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Let’s all jump off the band-boat

As Australia settles in to a new political term, we wait with baited breath to see whether our new
‘political paradigm’ will actually deliver any meaningful change under a minority Gillard government.
Despite the uncertainty engendered by such a close election result one thing has become painfully
obvious.

Australia we are racist, for all of our rhetoric surrounding our multi-cultural populous, we are at heart a
bigoted nation. Sure the latte sipping cosmopolitan sophisticates will challenge me on this point, citing
their membership of let’s-all-hold-hands-and-be-bestest-friends-for-ever.org as evidence to the
contrary. However saying all the right things at the right time, to your hemp wearing friend over a glass
of vino on Brunswick Street, is vastly different from embracing people of all colours and creeds. I have
seen these wannabe warriors for social justice spend three hours condemning the inequities abounding
in twenty-first century Australia, only to cross the street to avoid a gathering of indigenous Australians
as they leave the comfort of the all-white bohemian bar they had been using as a pulpit from which to
sermonise.

You don’t have to travel far from a capital city for this racism to drop all pretence and become an overt
display of intolerance. Visit any public bar, within half an hour from whichever capital city in which
you reside, and you will witness the ignorance of white Australia. Watch and listen as these key voters
rail against any perceived slight against the ‘Australian way of life’ perpetrated by whichever minority
happens to be flavour-of-the-month. The only difference between these folks and your closet urban
racist is that they do not fear moral persecution from their peers.

Do not forget that this is a nation that elected Pauline Hanson to the House of Representatives. Many
will argue that this was an aberration, more reflective of a red-neck back water than the views of
Australia as a whole.

How then do you explain the success of the fear campaign run by both major parties in the latest
election? If our elected representatives are to be believed ‘boat-people’ represent the greatest threat to
the ‘Australian way of life’ since kebab shops started replacing fish and chip shops. Tony Abbott
promised to “stop the boats”; Julia Gillard promised to regain control of our boarders, neither leader
wanting to appear soft on the issue. Why, because the majority of the Australian electorate are white
and racist. This is not an attitude confined to regional or marginal seats; pre-election polling showed
that ‘boat people’ were considered to be the most important issue nation wide.

The debate regarding ‘boat-people’ pissed me off to the extent I actually switched from ABC News 24,
to Kyle Sandilands on ‘The X Factor’, just to hear a more reasoned opinion. Forget the fact that under
10% of ‘illegal immigrants’ to this country actually arrive by boat, with the vast majority arriving by
air. Forget the fact that the only criminals involved are the people smugglers themselves. Forget the
fact that these people are doing nothing more than seeking to provide a better life for themselves and
their families by whatever means necessary, and definitely forget the fact that if you were in their shoes
you would do exactly the same thing. Why allow reason to cloud our judgement when we can reward
cheap politics by voting for leaders who do nothing more than play to Australia’s ingrained prejudices.

‘We can’t just let anyone in, besides they’re jumping the queue’. Nonsense, if the issue was that
refugees arriving illegally by boat were circumventing proper process and taking the places of
legitimate refugees, then our time and resources would be far better spent policing airports than
Australia’s Northern coastline. Over 90% of illegal immigrants enter the country via our international
airports.

‘We must be able to control who comes into the country so we can control the threat of terrorism’.
Horse shit, the vast majority of these refugees are themselves fleeing the hard line regimes that
propagate extremist mentalities. Many of these refugees are actually being persecuted for their
moderate or dissenting political and religious views. Besides which if a terrorist organisation were to
send people to Australia, surely it would be far safer, quicker and easier to send them by plane.

‘They don’t fit in with our way of life’. Whether Pakistani, Iraqi, Christian, Muslim, Labor or Liberal
every single person who resides in this country has to abide by our laws. Any individual is entitled to
dress, worship and live however they please as long as it is within the law. Muslims may not approve
of you drinking, but you are entitled to by law. You may not approve of Muslim’s wearing
headscarves, but they are well within their rights. To be a truly great multi-cultural nation we must be
accepting of our differences instead of demanding conformity.

The point is that none of these issues form the basis for these policies. Put simply the only reason that
‘boat-people’ are an issue is that we allow it to be an issue. Do not make the mistake of believing that
our politicians are striving to make our country safer, they are chasing votes using fear and bigotry as
their sales pitch and nothing more.

As ‘The Herd’ sang in 77% “wake up, this country needs a f**kin shake up”. Politics will only stop
playing to the lowest common denominator, when we the electorate punish them for it at the polls. If
you want to live in a vibrant, tolerant, multi-cultural Australia then look past the hate filled rhetoric,
understand the issue and open your hearts and mind to your fellow man.

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