The other side of Vietnamese refugees

After that near incident in the streets there was no more trouble. The community’s leaders obviously asserted control and used the clear pathways available for seeking their objectives.

Soon after, the apparently unstructured community in Melbourne impressed me with the quality and efficiency of their organisation and social cohesion when they held a weekend celebration of the Moon Festival. It was a very successful cultural event, and it was obvious that everyone attending had a great time. It was estimated that about 3,500 Vietnamese had attended the festival. I reported that it was a fantastic achievement. And they took in their stride the coloured representative of the white Australian government.

However, the community’s main objective was migration. The day after his arrival in a migrant hostel, a refugee sponsored relatives and friends from refugee camps in South-East Asia. Selection from these refugee camps seemed to be very liberal, driven by ‘international obligations’. This was a euphemism used by the bureaucracy to silence objectors, and it was based purely on Australia’s voluntary offer regarding the size of its refugee intake. This offer would obviously have had regard to our promises to the first asylum countries that we would take as many as possible.

On a per capita of population basis, we took more than France, which caused the problem in the first place. And the US, which lost the war against all reasonable expectations, and which was the secondary cause of the exodus, would have been ever so grateful to Australia, for forever standing behind US foreign policy. (We do that in the hope that US citizens would be willing to die for Australia.) Once an annual target for refugee intake was set, bureaucratic practice took over: the budget had to be spent, if need be, by increasing ‘productivity’ in the processing in refugee camps. Selection must therefore have been quite generous.

When Australia was permitted to open an embassy in communist Vietnam, and Australian Immigration officials interviewed applicants under family reunion immigration policy, a female applicant was apparently told by the interviewing officer that it would take three years for her to get to Australia through the process. Allegedly the response was: “Too long. I’ll take a boat.” Well! Such boat departures were still illegal.

And what happened, I wondered, to all those fears about piracy, pillage and rape? There is little doubt that these horrifying events did occur, but were they exaggerated? Were the almost weekly articles published somewhere in Australia at that time about the terrible experiences of refugees at sea intended to keep softening the Australian taxpayer years after the end of that war? And the lady did arrive by boat in a country of first asylum (so I was told); and we paid for her air fare from there to Australia.

The very powerful ethnic welfare, refugee support, and immigration advisory industries would “chuck a fit” (a phrase popular with cynical high school kids) at such questioning. But then, many of these are very substantial beneficiaries of an uncritical “let’s do good” approach, especially if someone else was paying for it. “Gifts make beggars bold,” according to the ancient Persians. … …

So who is paying? First, the taxpayer; the total package for refugee entry and support and the consequential immigration entry and support runs into hundreds of millions of scarce taxpayers dollars. Second, the bias in favour of Vietnamese in refugee intake, has flowed through into weighting family reunion immigration entry. Unintended bias, perhaps? Or is there a bias in entry policy in favour of the lighter-coloured East Asians?

The consequence is that, given an upper limit to the annual immigration intake, such bias keeps out or delays the entry of people from other source countries, even through family reunion (it is a matter of logistics). Third, the ethnic community balance is altered. That has serious implications.

As the largest of these communities wield political power, community grants and jobs in the ethnic and multicultural industries (including ethnic TV and radio and parts of the public service) may possibly be skewed in their favour. Fourth, the old Aussie, as well as the new Aussie, becomes disenchanted (at minimum) when the unemployment and welfare figures are weighted so heavily by a few ethnic communities. The Aborigines are a sufficient economic underclass, without adding to the list because of vote enhancing or soul hunting.

(These extracts from ‘Destiny Will Out’ indicate clearly that the settlement support provided to ‘East Asian’ refugees by kind Anglo-Australians effectively belled the end of ‘White Australia’ attitudes for many, and the associated ‘fear’ of the ‘yellow hordes from the north.’

Census data at the beginning of the current millennium do show that the majority of Asians allowed entry to Australia after the immigration door was officially opened in the 1970s were indeed the lighter-coloured ones. Relative staffing levels of Australian immigration officials at each of the main posts in Asia ensured this outcome.

The record does show that the Vietnamese and other East Asian intake have integrated successfully into Australia, if one were to ignore the young people involved in the drug trade some years ago.

However, irresponsible politicians, some genuinely caring people, and the ‘rent-a-crowd’ lot do not seem to have learned from our earlier experience of ‘refugee’ claims. Today, it is the turn of the asylum seekers who arrive by boat, even without any identity documents, to become the dependants of honest taxpayers, for years. So, how does the nation benefit?)