Some of you may have had the indignity of listening to Julia Gillard’s maiden speech on the burning non-issue of ‘boat people’. But before we delve into the details of Labors borrowed policy lets establish a few facts. Australia’s total migrant intake is now around 300,000+ per year, of this 12,000 or 3% are refugees. Of the the 12,000 refugees there are an average of 2,000 that arrive in Australia by boat, that is 0.6% of total annual immigration…….in short………peanuts.
The proposal as I read it is to build a refugee processing centre in East Timor so we can ‘process’ all people wanting to apply for refugee status in Australia. East Timor is the poorest country in the whole asia pacific region with an annual average GDP of less than $2000 Australian Dollars that is largely dependent on foreign aid (from Australia) and a limited revenue stream from a percentage ownership of an offshore gas project (85% owned by Australia and Indonesia).
All sounds good in theory right? newly independent poor nation needs foreign currency and the country holding the purse strings needs a political sideshow to distract voters from the appalling options on offer for the upcoming election. We already have 4-5 processing centers of our own that seem to operate ok but the problem is that the Liberal party is trying to convince the xenophobic dickhead in outer suburbia into believing that they are somehow under attack by ‘boat people’. Not to be outdone by the Liberals desire to harness the fuckwit vote, Labor has decided to get right into the game and offer exactly the same policy!
So we end up with a dumping ground in East Timor and we can wipe our hands clean forgetting that these boat people are coming from countries we are actively bombing and forgetting the thousands of Timorese that died helping Australia fight off a potential Japanese invasion (Timor lost 20% of their population mainly for siding with the allies and assisting them against the Japanese).
I can clearly state today that I am in fact ashamed of Australia, our short memories and lack of respect for our neighbours, allies and the plight of the desperate.