Tony Abbott has introduced an overseas aid policy that will allow Indonesian fisherman to update their battered and leaking boats. The scheme is simple. The Australian Navy waits on the edge of our territorial waters with a supply of new boats. All the Indonesian fishermen have to do to collect their new boat is to sail to where the boats are waiting and the Navy exchanges new for old.
When the exchange has been completed there is a short ceremony that finishes with a ten gun military salute using live ammunition and the Indonesian fishermen sail back to Indonesia as fast as they can.
The Indonesian Government is reported to be so surprised by the generosity of the Australian government that it has been struck silent, but inside sources say a letter of thanks is being formulated as I write. A first draft became water damaged whilst being smuggled out by a fishermen coming to collect his new boat. So far the bits that can be translated read.
“mr f Abbo.. Wh…th.. f.c. do y….. pig.y e..d f.cked wit… .orr.ble N..is Gov…ment t..nk Th.y are pl..ing at. If w. cat.. t..t wa.cker S.ott Mor…on w. .ill string h.. up .. … balls .. if .. cat.. Ju.ia .ishop s.e .ill be plant.. in . rain fo..est .ith a ba.boo ..ick up h.r arse.
The remainder is undecipherable but we understand the Indonesian Government is highly animated and are still performing an ancient ritual dance not seen since the Japanese made a surprise visit from the north.
In a surprising act of modesty the Australian Government has not chosen to publicise this generous and noble policy.
Does anyone know how many refugees have arrived by boat since September? Does anyone know their names? Does anyone know where they are? No. They no longer exist in any traceable form. They have disappeared. Australia is now a black hole where refugees can disappear without trace.
What surprises me is how easily Australians have accepted that refugees disappear without trace and have accepted that we have a government that will decide what it will and will not tell us without being held to account. Australians have the cricket, the tennis, BBQs at the weekend and what we don’t know will not harm us. Wrong. If we do not act when people disappear who will act when we disappear. So these are only a few refugees fleeing some war or repression a long way off. Nothing to do with us; who cares if they rot forever in some concentration camp in some distant land?
This is how it begins. History tells us this how it always begins. First a small minority is vilified. Then they begin disappearing. Then the circle of vilification gets bigger and the net gets wider and more people disappear.
Many of the refugees reaching our shores are minorities who belong to groups who ‘disappear’ in the countries they are fleeing. They arrive in Australian waters and the Australian Navy rounds them up and they disappear more completely than if they stayed at home. Does it not worry Australians the we are holding refugees incognito without any records that can be traced by legal representatives and for all we no have no record anywhere of them arriving? How many are there? Who are they? Were are they from? Are they being held in indefinite detention with access to any representation?
Mr Morrison had better remember that being a refugee is unfortunate but not illegal. It is the right of refugees to seek help and shelter wherever and whenever they can find it. The policy of making the result of refugees seeking help from Australia worse than the evil they are fleeing is the most abhorrent that could be invented. Mr Morrison, when you are held to account please don’t say you were just following orders.
There are several characteristics of a Fascist government. Two of them are using military forces to control civilians. Another is censorship. The using of the Navy to tow boats carrying refugees back to the edges of Indonesian territorial waters and then censoring any news of the event should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Australia now has a Fascist Government. Why are so many Australian’s too polite to say so?
If we are to have democracy we must be prepared to speak out against totalitarian governments. I am not anti-Liberal, but Abbott does not lead a Liberal government; he leads a Fascist government.
If a government is elected democratically there is no complaint whoever wins the election, but when a government is elected on false propaganda generated by a biased monopoly media it is not democracy. It is time for all Australians who believe in democracy, whether Labour, Liberal, Green or free thinking in their political leanings to speak out and say ‘no’ to Fascism in Australia.
The Murdoch/Abbott government will fall. Dictatorships always do in the end. The question is ‘How much damage will this government do before it goes down in flames?’ Can we please try to make the Murdoch/Abbott fall as soon and as complete as possible?
I doubt it and I certainly hope not, but it is not surprising that such stories are spreading rapidly around the world.
Refugees often come from countries where the military control the civilian population. They come from countries where the government is silent, where people have no idea what happened to their neighbours who are no longer there. This is what refugees are fleeing from.
Refugees coming by boat to Australia are being met on the high seas by Australian Naval vessels. Those that do make it to Australia disappear. We are told that they are set to PNG or other destinations and they probably are. I say probably are because we do not know. We do not know who has arrived, under what circumstances they arrived or where they have gone. We do not even know if they are allowed to contact their families to say they are alive. They leave Indonesia and disappear into a black hole.
This sounds very much like the conditions the refugees are fleeing in the first place. Is it any wonder that when a refugee boat sinks and the Navy arrives too late to save them the immediate reaction is that we let them drown?
Our Navy letting refugees drown does not have to be true. It only has to be that the silence of the Abbott government makes it inevitable that such stories would become true in the minds of many. As an Australian I have this little niggle that it could be true. Image you are in Afghanistan or Iran. How much stronger would the likelihood of the stories being true be? Abbott has been Prime Minister for 67 days and already Australia has been trashed in the eyes of the world.
Whatever the world may have said about our refugee policy under the Gillard government never accused of letting refugees to die at sea. Nor was the Gillard government ever accused of censorship. How low have we sunk since Abbott won the election? How much lower can we go in three years? Can Australia afford another three years of Abbott? How long will it take to repair the damage when Abbott has gone?
The use of the military to combat refugees must cease. Censorship must cease. There are certain minimum standards that must exist if Australia is to retain any semblance of being a democracy. In 67 days we have sunk considerably below those minimums.