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Dutton offensive on asylum-seekers

By John Hargreaves - 30 May 2016 84

ss new australia

When I came to Australia in 1952, I couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t count to 10 and I came by boat. If Minister Dutton had been on the wharf, would he have turned my boat back?

I know heaps of people who run restaurants, market stalls, who are builders and taxi drivers. I know many hard-working people who clean other people’s toilets and bathrooms, who tend other people’s gardens and do menial jobs because those jobs are available because Australian-born people won’t do them.

Almost all of them couldn’t speak English when they came to Australia and hardly any of them have taken jobs of Australian-born people; neither have they spent a lot of time on the dole queue.

I have met a few old blokes who plied their trade, without the benefit of English, on the Snowy Hydro scheme. Nuff said.

Snowy hydro

And I remember in about 1975 and 1976, people saying that our Australian way of life is under threat from the Vietnamese invasion by leaky boats. They were going to destroy our way of life and take our jobs. Sound familiar?

asylum seekers

As an aside and to show another similarity, we had bombed their country to blazes to fight an anti-West ideology far from our shores and these people were the victims of that war. Sound a bit like Iraq, Afghanistan? Syria?

I also know of a couple of Australian-born people who work the required number of hours in a volunteer capacity deliberately so that they can satisfy the dole test requirement where, if you do the required hours of volunteer work, you don’t have to show that you have submitted job applications. Sound like a dole bludger to you?

I understand, anecdotally, that in Nimbin and Kuranda in Queensland, it is the accepted way of life to have the major source of one’s income from the public purse in lieu of actual manual or intellectual labour, for which a wage is paid and taxes duly handed over.

So Minister Dutton has raised the spectre once again that these asylum-seekers, speaking no English and being largely illiterate in their own language, being innumerate and stealing places in the dole queue, are a major threat to our way of life.

Rounding the numbers just for ease of imagery, the Libs want a limit of 15,000, Labor 34,000 and the Greens 50,000.

From where I’m sitting, I can’t see a huge threat from an influx of genuine refugees numbering less than half the number of people who live in Tuggeranong. I can’t see my lifestyle being threatened by a small number of folk being brought here from the misery of Manus and Nauru as a gesture of humanity, with no guarantee of repetition. I can’t see any chance of the menial jobs like fruit picking being threatened by the acceptance of these asylum-seekers.

But I can see a scare campaign taking hold. It is sad that those who wouldn’t apply for a cleaner’s job, a fruit picker’s job, a menial task, would deny someone who deserves a break.

It’s sad that those whose employment results in a financial return that can raise the deposit for a number of negatively geared properties or island-based investment strategies, whose philosophy is the trickle-down effect (while not actually doing it), can’t see that our nation was built by these hard-working, salt of the earth type folks.

My own party, the ALP, is a bit better in that they want to raise the intake figures but anything short of closing Manus and Nauru and opening on-shore processing centres, will not satisfy me.

The Greens will never be in power anyway so they can take a moral high ground as usual.

Oh, back to the beginning. I came to Australia in 1952, aged three years old. Naturally, English was not my strong suit, neither was counting and I lived in two process centres for the next six years. And when I left school to find work having not completed high school, I refused to apply for the dole and did whatever I could find.

I say bring them in, welcome them in, and reap the benefits.

What’s Your opinion?


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Mordd 6:20 pm 05 Jun 16

Peter Smith said :

Thank you, Mordd, for your reply.

I do want to make one further comments on this though, because this is the comment I most typically get back:

gooterz said :

dungfungus said :

I will not deny that there are some muslim males who hold abhorrent attitudes towards women. But I would contend that the numbers are often exaggerated for media effect and propoganda. Do you know or have ever met any muslim people in your own life, like the ones who have successfully transitioned to living in Australia? I would suggest you ask a muslim this exact question and they will explain that while an extreme minority are like that, most muslims do not believe such things.

In answer: yes, I have met many muslims in my line of work. Many. I do not really want to say much more about that, except that experiences are mixed and cultural differences can be vast.

You’re correct that I do not have any close muslim friends. Truth be told, I don’t think I really have any seriously practising Christian friends, either, or Buddhist for that matter. Mine is a secular circle. But I know a number of muslim people on a friendly enough basis – parents of children’s friends, associates at work etc. Individually, they are more more or less likeable or reliable or affable than anyone else. I have no problem with any individual. It is views on mass.

Most muslims don’t support ISIS, that is a given. Most don’t support slavery or anything of the other rubbish like that. And sure, the the risk of terrorist nutters exists everywhere and I doubt muslim immigration would seriously increases the risk of a terrorist attack (although I do think that many people with that kind of psychosis are now attracted to extreme Islam as an outlet for those urges, and the leaders of ISIS know that and use it).

But it is wrong to say that, en mass, the views of Muslims on women are no different to the views of Christianity. Have you, Mordd, studied Islam, the Koran, the hadiths in any depth? I have, and I did well before 9/11 made Islam such a hot topic. Islam is not a ‘take it or leave it’ religion like (most forms of ) Christianity or Buddhism. To most Muslims, the Koran is the word of God, dictated to Muhammed, as his prophet and messsenger. And the Koran is not just a religious document, it s a social, political and economic system. Highly divided gender roles and rights are an inherent part of that system. Look at the altrenative Cairo declaration on human rights to see how fundamental these differences are. Look also at thes poll after poll of muslims, including muslims who has spent significant time in the West (for example, look here: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-women-in-society/ but there are plenty of others).

Again, these differences are not a problem when society is diverse, but they will become a problem is society becomes heavily Islam. Let’s take something as innocuous as inheritance laws. We have gender-neutral intestacy laws, but let us say the muslim population reaches, say 20%. In that scenario, there is going to be serious pressure on our democractic systems to recognise some exceptions to equality for, for example, for Islamic inheritance. And then what about Islam divorce laws? Child custody? Should one group of women be treated as less equal than another in the name of diversity? And if we accept one group as unequal, what ramafications does that have for the rest of us?

I would just like to provide a comparison again:

“Judaism is not a ‘take it or leave it’ religion like (most forms of ) Christianity or Buddhism. To most Jews, the Torah is the word of God, dictated to Moses, as his prophet and messsenger. And the Torah is not just a religious document, it is a social, political and economic system. Highly divided gender roles and rights are an inherent part of that system.”

There are other religions where the same statement would also hold water. As for customs and traditions, we make exceptions for Community Justice in Aboriginal communities, i’m not saying that means we should or have to make exceptions for Muslim traditions like that, but just pointing out we already do this for one section of society.

Will post more later.

Obiter_Dictum 10:19 am 05 Jun 16

Thank you, Mordd, for your reply.

I do want to make one further comments on this though, because this is the comment I most typically get back:

gooterz said :

dungfungus said :

I will not deny that there are some muslim males who hold abhorrent attitudes towards women. But I would contend that the numbers are often exaggerated for media effect and propoganda. Do you know or have ever met any muslim people in your own life, like the ones who have successfully transitioned to living in Australia? I would suggest you ask a muslim this exact question and they will explain that while an extreme minority are like that, most muslims do not believe such things.

In answer: yes, I have met many muslims in my line of work. Many. I do not really want to say much more about that, except that experiences are mixed and cultural differences can be vast.

You’re correct that I do not have any close muslim friends. Truth be told, I don’t think I really have any seriously practising Christian friends, either, or Buddhist for that matter. Mine is a secular circle. But I know a number of muslim people on a friendly enough basis – parents of children’s friends, associates at work etc. Individually, they are more more or less likeable or reliable or affable than anyone else. I have no problem with any individual. It is views on mass.

Most muslims don’t support ISIS, that is a given. Most don’t support slavery or anything of the other rubbish like that. And sure, the the risk of terrorist nutters exists everywhere and I doubt muslim immigration would seriously increases the risk of a terrorist attack (although I do think that many people with that kind of psychosis are now attracted to extreme Islam as an outlet for those urges, and the leaders of ISIS know that and use it).

But it is wrong to say that, en mass, the views of Muslims on women are no different to the views of Christianity. Have you, Mordd, studied Islam, the Koran, the hadiths in any depth? I have, and I did well before 9/11 made Islam such a hot topic. Islam is not a ‘take it or leave it’ religion like (most forms of ) Christianity or Buddhism. To most Muslims, the Koran is the word of God, dictated to Muhammed, as his prophet and messsenger. And the Koran is not just a religious document, it s a social, political and economic system. Highly divided gender roles and rights are an inherent part of that system. Look at the altrenative Cairo declaration on human rights to see how fundamental these differences are. Look also at thes poll after poll of muslims, including muslims who has spent significant time in the West (for example, look here: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-women-in-society/ but there are plenty of others).

Again, these differences are not a problem when society is diverse, but they will become a problem is society becomes heavily Islam. Let’s take something as innocuous as inheritance laws. We have gender-neutral intestacy laws, but let us say the muslim population reaches, say 20%. In that scenario, there is going to be serious pressure on our democractic systems to recognise some exceptions to equality for, for example, for Islamic inheritance. And then what about Islam divorce laws? Child custody? Should one group of women be treated as less equal than another in the name of diversity? And if we accept one group as unequal, what ramafications does that have for the rest of us?

Mordd 10:37 pm 04 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

First off, im not going to include the quote, otherwise the threaded replies will get really long really fast. Anyone wanting to read it can scroll up.

Thank you for your answer. My questions (well except for the 4th) were all deadly serious, and designed to make ppl actually think hard about their values and beliefs to answer honestly, and I am impressed to see that you actually did that, and I really appreciate the honesty in your answers.

First up, I would like to point out that we have lived through mass migrations before, notably post-WW1 and post-WW2 as the most glaring examples. These were indeed difficult times and required a lot of adjustment on the part of the immigrants and the citizens already in the countries that took them in. America is a great example of how mass immigration changes the landscape as shown there in the decades following their post-WW2 immigration. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. I’m not pretending it wouldn’t be a culture shock on both sides, it would, but I do think it is possible to manage and mitigate in a way that benefits everyone overall, and I think history shows us this is possible.

I will not deny that there are some muslim males who hold abhorrent attitudes towards women. But I would contend that the numbers are often exaggerated for media effect and propoganda. Do you know or have ever met any muslim people in your own life, like the ones who have successfully transitioned to living in Australia? I would suggest you ask a muslim this exact question and they will explain that while an extreme minority are like that, most muslims do not believe such things. Christians don’t believe everything in the bible, they use common sense, we do not literally cut off ppl’s hands for stealing, even though the bible says we should. Same goes with the koran, although there is patriarchal elements of the Koran, as there are in the Bible, a lot of muslims don’t necessarily subscribe to these beliefs either, they have as much common sense and human decency as you or I. As for the ones that do hold those views, they currently live somewhere where the law allows them to treat women like that. Australia would not allow that. Break the law here and the punishment would be swift indeed. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen but our laws and justice system are a deterrent to this already, same reason a lot of ppl in our society might entertain sick thoughts in their minds but very few carry through with these thoughts and put them into action, because of the legal consequences of doing so. I don’t want to dismiss outright the possibility that mass immigration would end up with some undesirables, but these would be few and the moment they broke the law would be punished and locked away.

As for your perspective as a women and as a mother, I am male and have no kids, so your perspective is indeed quite different to mine and that means we can learn from each other. I do not for a second want to discount your legitimate fears as a women and for your children over the possibilities that muslim immigration might entail for you, you are perfectly entitled to your feelings and no-one can tell you they are not legitimate, and I wouldn’t attempt to for a second. You are to be commended though for expressing this in a way that is not primarily racist but is an expression of your genuine feelings without wanting to judge others on race. I would like to answer your last question on this in greater detail, but I want to think over it a bit more first and read your comment again tomorrow before attempting that, so i’ll leave this comment here for the moment. Thanks again for your reply.

Obiter_Dictum 10:22 pm 03 Jun 16

1. If every refugee agreed to convert to Christianity on entry to the country, would it then be ok?

No. That would not solve the problem. Although conversions probably would secure the genuine refugee status of many of the converters, given that under many interpretations of Islamic Law, the punishment for apostasy is death, and several Muslim countries (including Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan) still have it listed as a capital crime…

To address some of the other comments on this threat, the focus is on Islam because the mass movement of migrants across countries, at present, is largely a movement of young muslim men from the Middle East, and it is the impact of their beliefs that is causing some people, including me, such concern. If I am being honest, I don’t want to live in a nation where there is a strong influence from radical protestant Evangelicals from Arkansas either, but at the moment it is not likely to happen.

More to the point, though, I think any large and sudden arrival of a large number of people of one culture and faith, particularly one that is very different to that of the prevailing majority, is going to cause trouble. A mass migration of a diverse range of peoples, over a lengthy period of time, as Australia has traditionally done, does not have the same issues.

Still, if I am honest (and this is the internet, so I can), I also think the consequences of a mass migration of muslim men is particularly threatening to me, as a women and as the mother of daughters. It is far more threatening than a mass migration of people from Europe, or North or South East Asia, would be. I do not want to live in a nation where there is a strong influence from conservative Islam. I fear the consequences for myself and my daughters, both in terms of rights, but also in terms of freedoms and mere convenience.

We are constantly being told that, as a multicultural society, we must give and take. But why is it women who are being asked to do the disproportionate percentage of the ‘giving’ here? I look in horror at the reaction of the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker – a left wing feminist – in the wake of the mass sexual assaults in her city. She said that the solution would be to publish guidelines for girls to follow to protect themselves when they go out. Not rules that lecherous men should follow upon pain of being deported, but rules that girls should follow so that they don’t temp such men into losing control (after all, these men have been raised to believe that men are naturally lustful, and that it is the duty of women to mitigate that lust by being invisible…blah blah blah rubbish). I look at what happened with the gang rape ring in Rotterham in the UK, where young girls were allowed to be abused for years because the authorities were scared of looking racist. I look at the stories of immigrants to Germany are refusing to accept medical care or food from female workers- why are we appeasing these misogynists rather than telling them to accept what is offered or go ahead and starve? I shudder in horror that there are now calls from some quarters for ‘moderate’ forms of female genital mutilation (as if condemning it is some kind of cultural imperialism…),and that womens magazines are increasingly touting ‘glamorous’ hijabs, as if they as a fashion accessory rather than a symbol of a religion that believes women are not entitled to the same freedoms and rights as men. On a more personal level, I have even had managers at a workplace suggest that certain types of work should be assigned to a man because it involves dealing with muslims and they won’t “deal with a woman”. Well, tough luck for them, I’d like to have said. But I couldn’t, because that would breach the equity and diversity policy.

Am I the only one who thinks this is insane?

Believe me, I am not happy about thinking this way about a particular religion. Mordd, your questions and hypothetical made me deeply uncomfortable. I have tried to think through all kinds of alternatives – how can we be open and generous as a society, help people, and still retain our freedoms? I cannot come up with an answer.

I suspect that some of the push for a Human Rights Act by the left may be founded on a belief that if we can legislate for an equal and tolerant society – if we inscribe it in stone – then we can invite in the masses from other countries, without fear that our liberal rights will be overridden by a new majority that doesn’t believe in them. But what can you do when the largest of those immigrant groups doesn’t necessarily believe in the rule or law, such that they would even respect a bill of rights? What is they don’t believe in equality? Heck, what if they don’t even believe in democracy?

2. If there was a muslim holocaust, would it be ok then for mass migration of muslims to result?

This question really did make me think. There is no easy answer.

There is a very serious Muslim civil war going on at the moment (although arguably its been going on since 662). Lots of muslims are getting killed (by other muslims). But that does not mean that the answer is letting huge numbers of young men from all muslim areas (whether affected by war or not) move en masse across several dozen other countries to a place of their choice. Which, ironically enough, tends to be a lace to which they have no linguistic, cultural or religious ties.

A muslim holocaust would entitle the victims to free to safety in refugee camps, where they could be processed in an orderly manner and resettled temporarily, pending the resolution of the conflict. The priority should be to place them in geographically close countries, other muslim countries, or in countries that are actually in need of new citizens. The long term goal should be to help them rebuild their country.

And yes, that may mean *lots* of money and assistance from the rest of the world. That is where we are failing at present.

Of course, we could also train them and/or help them to get their country back in the meantime, but the current crop don’t seem to want either of those things..

3. If we let in all the non-muslims, but keep the muslims out, is that ok?

No. And nor would I advocate banning Muslims or some ridiculous Trump style excess like that. The current immigration policy of diversity is fine. My concern is with a mass migration of one particular group like that which is happening in Europe. A mass migration that would find its way here if we simply opened the borders.

4. What if only Greens voters had to house them, is it ok to let them in then?

No. That hardly solves the problem …

Seriously, I don’t know if you are being facetious, but the only sensible spin I can put on this question is that you think the *real* concern most people have is an economic one, and the Greens could relieve that by offering to meet all the expenses of recent migrants.

Let me be clear that my concern isn’t financial – I do not think migrants pose any greater drain on society than anyone else, I wouldn’t mind much if they did, and in any case I don’t mind paying to improve the lives of everyone in the world. I think we should increase foreign aid (albeit in a way that doesn’t just prop up corrupt regimes). I think we should poor money and resources into rebuilding war ravaged countries. My concern has nothing to do with finance, and everything to do with a genuine concern that mass immigration from conservative, religious and totalitarian countries is going to have a very detrimental effect on my hard won (by previous generations) freedoms as a woman, and as a participant in a secular liberal democracy.

Let me finish by saying this:

I would very much like to hear some of the proponents of mass migration address my fears and give me an answer – rather than just accuse me of racism, prejudice or “Islamophobia”. If we do have a massive influx of refugees from muslim majority nations, and a big change in our population composition as a result, how are we going to reconcile the positions of these new immigrants on apostasy, democracy, the rule of law, gender interactions and family relationships with the current law and culture in Australia? Do you think women and homosexuality might need to change their behaviors to accommodate a more diverse range of views? Do you think we should have to? Do you think diversity is always good, even if that diversity results in less freedom for some existing citizens?

I am not comfortable feeling as I do at present. I would LOVE to take the Angela Merkel approach and not be worried. So, please, reassure me – why do you think my fears about the ramifications of all of this are unfounded?

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