Tim is a fairer Leftist than most and he quite logically shows that Australians are not critical of illegal immigrants because of racism. Few countries have accepted more immigrants per head from all over the world than Australia has.
So what is Tim’s comment on the open door to illegals which Prime Minister Rudd has been holding open but has now shut until the election?
Tim thinks Rudd is a spineless waffler and who am I to disagree with that? But the idea that an open door to illegals could be “sold” to the Australian population is preposterous. Tim below:
Arguments that equate a desire to control immigration with racism are often mounted by those who wish to assert their own purity against a straw man. The truth is, there is nothing inherently racist about wanting to control your borders and there is nothing unique about the way Australians react to the issue.
In fact, Australians have been as good as anyone about accepting people from overseas. That much of the concern, when it arises, is focussed on those who arrive by boat is hardly surprising. Not only does the sensationalist media spotlight boat arrivals and grossly exaggerate what is happening, but one of our major parties, the Liberal-National Coalition, viciously exploits the issue for political gain. This may tap into the racist feeling of some (it’s not as if no-one is a racist ever) but it is more likely to be tapping into a range of other concerns, from jobs to the environment to national sovereignty.
In the face of misinformation from influential sections of Australian society, the only workable solution is a long and consistent campaign of pushback, of countering lies with facts and of standing up for the principle of dealing justly with asylum seekers while not dismissing as racist anyone who wants to place limits on our overall intake. The reason the Opposition can exploit the issue is at least in part because the Labor Party (in and out of government) is incapable of sustaining such an argument. The fact that, at the moment, Labor is led by a moral coward of the magnitutde of Kevin Rudd makes things especially difficult.
No-one should underestimate the difficulties for any PM dealing with this matter. As I say, influential forces within society are thrilled to use the subject as a way of delegitisimng a Labor government. And there are genuine concerns out there about population growth. But when the PM is as singularly weak as Kevin Rudd it is almost certain that Labor will capitulate in the face of a scare campaign.
It needn’t be this way. During the hysteria over Tampa, independent MP, Peter Andren refused to countenance the fear mongering, went into his electorate and made the case for acceptance of asylum seekers. According to the Australians-are-racist crowd, not to mention the jelly-backs who run Labor’s campaigning, this should have meant disaster for Andren. Fact is, though, he was reelected with an increased majority.
So the hysteria and lies can be fought if you have the spine to do it. Unfortunately, Kevin Rudd doesn’t.