I’m Australian, Unless You’re a Refugee

Let me tell you about The Australian Way.

It’s the concept of the fair go, looking out for your mates, and cracking jokes even when the chips are down.

And we've always had that. Well, if you’re Caucasian.

The second it seems like you might be different, suddenly we don’t want to know. Suddenly, you’re less than human to us. All sense of The Australian Way goes right out of the window.

Why? I think Shane Howard of Goanna put it better than I could have, in Solid Rock (emphasis added):

Well they were standing on the shore one day
Saw the white sails in the sun
Weren't long before they felt the sting
Of white man, white law, white gun

See that last line? That’s the problem.

We enforce our way of life on anyone who comes here. The now typical “love it or leave” attitude. For some reason, we expect them to leave their customs at the door. The suggestion that they want to do their own thing is anathema. If they don’t conform, we organise marches against them, hurl abuse at them in the street, and send them to concentration camps if they come here “through the back door”.

Speaking of “the back door”, successive political leaders have convinced the population that it’s illegal to come by boat and seek asylum (It isn’t). They’ve convinced us that what they’re doing is necessary, or “they” will keep coming. They scare us with horror stories about resettled refugees who go on to commit crimes, even terrorist acts — the fact that the instigator of the Lindt Cafe siege is a resettled refugee has only poured fuel on that particular flame. They’ve got many (if not most) Australians so scared to the point of betraying reason.

And they keep getting elected, riding the wave of the xenophobic bogan vote.

Where did we go so wrong? How could we have lost our way in such a spectacular fashion? How did we become so scared of people, who are fleeing from conditions our government has helped create, and why did we let some suit scare us like that?

I want an answer. Why do we forget who we are when in the presence of someone who isn’t like us?

If the ANZACs could see what we have become, what they fought to protect, they’d be turning in their graves.