Thursday, 10 June 2010


Over at the Asylum Seeker Resource CentreKon Karapanagiotidis and his wonderful folk are concerned about the video below.  Perhaps you might like to beFriend ASRC at their Facebook site.  

The video does show genuine concerns, traumatising concerns - but does the Rudd Government  really think a 30 sec video explains the reality - the reality of violence and dislocation and striving for personal and social peace that drives refugees - not illegals but genuine refugees - into the arms of the people smugglers.

It reminds me of the time a few years back when Philip Ruddock was the Minister for Immigration and a government of a different brand and colour was having difficulty with "illegals".  So the intrepid Ruddock set off to tell the people of Fujian Province in China to stay at home and not take those dangerous trips with the agents of organised crime.  Mmmm...

I just happened to be reading Eric Rolls' marvellous book, Sojourners.  If only Ruddock had bothered to read Sojourners he might have saved the taxpayers some money.  

Rolls book is a gem.  This is not the weighty tome of an academic historian. Rolls brings to life the times and politics of both Australia and China over two hundred years, describing the life and times and governance of these two nations.  Australia has been  inextricably entwined from the earliest years of white settlement with China and the young men of Fujian province have been leaving home and searching abroad for better opportunities for even longer than that.  

Ruddock's journey was like putting a 'Keep Off The Grass' sign in public parkland.  It is very difficult to legislate for or against human movement.

Perhaps there is something the government can yet do to eliminate organised crime and facilitate refugees in their quest for safety and security.  But the Rudd Government is on notice.  Most Australians are not prepared to tolerate once again what was tolerated (well deaf ears were turned to ever more strident expressions of need) in the years of Howard and Ruddock.  

We see in amazement - and I hope not helplessness - policy under the Rudd Government heading that way.  Again isolation of the Australian desert has become a feature of refugee policy as people are forced into housing in Leonora.  All of a sudden it seems, everything old is new a video.

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