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State sponsored persecution

By Bruce Haigh - posted Thursday, 12 May 2011


Out of all the various groups of asylum seekers in Australia, why are asylum seekers arriving by boat being persecuted by the Australian government?

Why is the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being so vindictive to desperate people arriving by boat on our shores? Why does she allow the erratic Tony Abbott and his attack dog, Scott Morrison, to set the boat arrival agenda? They don't make an issue of refugees arriving by aircraft, however those arriving by boat receive their racist bile in bucket loads.

The once proud Labor Party has succumbed to their venom. This is the party which once championed human rights, took a stand against Apartheid, sponsored support for refugees in the 1980's and early 90's and saw the leaders Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd express compassion for the dignity of Aboriginals.

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Is this demonization of the most defenceless in our state, in our care, being undertaken to win the hearts and minds of fellow Australians? If so, God help the lot of us. Have we fallen so low that to please our compatriots we must bully and beat the supplicants that come begging for our mercy and help?

Church leaders are absent on this issue. Where is their defence of the defenceless?

Shame on the leaders of our major religious organisations for wallowing in the same secular cesspit as our morally bereft representatives.

Why is the quality of our mercy so strained? What are our law makers so afraid of?

Asylum seekers arriving by boat feed into our fear of invasion from the north. This fear has been present in the national psyche since the 1850's gold rush. Why haven't we been able to shake it off? It has driven us to seek the military protection of first Britain and then America. Why didn't it push us toward self-reliance? Why haven't we matured?

"Australians all let us rejoice,

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For we are young and free..." puerile and selfish, with diminished moral courage.

"We've golden soil and wealth for toil..."

All the many refugees that I know, work; they want to work. Ali, a friend and former refugee, went to Sydney. I asked him what he was doing, he said toiling. I said, yes but what are you actually doing? He said, toiling mate, you know putting toils on walls.

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About the Author

Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat who served in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1972-73 and 1986-88, and in South Africa from 1976-1979

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