A simple solution to stop Andrew Bolt:

18 03 2010

Deport him.  See how he appreciates it.

Australia’s answer to Bill O’Reilly has done it again.  Reading his latest column, well you can see what I’m getting at.  Bolt tackles the mammoth subject of asylum seekers and refugees in an argument that amounts to a gross mischaracterisation of… pretty much everything.

In no particular order,

Bolt insinuates, bluntly, that the Pacific Solution under Howard was the answer to Australia’s refugee problem.  Fewer refugees came to the Australian continent, therefore it must have worked.  Unless of course there was a global downturn in refugees towards the end of Howard’s reign while the Pacific Solution was in place.

  • Deterrents will stop people from coming

Imagine for a moment that you’re a father.  Your wife is dead, killed in local unrest.  Your life is ruined, your home burned and the lives of your children and yourself are under threat.  You gotta be a man, stand up, take care of the family.  What are you going to do?  Get yourself on a boat and look for a new future.  That’s what drives you to leave.  Chances are, you’re not going to know how the legal system operates in whatever country you are destined for.  You don’t know your rights, what can or can’t be done.  All you know is that you need to try.  So called ‘push’ factors have a much larger role than any ‘pull’ factors that Liberal Party members, Nationalists, and Conservatives like Andrew Bolt seem to play on.  No matter how brutal you get on these people, they’re still going to give it a shot because it can’t be worse than being gunned down, blown up, raped, set on fire — or any of the other evils you suffer back home.  Which brings me to my next point…

  • Queue Jumpers

It is safe to say that anyone who believes there is a ‘queue’ is seriously misinformed.  Simply, there is no queue and often the governments that have persecuted these people have no interest in giving them the passports and other documents they need to travel.  As I have observed before, if you have no documents, you have no soul and virtually don’t exist.

Many of the people who find themselves in refugee camps like Kakuma, where violence and hunger is still common.  For some strange reason, people seem to be under the strange belief that life in a refugee camp is safe, happy and temporary.  Something akin to a holiday camp.  People may live half their lives in these refugee camps before they are even offered the chance to settle elsewhere.  Half a life spent behind razor wire, under the threat of being raped or killed if you leave the boundaries, battling hunger and then the possible divisions that exist inside the camp.  Although I do not claim this is universal, given the alternative, it’s understandable why people will do whatever they can to leave.

  • They can pay, so they must not be that well off

Bolt makes this observation, and in response I point out that asylum seekers may be able to pay for a people smuggler to take them across the water to Australia, but notice how they don’t bring much of anything with them?  I don’t know what Bolt imagines when he thinks of refugees, but I can guarantee you that they aren’t dipping into their Swiss bank savings accounts to escape.

  • We should turn the boats back.  They ain’t ‘genuine’.

Well, I hate to say it, but that would be a breach of Australia’s obligations under international law as we are party to conventions that state, strictly, that a country cannot turn back refugees that are seeking assistance.  That’s the whole point of the refugee convention when, you know, a lot of the world wanted to ‘turn back’ boatloads Jewish refugees when Hitler was causing a bit of a ruckus in Europe.

That is, and there is a catch, if they land on Australian soil.  So this is why the Australian government has sunk millions of dollars into building, maintaining and expanding a system where the navy intercepts boats and hauls them off to detention at Christmas island; they are offshore.

And it is worth mentioning that this underscores the difference between a ‘asylum seeker’ and a ‘refugee’ in international law; ‘asylum seekers’ are ‘refugees’ that haven’t had the chance to be processed by the UN.  The major reason why they haven’t been processed is, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that there is ‘no queue’ and that these people had to flee their homes, in other words, they had to get out fast, or die.  So much for not being ‘genuine’.

  • Housing them at Christmas Island cost big $$$.  We should send them back.

The biggest irony about this argument made by Bolt, is that he cites statistics provided by a refugee advocate service, which are traditionally used to explain why excessive border control is absurd and impossible to defend.  Secondly, the source of the statistic has the effect of goading people to believe that Bolt is being fair and balanced, and certainly if Bolt has been snooping around the publications and websites put up by refugee advocates, he most certainly would be familiar with their myth-busting work.

However, Bolt uses these statistics to paradoxically defend the mega-money needed to fund navy to patrol our waters to protect Australia from the life-threatening, doom-bringing, evil of evils, boat-travelling asylum seekers.  On top of this exists the ancillary costs associated with advertising, logistics, persuading foreign governments to go along with the plan, feeding/accommodating/deporting all those that arrive by plane (there are far more asylum seekers that arrive by plane) and the untold cost to Australia’s international reputation.  These all compound every time we decide to get ‘tougher’ on border protection.

Sometimes it seems it would be easier to just let them all in.

Oh, and Bolt’s solution to the whole issue?

So here’s a simple plan to fix everything – a plan first suggested to me by Family First Senator Steve Fielding to stop the boats dead without being at all cruel.

Let’s announce that from today we’ll send every boatload of “asylum seekers” we intercept to some refugee camp in Indonesia, Pakistan or whichever other country we can persuade to take them.

Yes, you’re right. Those countries won’t want our rejects, so let’s make them an offer they can’t refuse.

For every single boat person they take from us, we’ll take two genuine refugees from their camps.

What could be fairer? We’ll be twice as kind, we’ll send the boat people to safety and we’ll reward not those who’ve pushed in but the refugees who have waited the longest in line.

Two refugees for every boat person. Guaranteed to stop the flood like nothing Rudd has ever tried.

Don’t you just love it when Bolt calls them ‘rejects’?  Nothing like a bit of callous disregard for human life to get you hot under the collar.


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8 responses

18 03 2010
burstmode

In the USA, immigration reform and border control are also big issues. Even though my politics are often described as conservative (and in the US, Texas conservatives are pretty conservative) I agree completely with you on immigration. Both Australia and the US have vast quantities of land and opportunity and any hard working immigrant fleeing oppression and horrors should be welcomed.

On the other hand, control of borders is fundamental to a secure nation. The drug problem in the US is fed by easy border flow with Mexico. All nations must control their borders.

Sooooo…what is needed is substantial immigration reform. Freedom should mean the freedom to adopt a new country as your home. Freedom should mean that a person may choose to enter a new society, start at the bottom and be given the opportunity to make something of themselves.

How to get there? I wish I knew.

19 03 2010
Life is a Rollercoaster Experience the Ride of Your Life

[...] A simple solution to stop Andrew Bolt: « .urbandissent [...]

19 03 2010
burstmode

hehehe…I guess Andrew Bolt is more of a thorn in Australia than in the US…I will be on the look out for his commentaries.

19 03 2010
Royce Christian

burstmode,

I agree with your general attitude in that restricting the movement of people is fairly oppressive and we should welcome people who have sufferred. Human beings have been on the move since the beginning. Whenever life becomes to hard in one place due to assorted natural disasters or violent conflict and oppression, they move to find somewhere else to live. It needs to be remembered that the clamp down on people moving across borders has been a modern invention, and only came about precisely because governments want more control. Migration is natural, but States, as a matter of course, like to regulate and limit such things to serve their interests.

However, I disagree where you write,

“…control of borders is fundamental to a secure nation. The drug problem in the US is fed by easy border flow with Mexico. All nations must control their borders.”

which, I think, is something that undercuts the difference in politics between us. I’m inclined to argue that the US drug problem is a direct result of banning the use of illicit drugs; it has created an entire industry run by organised crime, which has now begun to affect the internal stability of Mexico itself as those gangs kill each other and any opposition. It’s basic supply and demand, where the more you crack down on the illicit drug trade, the more profitable it becomes because of the risk involved. Not to mention that people will still continue to seek mind altering substances as they have done for centuries. But the problem is legalising such drug use will not only lead to a decrease in funding for many police departments, but will also eliminate an oft-cited argument for strict border control.

Of course, though, this is a more moderate version of my opinion as I am an Anarchist and support the abolition of State and Government for a variety of different reasons that all lead back to the point that they produce, maintain and increase human misery as a matter of course.

And yes, Andrew Bolt is more or less fascist, especially in relation to cultural issues. Like there was one story where he made a comment that a individual of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry had no right to feel insulted and angry about issues relating to Indigenous people because she was ‘White’, even though she identified as Indigenous and was accepted by the Indigenous community as Indigenous (Indigenous communities don’t judge citizenship by the ‘amount of blood’, because they think it’s absurd). He even went further to come out and deny, explicitly that any children belonging to the ‘stolen generation’ (something which is on par with Holocaust denial, or saying that Apartheid didn’t occur at all) had been removed forcibly and challenged his critics to provide just one name — one academic sent a letter containing a sample of 40 names. Bolt’s argument was that the government was trying to ‘care for them’.

I’m so sorry for the wall of text by the way.

19 03 2010
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[...] A simple solution to stop Andrew Bolt: « .urbandissent [...]

20 03 2010
Mike Allman

People to governments are not people, their just a number, a statistic even. A number that has a mouth that needs to be fed. The govt. doesn’t care about aiding them, all they care about them is how that number can benefit them with minimal cost. A refugee can’t help them, so they send them away or don’t let them cross the line.

25 04 2010
Grateful

Thank you. I’ve been doing some research for a sociology paper at Uni and was getting so disheartened by some of the “opinion blogs” I was reading about refugees and asylum seekers. Particularly Andrew Bolt. If we want to continue the tradition of Australia’s racist (for want of a better word) past then this is the guy to listen to. What scares me is that there are people out there that ARE listening to him. I would love to believe in the general intelligence of Australian society to reject Bolt’s opinions however the majority of comments to his blogs are supportive of his opinions. Thank you for putting this out there and showing Australia that the man is not giving us an intelligent opinion at all but in fact inciting hate, segregation and indifference.

25 04 2010
Royce Christian

Grateful,

Thank you for the comment. I have the same thoughts. Sometimes I watch interviews with Bolt or others like him, listen to what he has to say and feel absolutely sickened by what comes out of his mouth. And then to hear people repeat the same bile is, like you have said, incredibly disheartening. But then it’s not hard to blame them when, really, it makes the mainstream media money to make soap boxes available to people like Bolt because it guarantees an audience. Even intelligent people fall victim to all the dehumanising rhetoric, simply because there is such a saturation of it.

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