What is a Refugee?
By collapsing the concepts of refugee with illegal immigrant and terrorist, the Government has deliberately misled the public into condoning and consenting to the abusive mistreatment of the vulnerable and desperate. A refugee is someone knocking on your door late at night, crying child in hand, calling for help because they have been raped.
An illegal-immigrant is someone knocking on your door intending co their way inside and rip you off, whilst a terrorist is someone knocking on your door intending to blow you up. They are all totally and utterly different concepts. They are not and never will be the same.
Whenever our politicians talk about “refugees”, what you hear immediately after is rhetoric like, “we are responsible for border security”, “ we must look to the safety of the public”, “protection of our borders”, “queue jumping”, “illegal immigrants”, “protecting jobs”, “risk of terrorism”, etc. None of this is about refugees. They are simply not the same concepts! By talking about them and interweaving them in the same discourse as refugees, we begin to relate to them as somehow one and the same. We begin to collapse the concepts. In this we are being grossly and deliberately conned! The use of the term “illegal” by our government when referring to refugees started with the former minister Scott Morrison began using the term “irregular” in discussing asylum seekers. Over time he shifted slowly into using the term “illegal” – and now you hear “illegal refugees” widely bandied about in the streets, social media and even on mainstream media. All utterly incorrect and cynically manipulated. As Josef Goebbels Hitler’s propaganda minister said – tell a lie once people may believe it, tell it twice they will probably believe it and tell it three times and they will certainly believe it.
Demonising boat people as somehow acting illegally is legal tripe. It is a lie of the first order, deliberate, malicious, misleading and crass, Both under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and the Migration Act (1958), to arrive by boat seeking asylum, even without without papers is perfectly legal if fits the internationally recognised definition of a ‘refugee’. This followed the mass murder of Jews seeking asylum in WW2 and the internationally recognised need to protect people fleeing for their lives. Australia was one of the first signatories to the 1951 Convention and the law has been clearly set for decades. To talk about “national security” and “queue jumping”, “illegal immigrants” at the same time as “refugees”, is absolute rubbish.
Because of the melding of “illegal” “terrorist” and “border protection” and “refugees”, the collapsing of these concepts, what is being done in offshore detention to asylum seekers appears perfectly acceptable, indeed it is even desirable. In the minds of perfectly reasonable and decent members of the community we don’t want illegal queue jumping, the theft of our jobs and security threats importing terrorism into the nation.Who can blame them? This is not their fault. It is the fault of the politicians that mislead us for personal political gain. We are being deliberately conned. Under the law a refugee is defined as a person who has a “well founded” fear – something they must prove – of being persecuted in their home country simply by reason of their race, their religion, their nationality, their social group or their political opinion. A refugee must therefore be someone who is fleeing persecution, fleeing from fear of that persecution and typically will be fleeing terrorism not someone importing it.
Consider – if you were someone wanting to cause a terrorist act in Australia would it be easier to get here on a leaky boat or via Tullamarine airport? To suggest – with the resources and sophistication available to terrorists in the modern world that they would choose a leaky boat is both laughable and unfounded in historical fact. Over 90% of people processed in offshore detention statistically are found to be refugees under the law. They are not “illegals” as the government has cynically portrayed them – under both the Australian migration act and under the Refugee Convention it is not only perfectly lawful for a refugee to seek asylum but we are supposed to protect them. We are bound to do so by international law under conventions we signed up to. Hence it is not refugees who are illegal but our government – acting illegally in refusing to comply with its obligations under international law.
Sadly, our government has been ramming these lies down our throats over and over again. Whenever we hear the government speak about refugees on television and at the same time talk also about national security, jobs. terrorism and border protection it is manifestly intended to link refugees with these threats. It is a disgraceful and deliberate use of doublespeak in the very worst sense envisaged by George Orwell in his book 1984.- written ironically with an eye on the rise of Nazism in Germany.How can an average of 6000 refugees admitted annually meaningfully affect jobs when we let in 190,000 immigrants every year? Oh but they don’t talk about that – because they dont want us to know. Not one boat person has ever been convicted of terrorism. Its an egregious con act and we are the duped. Boat people are being used as a smokescreen and we are being played for idiots.
When you consistently collapse the concept of refugee with concepts of “illegal immigrants” – here to rip us off, and “terrorists” – here to kill us – then it is no surprise that so many ordinary, decent, caring Australians would both applaud and support what is being done to refugees offshore. Why would’nt they? By gagging and controlling information getting out of the offshore camps, the government ensures that we ordinary Australians don’t realise the true horror and extent of what is being done in our name. (World War II veterans might be forgiven for thinking that this all sounds eerily familiar… A chap called Hitler was rather good at that game.)
Aussie Heart stands firm in the knowledge that the average Aussie is warm hearted, generous and kind to strangers – we just don’t like threats to our way of life and rightly so. So far the government, playing on this, has gotten away with what they are doing by misinforming us and playing on our fears and our – entirely reasonable – need to be safe. When that same “average” Aussie works out the government’s been conning them, then this disgrace will end and fast. We are not a nation of child molesters and we are not a nation of thugs. That our government has been willing to have us seen this way in the eyes of international community says something about them – it says nothing about who we really are.
To find out more…
- Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
- Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
- Refugee Council of Australia
- Welcome to Australia