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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Boat People And Plane People


Pic:Australia's first boat people.

The recent ‘information evenings’ on the opening of a new South Australian centre for boat people has dark importance for the Indian community. Yes, Indians come to Australia by Singapore Airlines but it was a rather frightening litmus test of this countries strong immunity to foreign bodies.

The widely televised proceedings had terrifying close ups of a mob that were very different to one another. Bronzed fair dinkum Aussies in singlets and thongs and pallid, long retired Scots in frayed jumpers their Mothers knitted for them in the war.

What sickened me to bottom of my guts was the uniformity in their expressions. Undisguised fear. Hysterical aggressiveness. Magpies defending their nest from invaders.

If this is a cross section of Australia how deep is the reserve of political will to continue Australia’s multicultural immigration policy? Today the Age reported that a majority of Australians supported the detention of asylum seeking children. This dark satanic fact proves the Australian well of human kindness is anything but bottomless and indeed may dry up.

For the message that migrant communities are hugely beneficial to Australia is simply not out there. It is a political hot potato. If Labor openly evangelized that immigrants are indeed a great asset to the nation they would lose a great amount of support and in these knife edged times would lose power. Which is a frustrating paradox as a great deal of Labor’s electorate is a people smuggler’s passenger list.

But this message must get out. How long will this insane concentration of hate towards a comically small amount of boat people last? How long will they be the fall guys for the wider immigrant community? For it as wildly strange as it is true that in Australia it is politically correct to be repugnantly racist against someone who has arrived here on a fishing boat but not by Qantas. Socially acceptable to vent jaundiced frustration with the wider immigrant community on to ‘queue jumpers’. Will a hatred for other modes of transport transpire?

Could the focus of this irrational hatred spread towards Indians? It tragically has, evidenced by the atrocious attacks on students, but not to it’s terrifying potential because we are enjoying prosperity. They are happy for Indians to do the jobs they don’t covert. Until of course severe recession strikes and suddenly Indians will be taking all the jobs from ‘Fair dinkum Aussie fellas’. Because the message has not reached Australians who do not have the foggiest clue how much their economy is supported by the vast numbers that arrive here annually. The robust property market is heavily underpinned by the thousands resettling here. Indians make up an unusually high proportion of the new property buyers in the outer suburbs of the country’s metros. Shamefully it must also be noted that the goras have become addicted to the cheap labor that Indian migrants offer in the convenience store and taxi industries. Ten years ago the Premier of Victoria reportedly begged the Immigration Department to stop checking Indian driver’s working hours because all the taxis had disappeared.

But don’t worry. In less than a generation you’ll own the 711 and a fleet of taxis which makes a very important point. The Australian is not entrepreneurial. In the fast shrinking world of globalization the Australian laid back attitude will simply not cut the mustard. Coal and gold are finite resources. They need the relentless energy of a Punjabi boy who could sell a television to someone who is legally blind and then sell a stereo to their half deaf sister. Any of you who have conducted business in Sada Bazaar will know an Australian would lose his shirt before he sipped his first morning late.

The next general election will be a blood bath. Will Gillard, still petrified from her brush with political death, succumb and follow the German Chancellor by declaring the multicultural society a disaster and then heighten the Indian proof fence around this Island? Winning the votes of individuals who would fail miserably to settle in their own country if they themselves were subjected to the very point system that they devised.

To do so would be disingenuous as India’s criminally undervalued talent pool is cheap and easy. For Australia is the only country in the world that suffers a brain drain from experts refusing to leave.

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