Unlike our Minister for Border Protection and Immigration, I have a lot to comment on.
Last week, a conducted poll indicated that 60% of Australian’s want tougher penalties and consequences for asylum seekers that come to our country via boat.
Why? you seemingly ask, I don’t know.
Previously, I’ve asked the question “Why do Australian’s hate Asylum Seekers?”. I don’t know the answer to that either; it’s disheartening however to witness the age of drastic, cruel and unnecessary measures taken towards “boat people”, and it’s even more gut-wrenching when I see my friends and peers label it as justifiable and needed.
In a happy start to the new year however, Immigration Minister and all round frowner Scott Morrison announced that he will no longer be holding weekly press conferences regarding asylum seeker vessels and operational matters, unless they were on a need to know basis. In his first presser since last December, Morrison opened up about several issues, whilst decreeing that boat arrivals had dropped by up to 80% since the election that saw the LNP take Australia’s reigns.
In partial fact, he is right, but the slowing of boats to our shores came after Kevin Rudd announced his PNG Solution. (He also clarified rapper Snoop Dog/Lion would be granted a visa before his appearance at this years Big Day Out when asked about the musicians criminal past, so there’s that too).
Neither major side of politics currently hold an appropriate and reasonable way of handling asylum seekers and neither side of politics hold accountability for their actions.
Mandatory detention at centres including ones on Manus and Christmas Island were introduced under the Keating Government in 1992, however over the years have been subject to various changes by both the Howard and Rudd governments. The icing on the political cake over the last 3 years though was the failed Malaysia solution that plagued the Gillard office after being deemed illegal by the High Court. These factors and the botchy deal with Papua New Guinea under one resurrected K.Rudd were just some of the impressive feats of the last few years in Australian politics.
Flash forward to the present, now PM Tony Abbott ran his election campaign on several key “policies” – enter the quippy, edgy and famously choppy “Stop The Boats” catchphrase, one which resonated well with a majority of Australian’s during the election and still sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Abbott and his sidekick (or shitkicker, depending on your political preference), Morrison put the bleakness into human rights and clarify the fact that they mean little to nothing in our heat-wave stricken nation.
It is a well known fact that it is NOT illegal to seek asylum.
As a country that holds a large part in the creation of the UNHCR, we lack the tenacity as an economic and global powerhouse to stand up for the health, stability and welfare of the vulnerable people of the world. Key examples of this in the previous few months come from Australia’s initial separation of a detained mother and her daughter, the reported tow-back of boats to Indonesia and apparent hunger strikes and protests going on at several detention centres, some where detainees have reportedly sewn their mouths shut. As well as the little commenting on “operational matters”.
Do people hate asylum seekers because they assume they will steal their jobs, take their Centrelink payments, jump the nonexistent queue and try and force every citizen into following their religion, adopting their customs and speaking their language? Possibly all of these things are contributors to the fierce backlash and ideology that boat people aren’t people, just flesh eating robots sent here from planets that if you heard their names, your head would explode.
The fact that the people fleeing from war torn homes, filled with violence, terrorism, abuse, lack of education and healthcare just want a better life for themselves and their families means little to nothing in the social justice spectrum. It’s shameful, disgusting and heartbreaking.
I want change. I want to see a nation that accepts asylum seekers. I want to see a government that holds accountability for their actions instead of secrecy and lies and I want to see a government that treats the people of Australia with respect.
Secrecy is not what we signed up for.