum seekers are ‘illegals’, we’d charge
    them, (but we don’t because they’re not.) And we’d close the subhuman
    camps.

    We’d
    look at how we received refugees previously and recall former PM Malcolm Fraser
    assisting the passage of Vietnamese refugees to obviate the dangerous
    boat journey (*even flying some here) and remember schemes like the
    Snowy Mountains Scheme which created work for migrants and wealth for
    the nation.

    We
    can’t save the world’s 75 million refugees and we’re not going to
    ameliorate the horrors and conflicts in these countries of origin, much
    of which we played a hand in creating. We can’t save the whole world but
    for those that we can help every year, that is the whole world for
    them.

    Instead, our migration policy is merely a circus of cruelty conducted by ruthless politicians chasing the redneck votes. Being viewed as a racist, hillbilly backwater by the rest of the world is not a lot to be proud of.

    • Colin Spencer

      Try to keep up Shayne. Stopping the boats was not about denying refugees a place in our community, it was about stopping people smugglers and deaths at sea. The same government increased Australia’s refugee intake and get them on Temporary Protection Visas which allowed them to live in the community and to have jobs. And that is what fair treatment of refugees is really all about. Getting rid of all of the detention centres is also an aim being achieved as quickly as possible.

      • Shayne Chester

        ” The same government increased Australia’s refugee intake “?? When this government took office, the humanitarian intake was 20,000 p.a. Colin Spencer. It immediately reduced it to 12,500. Last year, as a bargaining chip to encourage the Senate to pass its draconian Amendements to the Migration Act, which effectively removed Australia from any obligations under international or maritime law or under the UN Convention on Refugees, it increased the intake to a mere 18,500. It also promised to release all children in detention, that was another lie.

        The UN, the Moss and Triggs et al reports all have identified institutional and routine abuses and neglect, including sexual assaults of minors in the offshore camps; the UN called it torture. Conditions are so appalling, children drink cleaning poisons, try to hang themselves with their hijabs and jump off roofs. Men have been bashed to death and died from medical neglect…”that is what fair treatment of refugees is really all about”?

        • Colin Spencer

          If you believe all of that bullshit there is no hope for you. Remember the false claims that Jillian Triggs was exposed for? Well, that was the tip of the iceberg. Believe nothing of what you hear, and half of what you see.

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