Submission to the 2015 National Consultation on Citizenship
The following was originally sent as a letter to the federal minister for immigration, Peter Dutton. Later I was informed the correspondence was treated as part of the National Consultation on citizenship. See also the article "Rich vs poor = weak vs strong" on this site.
22 June 2015
As a member of the public I have followed many debates, official statements, and remarks in the general media about immigration and refugees. Given my general experience in matters of society and culture (please see my CV at http://www.otoom.net/cv.htm) I feel justified in asserting some degree of knowledge.
When it comes to immigration issues it seems there are certain aspects which never get mentioned. In no particular order:
Australia has opened its doors after WWII and therefore we should do the same now.
In the aftermath of WWII the vast majority of immigrants came from Europe. Today, a substantial source of migration comes from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Without going into a detailed description of the respective demographics, all someone has to do is to visit a nation such as France, Italy, Germany, or South Korea or Japan for that matter, as well as Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Bangladesh to see the difference as far as societal standards are concerned. For centuries the particular demographics have shaped their societies according to their values and their know-how. Why would their inherent disposition change all of a sudden once they breathe Australian air? How would the average suburbanite fare in an environment where there is hardly any law, the streets are dirt full of potholes, there are no toilets and the district is ruled by whoever proved themselves as the strongest bully? Perhaps we should have tours into those areas so our naïve citizens can see for themselves. I wonder how many would survive for a single month under those conditions.
Australia keeps asylum seekers in camps when they should be allowed to live in the community.
There are camps in the EU but there are also many metropolitan areas where hundreds of refugees have simply stayed as squatters. Would an Australian citizen agree to have such a squatter camp literally on their doorstep, across the street? Would they like to have the associated traffic, noise, lack of sanitary standards and infighting happening under their window, or find one day someone has started an open cooking fire inside their apartment compound? In some areas the new arrivals have become pickpockets who make life difficult for the residents. What if council puts up warning signs in Melbourne's South Bank, or around Sydney's Circular Quay, or Brisbane's Queen Street Mall, would that be an acceptable answer to the problem? Such signs have been erected in Europe.
We have an obligation to admit asylum seekers even if they have used people smugglers to get here.
The question about the legality or otherwise of such arrivals amidst the plethora of laws in the countries concerned is not for me to answer. However, the fact that intending emigrants have the money to pay such criminals is a factor to be considered, as well as the emigrants' obvious intent to avail themselves of criminal networks to achieve their aim. Will this kind of mindset disappear as soon as they have settled here? If a mother decides to take her children with her, what does that say about the mother's psychology?
Physical and sexual assault in refugee camps.
If instances of physical and sexual assault occur in refugee camps it is supposed to be the Australian government's fault - why? If a certain type of demographic cannot live together in a confined space without resorting to such instances, what does that say about those demographics and why should they be allowed to enter the wider community where there is even less supervision?
Australia refuses to allow asylum seekers coming by boat (therefore using people smugglers) but instead allocates
its quotas to those in refugee camps who can least afford to use any other means.
Whatever can be said about people smugglers and the people who use them (see above), at the very least those asylum seekers have managed to use their initiative and are street-smart enough to have the money and get on the boats, and all under challenging conditions. On the other hand, those who linger in refugee camps evidently could not. Why then prefer this demographic over a more successful one?
The ongoing debate about removing citizenship from terrorists.
While there is the separate context of national security it nevertheless overlaps with immigration. Is it possible under the existing law to renounce one's citizenship? If not, would it not be simpler to change the law accordingly rather than evoke a maze of other statutes, adding the proviso that joining terrorists anywhere would be akin to renouncing one's citizenship - and therefore make the person non-Australian? Then the initiative would rest with the individual and not the government.
All of the above is a generalisation.
So it is, although based on available evidence. If there are therefore exceptions, does the government have the appropriate procedures in place to differentiate between those who fall under these generalisations and those who do not, and hence be fair towards all concerned?
Having observed the various debates it seems that in many cases euphemisms are used in order to disregard the proverbial elephant in the room. Should the associated pressures increase, and so far they are increasing, the need for calling a spade a spade will arrive in due course.