Hi, my name’s Hobbes, and I’m a recovering social justice warrior.
Yes yes, I admit it. I used to be a big leftie. When I was growing up, John Howard and George Bush were monsters. Conservatives were racist pricks, and evil corporations were destroying the world’s environment. I could show you pictures of me at a slutwalk as a teenager.
They say a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. My disillusionment with the world, however, perhaps began with the growing disaster that was Australia’s refugee policy post-2007.
The Inmates Take Over The Asylum
Under the conservative Howard government (1996-2007) asylum seekers arriving by boat were compulsorily locked up in offshore camps on islands such as Nauru in what was known as the “Pacific Solution.”
For years the Labor Party kept hammering the Liberals on the issue – “Oh, won’t somebody please think of the children!” By the time the Rudd–Gillard government came to power in 2007, public opinion was firmly against the policy.
To me, it seemed simple. What inhumanity could compel us to indefinitely lock up thousands of innocent people whose only crime was fleeing persecution to seek a better life? One could see it as the ultimate test of compassion against prejudice, of emotional thinking against cool reason.
Looking back, I can only express embarrassment at how stupid we were, and how obvious the resulting disaster was.
Opening up our borders had two main effects. Firstly, the number of boat people – which had all but stopped for the last six years of the Howard government, skyrocketed to record levels. Fifty thousand entered the country in the next six years.
Secondly, and most tragically, deaths at sea resumed, and quickly grew worse than ever.
This had happened earlier on in the Howard government, when leftist politicians and journalists had screamed daily about the inhumanity of policing our borders. Now that it was happening under a Labor government however, they were suspiciously silent.
In Australia, as in America, the left likes to think they have a monopoly over the media, but Australia’s most widely read columnist is actually Herald Sun writer Andrew Bolt. As early as 2010, he was giving blunt descriptions of the tragedy –
WHERE are they now, those hypocrites who once noisily wept over John Howard’s “cruelty” to boat people?
In January last year, at least nine people drowned off the Indonesian island of Rote as they tried to sail to Ashmore Reef. Indonesian police said the dead included a nine-year-old boy.
In April that year, another nine died, this time in the South China Sea. The lone survivor was 14-year-old Aqeel Qirkeel, who’d tried to save his mother by tying her to him with his shirt.
Also that month, five Afghans died when they blew up their boat at Ashmore Reef to stop our navy from turning them back.
In May, 19 more died when an Indonesian boat taking them to Australia sank off Halang Island.
On October 2, a ship carrying 100 asylum seekers left an Indonesian port, bound for Australia, and has not been seen since.
Last November, 12 Sri Lankans drowned off Cocos Island when their boat sank.
Last month, another five died off the Cocos Islands when their boat broke down, also en route to Australia.
Thirty bodies were recovered from the water, twenty others were missing. A year later, another boat capsized off East Java, more than 200 drowned.
By 2012, almost one boat was sinking or going missing a month, with more than 400 believed dead. In the last six months of the Labor government, plus the immediate aftermath, seven more boats sunk.
On this goes, page after page – men, women and children, drowned at sea on rickety, barely seaworthy boats. Of course, Rudd and Gillard weren’t personally responsible for each sinking, but they were warned, repeatedly, of what would happen. They chose politics over human life, in a manner far more soulless than the conservative politicians they love to laud their moral credentials over.
For years, we tried to rationalize these deaths. There were more conflicts overseas, civil wars in Sri Lanka and Syria – maybe that was driving the rise? Maybe it was just the fault of evil people smugglers, who Labor so demonized? How could we return to the Pacific Solution, against which we had staked all moral capital?
The House Comes Crashing Down
It took five years, but the electorate eventually woke up to this slow motion catastrophe, booting the Labor government out of office in 2013. Yet the grand total, over six years of “compassion” was at least 1,200 people, drowned or smashed up against one reef or another. In the last six years of the Howard government, this figure was zero. It was entirely preventable.
The new Abbott government, under the wanky-sounding but effective “Operation Sovereign Borders” re-implented the strategies of the Howard government. Three hundred boats carrying over 20,000 people had arrived in 2013. In 2014, the same figure was just one boat. Deaths at sea again went to zero, with total deaths in custody at five.
Not only did 1,200 die from the ending of the Pacific Solution, but 50,000 other people – those trapped in more dire need in refugee camps overseas, and perhaps more willing to integrate, were skipped over.
Australia maintains a set refugee intake, regardless of the source. Instead of hand-picking refugees overseas, assessing those who needed help the most and would assimilate into our society best, then safely flying them here for resettlement, we lured tens of thousands to jump the queue and pay people smugglers to transport them here on rickety boats.
The cost of processing them all also blew out into the billions of dollars. It was a double, triple, quadruple-whammy of stupidity, driven entirely by “feelings” rather than reason. For years I refused to believe it, but with a growing horror of realization, the true nature of the Labor Party now sits there, staring us in the face.
These people don’t give a shit about refugees.
They don’t give a shit about helping people, or making the world a better place.
They are interested in their own power, and that alone. They are perfectly happy to use the hysterical, hamster-brained left in Australia to further their own agenda. They are fully aware that what they are doing is disastrous, but they just don’t care.
But the worst part of this entire fiasco?
Return Of The Hamster?
To their credit, since the last election Labor has quietly backpeddled on asylum seekers, admitting that they screwed up royally and will probably keep the current policies when they return to government.
But amazingly, there are still people calling for an end to offshore detention. At 10-15% of the vote, the Greens are Australia’s third largest party. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young – Australia’s answer to Wendy Davis, recently called the Abbott government “morally bankrupt” and its life-saving policies a “politically motivated cruelty campaign.”
Yes—because preventing the deaths of hundreds more people at sea rather than giving in to your hurt feelings is moral bankruptcy.
We all know political tides shift, that parties are elected in cycles. Give it another five or ten years, they’ll be another Labor government in power, perhaps once more piggybacking on the Greens.
We can only hope by then the current generation of totally soulless politicians has moved on, and that they don’t get another opportunity to open up our borders and play with human life in the name of “compassion.”
Never again, Australia.
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