This is the basic difference between those on the ‘right’, and those on the ‘left’.
It’s called denial. Denial of the real, the obvious and the truth. Illegal immigrants are those who are attempting to immigrate to this county by other than the anticipated and allowable means. The word immigration implies a sense of permanence. The implications of granting asylum to bona fide refugees makes no such implication. Those who are arriving in leaky Indonesian fishing boats are seeking asylum in this country. They are asylum seekers. Refugees from lives filled with terror, distress and persecution on the basis of their culture, political beliefs or religion. Asylum seekers also come to this country by aircraft, in fact as Malcolm Farr pointed out earlier this year, 95% of all asylum seekers arriving in this country seeking refuge from persecution, arrive by air.
So why then are those on the ‘right’ attempting to re-classify 5% of all asylum seekers as something which they clearly are not? The answer is simple. It suits the conservative mindset to consider anything which isn’t of the norm, which isn’t performing according to their standards, which offends their tender sensibilities because a situation or set of circumstances may be beyond their ability to accept or understand, as something to feared, loathed and spurned.
To further reinforce the reality of the asylum seeker situation which faces ALL developed countries, not only Australia, every single human being on the face of this planet has the right – not privilege, but RIGHT – to seek to escape cultural, religious or political persecution by seeking asylum from any country where they will be secure from that persecution. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees decrees that this is so.
There is a word for this unreasoning fear of one’s fellow human beings who aren’t of the same culture, skin colour, political or religious belief. Xenophobia. The definition bears a frightening relation to another word, Bigotry. Further, it’s impossible to end a piece like this without referencing another piece of terminology, which sadly is uniquely Australian, but applies perfectly to the Op-Ed which spurred me to write. Dog-Whistle Politics. It’s something the ‘right’ are so very adept at.