Monday, August 16, 2010

What about the people on the boats?

I've been thinking about this post for the better part of 24 hours, and have decided I can't structure it nicely to make any sort of constructive, informed, coherent argument. So I'm just going to post it like the splatter pattern it represents: the latest LNP radio jingle about "stopping the boats" is giving me the shits!

I'm not really a politically minded person. Political discussion doesn't excite me, and I'm not informed enough to give constructive comment (I may have mentioned that just sentences ago). But we've got a national election this Saturday, and if the LNP can come up with "stopping the boats" as an election standpoint, then I reckon I could garble on about all sorts of crap.

So, this radio jingle I heard on the weekend goes on about how Labor couldn't "stop the boats". And that's about it. No informative policy on what LNP are going to do. But that's not what shat me the most. It was that I just find the whole "stop the boats" argument bloody insulting and inhumane.

My initial selfish take is that I'm a boat person. Difference is, I arrived by plane, and with my parents when I was 10 years old. They came to Australia, looking for a fresh start and new opportunities. My parents weren't even trying to escape an oppressive regime: they arrived from New Zealand.

My second take is that the whole jingle sounds like one of those racist viral emails trying to disguise itself as humor or insightful commentary. It's really disappointing, but not so surprising. The Ugly Australia is still alive and kicking, and the scary thing is, there might be enough ugly Australians out there that they may even win.

I'd rather hear about a constructive policy that deals with efficient processing of immigrants, and people looking for refugee status. I'd rather hear about plans for diplomacy that address the root causes of why people are leaving their home countries, looking for a better life. I'd rather hear about the life stories of these people, willing to risk their lives to a shoddy boat and the wild seas for a chance in a place where, by all accounts, they're not welcome.

LNP will be getting preference votes somewhere around Family First and the pro Christian lobby groups, from me.