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The Immigration News is Almost Good

By Jane Salmon

To every right-wing xenophobic reflexive hack reacting to the immigration announcement on the internet today:

I have experienced homelessness.

I have experienced joblessness.

I have experienced shitty wages.

There are many times when I feel too ordinary, fat, dull and white.

I do not blame people fleeing war for any of those things. I blame people who were already here, avoiding tax while feathering their own nests. Or I blame myself.

Refugees I know can’t wait to become taxpayers. They want their kids to be free to study.

They’ll cope with crowded housing to get started.

They produce the fresh veggies we don’t seem to know how to grow ourselves.

They want memories of filth, medical neglect and outright brutality in immigration detention to fade.

My Dad fought for Australia in 5 theatres of war, but I am not afraid of boats starting again. Regional processing and fair refugee intakes stop boats. Navies can prevent launch. Foreign aid can protect the region with less colonial arrogance than penal islands.

It’s too simple. Boat people came from Makassar. They came from France, Holland and Britain. They were on the hunt for better lives. (No dial-a-boat from Sri Lanka for Morrison and Dutton back then!)

We are a global community and sustainability is a global issue. We cannot cut Australia off from what happens elsewhere or simply pick out the richest and most talented. Life is a mix.

I see that new Australians work hard to leave past traumas behind them. That drive has kept us from inertia.

Homeless people in Australia struggle terribly and still have access to services in their own language. They have rights that refugees do not have.

When I hear that 19,000 people whose lives have been stalled for almost a decade can start inching towards basic rights, I rejoice. This is at least part of the more humane Australia, the fair go that Labor promised.

And I am angry that some 12,000 more great people remain off the Permanent Residency list. Some are still offshore. Each is brave and resilient. Each runs rings around the average lazy bogan like me.

I am angry for the lawyers who will have to submit each separate case to another arduous bureaucratic process.

But perhaps almost more 20,000 men, women and kids will enjoy Valentines Day 2024 in Australia with a greater degree of comfort. That is, they may enjoy the ordinary experience of seeing their husbands, wives and children again. And of working and studying like the rest of us. Or harder.

If rusted-on rally-round-the-flag-flogs make this about them, they should be ashamed. Your bogeymen are a lot less real than those that refugees have had to leave behind.


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  1. Keitha Granville

    yes me too.

    I have never experienced anything resembling the lives these people left behind. Most migrants to this country show that they are harder workers, more enthused students and better people than they are demonised to be.

    Bring them in, let them stay, let them ALL stay. They have suffered enough.

  2. New England Cocky

    Funny how after WWII the European migration policy encouraged ”white” Europeans to bring their culture to Australia, and in post Vietnam era we benefited from the South Asian immigrants bringing their energy and enthusiasm to build a better Australia for everybody.

    Yet in about 2010 an American media identity encouraged the LABOR government to jail legal refugees rather than have Australia benefit from their talents and skills. Xenophobia is easy to understand among LIARBRAL$ who believe that having climbed to the top of the pile everything should be done to keep others off the top, because progress will eventually push them under.

    It is time for the Albanese LABOR government to stop this inhumane off-shore processing, build a Navy of fast small ships stationed off the NW coast to intercept the people smugglers. A much more profitable strategy than buying third rate American subs on the never- never delivery schedule for 2090 or probably later delivery.

    Remember the JSF replacement was recognised as a flying lemon before Little Johnnie Howard signed the contract making Australian a vassal state.

  3. Canguro

    Jane Salmon, you may be using a way of expressing in order to make a point, but I don’t believe for a moment that you are an average lazy bogan. Way too erudite, insightful, on target, empathetic, to fall into that category to which you claim to belong.

    Yes indeed, for far too long, refugees have been treated as political capital by governments willing to pander to the more base elements of this society and sacrifice the better parts of themselves in order to maintain or capture more support from the broader public for the sake of retaining or gaining office.

    Such behaviour is way past its use-by date. We can do much better as a caring society.

  4. Fred

    It would be nice if we could get a government that represented the population’s wishes. The overwhelming sentiment being the ending of offshore detention and the continuing use of the detainees as examples of the cruelty Australia is prepared to inflict on refugees. If given an opportunity to work boat people have a history of “getting on with it” and represent the type of people we want.

    MCT, a US private prisons operator who runs Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru and accused of “gross negligence”, has been awarded a $420m 3 year Federal government contract to run “garrison and welfare on the island while managing fewer than 70 people. The cost of offshore incarceration grossly exceeds simply putting the detainees on the dole for life – go figure the sense in that.

  5. Terence Mills

    Interesting to see the talking heads on Sky-after-Dark last night stoking the fires of a new armada of boats coming to Australia as people smugglers interpret the government’s move as a weakening of our border security.

    Of course, there are no such indications beyond what Sky are able to stir up wit enthusiastic support from the coalition.

    If there is an upsurge in boat arrivals it will be directly from the signalling by Murdoch publications and Sky – I wonder if we could charge them with treason ?

  6. Stephen S

    Sure, normalise the 19K. Or the 12K. But, at some point, shift the focus of your displeasure to Jim Chalmers. His current target for 2022-23 net migration is 300K. This is 67% higher than the big target Frydenberg had, as recently as March 2022.

    Voters don’t want it. The environment can’t cope. The Treasurer’s radical population drive only serves to flatten wages, increase unemployment, and exacerbate the (rental) housing crisis. Works beautifully, for the top end of town.

  7. wam

    I feel for the 100000 plane people who arrived over the last 4 years. What has happened to them?
    For our asylum seeker boat people, the pictures seemed to show the boats full of men.
    To this cynic: if men can leave their women and children in srilanka and bring them later, refugee is not an issue and your “…Your bogeymen are a lot less real than those that refugees have had to leave behind.” becomes drivel.
    Think of the poms over 45000 crossed the channel, with 87% of the boat people being men.

  8. wam

    My point is men on the boats, like your grandfather, are fearful of persecution and physical danger making them refugees. But the fact that your grandfather left his family in danger for twelve years, do you consider his refugee status questionable???
    ps Trump has a similar history of illegal ancestors.

  9. Jane Salmon

    Hard right xenophobes in Home Affairs started leaking their boat stories a day before the news of PR for SHEV & TPV holders were announced.

    There really is a lot of obstruction in that department. Around 10,000 applications to the Minister entailing laborious effort by legal volunteers must follow. The delays in processing will be further agony for those with sick mothers or dying fathers or the many who are desperate to see their own children.

    Meanwhile we need to Medevac those still suffering on Manus and Nauru. They are left there for many reasons (like country of origin, lack of English, fear of creating fuss), but character is rarely the issue.

  10. Canguro

    Immigration into this country is a mess, a situation so poorly managed that one almost wants to burn the house down and start again.

    From yesterday’s ABC news, this story has the following:

    “Parents visa is one of the most expensive visa, I will say, in Australia right now, Ms Dobariya said. Bringing them over here, it will cost us at least $100,000 for the application fee. No-one has that kind of cash. According to the Department of Home Affairs, new parent and aged parent visa applications may take at least 29 years to process. A new contributory visa can take at least 12 years.”

    How can that be possible? 12 years, let alone 29? It’s almost as if there is a departmental policy that stipulates that the death of the parents is preferable to allowing them entry into this country.

    Or maybe this is just another ABC journalistic SNAFU, a typo akin to the cat amongst the pigeons. They’re (the cats) increasingly common these days…. budget cuts, staff shortages, semi-literate employees.

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