maturity and dignity required on asylum seekers

 It would be uplifting to think that Australians had the maturity and dignity to deal with the challenging asylum seeker issue without the interference of politics and prejudice. A broader context needs to be seen – one which includes recognition that there are more than 50,000 illegal overstays (mostly from Europe) at any point in time, the fact that we have 300,000 legal immigrants annually, and an appreciation of the dire situations in countries from which the few hundred annual asylum seekers emanate. We also need to understand the legal requirements under the UN convention, capably outlined by Greg Barns in ThePunch on July 6  Simplistic calls to send the boats home are not acceptable on humanitarian grounds and in most cases, not legal.
Sensible outcomes will not be helped by “boat counts” and comments that deliberately fuel prejudices, often based on ignorance. I can understand certain sections of the media playing this tune, but just don’t understand the intolerance from some Christians in the Parliament, who can’t see the hypocrisy and contradictions between their publicly proclaimed faith and their public positions. To many of these people, it would appear that they can rationalise their Christian and humanitarian principles, as they lust for power in a world of poll driven politics.


10 Comments


  1. So refreshing to hear a person of influence talking sense on this issue Ken. Many of my peers share an intense frustration watching politicians appeal to fear and xenophobia, rather than understanding, empathy and logic.

  2. Ken,
    Is that a young Tony Abbot in that photo?

  3. Agree 100% Ken – excellent. Sadly we can expect no better from pollies. By they way are you the priest hiding and contemplating in the doorway? J

  4. I so agree Ken. I am disappointed in Julia et al and journalists who should know better than to make huge ongoing headlines out of an issue that makes no threat to our country, is of no real consequence politically or economically (except that it might result in some potential future leaders and significant contributors to our country)and yet provides asylum for those less fortunate. There are so many issue that our “leaders” should be getting on with rather than incite so much xenophobia about a few people who simpy deserve our empathy and assistance. I’m sure if there are any unsuitable characters amongst refugees, due process will soon identify them!! Even The Age has headlines suggesting that “hordes” of people are coming illegally to our shores. It’s disgraceful. And i continue to be shocked when I hear so many xenophobic comments from acquaintances who I would have thought would be more discerning. No wonder the general populace are so sucked into the myth about “hordes” of boat people when those who should know better popularise the notion. My rant for the day!

  5. Patsy…this is great stuff….please write to the Age and get it published…actually the ones who need to see it are probably those reading the Telegraph and Herald Sun!

  6. The media have a great deal to take responibility for in dramatising and substantially misreporting and/or not telling the real story about situations such as this – and in saying that I am a journalist and brodcaster, albeit in travel!

  7. Couldn’t agree more Ken.

    I think John A-J also make a very important point about the way the media is dealing with this issue. The polsters are no better in the way that they are framing questions about the issue.

    The common question they ask is “are you concerned about border security?” Like most people I am, but my concerns are that we are wasting border security resources on persecuting refugees who we should be helping rather than using such resources to clamp down on drug dealing, illegal fishing and poaching etc.

    Unfortunately very shallow journalism particularly on channels like Sky News means that the results of such polls are presented as opposition to asylum seekers,which is not what the question asked about.

    • Thanks Bill. I agree. Hugh Mackay, onr of the founders of focus groups makes some telling observations in today’s SMH, about the way questions are framed.

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