Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cultural Diversity is Good

Listening to the airwaves and reading comments from the press there is a depressing view of migration that is gaining prominence. In many ways this is related to the appallingly bad leadership of Rudd and the ALP federally, but also locally.
Broadly speaking, the ALP benefit from poor migrants, whereas the Greens only seem to view migration through the prism of opposing development. While there is no far right party in Australia (One Nation tried to provide for that niche, and still manages an appalling headline from time to time, but it is largely a spent force), there would be few migrants such a political grouping would appeal to. The Liberal party is conservative, centre right and appeals to those who are well educated and highly skilled.
The rhetoric of Rudd and the ALP was promising in opposition. They made faux arguments denouncing the Liberal Party of being cold and heartless on the issue of migration, stepping up the rhetoric after 2001 when the ‘Pacific Solution’ was put in place. From opposition, the ALP could make fatuous claims, but now those claims can be tested and it isn’t a good look. It is clear that Rudd’s policy has been a failure and it has cost an unknown but large number of lives of those who are most desperate. Some say that some of these refugees are not deserving. While that is clearly true of some, it is not true of many. But the insurmountable problem with people smuggling is that innocent people will die, and if they survive, they will displace those also deserving.
The Pacific Solution, while appearing harsh, provided a pathway that was just, limited the appeal of people smuggling and didn’t punish those most desperate, but expedited their issue. Under Rudd, Afghans and Singhalese are in a limbo without papers and without hope after sacrificing much to achieve the end which Rudd appeared to promise them. It must be disappointing to supporters of the ALP who care about the welfare of such peoples.
Fairfield is a diverse mix of cultures and peoples. This is good. Many of the peoples of Fairfield are well acquainted with many people who have undergone terrible privations in order to come to this lucky country. It is so disappointing when they are faced with green rhetoric that says that Australia has limited resources to support more people. Or when the ALP say that there is insufficient liquidity to efficiently build infrastructure which supports more people to Australian standards.
The truth is, as the Liberals have often said, we need to develop our land, but we can. We, the lucky country, have what is called the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of a quarter acre block of land for our families. The entire world’s population could live that dream in Queensland and still have room for parks for recreation. I’m not saying we should do that, but the room is there, and the resources are there .. but they need to be developed. Which is why people who care about migrants and their welfare should also care about the corruption involved with water desalination favored over building dams. Dam water costs less than a cent a litre, while desalinated water costs more than a bottle of coke or a litre of petrol. The difference in cost is supporting waste, making it hard to build infrastructure, and supporting corrupt networks which funnel tax payer cash into corrupt industry.
It is illustrative to look at US politics where the Republican Party struggles to get 10% of the black vote, but while they were the party of opportunity which provided freedom for slaves and then opportunity for individuals. It is overstating things to say that the Democrats who endorsed slavery and opposed opportunity for individuals earned the black vote from Herbert Hoover being a political novice, although at the time it appeared that that was the case. It is the unending rhetoric and lies, from media and the ignorant feeding the lie, which arrives at the status quo.
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