Some sanity into asylum seekers

Who’d a thunk it? The Daily Telegraph publishing an article that details how we are not being swamped by boat arrivals. Simon Benson writes:

The fact is that the number of boat arrivals in the past year numbered 5237, which is 3.15 per cent of the total immigration program of 168,623. If you take it as a percentage of the 2009 net overseas migration figures or population growth which was 320,400, the percentage is down under 1 per cent.

Simon concludes with:

But the politics of fear that has been allowed to fester in the community has swamped the judgment of those whose responsibility it is to lead by example and principle, and not by misguided populism. Populism should be reserved for bashing banks and a bit more humanity put back into the debate about asylum seekers.

Well said that man. How did this get past the editors at the DT?

51 comments on “Some sanity into asylum seekers

  1. Thank you Joni for pointing out this article. Agreed, amazing how it got into the DT..but don’t look down into the comments.

    The pro left bleeding hearts such as yourself will always distort the facts….

  2. How did this get past the editors at the DT?

    I believe it was redeemed by the following line in his article
    “Populism should be reserved for bashing banks and a bit more humanity put back into the debate about asylum seekers.”

    It’s OK to have quibbles with policies not in focus so long as you a pimping the ones that are currently the desired talking points. Notice how the Opposition are all about the bank bashing at the moment? Notice how they’re needing (and getting) some cover for the blatant populism their change of heart represents? Now notice the fact the article says it’s OK to be populist against the current “Big Baddy”.

    It’s good they’re saying this, but don’t count on any such balance when the xenophobic lines start coming from the Opposition again.

  3. Damo, I would be absolutely certain that the Libs will still carry on with this one…that the reffos will leap fences, steal your car, rape the sheep, ravage the countryside and pass on mysterious diseases if you come within cooee of ’em.

  4. Min, your comments reminds me of something I wrote in my Honour’s thesis about racism in the 1890s.

    Note to self: look up piece when home and post here.

  5. Thank you Joni. I agree Min and Damo, in the meantime Hockey is possibly being fed clever things to spruik from his banker wife and you can bet it’s a “look, over there” of some sort or maybe a way to up his stakes.
    Did anyone notice the beautifully printed signs at Inverbrackie and Northam. Very similar to the ones the Mining Council/Fibs supporters used a few months ago.

  6. Pip, yes I did notice the pre-printed placards. Just while I think of it..I think that this is how Howard was able to demonise refugees..that is, he permitted no photographs and so there was no human face which might gather any sympathy votes.

    Remember how people such as those from Amnesty had to try to get beyond armed troops just to get a few photos.

    I wonder how the good burgers of Inverbrackie and Northam will be able to justify their comments such as burn em/sink em/kill em dead when they have to meet the people face to face. Just maybe that’s what they’re frightened of.

  7. Gravel, you old croc, you.

    BTW I’ve always liked your gravatar as I’m a collector of pre-decimal Australian stamps, mint unhinged.

    What’s the story behind it?

  8. Good one Gravel. You know what..if Migs told me that he had written something 120 years ago I’d probably believe him.

    Am likewise a collector of pre decimal stamps. I don’t think that any are very valuable, but like myself might increase their value with age 🙂

  9. Here’s what I wrote about the 1890s. Sounds all too familiar with 2010.

    With the discovery of gold in 1851, the influx of Chinese became a major focus as the intensity and institutionalism of racism increased, and this continued to agitate throughout the second half of the nineteenth century.

    These largely inoffensive and hard-working people were perceived as representing an implicit threat to white Australians. Just when the colonial population had begun to feel comfortable in their new surroundings and had written the Aborigines off as a dying race, the large Chinese presence raised the spectre of the European Australians following their black predecessors along the path to historical oblivion.

    Subsequent anti-Chinese paranoia was also fuelled by intellectual fashions in Social Darwinism. This led to pressure in colonial parliament to limit the flow of Chinese entering the colonies, and culminated in the White Australia Policy as formulated in legislation in 1901. Indeed, fear and loathing of all non-Britannic Australians, and a firm belief in white superiority could be expressed in the uniform immigration laws. The colonists, being mainly Britannic Australians, wanted it kept that way.

    Australia’s geography, positioned close to the heavily populated Asian countries, resulted in the evolvement of a xenophobic, isolationist worldview, in which Social Darwinism justified the construction of psychological barriers against the near neighbours. Discernment, or rather, paranoia of the Asian hordes to the north, and a tenet that Social Darwinism served to create an awareness of struggles between races, was a source of civic anxiety in colonial Australia.

    A forewarning that mass Chinese migration was as great as the threat of Indigenous insurrection was an issue that was not lost on the press of the day. European racial ideals and preoccupations are indeed well exemplified by editorials and correspondent’s features in a number of journals, both influencing and reflecting public opinion. These journals were filled with articles of provocative issues that popularised scientific racist theories and provided plenty of examples to support these theories. A number of popular journals such as The Age and The Bulletin, and local and national publications all harangued the public with sensational articles and cartoons warning of the threat to the social and moral well-being of – and in particular – an emerging Australian type. These journals were filled with articles of substance and lively debate on provocative issues provided their readers with a wealth of illustrative material which both popularised scientific racist theories and provided plenty of local examples to bear these theories out.

    In particular, adaptation of evolutionary theory to the defence of radicalism was well illustrated from the 1880s in contributions to the Sydney Bulletin. As one of the more influential journals of the period, a number of historians are of the accord that the ferociously nationalistic publication unleashed itself as the most persuasive and effective journal in the country for promoting the discourse that the Australian type and that Australian society had evolved into something unique and worth protecting. The Bulletin showed constant enthusiasm for the things it admired most about Australia – egalitarianism, democracy, masculinity, the bush tradition of mateship, and the emerging Australian type. It contributed more than a little to the belief so clearly stated in the first federal parliament’s White Australia Policy that the Australian type and the Australian society had evolved into something unique and worth protecting.

    From 1893 The Bulletin’s banner declared ‘Australia for the White Man’ and continued with suppositions that both the Chinese and the Aborigines (or any peoples considered racially inferior) were to be absolutely excluded. It would be pertinent to review the extent of its propaganda during 1901; the year when nationhood was nominally proclaimed. Throughout this year the journal carried over fifty racially oriented cartoons that threw scorn upon Aboriginality and the threat to white Australia from coloured immigrants. In the minds of the patriotic British-Australians, with their special aversion to miscegenation and race consciousness, the impact of The Bulletin’s propaganda was most likely quite immense.

    The development of the White Australia Policy has often been presented without reference to the position of Aborigines in colonial Australia. An observation of the Chinese threat is recognised as comparative to the threat that the Indigenous people posed to the heredity succession of the emerging Australian type. Attempts to prevent or restrict non-European immigration to Australia can be seen as a parallel process to the construction of the various colonies’ segregation and protection systems applied to Aborigines in the late nineteenth century. Both movements sought to purify and secure a White Australia.

  10. “…no human face which might gather any sympathy votes.”

    Not sure even that would make a difference to those kind of people, Min.

    On my weekend away I met a delightful lady, Ilonka, blonde and comely, whose childhood in the seventies in outer Sydney, her birthplace, was a nightmare of harassment because as the child of ‘reffos’ her English was less than perfect. Life for her parents who had fled the revolution in Hungary in 1956 was even worse. Like other Hungarian refugees (and even Europeans displaced earlier by WWII) with limited access to English classes they clung to their own and spoke Hungarian at home.

    Now of course difference in race and religion as well as language really fires up the xenophobes among us.

  11. Patricia, yet one must be suspicious about keeping the human face of ‘queue jumpers’ away from the public given the lengths that Howard went to achieve this.

    It wasn’t until after 07 that we started to see pics of doe eyed children eagerly waving from the bus.

  12. Thanks Miglo, sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same.
    Patricia, I don’t choose to remember the exact year !!!!! but my primary school years in a little school were like the UN. There was a little boy called Edgar who, looking back, could not speak English and kept to himself. He wasn’t there for long and I’ve wondered many times what became of him. There were Dutch, German, Maltese, Hungarian and of course lots of English and Irish kids but at the time they were just kids, nobody cared where they were from and nobody cared what they brought for lunch. We were just kids.
    My other lasting memory and mystery is of Klara, a Hungarian who lived with her mother and grandmother. Her father was dead and Mum and Grandma also had little to say so with hindsight I assume they left Hungary because of the invasion. Klara’s English was perfect to my child’s ears but probably the mother and granmother didn’t have the same opportunity to learn English.
    So Klara, if you’re out there you’ll find me at the Cafe Whispers.

  13. “he fact is that the number of boat arrivals in the past year numbered 5237, which is 3.15 per cent of the total immigration program of 168,623.”

    Just to play devils advocate those 5237 assylum seekers are 5237/13,500*100= 39% of our total refugee intake. This means some other people will not be able to come. Perhaps someone who does not have $10,000 to pay a people smuggler.

  14. “This means some other people will not be able to come. Perhaps someone who does not have $10,000 to pay a people smuggler.”

    Neil of Sydney,
    I thought yer side of politics had a “survival of the fittest” mentality…and you should be able to use yer money as you see fit?

    The people you support buy politicians…buy their way to the top…buy privileges for their children by way of top schools & tutors etc…

    the shock jocks have no problem selling their principles to spruik products & services…

    why are you suddenly so picky when it comes to asylum seekers?

    Kinda inconsistent morality isn’t it?


  15. Neil they are still asylum seekers, no matter how they arrive here. Quoting percentages and lying about queues which don’t exist, doesn’t alter the facts or the truth of the matter.

    They are asylum seekers; there is no queue and they are entitled to seek asylum whichever way they can and this country is a signatory to a UN convention to that effect. We have an obligation to offer them asylum.

  16. “and lying about queues which don’t exist”

    But it does exist. That is why they pay smugglers $10,000 so they can jump the queue. What about the other 10,000,000 people who do not have this money to pay the smugglers???

  17. “Do you have any comment about my comment???”

    No more Neil than you do anyone else’s.

    “That is why they pay smugglers $10,000 so they can jump the queue.”

    But Neil, doesn’t yer side of politics believe in paying to jump the queue?…or gettin’ a privileged position that ensures there is noone in the queue but the select few?

    Don’t they buy media & political influence so they get ahead of others, or retain the privileges they have?

    How then are these asylum seekers any different? Apart from being desperate due to persecution…or wanting to give their children the opportunities they didn’t have.

    Don’t some of yer lot believe in the idea that if you have the initiative to climb the social ladder then good on you if you get there?

    And aren’t many of them pushing war against extreme muslims because they endanger the spread of capitalism & the rights of the individual?…partially due to their or their family’s bad experience w/ communists & nazis & other controlling extremists in other places like the former USSR, East Germany, occupied Czechoslavakia & Poland…and therefore should be able to empathise w/ people fleeing oppressive regimes.

    Or do other hidden motives lie behind their reason for trying to make up a 100 excuses as to why these boats should be turned back?

    Like political opportunism?…or fear of the swarthy-skinned that look icky because they don’t look like what yer used to…irrational xenaphobia?…prejudice born from the colonial/Brit empire books & films & TV shows & artwork experienced as younguns?…or Christian brainwashing”…Hebrew brainwashing?…or control freakishness due to chemical screw-ups in the brain?…or trauma based on a bad experience?…or bandwagon/herd thinking?…or Scrooge attitude?…or a sense of superiority?…Or a fear of taking risks?…or just wanting to argue for the sake of arguing?


  18. is that the queue that Howard created? that no other country has?

    and I have posted on the “queue” before, Neil, and you never make any comment.

    you just do not like facts.

  19. “is that the queue that Howard created? that no other country has?”

    WE have a quota of 13,500 refugees which both sides of politics agree to. I think this number is too small. We should be accepting more refugees and less skilled workers.

  20. Neil, the simple point is that by tying the onshore (boat) to the offshore refugee and humanitarian programs enables people like you to talk about a queue. Which then creates the impressions that they are “jumping” the queue.

    It was a deliberate construct created by Howard to enable the dog whistle fear of boat arrivals, and allows people to falsely call them “illegals”.

  21. An example might be Tamils. The Sri Lankan government denies absolutely that there is any humanitarian crisis, or maybe Afghanistan where due to the dangerous conditions the Australian Embassy has to keep moving so that no one knows where to locate it. A wee bit tricky to join ‘the queue’ in these circumstances.

  22. Joni, I’m certain that we’ve done this one previously 😉 The boat is ‘illegal’, it’s called a SIEV a suspected illegal entry vessel. The people smugglers are ‘illegal’ (Malaysia has finally made people smuggling a crime and Australia was trying to pressure Indonesia also..but I don’t know whether Indonesia have yet got around to it). The asylum seekers are not the aforementioned ‘illegal’ as everyone has a right to claim asylum. If the claim is unsuccessful, they then and only then become ‘illegal’ and are deported.

    Indonesian fishing poachers are also SIEVs.

  23. Miglo

    Thanks for history on the ‘White Australia’ story. I didn’t realise that is involved the Chinese as well.

    About the Gravitar, when I finally had a go at doing it, through The Political Sword, I saw this and it reminded me immediately of by beloved Grandma…..whom I still miss. I was allowed to like the stamps and put the letter in the letterbox when I was a kid, it made me feel very grown up.

  24. Miglo at 6.49pm. I would actually have to dispute this one with you a little. According to BDM’s Victoria Pioneer Index which is to 1888 Chinese/white marriages were very common..just ask anyone living in Ballarat or Bendigo with pioneer ancestors. The Chinese were mostly males and the whites mostly Irish or Scottish ladies.

    It seems that when things are plentiful that there are few disputes over ‘resources’ (land and women) however as the easy gold began to dry up then increasingly the Chinese were demonised..rob you blind and rape your women.

    Part of this jealousy was due to the fact that the Chinese worked in teams and pooled their resources towards a common goal such as a laundry or a market garden. The whites began to resent the fact that they were grubbing for pennies but had to pay the Chinese for their basic provisions.

    The subsequent index, the Federation 1889-1901 indicates a sharp drop in the number of Chinese/Anglo marriages. It is therefore my opinion that around 1880-1900 that racism started to kick in.

    History lesson for the day completed 🙂

  25. Min, the racism really didn’t get traction until the 1890s.

    From all accounts there wasn’t really anything wrong with the Chinese, but as we marched towards Federation there was a fair bit of resentment, fuelled by the media (of course).

    Maybe racism didn’t exist until then. Up to then it was just a feeling of superiority and resentment, and pity of course towards these people because of their perceived failure at keeping up with the pace along the evolutionary ptah.

  26. Neil, I refer you to Min’s comment @10.46am. There is no queue for asylum seekers nor are they illegal immigrants. They have the right to seek asylum wherever they can.

    Once again, there are no queues when seeking asylum and this country has signed a UN convention to that effect.

  27. Migs, I think that we are in agreement then. That at least in Victoria racism didn’t really kick in until the 1890’s. In the very early days Chinese gentlemen were considered a good catch especially amongst the indentured servant girls mostly Irish but quite a number from Gloucestershire..this area lesser known was likewise effected by the Potato Blight.

    Racism I don’t think is an inherent has been mentioned above, kids get along well together rarely noticing differences of color or accent. It’s only when you get older and society tells you who you should hate or who you should love for that matter.

  28. Hi Min, I have to admit to being a bit ignorant about anything pre 1895. I understand, however, that the Chinese were resented at the gold fields because they were so industrious, like you said.

  29. Jane, just one to watch for. If the MSM mentions X number of SIEVs then the next question is how many of them were Indonesian fishermen poaching in Australian waters.

    Was thinking..maybe people don’t quite know what it’s like ‘over there’ in for example Afghanistan. That even if there was ‘a queue’, that if you joined it then it’s likely that your uncles and nephews would disappear never to be seen again.

    Best analogy that I can think of is: Scenario. Nazi occupied France. You walk up to the Kommandant’s door, you knock thrice and say, Allo Herr Kommandant I’m part of the French Resistance, I would like to join the queue to seek asylum in Australia.

  30. Miglo, it’s not many people who know about this..not many people who have studied this and I only came across this due to genealogy studies and someone who pointed me in the right direction via the Bendigo Historical Society.

    The proof as they say is in the pudding and the Indexes of BDMs don’t tell fibs. That is, a large number of multi-racial marriages until about 1890, then zilch. The conclusion therefore being that ‘something happened’ during this timeframe.

  31. “Neil, the simple point is that by tying the onshore (boat) to the offshore refugee and humanitarian programs enables people like you to talk about a queue. ”

    The why does not the ALP change it back to the way you say it was?? They have been in govt for three years and have done nothing. The fact is we have 13,500 spots for refugees. Boat people take up spots that someone without $$10,000 may get.

    “Best analogy that I can think of is: Scenario. Nazi occupied France. ”

    Yes but the boat people are coming from Indonesia where they are not being pursecuted. I would prefer to take 40,000 refugees and cut down on the number of skilled immigrants.

  32. Neil, we need skilled migrants. They are more likely to gain employment and become much-needed tax payers. Those who can’t obtain work through lack of skills cost many $s in welfare and job-skills training.

  33. Neil. People who are refugees aren’t being persecuted? There is no difference between refugees 1940’s, 1970’s or 2010, they are all assessed via the same criteria.

    If you would say that Polish Jews should have gone to their first country then you are saying that no Polish Jewish refugees should have been granted asylum in Australia.

  34. Yes Neil – we do protest and complain about the current government not changing the legislation. Which I have told you before. I have even been in correspondence with my local member to register my disgust at the way that the asylum seekers are treated.

    As usual, when we point these things out to you – you just switch off and say (yet again) that we never complain or criticise the current government.

    But, the problem for the current government is that if the ALP were to change the system, the media and the coalition would jump up and down and say how the ALP is letting anyone in.

  35. I think Robert Manne makes as much sense of the Boat People issue as anyone recently

    I know it hurts him to say it but the ‘soft’ ethical and legal option we should be adopting of accepting asylum seeks arriving by boat without incarcerating them just is not politically possible. Continuing the argument of what’s right and what’s wrong is pointless. Gillard’s Timor solution could be a way out of the impasse for the ALP and for the country if she can get it off the ground. Moving to something more humane in years to come when the politicians can no longer make capital out of it is a distant dream.

  36. So you are saying that it used to be 13,500 offshore places plus any extra that arrived by boat. Which means we would be taking 13,500 plus say another 5,000/year.

    I still think it is not a good idea to encourage people to come by boat. And it does look like the people smugglers know all about the Australian refugee laws, so they are up to date on any changes to our laws. When SIEVX went down I remember leftoids saying that Howard was responsible for their deaths.

  37. Yes indeed Neil, this is exactly Gillard’s cut out the middle man..the people smugglers by having a centre in East Timor and also by putting pressure on the government in Indonesia to make people smuggling a crime..but the wheels turn slowly over there.

    I quick glance of the atlas will show that Nauru is north east of New Guinea on the equator and so how is Abbott’s plan of re-establishing a detention over there..west of Kiribati and north of Tuvalu going to act as a deterrent for people coming from Indonesia?

  38. I clicked on your link but it didn’t work. So i did a google search and i came across this comment about Manne and his rewriting of history and the ALP view on Vietnamese refugees

    “Colebatch rightly wonders if Manne was on another planet. He quotes the infamous comment by Whitlam ,”I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us” … He then goes on to list the many examples of ALP bloodymindedness; Clyde Cameron himself advocating in the 1977 election campaign that “the only effective means of dealing with illegal immigrants would be to have them arrested and deported as soon as they land”, Hawke wanting the return of the bogus refugees, and Darwin waterside workers striking over the ship Entalina that rescued Vietnamese boat people, threatening any further shipping that was prepared to rescue boat people. The litany of racist and inhumane bigotry by the Left is documented in detail. The article thus reveals Manne’s strange delusional rewrite of history.”

    Seems like the ALP did not like the Vietnamese

  39. Neil well mostly no, the peasant fishermen who man the boats don’t know much about Australian law. Out of the passage fare they might be paid maybe $200.00, but 2 years in prison in Darwin is worth it as that money will set the family up for life.

  40. “Yes indeed Neil, this is exactly Gillard’s cut out the middle man..the people smugglers by having a centre in East Timor ”

    Yes but we had a plan that worked. Christmas Island was empty. Labor called it an expensive white elephant. But that was back in 2007 before Gillard changed the laws.

    We still took our very inadequate 13,500 refugees. Way too small for a country as wealthy as Australia. But virtually nobody in detention. Until….

  41. “Since when was there ever an actual queue?”

    It’s the one we should put Neil in…to be sent to Indonesia so he can live w/ the asylum seekers and taste the luxurious quarters they live in. And no cheatin’ Neil, ya have to leave those mangoes & bottles of Vegemite behind. And no plastic to pay bills. Nor sun lotion. Just yer boney white arse…some clothes, a bit of change…and book on how to speak to & smile at Indonesian guards with big sticks in their hands.

    When ya decide ya need money to buy yer way back home by boat give us a call. Our number is:

    02 sucked in

    Have a good holiday!


  42. “When ya decide ya need money to buy yer way back home by boat give us a call. ”

    Well some asylum seekers have $US10,000 to pay people smugglers to get to Australia. I would think $US10,000 would be a lot of money in Indonesia. I could survive quite nicely.

    However if I was one of the 20,000,000 refugees without any money I guess I would be stuck unless I could get one of those 13,500 places which quickly dwindle when another boat arrives in Australia.

  43. “Well some asylum seekers have $US10,000 to pay people smugglers to get to Australia. I would think $US10,000 would be a lot of money in Indonesia. I could survive quite nicely.”

    Yea, but don’t forget Neil, you’ll be taken yer family w/ ya too:

    And those left at home will need some help:

    Don’t forget…these are persecuted people Neil.


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