*Unless you’re a dirty NIMBY.
This is a response from a Facebook thread which stemmed from a Liberal candidate who’s online bio points out his refugee heritage and that Liberal policy reflected anti-immigrant sentiment and a refugee policy which was broke human rights issues and, recently had been commented by the High Court that it would be challenged in particular circumstances.
I shared the ‘meme’ but I believe the public perception however disappointing and judgemental it is; has observed the potentially different values which appear to contradict each other in The Liberal Party.
The issue at heart has become far too politicized, and the Liberals and now Labor have marketed fear, with the latter more often, and too simplistically. Labor being the incumbent is winning the game (as of a week.5 ago), playing straight into the hand of the Liberals by lurching to the right. Internally, Labor left must be fuming – and I’m certain the Greens will benefit from this. Because of the issue at hand, there is a lot misconceptions, stigma and assumptions on the issue, and neither Labor nor the Liberals have made it any easier to engage with an already topical issue – it has muddied the waters confusing human rights with regional security and also immigration; normally all clearly defined.
If we were pragmatic about it, we wouldn’t have either solution, and a regional framework is merely the beginning.
The Liberals are responsible for stigmatising the issue. Proof? The Liberals have sold it as a border security issue. This is misleading, because no ‘refugee’ has actually landed on mainland Australia. If anything, the real concerns should be looking at visa overstay’s and better policing of this. Thus the argument has been reduced to a mere three word catch phrase: “stop the boats” an unceasing mantra by the party. However there has little actual engagement in any policy direction during the past three years apart from yell at the Labor Party (rightly so), and now, merely piggy-back on the whole policy shift to the right courtesy of Prime Minister Rudd. However anything substantial was usually Howardesque.
But the attack on Mr Nguyen’s campaign, highlights that the issue at heart has been politicized, and that interpreters of policy – that is the people are now jaded and sold on the misinformation delivered by both the key parties. The definition has been blurred beyond recognition. We now have a blanket term, courtesy of the Liberal and Labor parties for generating a fear for this issue. ‘Asylum seeker’ is now associated with the negatively perceived ‘boat people’ which in turn are all defined as ‘refugees.’
Mr Nguyen’s family sought asylum in Australia, and were granted by the processes to be legitimate refugee. But how is this different to any other individual seeking asylum in Australia and being processed to either be a refugee or not?
However someone on my Facebook attempted to make that judgment, and make a call as to how they should be judged and this is problem at heart. (August 8 2:57)
The hypocrisy now is that the parties are redefining refugee, and marketing those who arrive by boat as different than any other refugee. An individual who seeks asylum for any reason is no different than any other individual who is also seeking asylum. But the complexity of the issue has changed, especially with connotative languages, like “queue jumper.”
One who seeks asylum is no different than any other person in the same position and no politician or I should judge on that.
Conditions are different, but the process we have already allows us to say if they are a true refugee or not. There is an established system in place for individuals in countries who need to get away from countries for various reasons. But I don’t necessarily have the expertise to judge on who should be first, whether it is a 7 year old child who has been malnourished for years and lives in a UNHCR camp in better conditions than he/she may have had outside, or if it is an Afghanistan family who with the ongoing security threat which impacts on life quality and reduces the education opportunities. Why are we letting our politicians market this story for us?
But let’s go back even further, why is there a security conflict in the Middle East? Is it the oil? Is it George Bush? Didn’t we send our allied troops in also. It spans decades, both parties (except the Greens), and policy objectives and we (Western power brokers) partially responsible for it. But how can we move forward? Well let’s make up a hypothetical that the Greens somehow yielded actual power – we probably wouldn’t be in Iraq, and we’d be advocated a stance against sending forces to the Middle East – it means we don’t have our hands as dirty.
Similarly, we advocated a stance to raise foreign aid. Why? Multiple schools of thought but simply because conditions are ‘better here’ – that’s the natural draw card. There are many problems, and they are not solved overnight. It is a long process but it requires the time and efforts by each country to put in resources to make these regions first and foremost, safe and liveable – this is the premise at which asylum seekers come to other countries. If we fix the problems at the root, the world is better for it, and it’s unfortunate that the only party advocating this stance is the Greens.