Stop The Boats, Once And For All

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Asylum seekers. They’re a problem, no doubt. In fact, there can be few nations in the history of nationhood that have faced as pressing a problem as Australia faces now with asylum seekers. How blissful it must be right now to live in Europe or America or China, free from the pressure of waves of boat people threatening your personal liberty and generally bumming you out. What a paradise the rest of the world is, compared to this refugee-infested hellhole we jokingly call "The Lucky Country".

But there’s no point moping. The problem is here, and we’ve got to deal with it before it gets any worse. After all, quite apart from the enormous pressures these invading hordes are placing on our social institutions and infrastructure by sucking up Centrelink benefits and stealing our women and using our public toilets, there is the human cost.

It is simply intolerable that people continue to risk their lives on rickety, unseaworthy boats, to get here. We need to find a way to make sure that they risk their lives somewhere else, well away from us.

And to do that we need to smash the people smugglers, those evil merchants of human misery, whose callous greed results in thousands of desperate folk chancing death on the high seas rather than staying safely on land, where there is virtually no danger of making white people feel bad about themselves.

Only by destroying the people smugglers and their malevolent trade can we ensure that the boating tragedies cease and asylum seekers die quietly and unobtrusively somewhere that won’t lay a big guilt trip on us. It’s lucky for them that we’re compassionate enough to want to do this.

Now, a lot of solutions have been proposed to the asylum seeker problem, from both sides of politics, ranging from the unkind, to the cruel, to the inhumane. There have been many useful ideas on how to deter boat journeys, like the Nauru Solution, the Malaysia Solution, the Nauru-Malaysia Solution, the unusually vicious Tasmania Solution, and the somewhat radical Nuclear Solution.

But none of these admirable efforts get to the heart of the issue, the real factor that is ensuring the boats continue to flock to our shores like great floating pigeons.

Put bluntly, Australia is just too attractive.

Look at us. Nice weather, peaceful democracy, strong economy, numerous opportunities to stroke koalas in a controlled environment. With our shining seas, sparkling cities, and excellent shopping precincts, is it any wonder that billions of asylum seekers see us as the ideal place to start new lives and/or commit welfare fraud?

It is perfectly obvious that by being such a lovely country, Australia is aiding and abetting the people smuggling trade and luring these people to their deaths, and this provocative peace and affluence cannot be allowed to go on. We should all be ashamed of how much we have to be proud of.

So, problem identified, let us move on to the solution. Obviously, we must make Australia a less attractive place, so that people stop wanting to come here and instead try to seek asylum in New Zealand or Mauritius.

The first thing we need to do is change our tourism campaigns. Refugees are notorious for their obsessive consumption of brochures and television commercials, and so we need to re-orient the way we market our country to the world. Stop concentrating on the golden beaches and laidback, sun-soaked lifestyle, and focus more on the dismal, depressing aspects of Australian life.

Commercials showing the bitter lives of our cities’ homeless, for example, would help create the impression that Australia is no place for a self-respecting asylum seeker. Our tourism gurus should also stay well away from pristine coastal areas and the outback. In future, all TV spots and print advertisements should be shot in suburban areas such as Dandenong, Mt Druitt and Macquarie Fields.

We also need to stop talking up our achievements on the world stage. Our incessant bleating about our world-class athletes, pioneering scientists and successful artists has the unfortunate effect of making people think Australia is a land of opportunity, where human endeavour flourishes. This needs to be speedily halted. From now on, when speaking of prominent Australians, we must concentrate on luminaries such as Christopher Skase, Corey Worthington, and Snowtown murderer John Bunting.

In fact, our notable history of criminals can play a valuable role in this new campaign to turn people off the land down under. By emphasising the exploits of our serial killers and mobsters, we can show the wider world just what a deadly and depraved place this country is. And by distributing the last three seasons of Underbelly globally, we will demonstrate that Australia is not only crime-ridden, but also terrible at producing quality drama.

But of course it’s not all about PR. We need to make the country itself less attractive. A good start would be to divert all sewage directly onto our most popular beaches. The reputation of Bondi will quickly take a hit when its shining sands are replaced with mounds of human waste.

Our monuments will have to come down too. The harbour bridge, obviously, will need to be dynamited, and the Opera House stripped of its sails. Uluru might be difficult to literally destroy, but we can achieve the same effect by painting it grey and building a network of McDonald’s and Pie Face franchises on it. Fortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is well on the way to ruination already, but we can speed up the process by trebling the output of our northern coal terminals and seaside aluminium smelters.

And of course there’s the lifestyle. We can make sure this is a genuinely unpleasant place to live by removing all restrictions on the sale of alcohol and firearms, including to minors, and halving our police forces. Removing all public funding for health and education will be the icing on the public disorder cake. And obviously, garbage bins will be illegal.

With these and other carefully calibrated policies (David Koch will be involved), we can ensure that Australia quickly becomes such a vile, unpleasant place that nobody in their right mind will ever want to come here. No more asylum seekers cluttering up our asylum seeker detention centres. No more dangerous boats tugging at our heartstrings. No more bickering over which plan to send desperate people away is the more compassionate.

And with the boat arrivals stemmed, we can finally sit back and relax in the paradise we have made for ourselves.

Just imagine: a country that offers nothing to anyone. A land with no appealing characteristics. A nation that inspires only a desire to leave, not a desire to arrive. Now that’s a dream we can all get on board with.

New Matilda

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.

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