Edited version originally published in frankie #43 (Sept/Oct 2011)
Lock your doors, my fellow Australians! Shut your blinds, crawl into your bomb shelters and sandbag your daughters. For there is a collective menace lurking our island shores, and they come to ravage our country, take our jobs and plague our communities with crime, disease, headscarves and delicious ethnic food. Their transport of choice? Loathsome ocean-faring vessels of sophisticated design—‘boats’, they’re called—and when our federal politicians’ highest priority is to stop them no matter what, you know we have a problem. God help us all.
The worse thing is how these people arrive here illegally, because I think we all agree that illegal things are bad. And sure, if you do some research, you’ll discover seeking asylum in Australia without a valid visa isn’t actually “illegal” (you’re ruining everything, Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention and Australia’s 1958 Migration Act), but still: these people are jumping a queue.
And it’s so rude to jump queues. Like that fat fuck at the school tuckshop, or those people at theme parks who have physical disabilities, queue-jumping is reprehensible! Especially when the queue is so obvious and visible (you guys can see the queue, right?), there really is no excuse. It’s not like asylum seekers are escaping war-ravaged countries or political persecution or anything. The way they harp on about it, you’d think it was a matter of life and death.
Okay: I just did some reading and it turns out there’s no such thing as a “refugee queue”. But arriving here by boat still seems sneaky and suspicious to me. Something tells me—maybe it’s all their designer labels and platinum AMEX cards—that these “refugees” probably could have afforded to take a P&O Fairstar cruise over. But in an admittedly genius move, they instead come on leaky boats that can potentially kill them, just to score sympathy points with the public. Diabolical.
Well, I refuse to fall for that trick. They are not getting sympathy from me. “Data” might show that the overwhelming majority of boat arrivals are found to be genuine refugees, but we all know those refugee advocates have insidious, hidden agendas. You can always tell they’re twisting and distorting the debate when they’re using things like “facts”.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so scared, though. What helps me sleep at night is knowing our Federal leaders—on both sides of politics—can stop the boats. It’s heartening to know both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are both, apparently, some variety of wizard who is able to control world conflicts to the point where no one, anywhere, will ever need to seek refuge in another country, ever again.
By ensuring Australia’s refugee policies are tough—and, you know, wonderfully inhumane—our politicians can assure us asylum seekers will be deterred from ever coming here. For a second, let’s forget that the highest percentages of the world’s refugees—2.3% and 1.9%—actually came to Australian during the John Howard era. And let’s ignore the fact Australia is directly involved in wars that destabilise and displace people, making them seek asylum. Because I think we can all agree that taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions does seem a little weird.
Whatever happens, it’s important that we refrain from treating these people like, well, people. We must avoid listening to their stories of rape and famine, murdered siblings and starved children, because then we might actually feel something, and feelings and emotions are for the weak. Avoid that SBS series Go Back to Where You Came From at all costs (reality is so manipulative!), because none of us want to see asylum seekers as simply desperate family members trying to keep each other alive. To make it easier, let’s palm them off to Malaysia! At least we won’t have to look at them there.
Sure, some of our most beloved Australians originally came to the country as refugees: actor Henri Szeps; businessman Frank Lowy; comedian and writer Anh Do; sports commentator Les Murray; adored scientist Dr Karl. But they were the good ones. Nowadays, there are no nice or potentially talented refugees. Oh come on, don’t be such a bleeding heart! That’s exactly what the refugees want, and then, when your heart is bleeding all over the floor, they will drink that blood because, you know, they’re basically animals. And whatever you do, don’t change your mind about anything, especially asylum seekers. Changing your mind is a bad, bad thing. No good will come of it. In fact, they should make it illegal.