Smuggling... or People First?
Australian Government's spin-doctoring of reality to gain electoral advantage at
the expense of refugees.
on Eleanor Hall's interview of John Menadue on
The ABC's World Today
program (hyperlink as at
November 11 2001)
John Menadue how we should be stopping people smuggling.
Agreeing it needed policing he said "my concern is it's all out of
proportion. This is a quite trivial problem. The Government has a humanitarian
refugee program of 12,000 people. If more come in by boat than are processed
overseas, it makes no difference to the total number. It's just that we are
over-reacting for awful political advantage to the people coming by boat.
Government says that these people are jumping the queue. I've had experience in
immigration and refugees, and the feature of refugee flows is they are chaotic.
People come from everywhere. It is a lottery. There is no queue and I think the
Government is misleading us to think that there is a queue."
Menadue also said that it is misleading of the Prime Minister to concentrate on
the people smuggling problem. He said what we are really doing is
"punishing the victims of drought, war and persecution and rape......
if I was a desperate father in Afghanistan, I would scrape together what
money I could and get some or all of my family away from the Taliban. And if
necessary, I'd pay a people smuggler to do it.
that are desperate really don't have a choice. And comfortable people in
Australia shouldn't point the finger at people who have got to make hard and
heart-wrenching decisions about themselves and their children and their
can't help but agree with Menadue. People smuggling is a problem. It
rips people off. People drown, just as they did in the days of the Indo Chinese boat people. But Australia is showing a lack of
compassion. It is impossible to escape the feeling that these people, from
the Tampa onwards, have been a "re-electoral tool" for John Howard and