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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boat People

While we still wait to find out who will be forming government after the federal election at the weekend, I'd like to take a moment to express some "ponderings" on the subject of "Boat People" as this was included as a major policy by both parties and a bit of a catch cry for the Liberals.
The term "boat people" refers to illegal refugees that come to Australia via Asia. They pay exorbitant fees to smugglers for a very precarious, dangerous and squalid sea crossing. Some families cannot afford to send everyone so some children are separated from siblings and or parents. They flee their counties for a better life and usually for political persecutions not because they want a bigger house or better car. They want an education for their children that is often denied them on racial or political grounds because of the "sins of the father".
We have a wonderful social security system in this country and these refugees are entitled to and in fact do get, medical treatment, education, housing and a modest payment.
This seems to be the scariest thing for most Australians. I reserve the right to say "most" here otherwise why was it such an election issue? It is a valid concern and of course people have the right to ask where and how their taxes are spent. How do we constantly pay thousands of dollars for people coming to our shore who are not even our own?
I put it to you that it is more scarier to have people who are our "own" who are now third and fourth generation welfare recipients who now know nothing but breeding future generations of welfare recipients. These are the people costing us a spiraling out of control fortune. They have no pride and no aspirations further than bigger TVs and tailor made ciggies.
When I was young I worked in a Japanese restaurant with quite a few "boat people". They were from Vietnam and were working 70hr plus weeks trying to save to be able to sponsor the rest of their families who were caught for years in camps. 
Which brings me to the next Australian catch cry "keep jobs for the Australian workers". Most people think that refugees will mean less jobs for Australians. News flash - Australians don't want these jobs. Most Australian children coming out of school with job aspirations believe that they will be walking into the management positions! They think a certificate guarantees them the right to start at the top, not the bottom. They want to be in hospitality but not on Friday and Saturday nights because they want to party with their friends. 
The next concern that Australians raise is about border security. Also a valid concern. This is the real world and there are real baddies and we want to keep them out. Political asylum seekers are not necessarily trouble makers but it is fair to say that we would rather keep our society tempered and tolerant. I put it to you that there are a lot more breaching our borders that we have allowed in than we know.
I have also worked with people who have flown into Australia and then just stayed....for years....and they work...and they even get tax refunds from the government! I also know someone who received tax refunds but was invisible to the child support agency. Definitely a bit of left hand/right hand blindness in our government; but that's not unusual for any government, they are huge accounting firms but you would like to think simple cross checking works. 
The Mercury newspaper on Saturday had a wonderful article in it's magazine about Mr Hung Nguyen, a valuable and well respected local surgeon without whom our community would be the poorer. I thought what a shame it was that they had not published this story sooner instead on voting day. While I don't think immigration policy was the be all and end all of party picking this election, I do think it sheds light on the "character" of a party.
Mr Abbott, while I do want a responsible government with sound policies and solutions to illegal immigration, I felt your slogan "I will stop the boats" was simplistic, knee jerk and another opportunity to "Dumb Australians Down". It was embarrassing.
I sincerely hope that whoever forms government they can put strategies in place to restrain illegal immigration, expedite valid immigration and start inspiring Australians back into the workforce and paying taxes instead of taking taxes. We need it for our elderly, infirmed and unfortunate.
If you have read this through I'm sure you have a comment.


  1. I can't speak for "most" Australians, but I think that people are more scared of Australia changing, and us losing our identity and way of life, than they are of boat people themselves. I am proud of the country that I grew up in, and would like to think that my children and their children grown up in the same carefree country that I did. I don't believe it is a racial issue, but more an issue of preserving the type of lifestyle we all grew up in. I think this is why people get so concerned with some of the cultures that are starting to appear in our country from immigrants, as a proportion of these immigrants seem to want Australia to become the same as where they have immigrated from, and form mini communities within themselves. I would like to think that every country in the world exercises compassion to true refugees, and empathy for what they go through, and try to help wherever we can, including adopting them as our citizens, but would be so much happier when new immigrants to our country adopt our way of life and not try to change our values...

  2. Oh dear Lord, this sounds exactly like the USA right now! My heart goes out to you and your country. I read your letter carefully and it appears nearly identical to our issues here. Good luck to you, cheers, Elaine in Texas

  3. Dear Anonymous, a good point and thank you for adding and bringing another facet to the subject. I do think your view points to a racial concern, which is OK, not to be confused with racial hatred, it is a way of describing the sociology mix if you like.

    Elaine (soggybottomflats) thanks for your thoughts. It is interesting times (as I guess every generation muses) but I do think we are going to see a change in the balance of life as we know it, as indeed expressed by Anonymous above "...our children living the same carefree country...". I also watch your country closely and wonder for next generations.

  4. Wow! You could have entitled this "The Mexicans" and written it about our wonderful US. We are having the same debates about our boarder with Mexico and the illegals here, need for jobs, cost to allow them here, Americans raising generations of welfare children, etc. We don't have boat people, and we don't have people only from Mexico. The same thing is happening throughout South America, but these people risk life and limb to walk, hop trains, ride in vans, etc to make it from S. Am. to Mexico where they either cross a desert or pay who we call coyotes, to get them across the US boarder. I cannot blame them considering living conditions in their countries. The 1st generation here is usually very hardworking, but the 2nd generation becomes what I call "Americanized" and become lazy. As a teacher, I saw it over and over. It is amazing to see that the Aussies are having the same issues become part of elections as it is here. Aren't we all really just the same? What a small world it really is....unless your making a dangerous voyage to get to a better life when the world seems huge?

  5. I think there's been some great points raised here by all. I just want to say Tony Abbot scares me.

  6. You've raised some really important points here Tanya. Generational welfare dependency certainly costs the tax payer far more, and issues such as Child Support evasion are also important to discuss but don't often make it into political, let alone campaign, dialogue because it has become such a common part of our culture across all socio-economic demographics.
    The issue of boat people, migration and 'sustainable' population is disappointing on so many levels - just as you have pointed out.
    Exactly what is the way of life we're preserving? When I grew up people didn't lounge in cafes drinking cappucinos, and pasta was at best macaroni and cheese and take away meant an Australianised version of Chinese.
    People romanticize the past ... and frankly it is dangerous. It is this delusional attitude about the past and how great it was that Hitler tapped into with the Germany population last century... and we're all aware of how that turned out.

  7. The U.S.A. has SO many lazy government supported people .. now with the brink of a great depression and tax revenue low .. our government prints more money and tacks the bill on the back of the future generation. I say .. pull the rug out and let the whole mess implode and start over with less government assistance. It's the assistance that draws people to come over illegally. And just who do you think the next largest voting block will be?

  8. Wow, what a subject. Of the above comments, I think I agree most with Anonymous. We hear plenty about the plight of financial refugees and why we have to accommodate them, but the fears of Australians seeing their country slowly change, and not always for the better, are dismissed as racism. Filling Australia up to the brim with people isn't the answer. Did anyone hear Dick Smith's opinion on over-population? And the effect it's having on the environment?

  9. How many terrorist sleepers have arrived already?

  10. I think hoping that Australia will not change, or that any country will not change, is beyond futile. Change is all we know. It is guaranteed.
    Australia will change beyond belief in the coming years, as cities run out of water, coastal fringes become unliveable, climate events get bigger. Domestic climate change migration is going to become a very big, very real problem.
    So anybody thinking they want their neighbourhood to stay just as it is, you better brace yourself for a shock, and get that compassion bone working.


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