Peter Smith

Dereliction of duty

The tragedy which took the lives of asylum seekers off Christmas Island has brought out the handwringing do-gooders. To them, the answer is to make it far easier for refugees to enter Australia. They want us to open our doors more widely. The thing to realise about these people is that they are a menace; they can’t be safely ignored. They have absolutely no compassion for the broader Australian community and no regard for our way of life. All of their compassion is spent on refugees. They are oblivious to the problems that refugees have created in Europe. And, as substantial numbers of refugees are Muslims, they pay no heed to the efforts of some Western European governments to reassert European values threatened by growing Muslim populations.

I have two spare bedrooms. I know there are homeless people in Australia yet I offer them no shelter. I have never been criticised by those around me for this or by refugee advocates. Apparently it is my self-interested right to decide who I invite to live in my home. I suggest that Australia as a whole has the same right. The problem is who is going to assert it. I clicked on to The Drum. It asked: should Australia increase its humanitarian refugee intake? Of the 2102 respondents at the time, 59 per cent said yes, 41 per cent said no. I went to Sky News. It asked: should the government adopt a harder line on asylum seekers? There was no information on numbers, but 90 per cent said yes and only 10 per cent said no. There is clearly a difference of opinion between ABC and Sky News interlocutors, even if the questions were not quite the same. No surprise there.

Unfortunately, the consequences of translating opinion into action on this matter are not academic. A lesson might be taken from Roy Jenkins’ all too late recantation. Mr Jenkins was Home Secretary in the Wilson Labour Government in the mid sixties. He launched an era of cultural diversity in Britain. According to Kenan Malik – From Fatwa to Jihad – after the public burning of The Satanic Verses, Jenkins mused that “in retrospect we might have been more cautious about allowing the creation in the 1950s of substantial Muslim communities here”. Once it is done it is done.

Immigration of any kind into Australia should be solely based on Australia’s self interest. By definition, if it isn’t based solely on Australia’s self interest we face the prospect of a poorer Australia in the future. What possible right have we to bequeath that to our children and grandchildren?

One test among a number that obviously should be applied is whether it is safe to assume that intending migrants have a deep and genuine respect for our Judaeo-Christian heritage and our democracy with its rule of law and modern values of equality and tolerance regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. This would by no means rule out taking refugees; provided they passed the tests and it could be shown that they would contribute as much as would other categories of migrants.

According to the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR, at the end of 2009 there were 15 million refugees in the world and another 28 million internally displaced people. This is a tragedy which will be solved only when the populations of those countries continually producing such misery adopt our values. We should help them do that as best we can. What we shouldn’t do is to increase our refugee intake without regard to our own self-interest.  

Our first and prime duty is to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbours, to our fellow citizens, and to our descendants. Part of that duty is to assess carefully who can settle in Australia. Opening doors widely to refugees is simply a dereliction of duty. The overwhelming presumption and practise should be that if you turn up uninvited you will not be given settlement rights. You would be returned to your point of origin or to a United Nations refugee camp and put at the bottom of the queue. Once that became known attempts at illegal entry would largely stop. This would have the added benefit of putting people smugglers out of work.

However, let’s not pretend that people smugglers are the problem. They are just a symptom. Nor are asylum seekers to blame. They simply want a better life and are more able than their fellow ‘refugees’ (real or economic) to pay the fare.  The real problem lies with those among us who have neither the will nor inclination to protect our borders and our hard won way of life.

They seem to live in a parallel universe; where we have an infinite economic capacity to absorb people without regard to their capacity to fend for themselves once they are here; where no-one wants Israel annihilated; where there are no religious police, no honour killings; where women aren’t forced to wear ‘bee-keeper suits’ or stoned for being adulterous, where freedom of expression is not exorcised by intimidation. They believe that if only we are nice, everybody will live together in happy prosperous harmony for evermore. It is pathetic. I am not sure what can be done about it. Maybe the game is on the way to being lost; as it has already been in Europe, if Mark Steyn America Alone is anywhere close to being right.

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