Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Don't Care That You're On A Boat

I am sick of hearing about the boat people, illegal immigrants, unauthorised people movements, or whatever they've decided to call it today, and I am sick of it for two reasons.

Firstly, both major parties have taken a stance which I find at best an overreaction to a minor problem and at worst a reflection of worringly racist world view. I didn't like it when they started putting asylum seekers (a phrase people have started using as a single word to mean filthy foreigner who are probably terrorists if they're not here to take our jobs, rather than people who are seeking asylum) into detention centres while they were being processed, I didn't like it when they decided even having them on our national soil was too much and excised Christmas Island from Australia's migration zone, and I could scarcely believe it when we started paying other countries to hold refugees in detention for us. Now with an election imminent, the only point of contention between the parties is which country we should house them in, with the Liberals preferring a country that isn't a signatory of the UNHCR Refugee Convention.

Secondly, it's not a big issue. There are serious problems that politicians should be discussing this election and instead the focus for the last month has been pandering to people whose major concern seems to be a handful of refugees with brown skin showing up in a boat. It's petty, it's ugly, and it's a disservice to the Australian electorate.

Tangential Note: I have always felt that using the term "intellectual elite" as a pejorative was a bit misplaced, but the current slur "the articulate Left" might be the most complimentary insult I've ever heard.

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