Kevin Rudd’s compassion is cruel, irresponsible
THE latest drowning tragedy near Christmas Island demonstrates with savage starkness the brutal political economy of the people-smuggling trade.
The equation is simple. We will inflict such terrible danger on ourselves that you, as a liberal society, will not be able to tolerate it and will therefore bend to our will.
It is right that in the wake of this tragedy our first concern is to save lives. In any case involving safety of life at sea, the Australian navy, all Australian vessels, will rightly have saving lives as their highest priority.
We are not fast enough to save our Mohammedan overlords:
- Australia’s border protection service has been accused of causing lives to be lost by responding too slowly to the latest asylum seeker boat tragedy off Christmas Island.
But the regular humanitarian tragedies of these drownings are overwhelming sensible policy and being fraudulently used by boatpeople advocates to produce weak and ineffective policy.
One paradoxical result of this is to encourage more boats, and more drownings. Take the central question of desperation. Boatpeople advocates say that the willingness to risk drowning demonstrates people’s desperation and that this desperation can come only from persecution. This is completely wrong. The reward of life in Australia is such a magnificent prize that the desire for it creates its own desperation.
The lure of peaceful Australia – welfare benefits for no work, Medicare, government schools, family reunion down the track – is overwhelming.
The obvious response of compassion – let everyone in who arrives – is not only cruel because it encourages more drownings but is also extremely bad policy. The temptation for moral grandstanding is obvious. One of the worst examples of this is Kevin Rudd’s comment that we learnt in the Holocaust the danger of turning away people fleeing persecution.
Before the 2007 election, Rudd promised to turn back the boats. As prime minister, on national television he labelled boatpeople “illegal immigrants”. People-smugglers, he said, were “the scum of the earth”.
Now the scum of the earth have become, in Rudd’s new vision, Oskar Schindlers sailing their arks of compassionate salvation to Australia.
If Rudd’s new moral position is accurate, then the only responsible policy is to put our entire navy and air force at the disposal of the world’s 40 million refugees and displaced persons.
But the people-smugglers’ clients are not only these – they are people from any messed-up country in the world who would like to live in Australia and can recite a formula that triggers the refugee convention. The brutal economy of people-smugglers is encouraged only by those with no sense of responsibility at all.
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