Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Malaysian Solution not to be confused with the Final Solution.

I watched with interest last night the ABC TV coverage of the House of Representative debate on the bill proposed by Mr Rob Oakeshott in regard to asylum seekers/refugees/boat people being pushed through parliament in the wake of Monday's boat disaster off the Australian coast. The Bill allows asylum seekers to be sent to the 46 countries for offshore processing as part of the Bali process on people smuggling, and includes Malaysia. After many hours of debating, which included an impassioned plea by Joe Hockey that no child should be sent unaccompanied to Malaysia because of possible maltreatment, Tony Abbott's plea for an amendment to the bill to include 20,000 more refugees over three years and Bob Katter's endorsement of the *Malaysian solution* because it would be a deterrent to refugees who at the moment are drawn to Australian because compared to where they currently live, Australia is perceived as paradise. His rationale is that of instead of people smugglers enticing refugees with the possibility of being able to eventually live in Australia that instead they would be living in oppressive conditions and have long waits before being considered. After about six hours of debate the bill was amended to include a sunset clause, meaning that the government could proceed with their *Malaysian solution* for one year and then it would be reassessed. The bill, as amended was passed through the House of Representatives and will be debated in the Senate today.  The Malaysian solution is basically that Malaysia accepts 800 “boat people” from Australia, Australia takes 4,000 “genuine refugees” from Malaysia and resettles them into the community. If, as Katter suggests Australia has vasts amount of land and refugees could be housed there would this not form a kind of ghetto in which 'undesirables' would be kept separate from 'us' so as not to threaten our life and liberty?
The Malaysian Solution, should not to be confused with Germany's Final Solution (1939-42), which included geographical separation so that those considered diseased were separated from pure Aryans, and is a way for us to deal with people who arrive on our shores by boat rather than potential 'refugees' who come here by aircraft on tourist, student or business visas. It is generally agreed that those who come by boat are genuine refugees, so why are we so afraid of them and why is there so much hatred?
In 2009 this was the breakdown of the top seven countries where refugees to Australia emanated from: China (1,186), Afghanistan (940), Sri Lanka (553), Zimbabwe (344), Iran (303), Iraq (288) and Pakistan (256). Is it simply that 9/11 and the horrors associated with it are still firmly planted in the minds of many afraid of terrorism, afraid of anything that challenges christian ideology?
The program that followed the televised debate in the House of Reps was called Dumb, Drunk and Racist, which partially charted whether or not Australians lived up to this stereotype and unfortunately with the inclusion of footage from the Cronulla riots (Cronulla beach near Sydney)  in 2005 in which members of the *white* community inflicted violence and abuse on non white people encouraged by radio personalities such as Alan Jones who called the people responsible for the attack on the lifesavers 'Middle Eastern grubs' this stereotype appeared to ring true for it displayed the nastier side of Australians - a hatred of anyone not white, not a true (whatever that means) Australian. I remember when I was a child that it was Italians and Greeks that were under suspicion, and later 'we' thought that Asians were taking our jobs, now our fear and loathing is directed towards Muslims or others from the middle east.
Having said all that, I'll just add that I totally support Australia being humanitarian and mindful of the human rights of those who seek shelter in our country, however, I would like to see Australians and in particular the Australian government be more humanitarian to the people already living here. Approximately 105,000 are homeless and  about 622,000 are unemployed, living off a meager 'new start' allowance and or disability support pension or other pension, doled out by a government and a basically well off nation of people who really do not give a damn about anyone else.
See also other opinions of mine on this topic and this.


  1. A bit of humanitarian thinking and feeling would do well all around.

  2. Thanks Charles. Nice of you to comment on my various posts. Yes, Camellias are in bloom, so beautiful, pity the world is so ugly at the present time. Best, Julie