Asylum seekers protesting on the roof of the Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On a regular basis asylum seekers are referred to as illegal. This week a link was drawn between asylum seekers, crime and paedophilia.
What is missing from this debate is a means of decriminalising asylum seekers:
* After release, asylum seekers would have to wear an electronic tracking tag and report daily to a police or security officer.
* Any communities in which they take up residence would be informed and have the option of excluding them.
* On a regular basis their case would be reviewed with the potential of their freedom being reviewed.
* Penalties would apply for reoffending with possible reincarceration.
* Asylum seekers would be excluded from any jobs that residents could potentially carry out.
* Any goods and property owned could be impounded by the Government without notice.
Remind you of anything? Apartheid or Segregation or Kristallnacht perhaps? But not in Australia.
Truth is these criminals commit little crime.
What was the crime again? Being a refugee. How can you criminalise that?
Politically, I always thought it was the role of the Government to bore the electorate to death. And then be re-elected.
But, and especially of late, that role has been taken on by the Opposition.
As posted yesterday, it was the asylum seeker debate.
Now it is the AWU scandal which dominated Parliament yesterday with allegations that the PM broke the law. Which does not match her defence or recollection. Besides, if that is the case there should be an investigation. Or perhaps a Royal Commission into all lawyers that gave good advice subsequently misused. Boring.
And the week before it was the carbon tax which has had its day. Boring.
And every question time the Opposition moves for a suspension of standing orders which almost always is lost. Boring.
Wouldn’t it be funny if there was an election and the Opposition was re-elected based on their boring performance.
As a political junkie, the most boring issue for me is how both sides of politics treat asylum seekers.
Nothing ever changes except the number of boats and sadly the death toll. Both sides treat asylum seekers as a law and order issue. Abbott on a regular basis decries them as illegal which is incorrect.The Government has worked through a laundry list of options including Christmas Island, Manus Island and concluding with the failed Nauru open prison experiment. Little wonder the asylum seekers there have mental health issues.
But this time they are really toughening up.
Now the Government is introducing community work restrictions and the Opposition will attempt to reintroduce temporary protection visas. Besides Chris Bowen is now sending a message to Sri Lanka that the journey is dangerous (true) but that Australia isn’t an easy place to live in!
As Tony Windsor points out, it is veiled racism. If we are lucky, the new legislation may be challenged on the same grounds as the Malaysian solution. Let’s hope so.
There’s one small problem with all of this. Anyone who flees their place of birth is courageous and resilient. Inevitably they make great citizens. See Fawad Ahmed who is playing for the Melbourne Renegades cricket team. Many other examples abound.
Australia is an immigrant country. As an immigrant country we need more people who are courageous and resilient. As an immigrant country, there is no place for racism. None.