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January 13th 2014 print

Peter Smith

Stop The Boats. Infuriate The ABC

There is legitimate room for debate about the extent and character of controlled immigration. People and politicians can have different views. But there should be no argument about stopping “illegal” immigration

boat leakyBack in Australia and still without Foxtel I am watching a lot of ABC news. Beside themselves with thinly disguised seething indignation best describes, I think, the comrades’ coverage of Tony Abbott’s turn-back-the-boats policy. Cruelly, too, Sarah Hanson-Young must be losing sleep, such is the time she has to spend in front of ABC cameras exposing Mr Abbott’s chicanery and temerity. How dare he try to protect Australia’s borders?

Ms Hanson-Young overflows with compassion for those less economically fortunate than us wherever they are in the world. Patriotism plays second fiddle, if any fiddle at all, to this global cause. It seems that patriotism — paying high regard to the interests of Australia and Australians — is no longer de rigueur.

Apparently we have to be borderless and take everybody in sight on a rickety boat without question, including those spotted just off the Indonesian coast. And then we must provide them with creature comforts from our bottomless pit of ill-gotten Western wealth. With views like that is it any wonder she’s an ABC favourite?

The Government’s silence on operational matters is also driving the ABC to distraction, as it is the Labor Opposition.

The ABC appears to have set up a complaints mail box for any disaffected asylum seeker to reveal their take on what is going on. So much for secrets, says the ABC, as they quote their impeccable sources. At the same time, as many Indonesians politicians as it is possible to contact are searched out and quoted decrying Abbott’s policy and making veiled diplomatic threats. And where is the national interest reflected in all of this? Phooey to that outdated idea!

Anthony Albanese has accused the Government of exhibiting Stalin-like tendencies. Somehow I doubt that Uncle Joe would have had the problem to deal with. There is a good chance that he might not have been quite as scrupulous in dealing with asylum seekers as the Abbott government. Of course, in need of cheap labour, he might have sent out welcome boats but then, just possibly, towed them to the sanctuary of the Siberian Gulags. This might have deterred the dispossessed from setting out in the first place. We can only guess. Would it also have outraged the Stalin apologists? Who knows? Well you never know some Greens might have some personal insight into that.

Of course, the subtext of Mr Albanese’s and Bill Shorten’s objections is not that of the kumbaya Greens. They are not without patriotism; they are mortally afraid that Abbott will succeed where they miserably failed. Politically that would be disastrous for them and let’s face it, short of situations of immediate national peril; partisan politics trumps patriotism to the hard heads of the left.

Political representatives of western democracies have spent recent decades betraying their own people and their exceptional cultural heritages by allowing uncontrolled mass immigration. They have instituted and presided over porous borders, the effects of which may well bring social dissention and cultural regression, and perhaps economic malaise, in future years.

There is some legitimate room for debate about the extent and character of controlled immigration. People and politicians can have different views. But there should be no argument about stopping “illegal” immigration. The only question is how best to do it.

Trying to deter new arrivals by incarcerating them in camps for years without end is likely to be both ineffective and create enormous ongoing political, legal, administrative and moral problems. The answer is to have strong and, so far as possible, impregnable borders to stop the univited coming in the first place.

You can’t have strong/impregnable borders by deferring to nations from which those intending to arrive outside of due process are regularly setting sail without effective impediment. That is just plain silly and an abdication of national sovereignty. Patriotic Australians on both sides of the main political divide (most of us surely) need to support Abbott’s policy of turning back boats through thick and thin — whatever Indonesia thinks; whatever the UN thinks; whatever do-gooders think; whatever the ABC and their chattering friends think

And, most particularly, whatever the Greens think.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics