Bali, Drugs and Refugees

While it is easy to condemn, ridicule and generally mock the Indonesian political system, oh ok it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.  Australia has little to brag about with both a Prime Minister and a major opposition leader selfishly indulging in cheap, shrill, tawdry politics of the most populist kind.

The latest example of this is these excuses for humanity using the plight of a 14 year old kid and the base fears of the most ignorant in a sleazy grab for votes.  Following the recent arrest of the 14 year old lad in Indonesia for buying 3.6g of weed, we have a irresponsible Australian Media filling endless columns news print with mostly sheer hysterical nonsense coupled with the most gratuitous jockeying for tacky sound bites at the expense of the kid in question. Like the Corby case, if this kid ends up spending any but the most minimal time in detention then the Australian Media and idiot pollies need to shoulder a fair portion of culpability.

The Australian Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Opposition Leader are all presumably ignoring advice of real experts on Indonesia that “low key” is always the best way to solve any problem in Indonesia.  The antics of these three opportunists is both appalling and cringe-worthy.  The PM has even been ringing the lad direct to assure him that the Australian Government is doing all it can to have him released (Does the she-witch ring every other Australian in detention around the world with similar pledges or just the vote getters?).  Not to outdone, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd rings the family and holds a press conference to assure the Australian Public that the lad is in “safe hands”.  Meanwhile the Opposition Leader comes out with what must be the most ludicrous and provocative statement of all.

“He was thankful his three children did not find themselves in a similar situation during their own holidays on the Indonesian island.

“You’ve just got to be incredibly careful to stay away from any bad situations in foreign countries,” he told Triple-M.

He felt for the “terrible situation” the parents of the boy,  and said he would like to see Indonesian authorities treat the boy with decency”

Really ? He was thankful his children did not end up in the same situation? What are you really saying then, what message do you think that carries in Indonesia?

For a very senior politician to make a comment like in the national media suggesting that Bali and Indonesia is some sort of haven of evil doers and malignant drug lords just waiting to take down innocent Australians is just juvenile and counterproductive to the larger Indonesian – Australian relationship.  Should Abbott (the Opposition Leader) ever make PM, what kind of reception does he think he will get from his Indonesian counterpart after comments like that?  It’s a sign of how low someone can go chasing votes when these three idiots are just using this lads plight to appeal to the dog whistle fear politics that so dominates Australia these days.

I think most old Indonesian hands can take a fair guess at what happened to the lad and no one would have been more surprised than the local coppers that the kid was only 14.  The undue attention has probably slowed what is normally is nice regular piece of business for a nice chunk of pocket money.  If these sad shadows of real leaders think megaphone diplomacy is going to help the lad then they are dumber than previously thought. Although it’s more probable the kid is just a nice wagon for some headlines to be discarded once the shrill wears down.

Of course this is  dog whistle politics is no surprise.  It is one of the great shames of Australia that the Australian tradition of a “fair go” is being replaced by shallow, ignorant public shrilling pandering to the ignorant and ill conceived fears of redneck Australia.  One has to only look at the current debate (debacle would be a better word) over refugees to Australia.  To listen to the shrills you would think that Australia is facing an Invasion of boat people.  The reality is it would take over ten years at the current rate just to get a good size crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or that 95% of all refugee claims are found to be genuine never seems to get a mention.

Is there any decent Australian who does not think forcibly sending unaccompanied children to a Malaysian refugee camp is not morally and ethically repugnant?  Yet this is actually the proposal presented by an Australian Government pandering to the racist and ignorant amongst us.

Worse, Australia actually still has political parties who have a central platform calling for the complete ban of Muslim immigration to that Australia.  This is nothing less than a new but no less rank version of the old White Australia Policy.  We had all hoped that rancid dog was dead, yet it seems there still many only willing to put their lips to that particular, putrid corpse and attempt to bring it back to life.  Bizarrely, one of Indonesia’s more regular (by volume not content) expat nuttier bloggers regularly promotes this particular Australian party as the cornerstone of moral fortitude. However, perhaps in view of a potential Indonesian reader he rather dishonestly leaves out the part calling for the complete banning of Muslim immigrants from Indonesia (bit rude really) and like most of the debate around asylum seekers and refugees fundamentally dishonest.

Australian politics and

Grandstanding for votes..

looney cons..yuck!

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About Oigal

I have kicked a bag of spuds over the River Murray. I was the bloke who turned their heads for home. They called me Co when I worked with Mr Cobb and it was my house that was just a bit further on from the Black Stump. I was there when the Breaker called it rule 303 and once wrote a letter with a thumbnail dipped in tar.
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68 Responses to Bali, Drugs and Refugees

  1. avatar berlian biru says:

    “You’ve just got to be incredibly careful to stay away from any bad situations in foreign countries,”

    Seems to be perfectly reasonable advice for any parent to give to a child, not sure I see what the fuss is about.

    If they genuinely are asylum seekers, ie running away in fear from their home countries, why do they not stop running when they reach safe and pleasant countries like Malaysia or Indonesia but instead choose to risk life and limb taking to sea in rickety dangerous boats to go to Australia?

    Do you think there might be a bit more to their motivation than simple asylum seeking?

  2. avatar Oigal says:

    Hi BB,

    No it was not perfectly reasonable advice it was populist drivel catering to the lowest possible vote getter. The context made it plain this was the not generic “care for your kids parents” but deliberate whistle to the xenophobic section of the Australian Community who view Indonesia as a pit of terrorists, evil invading refugees, bombers and drug set-ups. Unfortunately both parties are engaging in a race to the bottom in foreign relations and you would be hard pushed to find a worse example in the past 25 years.

    If they genuinely are asylum seekers, ie running away in fear from their home countries, why do they not stop running when they reach safe and pleasant countries like Malaysia or Indonesia but instead choose to risk life and limb taking to sea in rickety dangerous boats to go to Australia

    Gee, this one comes out a lot and I have never understood the logic behind it. So if someone makes the choice leave home and kin to seek Asylum then they should only go to the closest country or they are no longer asylum seekers or under threat in their own countries? So in a similar situation, you would up stakes and stop at Indonesia for instance, never mind the fact another country such as Canada or US would provide your family with far greater opportunities and safety. Perhaps I missing something? Are you saying the Refugees and Asylum seekers after World War 2 f should have just stopped at say France or the UK or is there some other factor that says these particular people should not be allowed in?

    If it’s religion then I acknowledge that there is a number of issues with small groups of Muslims not accepting the norms of the Australian way of life. Why almost as many reports about those misfits as there is about a small group of Catholics and their abuse of children…Ok perhaps we should ban em both?

    I do take your point that perhaps economic factors may play a role but this is bad because why? So someone who leaves home and kin and happens to seek out the very best place for himself and his family, this is unnatural or sneaky? To my mind those people invested more than the ten pound English who virtually brought the Australian Economy to it’s knees in the 70s and 80s. Certainly the case could be made that the refugees from the China, Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia and perhaps now gave much more to Australia than the White Australia Policy and the ten pound pom ever did.

    Fact remains we are currently talking about less than 1% of Australia’s total yearly immigration, three times as many visa jumpers arrive by plane and most importantly Australia is still screaming for immigrants. Australia has always been better off after every successive wave of refugees since federation and each group has had to deal with xenophobia, racism and misinformation but there is no reason to think that the current wave will be any different.

  3. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    I do take your point that perhaps economic factors may play a role but this is bad because why?

    Rather obviously because they are viewed as wishing to go to Australia in order to avail of the generous welfare entitlements in offer in Australia and Australians not unnaturally resent that.

    It’s hardly rocket science is it?

    As to your other point I have to say that you are the complete mirror image of the Indonesia hating Australian who views Indonesia in a perpetually bad light. You too view Australia and most Australians as bigoted, red-kneck, Muslim hating xenophobes, which they quite obviously aren’t. You, and those you dislike, are merely two sides of the same prejudiced coin.

    Again I say that Abbott’s advice is perfectly reasonable and applies to most countries around the world. If you are going on holiday to a place that does not have a particularly high standard of policing and criminal justice then you really should take care.

    It’s very sensible advice to all young people.

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    Rather obviously because they are viewed as wishing to go to Australia in order to avail of the generous welfare entitlements in offer in Australia and Australians not unnaturally resent that.

    Yes of course that’s it, lets leave our homes, families, country travel half way across the world so we can rort Centre Link. In interests of honesty, we should point out
    When an asylum seeker arrives in Australia, they do not get any Centrelink benefits. While their status is being processed, and if they meet certain criteria, they can be eligible for financial support from the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme, administered through the Red Cross. This amount is 89% of the basic Centrelink allowance. This means approximately $405.84 per fortnight or $260 less than a pensioner, once their status is assessed as genuine they get the same Centrelink benefits as anyone else (shock, horror). Last time I checked is about $456 a fortnight, hardly going to get rich on that. Of course, I would probably agree far too many bludgers on Centrelink that’s a different issue and further venture true blue ozzies would out number the “boat people” by about 100 (ooo) to 1.

    However lets be clear and honest here, if its the welfare payments that are concern I assume its only the boat people you are concerned about claiming them or are you also refering to those Europeans coming by plane? What about “standard” immigrant should we ban all immigrants unless they have a direct job sponsor before coming to Australia? How do you plan to fill the tens of thousands of med-level skill vacancies currently in Australia. I cannot see the average employer sponsoring a truck driver sight unseen for instance.

    you view most Australians as bigoted, red-kneck, Muslim hating xenophobes,

    Thank you for pointing out my views, incorrectly though I might add. I would certainly say the immigration debate has been hijacked by that particular noisy obnoxious group. Would it help if I linked to any newspaper article about Refugees and you could read the comments section for yourself? You will find a veritable carnival of ignorance, racism and the barely literate. I could of course, just grab a couple of samples and post here but that would be way too easy but happy to do so should you request. Perhaps I should post the platform of the so called Christian Party our resident xenophobe touts which calls for a complete ban on all Muslim immigration.

    Again I say that Abbott’s advice is perfectly reasonable and applies to most countries around the world.

    Fair go, are you seriously trying to say he was not playing the populist card for votes, you and I both know that is not true.

  5. avatar stevo says:

    Who would think the person who wrote this :

    To my mind those people invested more than the ten pound English who virtually brought the Australian Economy to it’s knees in the 70s and 80s

    Would also say this?:

    Australia has always been better off after every successive wave of refugees since federation and each group has had to deal with xenophobia, racism and misinformation …

    Clearly we are not dealing with an individual who believes in fair treatment for all people. It appears to be a case of fair (& special) treatment only for those who grasp the coveted title of “victim”.

    “You’ve just got to be incredibly careful to stay away from any bad situations in foreign countries,”

    Well I am sure the young man and his parents agree with that advice, as would most rational people. How you can distort this into being juvenile, counterproductive & xenophobic Oigal? This highlights just how hypersensitive and irrational you are over your ever increasing list of pet hates. You entertain a bleak and distorted view of those who do not agree with your every word.

  6. avatar stevo says:

    Oh thanks for your concern Oigal, but I assure you I get it just fine.

    To be fair, you are probably not feeling yourself after those sheep shagging Kiwis bet your xeonophobic- yob countrymen at rugby. Maybe if they allowed a few more Islanders, other immigrants, and indigenous people, on the Aussie team, they may have taken the cup. Seems to be working ok for NZ.

  7. avatar Oigal says:

    Mmmm… To think some people actually oppose contraception.

  8. avatar stevo says:

    You tend to portray anyone who has concerns about immigration as xenophobic and ignorant. This view does not fit the facts. Many decent people are concerned. They are neither ignorant nor racist. It may surprise you to learn that many immigrants are concerned. They do not want to see the society, they have chosen to leave, replicated. As you correctly point out, they have often taken drastic steps to get away from all that, leaving behind family and loved ones. When it comes to being racist; well I can assure you the biggest racists I know are immigrants themselves. They have their reasons, even if I find their views a bit confronting.

    No amount of ranting and name calling will change these simple truths. When you get all up tight and accuse people of being racist, who are not, you are the one who sounds ignorant and misinformed. Australians, & anyone else, have every right to express their views about the people coming to their country. If Australia was really that bad, the immigrants would simply not go there. Clearly that is not the case and clearly you are exaggerating the problem.

  9. avatar Oigal says:

    Nice rant no substance…Are we still talking about Refugees or Asylum seekers here or is immigration in general. Muslims or perhaps non English speakers? Asians perhaps or is the English?

    I have no issues with the facts its the nonsense that bothers me..Although perhaps its this kind of unfair treatment that bothers you…
    *IF YOU CROSS THE AUSTRALIAN BORDER, YOU GET:

    * A JOB,

    * AN INTERPRETER,

    * FREE LEGAL AID,
    
* A DRIVERS LICENCE,

    * A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER,
    * WELFARE,

    * CREDIT CARDS,

    * FREE EDUCATION,

    * FREE HEALTH CARE,

    * DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE

    * THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT

    The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-
    BENEFIT AUSTRALIAN AGED PENSIONER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA
    Weekly allowance $472.50
    Weekly Spouse allowance $472.50
    Additional weekly hardship allowance $145.00

    TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $56,680.00

  10. avatar berlian biru says:

    My ideal immigration system would be very racist indeed. It would be a point based system and extra points would be given for Chinese physicists and mathematicians, Filipina nurses, Scottish mining and oil engineers, Fijian rugby players and soldiers, Indian doctors (actually no, make that any Indian with a PhD), Israeli software designers, German and Japanese engineers, Canadian policemen, Irish musicians, French chefs, Danish and Dutch farmers. It would be sexist too as I would award double points if the applicants are female.

    What a fantastic society that would create, it would the most vibrant in the world and the most enjoyable.

    The corollary would also apply of course, negative points for Irish Chefs, Chinese policemen, French farmers, Scottish nurses etc.

    Wholly impractical I know but somewhat more logical than Oigal’s throw the doors open and let anyone in approach I think.

  11. avatar stevo says:

    BB, I rather like the idea of Chinese Policeman for recidivist thieves & violent offenders (real crimes) :)

  12. avatar Oigal says:

    Gee guys, a point system what a great idea…oh what we already have that. Of course, that is part of the confusion isn’t it. Some people like to clump it all in together (or perhaps the concept of difference is beyond them), immigrants, refugees asylum seekers all very different by the way.

    Wholly impractical I know but somewhat more logical than Oigal’s throw the doors open and let anyone in approach I think

    Tsk Tsk, Still telling me what I think how novel and how incorrect again. No one ever said that, what I did say or at least was how very silly, nasty and ignorant the debate on Refugees and Asylum seekers was when it adds up to less than 1% of the annual immigration intake (you know the one, where they give points for things like education, skills etc although one would hope draw the line at Scottish Miners not much call for that kind of mining in Australia).

    Fact is all boat arrival are assessed and not free for all, you may make the point the assessment is not rigorous enough but that is all together another argument like the endless appeals is more a case of law reform than immigration (see Stevie tis bit complex really)

  13. avatar stevo says:

    I am just wondering what you find a “bit complex” Oigal?

    The bit you seem to struggle with is that some folk may not agree with ALLyour points. That is not to say they are entirely oppossed either. You often overlook considerable common ground in these debates in your haste to attack dissenting views…….. is it the concept of free thought you find complex or the concept someone may not agree with you entirely?

  14. avatar berlian biru says:

    So what would you do with a group of young men claiming to be asylum seekers from Iraq but possibly actually from Pakistan, with no money, no educational qualifications, limited English and who almost certainly paid money to organized criminals to get them to Australia (a very serious offence in Australian law)?

    Let them in or send them back?

    If you let them in what do you say to the people who have applied legally for Australian citizenship, have taken English lessons and invested a hell of a lot of time and money in getting their prized Australian citizenship?

    Seems fairly obvious what you do with those men but then you’d think I was a “RACIST!!!”.

  15. avatar Oigal says:

    So what would you do with a group of young men claiming to be asylum seekers from Iraq but possibly actually from Pakistan, with no money, no educational qualifications, limited English and who almost certainly paid money to organized criminals to get them to Australia (a very serious offence in Australian law)?

    Pretty much what they do now, all Asylum seekers are assessed to see if their claims are legitimate or not at the moment it runs at 95%. You may of course consider the assessment is not rigorous enough but that is part of a process review not the principle. The second part of the statement makes no real sense as if they are legitimate Asylum seekers of course they are going to be dealing with “criminals” somewhere along the line. They can hardly front their own authorities and get a Visa and travel pass. As for being young, uneducated and limited English, you mean like the the tens of thousands of 457 Visa holders in Australia right now doing work no Australian wants to? Would it not be better to use those jobs to give a kick start to people in dire need and intend to make Australia their home?

    If you let them in what do you say to the people who have applied legally for Australian citizenship, have taken English lessons and invested a hell of a lot of time and money in getting their prized Australian citizenship?

    Ah let me guess, this is alluding to the evil queue jumpers? A major piece of shock jock nonsense this one. Firstly, since you mentioned Pakistan lets run with that you would be aware being well researched that the average wait for resettlement from a UNHCR camp in Pakistan is 15-21 years. That is not a queue but a life sentence is any wonder people would do anything to skip that. Secondly, Australia’s Aslyum/Refugee intake has ZERO/ZlICH/NUL effect on Australia’s regular immigration intake numbers, so the inference that for every refugee someone else loses a spot is simply wrong.

    Still its your story so lets play with that, I assume then every person who comes to Australia seeking help is to be turned away if they look like they are from Pakistan then or they are told to line up for 15 years and take ya chances…

  16. avatar Oigal says:

    Actually Stevie, I thought I had made it clear before. You are entirely welcome to think whatever you like. I just don’t take you seriously in any fashion however you do provide me with some laughs on slow days.

  17. avatar berlian biru says:

    You didn’t answer my question do you send them home or do you allow them to stay?
    Yes or no, simple answer.

  18. avatar Oigal says:

    Actually I did but you certainly didn’t but here I will make it clearer for you.
    If they are legitimate refugees then they stay, if they are not then they don’t.
    The fact they are young or from Pakistan (or any other place) has nothing to do with it, perhaps it does for you?

    Or how about would I prefer group of genuine Refugees from Pakistan or some visa carrying street trash EDL…a no brainer really

  19. avatar berlian biru says:

    Then we are in agreement, and as this is current Australian policy I’m not entirely sure what it is you are getting your knickers in a twist about.

    Genuine asylum seekers can stay. The queue jumpers and illegal economic migrants, the vast and overwhelming majority of people claiming asylum, can piss off back to wherever they came from.

    Glad we came to this agreement, if you could write a bit simpler and plainer in the future instead of going off in crazy-ass tangents (EDL, what’s that all about?) it would make your opinions so much more comprehensible and succinct.

  20. avatar Oigal says:

    Mainly in the bizarre logic you arrive at your conclusion. Firstly, 0ver 95% of all Asylum seekers so far have been assessed as genuine. So yea your 5% of the 1% of Australia’s total immigration intake can as you say Piss Off. Curious school of math were that makes an overwhelming majority? Secondly, the only queue that is exists is in your fevered imagination, as explained refugee or asylum seeker taken in by Australia makes ANY difference to the normal immigration intake…Hmmm obviously we have trouble with that..let’s try in another way we don’t subtract one in ..one out…Makes a good shrill down at the pub but is essentially nonsense with No basis in fact.

    Thirdly, they are not illegal, it is everyone’s right to seek Asylum it is enshrined in Australian law, again you may not like the fact but its still a fact.

    So as far as coherence is concerned if you want to actually talk about facts instead of misinformation and shrills then we may get some where. In the meantime for a couple of paragraphs that was pretty impressive for being so incorrect in facts.
    EDL, yup it’s about as stupid as the Pakistani reference unless you are inferring nothing wrong with the principle of taking in Refugees unless they are Muslim or Pakistani or something

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