Aren’t we better than this?

AustraliaDayIf Australia can’t champion progressive reforms that make our country a better place for everyone, not just a few rich people, who can? If we can’t grow a collective will to restore dignity to the impoverished, to welcome desperate families from war torn countries or places of depraved persecution, to have an economy that provides stable jobs, and not just profit, what country in the world can possibly expect to beat us to it?

Australia Day is a good day to reflect on the privilege of being Australian. I’m not saying this is the best country in the world. It’s the only country I’ve ever lived in, so I’m not one to judge. But I can judge my own life experiences and say that I am incredibly lucky to be Australian. We are a rich country, we have (in the most part) a very pleasant climate, our cities are not overcrowded, we have a stable economy which has been growing for over 20 years, we are mostly employed, and mostly living relatively comfortable lives. Yes, there are many Australians struggling to make ends meet, but we also have a social welfare system which is designed to look after those in the community who can’t look after themselves. This social welfare system is by no means perfect, but at least we have one. That puts us way in front of many other countries in the world.

Yet, with all this luck, if the election of Tony Abbott is anything to go by, Australians are not just ungrateful for our luck, we’re petty, mean and completely and utterly selfish. Abbott played to this side of our national character, targeting our lowest common denominator to whip up fear about what can only be described as #FirstWorldProblems.

Stop.the.boats. Why? Because a very small number of refugees, who have nowhere to else to go, are looking for a safe haven, and happen to choose Australia as that safe haven. We’re not talking tens of thousands of people. We’re talking about tens of people at a time, several thousand across an entire year. A completely manageable number, a miniscule percentage of our rich population, and an amount which has no impact on the residents of Australia. None. Yet in a recent poll, 60% of lucky Australians wanted the Abbott government to treat asylum seekers more harshly. Perhaps we should stop referring to Australia as the lucky country, and instead refer to ourselves as the cruel and sadistic country.

Axe.the.tax. Why? Because Australians are gullible enough to believe big polluters who say they are fighting against the Carbon Price for the good of the community, when really it’s for the good of big business profits. Because Australians believed Tony Abbott when he said climate change was crap. Because Alan Jones is apparently a credible expert on climate science. And the big one – because an increase in our electricity bill, however small this amount was when compared to the cost of our lifestyles, was just too much to ask, regardless of the compensation the government gave us to soften the very small blow. Perhaps we should stop referring to Australia as the lucky country, and instead refer to ourselves as the selfish and greedy country.

Open.for.business. Why? Because Abbott promises to get rid of that horrible nasty red tape and green tape that was only put there in the first place, apparently, to annoy capitalists. Except it wasn’t. Except every single regulation ever produced was designed for the betterment of our community, to protect us from the greed of big business. Environmental protections ensure that profitable activities don’t destroy our environment. Red tape like occupational health and safety laws are designed to increase the likelihood that Australians don’t die at work. Red tape like minimum wages, like the 8 hour work day, like paid maternity leave, like sick leave, like holiday pay, are the only thing that ensures business owners can’t treat workers like slaves. Or would you prefer to remove all this regulation, and let companies like McDonalds pay their staff $7.25 an hour for a 36 hour work week? That’s $261 before tax. But rather than see ‘regulation’ as the necessary protections for workers to stop business owners from taking advantage of them, Australians are happy to vote for someone who vows to repeal as much regulation as he possibly can (in fact 1,000 pieces in one day). Note that Abbott is consulting business to decide which laws will be scrapped. Business. Not workers. Perhaps we should stop referring to Australia as the lucky country, and instead refer to ourselves as the determined to make the rich richer at the expense of the workers country.

My question to Australians on Australia Day is this: aren’t we better than this? Or when we elected Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, were we determined to prove that we’re not better than this? We are rich, we are comfortable and very few of us have anything but lifestyle problems to worry about. Yet, all it takes for us to elect a wrecking-ball Prime Minister, is for him to appeal to our pettiest, greediest, meanest selves. As I reflect on my love of Australia on Australia Day, I wonder whether political leaders on the left are thinking about how they can bring out the best in Australians, rather than the worst at the next election. I’m hoping they can come up with a way of convincing us to be better Australians, because I really want to believe that we are better than this.

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Categories: General, Politics, Society

48 replies

  1. We ARE better than this and it is up to us to give our politicians the courage to show it. Tony Abbott has sold himself to big business. I am tired of being bullied by mining companies and corporations. I too want a credible alternative so I can once again be proud of my country’s contribution to making the world a better place.

  2. Yes Victoria, we certainly are better than this. Much of the problem arises out of the fact that we have been let down by our politicians from both right and left who have to greater (NLP), or lesser (ALP), degrees fallen for the great neo-liberal lie of ‘free-market’, government deficit equals debt in the same sense as household or business debt (the most outrageous lie of all), and that abolishing tariffs and trade barriers leads to greater productivity and prosperity (another vile untruth). The results of this warped ideology is what you currently see around you.
    If we want to see a return to Australia as both a compassionate and caring country with an education, health, and welfare system then its up to the Left to debunk and immediately distance itself from Monetarism rather than simply offering the watered down version currently in vogue with the ALP.

  3. Yet in a recent poll, 60% of lucky Australians wanted the Abbott government to treat asylum seekers more harshly.

    For those who might wish to see the detail of that poll more fully. Warning: it’s pretty depressing (though the part about mining is interesting). Contains proper demographic breakdown.

    http://www.umr.com.au/expertise/reports/item/90-dec-2013-umr-report-attitudes-to-asylum-seekers-and-mining

  4. Oh, poo. Can someone fix that for me?

  5. Well written. And sadly too true.

  6. Victoria at least half of the voting population plus 30,000 are NOT better than this and prefer to believe blatantly obvious lies. Let’s hope we get a better outcome from those not yet old enough to vote and at least 30,000+ see the light or get a conscience.

  7. Sadly, no, we’re not better than this, as evidenced by the election result, by the poll on attitudes towards asylum seekers, and by the abuse that I cop whenever I bring it up. At this point in time, we are a nation of greedy, selfish bastards with no compassion and no ability to see outside ourselves. And that is how history will record us.

  8. You won’t get a better Australia without a free press/media. The State owned and the Private owned don’t pass muster. Instead we get perception management. Lie upon lie repeated year after year. Nicholson said ‘you can’t handle the truth’ the fact is we can but they wouldn’t survive one day.

  9. Sadly Victoria, from my perspective the answer is no. When 60% of the nations adults want Asylum Seekers to be more harshly punished, says it all. When a Prime Minister is so incompetent he takes a recycled speech to an International forum because its all just a great big gamem a great big vacation until its time to bring out the slogans again before the next election..
    When Ministers are let loose to slash and burn with no regard to how the results harm everyone bar their friends at the big end of town, the rich, then no we are not.

    This morning The Age produced an investigative article into a group of our Defence Force including, the Age contends, Navy participating in Operation Sovereign Borders who are members of an online racist group that calls for members to ”fight [the] Muslim infiltration of our country”.

    http://m.theage.com.au/national/navy-probe-as-personnel-are-linked-to-racist-australian-defence-league-20140125-31fre.html

    At last a MSM outlet has done what the 5th Estate has been doing independently for months, ignored the platitudes of Abbott and Morrison and uncovered it appears a slimy evil group, who the Govt want us to believe without question are purer than a new born babe.
    So much is happening that suggest no to your question, we need Fairfax to take the lead in the ranks of the MSM and report what it appears Murdochs puppets, the ABC private radio and TV will not.

    Good people as yourself cannot carry the burden alone. Thanks for what you do.

  10. I think the question is perhaps too simplistic in the end. Australia is currently more culturally and politically complex than at any time in its history. Our nation is deeply ideologically and spiritually fractured. It’s difficult therefore to make any sort of general statement about the quality of our society.

    Elements of it that those of a certain “leftist” persuasion may find disturbing are certainly on the rise, but I wonder how thin our veneer of humanitarian compassion really is. It doesn’t appear to take much for it to be eroded away so I’m inclined to suspect it’s always been more of a self serving socio-political construct than something deeply ingrained in our collective psyches. Primal and tribal instincts simmer beneath the surface and all it takes is a lazy bogan slogan to make it burst to the surface like an exploding boil.

    I would contend that the best we can say is that some of Australia is better than this but much of it simply isn’t. It’s a tendency of human behaviour that the better off people are the less generous and compassionate they tend to be and the greater their reflexive need to protect what they have from any sign of potential threat (and to morally and culturally distance themselves from what may have been modest origins).

  11. God help us,

    I couldn’t help but think of Gina Rinehart while reading your last comment. This is a woman who has alienated her own children over money. And speaking of humble beginnings makes me think of her father Lang Hancock and his views on Aborigines. No wonder many of them find no cause to celebrate Australia Day.

  12. Kaye Lee,

    Gina’s problem is she has neither the intelligence nor life experience to have developed or generate any form of empathy for anything that isn’t strictly within the parameters of her own personal experience. It is, in a sense, not entirely her fault that she can’t do it, but it does nevertheless makes her a danger to the disempowered of society.

    For people more generally, being better off creates an immense social irony – it makes people more insecure. The more you have the more you have to lose.

  13. Tommy Lee Jones, in one of the great philosophical films of our age; “Men In Black” got to utter these words:”Man as an individual is a thinking, feeling, sensible being. When in a group they develop herd mentality and become irrational.”
    This is what we’ve got now. Australian’s response to other Australians harmed by fire and cyclone and the like is extremely compassionate and generous. They know it is a case of “there but the grace of God, go I”.
    To muster cattle you need jackaroos to herd them. They used to ride horses and crack whips. Now they use helicopters and quad bikes. The principle is the same. Make them scared, then make them go the way you want them to.
    Australia can be better than the state we are in now but we’ve got to rid ourselves of the jackaroos like Jones and Bolt and their ilk. We have to say “No” to the station owners who call the tune, Big Mining, Big Retail and Big Corporation. We have to sack the station manger and his offsiders. They’re not up to the job, they lied at interview and had a mate in the media manage their resume.
    Oh, and one last thing; free the truth, we can handle it.

  14. The country has produced more than one PM that has reached far above their station, both here and overseas. Abbott is not, and will never be one of them.

    The more that one reads of his latest excursion, the worse it will get.

    What will the upcoming G20 be like, the one that Abbott’s hosts. One where the leaders will not be able to avoid him.

    We are better, and I do believe not even Abbott can destroy this great land of ours. Time mends all ills, or so they say.

  15. Abbott’s ideology in regard to the economy is so dated, so far back in the past, that many today, would not understand what he is up to.

    I can only say to the young, go back to your history books to get some understanding of where he is coming from. Picked it up in his uni days, that is when he took time to attend classes, has not looked at since.

    In fact, I think he is still stuck in the Thactcher days. Has not bother to look at the results she and her kin achieved.

    He is preaching pure Capitalism. One where Capital rules all, including one government.

    They believe that there will be enough crumbs to keep the great majority happy.

    Yes, many will have to go back to their history books, to understand where Abott is coming from. Back to the ancient past.

    Morrison now speaking ABC 24.

  16. No Australians are not better than this. Selfish , cocooned from the world and its problems, we have an Island mentality, which for the most part, supports the xenophobic outlook. Our conservative values are something born out of the,last century and I think have in large part due to the inherent feeling of constantly being the battler, the person who got there from nothing. So now that we are “The Lucky Country,” we can somehow give the finger to those less fortunate, as if they are somehow they are less deserving, regardless of what terrible things brought them here in the first place. So along comes Abbott and his fascist ideology, only the stupid that voted for him in the first place, have no concept of history and therefore we are doomed to repeat it- remember the Stolen Generations, the Jewish refugees turned back during the Second World War, our loathing of Nelson Mandel, Howard et al and the WMDs lie. And we have a media that supports this mentality. The greater public could not care less as long as they have their beer , the beach, the sunshine, and their sport- the idea of the bogan reigns supreme. Jesus, how depressing.

  17. Great piece, Victoria, your ‘WE’ is spot on. The rabbott could not escape enough scrutiny with complicit help from Labor, the media and us. We deserve the rabbott and many of those affected by his mean spirited toadies will be comforted by the truth he spouts about it being forced by labor’s mismanagement of the economy. By early 2016 he will have convinced us that Gillard was disastrous for the economy and the current 2016 problems were down to swan and be re-elected to fix the economy.

  18. I fucking hate neo cons and Abbot because they hate anyone that they percieve as a threat to theri failing capitalist system (40% of countries will be bankrupt by 2050) but lets keep it real here

    @Axe.the.tax. Why? Because Australians are gullible enough to believe big polluters who say they are fighting against the Carbon Price for the good of the community, when really it’s for the good of big business profits. Because Australians believed Tony Abbott when he said climate change was crap. Because Alan Jones is apparently a credible expert on climate science. And the big one – because an increase in our electricity bill, however small this amount was when compared to the cost of our lifestyles, was just too much to ask, regardless of the compensation the government gave us to soften the very small blow. Perhaps we should stop referring to Australia as the lucky country, and instead refer to ourselves as the selfish and greedy country.

    im not 100% convinced about man made climate change because corporations run both sides of our government. natural climate change YES!!and obviously the Neo cons employers are invested in unsustainable Dirty energy likr Oil and Coal while Ruddy’s Employers are invested in inefficient clean energy… in the 1800′s they thought we were about to go into another ice age and the River Thames froze over.. the reality is that every home could power itself cleanly and for free (except for setup and maintenance) and if it was really so dire you would think “capitalism” wouldn’t even come into it because “apparently” its about survival? and the poor still pay the most for electricity while the Rich live in nice new energy efficient homes so the poor are still paying for the change over to clean energy with a carbon tax lol i live alone in a 2 room converted garage made from Asbestos, no air con or any conveniences and pay top dollar because of the housing situation in this country! and my bills are $300 + per quarter

    @Stop.the.boats. Why? Because a very small number of refugees, who have nowhere to else to go, are looking for a safe haven, and happen to choose Australia as that safe haven. We’re not talking tens of thousands of people. We’re talking about tens of people at a time, several thousand across an entire year. A completely manageable number, a miniscule percentage of our rich population, and an amount which has no impact on the residents of Australia. None. Yet in a recent poll, 60% of lucky Australians wanted the Abbott government to treat asylum seekers more harshly. Perhaps we should stop referring to Australia as the lucky country, and instead refer to ourselves as the cruel and sadistic country.

    I agree but were gonna have to cut back on Immigration because our infrastructure cant support it if it could there wouldn’t be 152 thousand homeless people in this country!

    @My question to Australians on Australia Day is this: aren’t we better than this? Or when we elected Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, were we determined to prove that we’re not better than this? We are rich, we are comfortable and very few of us have anything but lifestyle problems to worry about. Yet, all it takes for us to elect a wrecking-ball Prime Minister, is for him to appeal to our pettiest, greediest, meanest selves. As I reflect on my love of Australia on Australia Day, I wonder whether political leaders on the left are thinking about how they can bring out the best in Australians, rather than the worst at the next election. I’m hoping they can come up with a way of convincing us to be better Australians, because I really want to believe that we are better than this.

    Where do i start? there are more people than Jobs in this country and the “lucky” ones only live this lifestyle because the corporations and banks that run our country and want Australians to become the same dumb zombie consumers like in the US are using the TV to BRAINWASH people to do it. convincing us to get into debt to buy shit we dont need and where does that shit come from/ slaves in sweatshops and made out of stolen resources, which is why we get Refugee’s in the first place because by our ignorance and allowing criminals to take over this country we’re actually guilty of ruining their country (atleast by association to the US)

    And dont kid yourselves you might be Rich lol but i sure as hell aint! and i aint complaining because atleas i have a shitty garage to live in as i said there are 152 thousand homeless people in Australia on any given night!

  19. Thank you Victoria. You have reflected my sentiments so well. I despair to think that we have such a regressive PM and Cabinet during, probably, the most crucial period in Australia’s history. I despair that he has disregarded the scientific evidence and is intent on toadying to Big Business. Cutting the mining tax (& destroying the visions of the Super Profits’ Tax), the carbon tax/trading, and all the supporting bodies, and so on, is so destructive to our future. The people he has surrounded himself with as advisers are not of the calibre you would expect of an inspiring PM.
    Abbott’s speech in Davos was jaw-dropping in its deficiencies.
    Back on the subject of Australia Day, I found Ita Buttrose’s speech to be excellent, and was wondering just what our failing PM was thinking on hearing it.

  20. Ah patriotism, another form of divisive political mind-frackin’ …!!

  21. Thank you, Victoria, for caring, not for yourself, but for the whole of Australia… If only this material could reach a wider audience.

  22. Invasion Day… I no longer celebrate Australia Day… nothing to be very proud of these days.

  23. In WA we have just killed a shark under new catch and kill laws. What a short sighted law and how depressing but will probably add cheer to Bogan celebrations.

  24. Sorry i made an error its actually 105,237 homeless people in Oz (so many stats to remember and so little harddrive space in my head ;P)

    But regardless that’s a helluva lot of people and not acceptable & it needs Addressing!

    coz if we’re so rich and we can afford to let in Immigrants (unAustralian not to take in genuine refugees thats just lies by neo con scum) and give out all this money in fake aid (and real aid aka Indo) then we can ensure everybody has their constitutional rights met and are housed! (imo)

  25. Maybe the correct question is not “are better than this” but “how many care enough to change things.”

    Yes, if we care, that is what we have to do.

    At the end of the day, numbers count, and numbers terrify politicians like nothing else does. The only thing that brings them to their senses at any time.

  26. Victoria Rollison has summed up how un-Australian we have become lately and I would prefer to go back to the days before the September 2013 elections where hardly nothing was broken and almost everything around us appeared as though this country was heading in the right direction for all Australians … There appeared to be equity and fairness amongst all Australians and we were building a totally unique infrastructure that would be sustainable for the next few decades … But, in came ABBOTT and the Wrecking Party who are adamant in dismantling what LABOR had put in place for every persons benefit . Instead the greedy mining barons and Rupert’s MSM have been pandered to by the elected government and it is now obvious that the gap between the lower/middle class and the Elitist mega rich will once again widen even further … I care about each and every person who wants to live what has been the accepted Australian way, but it will take most Australians to change their attitudes towards each other and start caring enough to change what is happening right now … We did have a culture that every Australian deserves a fair go, but now the current government has ensured that only their Elitist friends will have the fair go …

  27. Regarding the title of this piece, no, Australia is not. In fact in instances it is worse. You have got Abbott, and Shorten, and you deserve them. Good luck!

  28. Sadly, we are not better than this. We are a enslaved by corporations which have infiltrated our politics and demolished free media.
    Aussies voted for Abbott because the media scared the general public about the immigration invasion and labors destruction of the economy, both lies, perpetrated en mass to a politically apathetic nation.
    That blatant exaggeration and scare tactics can be permitted in the mainstream media is inexcusable. A longer media blackout of at least 4 weeks is required. Also, the amount of money parties can spend on advertising should be capped. Corporate donations transparent and scrutinised, perhaps banned outright.

    This country needs laws guaranteeing basic living, education, housing, etc for all Australians.
    Tax the land, not income. If you tax the land, you tax the rich and the corporations and the foreign investors. The poor don’t own land, why tax those with very little?

    However, Australians have started to literally buy the lie, with spending not saving becoming our catch cry. A situation bound to end in massive debt and unemployment, Capitalism is unsustainable in its current form. We will become part of the great American lie. This was the Liberals greatest scandal … Encourage mass spending, privatisation, the mass sale of public utilities. Prior to privatisation people weren’t complaining about the cost of electricity. It was regulated and it owned by the people. Now, our bills are sky rocketing and foreigners own our utilities. Shame on the LNP.

    The worst part is we are a country without values. A nation with no identity. We have lost our honour by declaring war on innocent nations and support a corrupt imperialistic monster, the USA. We treat people with disrespect, desperate people seeking a place to live in safety, without fear of the very things we do to them in the name of border protection.

    We are a childish, petty, angry nation who has lost its compassion and Fair Go spirit. We need our collective heads read.

  29. What is interesting about this article is its total absence of perspective. You’ve forgotten the chaos that proceeded this government. And you have fallen into the trap of confusing a different opinion on political issues for moral superiority.

  30. I read articles like this and feel really sad. The young of today seem to want some kind of socialist utopia that will never exist. To claim Australians are racist because we want border protection whilst supporting a well managed refugee intake is racist in itself. What you want is open borders, which would be a catastrophe as there are 40 million refugees (plus many more millions who simply want a better life). Before the ALP realised there was no choice but to tighten up their lax border protection there were more than 1,000 refugees arriving on boats each month. This was on the increase. Many of these people were Iranian or Sri Lankan and they were country shopping. Have you ever wondered why the people arriving on boats have all destroyed their documents? The rorting of the asylum seeker program by boat people is well known, check out Bob Carr’s comments – he is given high level briefings from peple who know. Also, there had been 1,000 people drown. Australians support the refugee program, but we will not support open borders. This does not make us bigoted or racist and it is pathetic that you think that. You are VERY naive of the real ways of the world. Maybe you should do some travelling and then you will have some perspective.

  31. To Victoria Rollinson. Great article. Australia Day ; Invasion Day; Survival Day; or whatever other name or spelling one gives to it matters nought in light of what this country represents in 2014.
    The American Indians state that the work we do today brings it’s rewards seven generations hence.
    What was Australia doing 210 yrs ago?
    Dispossesing and creating a myth of TerraNullius!!
    Sad but true that this country in 2014 is gilded to the Lilly on lies. Nothing much changed in 7generations. Still lies on lies on lies and PM Abbott leads the way for grinning idiots.
    What’s to be done?
    When all is said and done this country started with lies and liars in charge and still the same today.
    Ps. I am yet to meet one Australian who will say t0 my face thatthey were one of the 30 something % who voted For Abbott!!
    And 30something % voted Labour and 30something % voted away from the major party structure.
    I think that it’s safe to sumise that the political structure is well broken and until the wisdom of the landed gentry who designed the constitution and political structure is fully challenged and exposed for the farce it’s become then this country looks forward to more of the Abotts of this world stealing power as easily as the land was stolen with a myth that became the overriding narrative until those activist judges exposed what had remained hidden. Happy strayaday tya’all.

  32. Your point is well made TC and I have some sympathy but its not that simple. 40 million refugees don’t want to come here – in fact most would prefer to live in their own countries. Fact is places like Afghanistan and Iraq were destroyed by our allies with our connivance. Sri Lanka killed massive numbers of people without hardly a squeak from us or our allies. We or ‘our’ side played a role in the misery these people are escaping.
    Back in ’79 Afghanistan wasn’t grim like it is today. Women more or less had equal rights – it was state policy and the religious divide wasn’t as pronounced either.
    But what happened was that the USofA didn’t like socialist states and began funding and arming radical sects to take apart that country – in a similar way as they did during Reagans time with the contras in Central America. Only then did the Russians invade. Over the next decade the US spent a billion dollars ( a lot in those day) and the Saudi’s even more to fund a particularly divisive brand of Sunni religiosity which has been used to take apart that and or influence many other countries. From Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt Tunisia Libya and elsewhere and at the moment in brutal style Syria. All these wars have served what some call Empire and in effect the US and Saudi’s have run a joint operation for mutual benefit – often using al Qaeda forces. The results have been brutal, nation destroying and have created millions of refugees – and make up the bulk of the refugees who have fled to our part of the world – most more have gone elsewhere.

    Along the way the anger and fear created by these destabilisation has created mayhem in other places like Pakistan – where there was once religious tolerance – like in so many places – division is now on the increase. The non Sunni fear for their lives. The divide and conquer strategy useful to empire also serves the imagined interests of the religious zealots.
    Most people in the past 10 years who have fled to here did so with good reason. Even those from Iran often did so for reasons associated with economics which resulted from increasing sanctions which arguably had little to do with the stated policy.
    None of this is to say any of those countries were perfect in any way. They all have their problems but these have been exacerbated by external forces for a purpose
    Part of the reason Howard was dumped was because Australians, I believe, were ashamed to have refugees treated like criminals. Policy changes were demanded by the people and Labor in office did so.
    But the world didn’t stand still. Destabilisation continued in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war in Sri Lanka came to a head – all of which created new streams of refugees. Add to that western wars of aggression against Libya and Syria and undeclared wars in Yemen, Somalia and bloody drone attacks and the list goes on.
    Personally I don’t rate Bob Carr – he effectively called for the assassination of the Syrian President and I never heard him criticise the Saudi’s (and al qaeda) or Qatari’s (and Muslim brotherhood) who have armed and funded the gangsters in Syria. And who publicly in the West has held the Saudi’s accountable for the use of chemical weapons?
    Refugees are people just like you and me who want a quiet peaceful life. I, for one, would rather err on the side of assistance and sympathy for them and the people who support them than those who don’t. So what if the numbers are swollen by a minority of economic refugees. There wouldn’t be the rat runs if wars weren’t imposed on these people. Stop the wars, stop the aggression and the refugees won’t exist.
    So TC spare me the talk of ‘naive(ty) of the real ways of the world’. We live in dark times.

  33. I am not convinced that the election wasn’t rigged. I worked in a polling place on election day and we hadn’t even done our count at the end of the night and the results were already in. We were a very small polling place and we weren’t even finished counting so how could the bigger, busy ones be done? Dead people, babies and rigged votes imo. Tony Abbott is nothing more than a puppet of Murdoch and Reinheirdt.

  34. wouldn’t surprise me – i know its done in local government.

  35. No, sadly we have an Abbott government, because that is what the majority voted for.

    Maybe too many do not care, feel that governments have nothing to do with them does not affect them.

    Maybe this time, they will learn that is NOT true.

    Maybe they do support all that Abbott does.

  36. Mark Delmege, that’s one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I have ever read! I agree with every word.

    I have been saying my piece quite vocally all over Facebook, and been hit with ridicule. Being a migration agent, I see the benefits of asylum seekers with permanent residence visas. We should be much more compassionate, yet there are those baying for blood.

    I won’t stop demanding compassion. I have reported the Australian Defence League for racism, and urge others to do so too. I have also demanded that every person who has an issue with asylum seekers first meet them and find out their story before wishing that they’d die.

    I believe that any person who wishes someone they don’t even know die due to their religious belief or race is no better than the Taliban.

  37. Well done Mark Delmege! And yes TC I have lived in several countries including the UK and US, and in Britain where they have reached breaking point, and yet they are still letting refugees in. Why?Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. It is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution. Documents? If you had hours top grab everything you could and get your family to safety- what would you do? I think your naivety is pretty obvious here, and even if it was policy in every country in the world to display this obvious disregard for our fellow man,( look at what happened in Nazi Germany) what would YOU do? Just because a government tells you what to do, it does not mean it is right. Or am I just speaking to a lemming?

  38. Cam, what Chaos. Numbers, facts and stats do not support your claim. Will have to list what you mean.

    Your statement is vague, and does not hold water. Well, at least any common sense.

    The world you think you seen, did not exist. It was to be found in the feverish brow of Abbott and Co.

    That is why they are finding it hard, now to find the waste, they base their policies on. The extreme spending, overgrown PS and increase taxes, they claim Labor created, are not there to be found.

    Yes, they cannot do, as promised. No, if they want to continue, they have to cut programs, and cut them hard.

    This is going to hurt most. Hurt them hard. I suspect, will also take the economy into a downfall.

  39. To TC, to add to JAG’s comments, I think most of us who agree with this article are well traveled. I know I am. And thank you for the compliment. At 41 years old, I am glad you believe I am young!

    Perhaps you should read what it says in the Human Rights and Refugee Conventions. These were signed by Australia a few years after WWII. The reason? To stop the Holocaust ever happening again. Unfortunately, history has repeated itself. Firstly with Cambodia, then the former Yugoslavia, then Rwanda, and now in relation to areas of the Middle East.

    We are obligated to take refugees in. There were no caps initially. Now there are, and those caps are becoming smaller and smaller.

    It does not help us on the international stage to stop the boats, or reduce the acceptance of refugees significantly.

    Permanent visas now take around 3 years for DIBP to consider, and then more often than not refuse. There is one family from an incredibly volatile area (Quetta in Pakistan) who desperately needed a permanent visa. They are Hazara. The DIBP refused their visa, claiming there was no fear in that area. What the DIBP hasn’t noticed – either deliberately or accidentally – were the regular suicide bombings in that area, targeting in particular the Hazara. The last one was on 21 January 2014. Funny how the media has decided not to pick it up as a news story.

  40. Unfortunately, we just can’t do better than this given the present political climate. Mark Delmege and Billy Moir hit the nail on the head folks when they point to the main problem – the power of the Murdoch dominated main stream media, and the (so called “our”) ABC !!!!! The main stream media and the ABC were the cheerleaders for Tony Abbott in opposition and disgusting apologists now for him in government. Billy Moir is right folks !!!! This dreadful government led by Tony Abbott will be re-elected in 2016. If nothing is done about the right wing dominated main stream media and the ABC soon it could easily be 2020 or beyond, before we see Abbott removed from power. As Mark Delmege says, the msm and the ABC are concerned with “perception management”. The facts don’t matter. The truth doesn’t matter. Democracy can go to Hell.

    If this disgusting fraud Tony Abbott and his cabinet were trying to run a corporation in Australia and spruiked as many lies and misleading statements as they do each day in the media, the ASIC would have them and their msm promoters struck off. Just Google the Australian Investment and Securities Commission and have a read of some cases ASIC deals with day in and day out. Liars don’t last long in the corporate world. Why should liars be elected into power in the political sphere ?

    With the election of this disgraceful Abbott government, Australian democracy has taken a direct hit !!!!!

  41. Quote by Victoria: “…our cities are not overcrowded”

    Umm, what? Been to Sydney or Melbourne during peak hour lately?

    A lot of our cities are bursting at the seams.

  42. I tried so hard to hold her back but I had to let the grammar nazi out – a haven is by definition safe.

  43. [quote]Stop.the.boats. Why? Because a very small number of refugees, who have nowhere to else to go, are looking for a safe haven, and happen to choose Australia as that safe haven. We’re not talking tens of thousands of people. We’re talking about tens of people at a time, several thousand across an entire year. A completely manageable number, a miniscule percentage of our rich population, and an amount which has no impact on the residents of Australia[/quote]

    1. Why stop the boats? It stops drownings. And no i am not the type who says this and uses it as a figleaf for racism.

    2. “A very small number of refugees” the last stats show the number coming by boat in the last measured year surpassed the number of our regular migration program.

    We are talking about multiple thousands of people Victoria. In one year. Keep the open border of Labor in place and can anyone say the numbers won’t increase more? Absorbing asylum seekers is expensive. How do we pay for all this, which taxes do we increase or programs do we cut? 85% of asylum seekers are still on welfare 5 years after they come here, most still have poor English, and they gravitate towards living in enclaves in our cities.

    How many more do you forecast will come as the numbers continued to increase year on year under the ALP?

    You make some valid points in your piece, but we need more facts and figures.

    Why is it important and not a ‘minor issue’, because if we do something about it, history shows us it costs a lot to start with then as the boats stop coming the costs fall away.

    Whereas, of you don’t do anything, the significant cost of rescuing, checking, housing and supporting an unknown quantity of asylum seekers runs into an unknown amount of billions.

  44. Nothing to celebrate this australia day.

  45. Mark Delmage. Great is the truth of reason.
    I wonder if the facts you so eruditely expound will find a greater audience than the ones of the 1980′s when your erudite input in issues and politics found a ready audience..
    My own understanding is that any good idea will be co-opted and become the second hand soothings of some grubby political operative who say “join my team”.
    Look forward to catching some more of your writings and succinct summations backed by facts and the experience of a life well lived and living. Ciao

  46. In support of Trevors post.Thank you Mark Delmage,you are a beauty mate.

  47. Oh me oh my,TC,it really gives me the shits when an uneducated person like you tries to tell others who have more nous in their little finger than you could dream for.If you chose to be racist,bigoted,whatever,come to term with yourself,admit it.If we have to live with people like you at least realize your reality.

  48. Reblogged this on doctorrob54 and commented:
    Are we.

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