Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Two Conversations We Should Not Be Having

I turned on the TV tonight, and people were discussing the new Prime Minister's clothing, even as she decided to create a detention centre for refugees in another country.

Of course, that boat people are even an issue in our media once again is disgusting. As a political football, it's disgusting and racist, and we all ought to bare in mind that 'illegal' boat people made up the tiniest fraction of Australia's intake every year. In other countries, it's much higher. It's use around election time--and remember, this is not the first time it's been used, though an election has yet to be called--is nothing short of a manipulation of image to pray upon the fears and ignorance of the population of the country. I don't actually know what those fears are--most people have not even met an illegal refugee, don't come into contact with anyone riding an old fisherman boat, and have certainly not been held up, robbed, beaten, or lost millions of dollars in a giant corporate scam that resulted in your family having to live in their car while selling crack to school chil... Ah. Excuse me. Off the track there towards the end. Whatever would I do without a corporate democracy to rail against?

Below is a post on the subject that is worth your time from Steve D:

Australia's population goes up about half a million every year. About 200,000 of these are legal immigrants. Every year, we also have 20,000 illegal immigrants in the country, of which 90% of those are Brits or Europeans overstaying their visas and such like. 10% of those, or 1% of all immigrants, or just 2000 people a year, are boat people. This is not something which is a major issue. (For comparison, Tanzania, a developing nation with a population much smaller than Australia, takes in more than 200,000 boat people a year, mostly from the same areas. Tanzania should not be doing so much better than us.)

Of course, when people found this out, Abbot started counting in boats because a boat sounds like a lot, and a big scary thing that could attack us. Again, the truth is that most of these boats are dilapidated fishing craft holding about a dozen or so people. Indeed, a lot of the demonized people-smugglers are in fact Indonesian fisherman who are less trying to make a quick buck and more trying to get people out of Indonesia where it is even worse to be a refugee.

So. We have a tiny amount of people trying to get to Australia in an unconventional and desperate manner. Remember there's nothing illegal or inappropriate about their manner of arrival. Australia is a signee of the UN charter on refugees which makes it legal for refugees to seek refuge in our country by however means they can. They are only "illegal" in the sense that they are in Australian waters without an international shipping licence. And they aren't queue jumpers either, as there is no queue to jump.


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