The indignity of bullshit

The Hobart Mercury, 4 June 2011

The main trouble with the Labor Party is that they retain the lingering impression that they’re meant to be the good guys. However, when you’re seriously contemplating sending child refugees to Malaysia (and let’s recall that Malaysia, like, hmmmm… Nauru, aren’t signatories to the UNHCR convention) it’s time to let that particular illusion go.

Punishing human beings who are seeking help does not fit into my personal understanding of top-shelf “Australian” behaviour. Perhaps it’s just me and my bleeding heart, but any “solution” which involves bullying vulnerable people isn’t good enough, especially when we all know the real reason is to appease the focus groups.

Yes, seeking asylum via leaky fishing boats is bloody dangerous, but the real solution is not to stop the boats by deterrence, but to stop people from needing the boats in the first place, and until that rather unlikely goal is achieved, you deal with the fact that the world can be a shitty place and do your best not to make it any shittier. A bit more complicated, granted, but that’s justice for you.

Posted in political cartoons, The Mercury.


  1. It’s your own view these illegal immigrants ‘need help’, as you say. Many ilegal immigrants are found to not be refugees, so are returned to whence they came. The ‘Australian behaviour’ to which you refer is to accept genuine refugess, but not be take for granted or being walked over by smugglers and economic opportunists. Extending our hand does not involve having it bitten. This is why both mainstream parties are united in accepting genuine refugees and giving them protection – but refusing the non-genuine. I think most Australians understand that and have a more balanced view than the one you hold.

  2. Hailey, you’re back! I guess you’re too busy googling your homework to google a few links for us today. When you’re done, here are a few things for you to whack into the old search engine.

    Asylum seekers aren’t “illegal immigrants”.

    The majority of “asylum seekers” are found to be legitimate refugees.

    That ought to do you as I know you can get cranky if you miss your nap.

  3. I am rapidly becoming ashamed of living in an Australia where we are quite prepared to send kids to Malaysia with all that entails yet are horrified at the treatment of Australian cows in Indonesia!

  4. Trying to stop smuggling, terrorists,drug pedlars…seems rather like cutting off the head of the Hydra.
    Dumping the poor buggers in Malaysia just lowers this country’s reputation even further.

  5. i’m sorry hailey, but your comments can’t pass without comment. most people who come by boat are eventually deemed to be genuine refugees. of those that have been returned, many have been shot, tortured or just plain ‘disappeared’. it seems as though, in their case, our over-zealous officials were wrong and these people were geunine refugees after all. drug dealers and terrorists don’t arrive in leaking boats. they come tourist class by plane ~ as do 90% of other “illegal immigrants”. and how often does it have to be said?: boat people are not illegal immigrants. they are refugees. sorry, but you need to widen your source of information from conservative politicians and the tabloid press.

  6. Just fyi Alan, the above cartoon did appear in “the tabloid press”. I know it’s tough to avoid all prejudices at once, but fair suck of the ink bottle, eh?

  7. Hailey, Hailey, Hailey…. in your own language: “Seriously??” 1)Boat arrivals comprise the smallest portion of ‘unauthorised entrants’ into Australia; 2) People (Yes, Hailey – they may not look or talk like you, but they ARE people) who emigrate by leaky boat are the most desperate and vulnerable in their home countries, otherwise they’d purchase ‘plane tickets or spend the large amounts of time and money required to emigrate legally and – above all – safely; 3) if you’re fleeing persecution, starvation, interminable warfare, you probably don’t have the leisure to contemplate the amazing economic opportunities offered by emigration; in fact, I’d venture to guess that you’d be far more concerned simply with trying to stay alive. I wish Australia would make room for these people with hope and initiative, but unfortunately so much of the space in this country is being taken up by mean-spirited, small-minded nimbys like you.

  8. Lets not forget we are sending these people to the same country that pushed hundreds of real refugees from Burma (and Muslims at that) into the face of a major cyclone. Estimates are that about 200 managed to make it to Sumatra, the other 1000 drowned in the storm. Hitting kiddies with sticks is, um, child’s play so to speak to the unbelievable horror that awaits anyone in that country who is deemed less than human, and that goes for a large number of their own citizens. They are NOT our friends, this WILL come back to haunt us. I live next door in a very nice clean country, I dont go there unless I have no choice.

  9. Asylum seekers aren’t “illegal immigrants”. That’s true of course, but only if they are “asylum seekers”. It’s been shown again and again that many of these people are NOT asylum seekers fleeing from danger, they are simply people wishing to immigrate.

    I love your work, but I wish you’d just let your cartoons do the talking. They’re far more eloquent.

  10. Jimmy, I’ll try and set you straight with the fewest number of words possible: “It’s been shown again and again that many of these people are NOT asylum seekers fleeing from danger, they are simply people wishing to immigrate.” is exactly wrong. Sorted.

    If all the words are upsetting you a bit, I suggest you just look at the cartoons, and before you get to the words part, bite your bum with all the ferocity you can muster. Pretend it’s an asylum seeker if that helps.

  11. One of the conspiracy theories is that when polies go to USA they get cloned and replaced or brainwashed overnight in their hotel rooms then they return with a totally different mindset under the veneer. Like Howard came back and instead of being pro OZ he sold his soul to Bush.
    I like this theory cos it is more comforting than accepting that most pollies are nasty……

  12. Glad someone finally demolished the straw man that is ‘We need to stop the people smugglers!’ Hey what? If we stop people coming here, then suddenly there are no more desperate people and no people smugglers offering them an escape route? Obviously, they just end up somewhere else. If that is all this morally vacuous country of ours desires, well, fair enough, but let’s get off our high horse and stop pretending we are trying to rid the planet of some great moral scourge. We fight the wars that are in large part responsible for the fact the boats exist. We are culpable, we are responsible.

  13. Can across your stuff on ‘go back to where you came from’ site, but love your work. Nice to know there are lots of people out there trying to spread the compassion for asylum seekers and refugee.

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