Friday, October 16, 2009

Asylum seekers in Australia - Liberals label asylum seekers 'scum', accuse PM of responsibility for their deaths - the bar gets set very low

Here we go again. The fear and smear campaign is picking up as the Coalition sniffs the possibility of a re-run of a 'border security' wedge.

Turnbull has shown his true colours in jumping on the bandwagon as soon as a sniff of political advantage came on the horizon. Andrews, Stone, Scullion, Downer et al are lining up to accuse the govt of going soft on border security and laying out the welcome mat for people smugglers. Federal Nationals Leader Warren Truss has blamed the Government for the deaths of asylum seekers at sea who are trying to reach Australia. This tacky strategy has been seen before and it makes my stomach churn.

A Northern Territory politician has been forced to explain a parliamentary gaffe in which he referred to asylum seekers as "scum". This has echoes of Senator Scullion's recent comments that boat people are a bio-security threat to Australia. Someone in my partner's family once commented that she thought it would be best if boat people drowned. Of course, she is a an avid Coalition supporter.

Whilst reasoned commentators are disputing the rationale for the Coalition posture, the media are all over it like a cheap suit. They love a rumpus that livens up the political climate.

Rudd has been forced into an unedifying, hairy-chested riposte to hose down the dust of fear as it begins to rise and clog the nostrils, with the constant drum beat of the Coalition and its media conga line whipping up a storm. This serving on Crikey is an example.

Its getting ugly again. Malcolm Fraser and other progressive 'liberals' are trying to stem the tide of nastiness emanating from their side of politics, but methinks we are in for another nasty period of demonizing boat people. The term 'illegals' is being bandied about again with gay abandon, including by PM Rudd, and the usual derogation 'economic refugees' and 'queue jumpers' is across the air waves.

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