Thursday, October 22, 2009

More than me

If someone risks life and limb to escape persecution or poverty, gives everything they have for an unsafe passage and finally gets to their destination and wants to start a new life, they're welcome to come in, as far as I'm concerned.

If someone comes to a new country without a word of that countries language yet learns it well enough to talk to me in a short space of time, I'm happy to repeat myself without thinking them an idiot.

If a person who was qualified in their previous country for a white collar job and works night shift in a taxi while they get the same qualifications they had back home doesn't know the exact way home, I'm happy to point them in the right direction. It doesn't cost me anything to be courteous and helpful.

If someone has done more to earn the respect of their new fellow countrymen than any person who has "waited in line", pay it.

Do you know what someone like me - a white immigrant with family already here, from a Commonwealth country - does to get in?

Fills out forms.
Takes a medical.

That's all I have to do to earn your respect. All I have to do to be considered the "right" type of immigrant.

And I'm glad my parents went through that. Because it's given us a better life, and I love this country. But we weren't hounded from our country. We weren't persecuted, or threatened or in danger.

What does someone who comes here on a piece of crap boat go through? What will they go through if we send them back? What do these people have to do to earn your respect?

Seriously. If I'm the ideal candidate for immigration, if I'm the only type of person you want in this country, ask yourself why. Because I look like you? Because I sound - for the most part - like you? Because when I walk past you on the street, or work next to you I don't make you confront your own prejudices?

Regardless of what someone is fleeing from - poverty, persecution, a hopeless upbringing with no opportunity to get ahead - they've done more to deserve their place than me. I fled nothing, endured nothing more than inconvenience and apart from some mild teasing about the way I pronounce some words, people accept me.

Once we were a nation of "battlers". A nation that gave a hand up to those who were down.

When did that change? When did we decide there was a limit (Whilst still offering a bonus for increasing the population) on compassion?

**EDIT** An additional note. I am heartily sick of hearing the "Don't like it? Leave!!!1!" bullshit everywhere I turn. Seriously? You think that because someone is an immigrant they are never - regardless of provocation - allowed to disagree with policies, politics or any social problems they see? Why? Every single person who holds that belief does their fair share of wingeing about society, but immigrants aren't.

Those people, to a man, believe that an immigrant can never truly be Australian, and only Australian-born Australians have any right to complain.


Dave from Albury said...

I've long argued that we should deport the Welsh en masse, but have met resistance to my cause. Thank you for signing on to this important project.

Keri said...

Shut up, beardy.

Private 'Baldrick' Tom said...

"When did that change?"

I do believe it began with Keating, who created off-shore processing. Then Howard came, and the rest is depressing history.

"...only Australian-born Australians have any right to complain."

I do believe that's 'Australian-born white Australians." As far as racists and boneheads are concerned, they are the natives, all 'coloureds' are foreigners.

And Dave? Totally agree. This is an ENGLISH colony, and anyone arguing to the contrary is a traitorous heathen and should be shot on sight.

Leon Bertrand said...

Thanks for the cordial invitation Keri.

I now intend to take the long journey from Brisbane to Melbourne in an old leaky car to visit you and Jeremy.

When I arrive, I expect the following:

- That you grant me accommodation because you believe me unquestioningly when I say that I'm fleeing genocide.

- That you give me a few glasses of good red wine every night because you respect my religion.

- That you welcome me with open arms because of the long dangerous trips I've made, risking death every time a big long truck drove past.

I'm so glad you're not one of those people who believes in intercepting me and saying that you should choose who comes to your house and the circumstances in which they come.

Keri said...

Leon, I've got no problem putting you up, on the proviso that you either get here in a piece of crap boat, or walk.

There's always wine here for guests.

And the third one I think both your wife and my partner might object to. There will be a cat here who is a total whore for affection, though.

Leon Bertrand said...

I'll sabotage my car and walk the last 5 kilometres.

Keri said...

Leon, boat-people are hardly coming here in luxury yachts and then scuppering them. And let's keep in mind exactly what percentage of "illegal" immigrants arrive in the country through that method.

Tell you what. You throw the small child out of the window of a burning Torana and then I'll tell everyone that you did it because you're just a prick. Then, when I'm questioned as to why I told everyone a lie that just happened to fall in line with my anti-Leon dog-whistling, I'll tell people I "can't recall" ever being told anything about it.

Sound fair?

Jeremy said...

This country is full of people I wouldn't let into my house - like Leon.

However, I'm happy for these 22 million other people to live here.

Likewise refugees.

Leon Bertrand said...

Well they certainly are scuppering them of late. If you are referring to the Tampa, allow Peter Costello to set the record straight for you :

Leon Bertrand said...

I mean "children overboard" not "tampa"

Bron said...

Ohh, good answer, Keri!