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Anti-Refugee Politics

February 16, 2011

The Liberal Party abolished the White Australia Policy under PM Harold Holt. Proud achievement. It can claim lineage to Federation-era progressive, nation-building politics linked to the illustrious names Deakin and Reid. It has the internationalism of Percy Spender, Robert Menzies and Malcolm Fraser as part of its make-up.

And it has come to this ?

Making politics out of funding funerals for families bereaved by an overladen boat crashing on rocks ? Is this business for a serious group of national politicians ? Like Senator Judith Troth shouldn’t Tony Abbott be saying such tactics are beneath the dignity of the Liberal Party of Australia ?

I can’t believe either that sections of the party – a majority in fact – want to cut an an aid program that funds secular schools for Indonesians. That is, as alternatives to madrasas run by Islamists. This tested even Alexander Downer, according to reports.

A serious conservative-liberal party in the progress of becoming populist and xenophobic, rallying on an anti-refugee platform. Sad day.

  1. Jim H permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:50 am

    Bob, I agree with everything you’ve said here, but I have to pick you up on one small but important detail.

    Madrassa is simply the Arabic word for school (just as ‘Allah’ is the Arabic word for God, used by both Christian and Muslim Arabs).

    Australia is also funding secular madrassas (or, more correctly in Indonesian secular ‘sekolah’).



  2. Peter Pando permalink
    February 16, 2011 6:33 pm

    Dear Bob,

    A few months ago, the Liberal leader said that the sinking and drowning was “just a terrible, terrible tragedy” ( 19 December 2010). The difference between that and the remark aired last week is considerable. The remarks are certainly not interchangeable, but neither of them is insensitive.

    According to Maslow, food and shelter are more basic needs than education. Add the domestic versus foreign interests involved, and considering the wealth of Indonesia’s elite, and perhaps they can carry their own for a short time while we carry ours.


  3. Steven Heath permalink
    February 17, 2011 11:07 am

    Here here, is all I could possibly add to these ‘events’

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