Monday, March 29, 2010

Your not really making the point you think you're making

Thanks to Media Watch I found out about a little bit Alan Jones did reading out another of those chain emails that gets certain types of people going. This particular one was on the topic of refugees. As Alan read out
Alan Jones: The smugglers know the rules. The new ones. They know you don't have to go to Nauru now. You don't have detention in the desert now. You don't have a temporary protection visa now... There's an email doing the rounds at the moment which is most probably a bit apocryphal and a bit inventive but it's instructive and it says that:
"If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labour.
If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.
If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you'll get shot...
If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again...
but" as the email says, "if you cross the Australian border illegally you'll get a job, a driver's licence, a social security card, welfare..."

The point I think Alan wants us to take away from this little monologue is that we need to be tougher on refugees coming to Australia illegally.

That's not the message I take away from this. The message I take away from this is "and that's one of the reasons why Australia is a better country than those other countries."

Now I know that the problem of a higher than desired number of refugees arriving through improper channels is complex and will require a multi-facted solution, there are two things I'm reasonably sure are not part of that solution.

One, a race to the bottom between nations for who can treat such people the worst (and trust me, Australia will lose on this one anyway),

and Two, not helping the countries the refugees are coming from become better and safer countries to live in will just keep them coming.

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