A Surprisingly Simple Solution To Ending Our Hypocrisy On The ‘Refugee Problem’

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Australia can’t continue to claim to be a humanitarian nation, while its racist asylum seeker policies remain in place. Sam Varghese has a solution.

There is a simple solution to the continuing problem that Australia faces with regard to refugees. It is never publicised because of the level of hypocrisy that exists within the political class but it needs to be canvassed openly.

This solution would avoid the humiliation and constant name-calling that goes on when people whom Australia has invited to its shores – yes, that is what signing the UN Convention on Refugees is all about – arrive and try to seek asylum.

It would avoid Australia having to dole out huge sums to various nations, in a bid to shift the problem of processing these refugees onto someone else (one refugee was sent to Cambodia and the government was willing to spend $55 million to get rid of him − what a waste of resources at a time when social welfare is proposed to be cut for many).

Australia just needs to leave the UN Convention on Refugees. The country’s official signature was affixed in 1954; now it can simply be removed through a bipartisan political resolution. There will be no obligation, then, to take in refugees.

Politicians would be greatly relieved; we would then never witness, as we just have, the spectacle of a former prime minister travelling all the way to London and perverting the doctrine of Christianity in order to justify cruelty towards people who are fleeing war and persecution.

There would be no need for rednecks and their ilk to spend their time on online forums, spouting hate and bile against those who try to do what the UN Convention has long told them to. They can get on with their lives. Cronulla and Bendigo would be things of the past.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, “Australia has international obligations to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Australia, regardless of how or where they arrive and whether they arrive with or without a visa.”

But this is rarely, if ever, observed; how many times have we heard boatpeople being referred to as illegals, when they are not? How many lies are told about terrified souls who cross the oceans in the hope of receiving some mercy from this great country which has supposedly promised to help?

The entire charade could be done away with a bipartisan political decision to take migration policy back into Australia’s hands.

Malcolm Turnbull, holding court in parliament.
Malcolm Turnbull, holding court in parliament.

Australia would then be free to bring in the ‘right’ kind of migrant; after all, the country needs to have an increasing population, else the business lobbies would not be happy. Neither would the housing industry. No politician wants to tread on those toes.

But the country must also get rid of this burden of trying to project itself as a humane and caring nation; actions always speak louder than words and if the authorities have descended to the level where they cannot make arrangements for a woman who was raped to safely have an abortion, then a certain point has been crossed.

For those who think this is a drastic step, be assured it is not. It is just the expression of a policy that a majority has longed for, one where the hypocrisy is totally cut out.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese is a journalist of Indian origin who has been resident in Australia for the last 18 years. Prior to migrating, he worked for English newspapers in India and the Middle East. Currently, he works for The Age as a desk editor. He also writes about free and open source software for the Australian technology website iTWire

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