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Australian Policies: Immigration, Refugees and our Indigenous people

07/11/2016

In this war morality … the ideals of freedom, justice, and human dignity had all slid off man like a rotten rag. We said that there is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons … first out of duty, then from habit, and finally—for pleasure. ~Peter Matthiessen (2014) In Paradise. p. 191

The first fleet arrived at Botany Bay between 18 and 20 January 1788. The fleet consisted of six convict ships, three store ships, two man-o-war ships with a total of 756 convicts (564 male, 192 female), 550 officers/marines/ship crew and their families.

Australia’s rulers/leaders have been engaged in social engineering since the arrival of the first fleet and they continue to do so to this very day. For example, the White Australia policy of 1901 to 1972 denied entry to all non-white people not of European descent. Whereas, the current immigration policy’s focus is on skilled and educated immigrants and people with bags of money from anywhere on the globe: although, undeniably, the preference remains for British and Western European immigrants. (Of course, the application process is convoluted, expensive and time consuming. Remember also that you are dealing with apparatchiks.)

The assimilation policy of 1951 to 1962 permitted entry to non-English speaking immigrants providing they adopted (or is that embraced) the dominant Anglo-Celtic-Saxon culture. (This became my personal experience.) “Immigrants should shed their cultures and languages and rapidly become indistinguishable from the host population.” “You’re now a New Australian. So, leave all that funny stuff behind you.” (Practice saying that with a nasal clenching Australian accent, if you can.) Yet above all else that young person required acceptance by his or her peers. The answer for many was to accept, adopt and embrace the dominant cultural myths and become a dinky-die new Australian and, that required a change of behaviour and attitude unquestionably. I recall an advertising slogan of that era: “Meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.” Many non-English speaking immigrants formally or informally adopted an Anglo-Celtic-Saxon name or married a man with such a name. Others adopted nicknames to succeed and survive in that racist intolerant society. Many of course succeeded by standing their ground and viewing the dominant culture as false, nonsensical, problematic but that required considerable maturity, strength and courage.

The rulers/leaders expected non-English speaking immigrants to assimilate and abandon their past allegiances and cultural “baggage,” and replace them, almost instantaneously, by adopting the idealised and fabricated Australian lifestyle before them.

By the end of World War II, Australia’s rulers/leaders were committed to population growths by immigration by a ratio of one non-English speaking immigrant to ten British immigrants. However, the supply from Britain was over estimated. Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell cast the immigration net wider, first to “Empire and Allied” ex-servicemen and then, by 1947 to other Europeans, primarily the Displaced Persons (DPs) being cared for by the International Refugee Organisation.

Australia’s rulers/leaders had doubts about how many non-English speaking immigrants Australians would accept to their monoculture. Calwell successfully turned to Baltic countries for “Nordic looking” young men and women DP immigrants.

Immigrants were expected to become “Australian” as quickly as possible. “New Australians” were required to speak English, not live in cultural “ghettos” and marry into the Australian-born community. (This policy paralleled the forced assimilation of Aboriginal people, which included the notorious practice of removing their children and rearing them in white environments.) The ultimate solution was genocide of Australia’s indigenous peoples: the mass destruction of entire communities—an attitude that has not gone away and actually succeeded in part.

Australia’s indigenous peoples are ethnic minorities whose territories were illegally occupied by British colonial expansion and followed by the formation of a nation state.

The Aborigines Protection Board officially adopted this policy in 1951 and  increased the practice of forcibly removing Aboriginal children with fair skin, referred to at the time as ‘half-caste’ or ‘part Aboriginal,’ from their families. Children were placed in institutions where they could be ‘trained’ to take their place in white Australian society.

I shudder as I write that humans can be so mad so cruel so insensitive to participate in the theft of helpless hapless children. If questioned about their behaviour, these Christian idiots would say, “I followed orders” as said the Nazis on trial at Nuremberg and later in Israel. Ultimately, I fail to understand how this evil of obedience to authority figures remains so common and is perpetrated by almost one and all. It is obvious that mankind has learned nothing at all and that nothing has changed.

The Integration policy of 1972 abolished Australia’s ‘White Australia Policy’ and allowed non-English speaking immigrants into Australia providing they adopted an Anglo-Saxon culture in public whilst keeping their own culture at home. Whereas, the Multiculturalism policy of 16 February 2011 permitted non-English speaking immigrants to keep their own cultures so long as they observed Australian law.

Australia is a signatory to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967 and recognises the right of asylum. Yet, the current visa policy detains anyone entering or being in Australia without a valid visa. Australia is the only country in the world to mandate the strict enforcement of the detention of asylum seekers. The policy is a contentious wedge issue in Australian politics, with the two major political parties arguing that the issue is a border control problem and one concerning the safety of those attempting to come to Australia by boat.

Australians have the biggest homes in the world. New free-standing homes are an average 245.3 m2 – three times bigger than UK homes, and 22 times bigger than the average Hong Kong home. For Australia, this space privilege shows up the all pervasive myth that the country has no room for refugees.

Please send a message to the Hon Peter Dutton MP as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and copy your elected members. It is time that the Australian government:

  1. stop engaging in scaremongering politics by telling lies at the expense of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees
  2. stop demonising those people trying to reach Australia by boat
  3. stop referring to asylum seekers who do so as illegal maritime arrivals
  4. close Nauru and Manus Island as places for detaining asylum seekers and processing asylum claims
  5. Minister open your heart and put an end to this ongoing miserable flawed, cruel, and inhuman practice that disfigures our country
  6. Minister consider how future generations will view us as standing back to allow this abhorrent practice to continue
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