Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Janet Albrechtsen, Boat People, Moralizing Elites, Fiendish People Smugglers and spreading FUD

(Above: pesky boat people in Lucky Miles).

What a relief. The Janet Albrechtsen,  that we know and love, our very own Dame Slap, is back in fine foaming, frothing form, and her righteous indignation is aroused - it almost goes without saying - by the wave of boat people flooding these shores, as 47 people turn up and harass a civilization of 21 million people, inducing fear and loathing of the most remarkable kind.

Yep, it seems everybody is intent on shutting down the refugee debate - No right to silence refugee debate - when I thought it was actually a tad impolite to canvass the circumstances of the particular boat in question, and the death of five people in particular, until the police had resolved their investigation of the matter.

Worse, these debate shutter downerers always start from the wrong base camp, somehow thinking that things were bad in the old days and might even have helped cost John Howard the election.

In fact, the evidence shows that when the Howard government took a firm approach towards illegal immigration, Australians grew more comfortable with immigration. Immigration rates duly increased. Oh, and the rickety boats that endangered the lives of asylum seekers stopped coming.

Yes, it was like icecream on a stick, the good old days. Good old John put a stop to those dirty, furtive, filthy queue jumping boat refugees, who just wanted to get ahead of the passive lot content to sit in a refugee camp somewhere, purely so he could stop them endangering their lives on rickety boats. Humanist that he was and is.

Remember his famous saying, We decide who comes into this country, and the circumstances in which they come.

Not a political bone in it. Pure soft jellyfish humanism. Nary a cooeeee to the Hansonist crowd.

How's this for a variant? 

We are entitled to prefer a refugee program that we control rather than one controlled by people-smugglers.

Oh that wretched Labor party, dancing to a refugee program controlled by people-smugglers. But sssh, whatever you do, don't suggest this is any kind of politicization of the debate, or an attempt to exploit the deep pool of xenophobic hostility there to be exploited (as suggested by that pious humanist prat David Marr).

No, no, no, it's all part of a honest debate, informed by outrageous hysteria, to spend a huge amount of money patrolling the northern reaches of the lucky country, in order to ensure the debate remains honest and rational, and not subject to the outer reaches of loonacy.

Fat chance.

... we are entitled to ask whether the Government’s preferred option of outsourcing this issue to Indonesia - though a pragmatic and politically astute solution - is just a bigger Pacific solution. If our concern is genuinely about the wellbeing of refugees, how certain are we that Indonesian authorities will treat refugees humanely?

Uh okay, the current government has actually kept the Christmas Island solution operating, which last I checked wasn't actually a part of Indonesia - though perhaps that might be a pragmatic and politically astute solution, a little land title transfer - but I guess it's a fair point to be actively worried about whether Indonesian authorities will treat refugees humanely. After all, they're a bit notorious for treating their own people a tad brusquely at times, so they're likely to take a short tempered view of illegal intruders.

We are entitled to ask why those asylum seekers who land safely in Indonesia, where they are free from the oppression and persecution in their home countries, do not apply for refugee status in Indonesia.

Well indeed well might we ask that, unless we had some fear of incoherent inconsistency, involving our other indignant question wondering how well Indonesia might treat these filthy boat people, out for a good time and our wonderful welfare system.

But let's not worry about consistency. There's something lacking in the rhetoric. How to crank it up?

But to read much of the media in the past few days is to step back into a time warp when legitimate and important debates about immigration were deemed immoral and divisive by the moralising elites.

Ah yes, the moralizing elites, sipping their chardonnay and clucking into their cappuccinos, entirely incapable of understanding the fiendish cleverness of boat smugglers intent on bringing down western civilization as we know it. Hapless dupes and pawns of rational, well informed, fast and precise learning boat smugglers, now perceiving increased rewards and reduced risks in the business as a result of the soft cock Rudd government's policies. Not that we're trying to politicize the debate.

Why first there was 47, soon there'll be thousands and then quite possibly millions, using up the supply of Indonesian rickety boats, creating demand for a rickety boat industry in Indonesia that might well transform that country and create an economic miracle.

Ah well, ill winds and all that, and thank the lord there's no hysteria involved in giving those moralizing elites a good slapping, not to mention the odd upper cut and kick to the balls.

It's not often I mention Australian films in this context, but there was a little arthouse flick called Lucky Miles which passed through the cinemas at a rate of knots you'd only find possible by fitting the motor of a cunning people smuggler's rickety boat to it, but which might lurk in a corner of your video store. It's not completely successful - the acting is intermittently okay, and the comedy doesn't always fire - but it spins a lighter take on the issue, and does provide a neat alternative to spending hours sharing Dame Slap's worrisome indignation and determination to keep kicking the can about boat people - even if she does end up becoming as a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.

It actually puts a human face to people, something you don't always get from a newspaper column in The Australian where fear and loathing is the preferred currency, dressed up in the guise of blather about honest debate and courageous leadership and debates being shut down.

(Below: pesky boat people in Lucky Miles, discovering that the lucky country ain't so lucky if you (a) run into a desert, or (b) into a right wing commentariat columnist for The Australian).

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