More issues for asylum seeker supporters

“When due process leads to denial of asylum, and the taxpayer has spent a large sum of scarce funds, one can find some queer counter-proposals. These reflect sympathy for the asylum seekers, most of whom are most likely to be economic migrants who would not qualify for entry by the front door, or even the side door. Then, there are those who assert that, since Australia does not experience the floods of asylum seekers inundating Europe, we should take all comers. Isn’t the availability of a lifetime on welfare in Australia, plus Medicare, plus family reunion a probable drawcard? Shall we just open the immigration door?

Most relevantly, is there no part of Afghanistan which is safe for the Hazaras or other Afghans? Isn’t there a district in Afghanistan which is dominated by the Hazaras? Are there not large areas of Iraq which are predominantly Sunni, Shia or Kurd, to which an Iraqi asylum seeker could move, thus avoiding the large outlays of money, the risk of drowning, the detention (but with care provided at the Australian tax¬payers’ expense), and the risk of mental health problems? If there is somewhere else to go to, could the government negotiate with the governments we have put in place in Iraq and Afghanistan to take the boat arrivals? Would they not then be living within their own culture? And does not the UN convention also provide that asylum seekers have to show that there is nowhere else they can go?

On the issue of living with one’s own people, some Moslem settlers from countries with limited personal and political rights already seek to have Australia’s institutions amended to incorporate sharia law, when Islam has no separation between the law and religion. Would the pre¬dominantly Middle Eastern asylum seekers add to this pres¬sure? Historically, there were those who wished to turn a secular nation into one ruled by what they call natural law (which is not the same as a law of nature in science). Do our Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee governments have the integrity to retain Australia as a secular democratic nation, with religion kept separate from governance?

Do the uncritical Anglo-Australian supporters of boat arrivals condone the destruction of identification papers; and the irresponsible placement of women and children in unsafe boats which have no doubt been written off by their owners, the fishermen manning the boats being themselves probably dispensable? How do they condone the queue-breaking by those who obviously have money, but are not willing to be assessed as immigrants or as refugees by representatives of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). An asylum seeker is not a refugee until accepted as a refugee. This is something some in the media have to accept.

There is a common practice for Australian Customs/Immigration officers at airports to return to the country of embarkation those they consider on arrival not to be ‘bona fide’, even when they hold entry visas. They are kept in detention and placed on the next available plane going back. Arrivals by plane who have destroyed their papers after dis¬embarkation at our airports are treated the same way. It is not that difficult to track their travel. Boat arrivals without papers should surely be treated the same way.”

(Those who do not believe in an interventionist god, or in Santa Claus, may be excused were they not to expect any in-depth dialogue between apparently caring supporters of asylum seekers they have never met, and those who seek responsible policies in relation to the intake of immigrants and real refugees, unless they can see squadrons of pigs surfing through the air.

What the above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ raise is this significant question: is the age of entitlement in Australia being extended to cover anyone who manages to arrive on our borders? A related issue: if we taxpayers are to be generous with our money, should we not be spending it on those who are clearly needy out in the real world? What a waste of scarce money (yes, it is scarce) in coping with opportunist entrants! )

Dishonesty backed by irresponsibility

Opportunists seeking back door entry (I am here; you will keep me) are surprisingly supported by some locals, unrelated by tribe or genes. They are so caring that they expect other people’s hard-earned money to provide whatever the asylum seeker wants. Recently, one of the latter specified the ‘boob’ enhancement she sought. Do these local supporters see these arrivals as becoming economically viable within a reasonable period, without being a long-term financial burden on the nation?

Perhaps, all accepted asylum seekers might be treated as are entrants from New Zealand – no welfare support. That is, look after yourself during a 3-year temporary-visa period. Against that, recently an employed Asian reportedly lost his job in Australia. He must have been on a temporary employment visa, because he promptly sought asylum. He received cash from the official welfare service, supplemented by support from a community welfare agency, and the communities from 2 different churches! He continued to complain about his inadequate funds.

This is reportedly the most expensive country in the world. It is, I believe, the most generous country in the world. For how long will we sheep accept being as shorn we are for this generosity? As well, the processing of asylum seekers remaining in Australia can give cause for concern from the viewpoint of national responsibility. I am not aware that the official agencies look into the national interest when assessing unidentifiable applicants for asylum, or when reviewing the decision making in cases of rejection.

Indeed, I do wonder whether the High Court (the highest court in Australia), as well as the lower courts involved in hearing apparently unending appeals (seemingly comparable to Indonesia) go beyond the wording of the law (but not necessarily its intent) to look at the national interest (that should not be too difficult to define).

The following extracts are from my book ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ (ebook from Amazon Kindle @$US 2.99).

“Asylum seekers should also not be kept in detention where they are provided with full board, education, health and welfare services, we are told. But we are not told who will house, feed, and medicate them were they to be free to roam all over the country while they await a decision … … “

“The Anglo-Australian supporters of the boat arrivals claim that all asylum seekers are genuine refugees (how would they know that?) and that they have all suffered trauma and torture (anyone with any evidence?). They seek speedy decisions in spite of the reality that almost all arrivals have torn up their identity papers and other documentation which got them to Indonesia. What does that behaviour suggest? That there is an intent not to be honest? … … “

“There is another moral problem. How could anyone risk the life of a child or one’s womenfolk on one of the asylum seeker boats? Is it then the case that the journey is not as dangerous as it is said to be? … … “

“Who are these modern boat arrivals? Those who hold valid passports issued by their country of nationality, who can afford the airfare to Indonesia, who pay a ‘snake-head’ (people smuggler) a large sum of money (according to the media about US$10,000 per head) for a place on a fishing boat, who hand over their mobile phones to the snake-head, who tear up their identification papers, and who seek to be intercepted by Australia’s border patrols as soon as possible. … … “

“Could those travellers who destroy their identification and travel papers and seek acceptance as refugees when intercepted by border control be asked what it is they are hiding? This is an issue of morality. … … “

“Some of the supporters have since argued that anyone who wants a better life and gets here one way or the other should be allowed to stay. Since the bulk of mankind would seek to be refugees from the hardships of life, are these sup¬porters saying that if you have the money, you can enter Australia freely by the back door? … … “

“Does not the irrational behaviour of many asylum seekers while well fed, comfortably housed, and medicated as needed in detention, suggest that they may have arrived with mental health problems? … … “

“It is too facile to blame detention or its duration, when it is the asylum seekers with no documentation who are responsible for the delay. Could not a little over-acting also be beneficial? Is it not known worldwide that lengthy detention, probably offshore, is part of the process? … … “

“One can only ask to be considered for refugee status, were one to provide necessary evidence. Currently, it is Australia which has to prove that the claimant is not a refugee as defined by the UN Convention … … “

Questions about refugee policy

“Eventually, I was directed … to close down the White Russian and East Timorese policies; they were not needed. The other ethno-specific regional HE policies were far too sensitive politically; our global HE policy did not obviously pay adequate respect to the tribo-cultural sensitivities of the communities affected.

There had to have been great flexibility in approvals at certain overseas posts. Why? Because, surprisingly, many HEs, especially the Poles, subsequently returned home to obtain jobs in keeping with their qualifications (such jobs not readily available in Australia). Vietnamese HEs who had allegedly fled the takeover by the communists went back to Vietnam as Australians to conduct businesses. So much for their earlier ‘genuine’ fear of persecution or discrimination!

One cannot obviously be a puritan in the administration of entry policy. … … This is also where back door entry policy, the admission of asylum seekers comes in. Equipped with a passport from one’s country of nationality, a return airline ticket, enough money to cover the nominated period of the visit, a visa or other documentation identifying one as a businessman, visitor, student, etc., one can, after arrival, convert to asylum seeker. The applicant cannot be thrown out as an over-stayer while awaiting a decision. … …

A Singhalese person claiming a fear of persecution in Singhalese Sri Lanka, or a Malaysian Chinese making a similar claim about Chinese-dominated Malaysia, indicate the waste of investigatory resources arising from asylum claims, and the opportunism of applicants and their very vocal supporters.

The public has little to no information about what happens to those legal arrivals, the ones who arrive by air with an appropriate entry document. These represent the greater part of these asylum seekers. Reportedly, most of these applicants are allowed to remain. On what basis? Surely all those accepted could not have produced evidence of persecution or discrimination. Were they also assessed as capable of earning a living in Australia? Are the rejects only those who have failed security checks? Who provides the necessary information? The authorities from whom the applicant claims to be fleeing? Since there seems to be no shortage of local supporters for these applicants, is this form of entry a variation of family reunion?

On the other hand, we are flooded with information about unlawful boat arrivals. Their very vocal Anglo-Australian supporters present them as a form of sacred cow. For instance, we are not allowed to describe them as illegal arrivals! Australia is not to be allowed to reject any, in spite of a seemingly unlimited right of access to appeal courts at taxpayer expense. No reject can be sent home. Indeed, there was that incredible claim that there should be a separate entry category for rejected asylum seekers!”

(Seeking to be declared a refugee is probably the biggest racket going. I recall the then Minister asking me “What do you think about opening the immigration door completely?” This was more than a decade after the introduction of a non-discriminatory entry policy! My spontaneous response was “Why should we believe that we already have the best crooks in the world?” (Refer ‘Musings at Death’s Door’)

Special entry treatment has been sought by a major church (a bigger flock) and by ethnic community leaders (increased electoral power). Caring people used to the government (not the poor scalped taxpayer obviously) handing out money willy-nilly, opportunistic practitioners seeking to open more legal loopholes, rent-a-crowd supporters seeking excitement, and seriously unthinking politicians, all contribute to a dearth of responsible policies regarding side and back door entry into the nation.

However, the tsunami of budgetary deficits beginning to gather strength and direction will no doubt provide a cold shower where this is obviously needed.)

Quaint aspects of humanitarian entry

“Soon, as I was told, the Liberal Party wanted white right-wing HEs, just for a change. These came from Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia). Anyone claiming to be a refugee seemed to be accepted. In one recorded instance, a man claiming to be a refugee went back home to collect his wife, as advised by an Immigration officer! As with the Indo-Chinese, Australia provided their airfares, housed and fed them in a migrant hostel for 6 months. They received a regular welfare payment, which enabled them to pay for their board and other expenses. They were then allocated a flat for 3 months, to ease their entry into private accommodation.

Many of the Indo-Chinese moving into their own homes were assisted by small loans to buy furniture, much of it not repaid. As a couple of Indo-Chinese girls said to an Immigration officer, ‘You Aussies f…ing stupid. You give money for nothing.’ Little wonder that there was, and still is, such a rush of claims for asylum entry. Acceptance as a refugee permits a lifetime access to the public teat.

Later, the Labor Party sought white left-wing HEs. So I was informed. We found them in post-Allende Chile. However, there soon developed a flood of applicants from all of Central and South America. Then the Vaticanites enabled East Timorese to receive HE admission, even when they were living in Portugal, their country of nationality! Our senior bureaucrats and Ministers can indeed be very flexible in their decision making.

All of a sudden, Poles living within Poland could qualify as HEs! How influential was the Polish Pope? Then, for a while, ‘White Russians’ came from China as HEs. These had fled the arrival of communism in Russia 60 years before. An all-white colleague of mine used to claim proudly that he was Chinese; he was born in China of White Russian parents.

There were also Jewish Russians who had been permitted by the Soviet Government to join close family in Israel but who, on arrival in Vienna, sought El Dorado in Western nations. The Prime Minister of Israel in the 1980s was not happy at having up to 85% of potential citizens deflected elsewhere, mainly by professional recruiters from the USA.

Then, contrary to policy, presumably through Ministerial discretion, a number of Jewish Russian women married to non-Jewish men were permitted entry to Australia. They had left Israel because they did not like their experiences as second-class citizens of Israel. There are two other classes below them, as confirmed to me by my good Jewish Australian friend who had spent some time in Israel. (My friend is not ‘self-hating,’ is knowledgeable, and observes the Jewish traditions). One of these Jewish Russian women subsequently worked for me in the Department of Immigration; she was a worthy immigrant, who also told me a great deal about Israel.”

(No matter how they were enabled to enter Australia, one might expect that most entrants would want to find work or establish a business, in order to make a success of their new lives. That did happen. The exceptions may be, according to our media, many of the recent boat-arriving asylum seekers; their unemployment rate is reportedly high, and for long periods.

The above paragraphs are extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’)

East Asian humanitarian entrants

There has been a lot of rubbish written about the boat-people Australia took from the refugee camps in the countries of first arrival in South East Asia. By rushing into Vietnam behind the USA, and then being sent back home by ‘pyjama-clad’ opponents, we had to take some of those who took to the boats.

Returned servicemen told me about the political reality of pretending to avoid the ‘domino’ effect of a communist takeover in South East Asia. For a few years, there would be a report published somewhere in Australia about the risk of drowning and rape in ‘taking a boat.’ Social workers employed in state agencies told us about the corrupt behaviour of some of those we had taken from the camps. I was involved in preventing the escalation of disruptive behaviour by some Vietnamese thugs. Later, we read about the fortified drug houses and youthful salesmen on street corners.

Policies on humanitarian entry from any source are mainly political. Most of those we ‘saved’ could not have satisfied the UN Convention. Yet, by and large, eventually there was (as one might expect in the light of our equal opportunity and settlement assistance policies) successful settlement. But it was a very costly exercise (as is the recent effort to cope with the asylum seekers arriving directly by boat).

The following are relevant extracts from “Musings at Death’s Door.’ HE stands for humanitarian entrants.

“The Indo-Chinese boat people, selected from refugee camps in the Asian countries of first asylum (Thailand, Malaysia, in the main, but also Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines), represented the first significant entry of Asian HEs; the predominant entrants were, naturally, Vietnamese. … Family reunion was very generous; the applicant was seemingly free to define his relationships. For instance, a Vietnamese sponsor, after a residence of 3 months in a migrant hostel, claimed his wife was actually his sister; both now wished to sponsor their respective spouses from the camps.

Indeed, for a while, thanks to a sympathetic public servant lacking common sense, Vietnamese HEs were permitted to change their personal particulars. The only change not sought was gender; nature can be so unkind!. I closed down that loophole, with Ministerial approval. Those of us in the migrant settlement business were impressed with the ability of some of our HEs to find, or even create, loopholes in official entitlements. For instance, a Vietnamese grandmother with 3 grandchildren managed to extend their public housing from a single flat to 3, on the grounds that they did not (over some time) get along with one another. Then, an elderly couple left a flat attached to their son’s home to obtain scarce public housing for senior citizens; so said their son to me.

For the record, Australia accepted more Indo-Chinese HEs per head of host-people (that is, Australians) than any other country, including the USA and France! It became clear soon that we had taken in quite a number of criminals, gangsters and economic migrants. However, apart from those visibly involved in the drug trade, the Indo-Chinese HEs have settled in well. The success of their children is the evidence.”

Real refugees

“Refugee entry is also selective. As with immigrants, refugees had to be seen to be able to fit into the national ethos. For instance, rural people were not wanted. Both categories represent front door entry.

The initial post-war batch of refugees (these were, in the main, real refugees) were Europeans displaced by the war. I studied and, later, worked with some. The first girl to befriend me in Australia had come out of a Nazi concentration camp. A year later, I went out for a while with a lass who had a number etched on her arm, and got to know her family (also numbered). A country which had decided to collect immigrants had to take some of the displaced persons. Australia did very well by taking its share.

The ones I met were middle-class, educated, skilled. For a few years, in the 1960s, my wife and I entertained one of these, an elderly man. He had, he said, 2 doctorates, but worked as a clerk in my agency. I believe that he too was Jewish. My Holocaust-survivor friends and I never discussed their experiences; I felt very sorry for them. My life under the Japanese could not have compared with their plight.

Yet, there was one exception. In 1948, a Polish ex-serviceman and I talked deep into the night on a few occasions about his experiences as a resistance fighter. I saw some of the false documents he had used. Later, I also got to meet a few Czech and Hungarian refugees who had fled the Soviet invasion of their countries in 1956 and 1968 respectively.

Side door acceptance, being essentially political, permitted so-called humanitarian entrants (HEs). Where refugees had to be outside their country of nationality and in fear of official persecution (some necessary flexibility here being permissible), with nowhere else to go, the HEs had to fear official discrimination (depending on the eye of the beholder) while also outside their country of nationality, with nowhere else to go. The ‘nowhere else to go’ qualifier seems to have been ignored by our policy wallahs for quite some time. As politics determines policy in this arena; the policy can be quite flexible, ie. shonky.”

(These extracts are from ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ It has to be recognised that large numbers of people are displaced almost every year by terrible events in their terrain. They are not going to be picked up to be re-settled elsewhere. There seem to be large numbers living in refugee camps, who will not be going anywhere (for example, the Palestinians). And UNHCR officials will grant refugee status, presumably without evidence (as Australia does), but based on the UN definitions.

One cannot blame those who seek refugee status. Yet, how many were actually persecuted officially, say, like the Baha’is in Iran? How many had cause to fear discrimination? What kind of discrimination? Could not those who genuinely fear discrimination or persecution just move into another district within their own nation?

Perhaps the UN definition should be reversed from held fear to something more real. Well, that will be the day when we see squadrons of pigtails surfing through the air!)

Is immigration to benefit only the entrant?

“Modern Australia was founded by immigrants, and developed by immigrants. Under the sway of capitalism – that the economy must grow for ever – governments tend to favour a rising rate of immigration. This policy is the preferred substitute for a long-term development plan, or even a population policy. Awaiting for God’s Will may explain this approach.

However, refugees and asylum seekers either cannot afford to wait, or chose not to wait, for God’s Will. Of course, there are genuine refugees and ‘wannabe’ refugees. The majority of the latter are most likely to be economic migrants who, in all probability, will not pass our normal selection process – which has worked well.

Today, asylum seeking is probably the biggest entry racket, aided by some Aussies who seem to believe that the Australian taxpayer is required to benefit every claimant for refugee status. This is in contrast to tradition where the migrant is expected to benefit Australia. Even border control now awaits God’s Will, since neither side of politics has any policy worthy of note. In the meantime, what are the issues involved?

To begin with, national borders remain relevant, not¬withstanding that national sovereignty has been substantially fractured by the role of the UN, its conventions, and coalitions of saviours (whether or not operating with UN approval) engaged in the War on Terror.

Migrant entry, normally through some form of screening, is intended to benefit the receiving nation. The post-second world war policy of seeking immigrants commenced with entrants from Britain. It was extended sequentially to Europe, the Levant, East Asia, then other Asia, and finally became truly global. Australia’s immigration program is now somewhat substantial. This sequence of geographical sources reflected the gradation of acceptance from white skin colour to all other colours, and thereby to all cultures, as enabled gradually by a growing public tolerance.

Family reunion, introduced only a few decades ago when sought by settlers from the Mediterranean, was intended to keep the sponsoring immigrant happy. Because of continental Europe’s rapid economic development, few family members in the Mediterranean region could be persuaded by family in Australia to use the new program. Instead, the early beneficiaries were the British; later the East Asians. Even if entry is restricted to nuclear family members, there may be little increase in the productive capacity of the nation. All immigration has cost-offsets; family reunion can represent a substantial cost.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ set out what should be obvious. However, the current age of expectation, in which someone else’s hard-earned money is sought from the government by many who are not in actual need, is juxtaposed with a quaint age of giving; this involves policy-free politicians and their supporters demanding that anyone who enters Australia by the ‘back door’ (the self-selected) should go on the public teat immediately, and remain on it for ever.

I was, however, wrong when I wrote about the dearth of border control; a strong Minister stopped the back door entry. However, inevitably, there are international bureaucrats and other ‘experts’ on human rights blathering about anything except about what should be sound national policy. However, when our politicians are seen to be either incompetent or indifferent, … … !)

Careful guidance ensured successful settlement

“Initial migrant settlement was aided by helpful Anglo-Australians through the Good Neighbour movement. Other aids to settlement included placement in jobs, and health checks. Those who arrived as war-Displaced Persons after World War Two also settled in excellently. This is not to deny, or to minimise, the stresses and difficulties experienced or suffered by the settlers, including the food in the hostels in the early years. Later, the cuisine reflected the culinary tastes of the residents; at one time, Polish cooks were cooking Vietnamese food in migrant hostels!

Many of these early immigrants had to work in specified locations for set periods. Professional skills were ignored. But then, the host people too had to adapt. Their country was being changed pretty fast. Yet, it was accepted that the country was being developed by the immigrants, providing necessary labour and skills.

The non-European immigrants who entered Australia following the introduction in the early 1970s of an official non-discriminatory entry policy were also successfully integrated. Skin colour was officially not a major issue any more. Yet, even in the mid-1960s, when Australia was forced to turn to the Levant for immigrants, it sought only European Middle Easterners. But there were no able-bodied men there looking to Australia, only the middle class.

There was also a clear but concealed preference in the ear¬lier years of the open door policy for the lighter-skinned East Asians (preferably, as ever, Christian). These and the potentially non-viable humanitarian entrants from Indo-China (part of the formerly feared ‘yellow hordes’) and (later) East Timor were gradually integrated quite successfully.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ do not cover the care taken in the selection process. The most essential approach to ensuring that an immigrant or refugee settles into the nation easily and successfully is through careful selection. Australian officials located overseas interviewed applicants personally.

Would reliance on the recommendations of immigrant agents in the country of origin of immigrants be as effective? Refugees selected overseas are likely to be known, whereas asylum seekers could be anybody (how would we know?). Sloppy policies, heart-on-sleeve lawyers, and decision makers who may not have considered adequately the security of the nation have resulted in jihad-minded citizens on Australian welfare – so it has been reported!

We now also have reports that some immigrants sneer at Australia’s social ethos, but who will take whatever we offer. Seeking nirvana on Earth may, however, be time-consuming and un-fulfilling.)

Some interesting aspects of humanitarian entry

A colleague who had worked at the Vienna office told me about a Pole who had enquired about going to Australia. … he was a refugee, he claimed. My friend asked, “Where is your wife?” “In Poland.” “Why don’t you go back and fetch her … “ So, the Pole wandered back to his home town by public transport, fetched his wife, and Australia received two more ‘refugees’.

It was very similar, according to this colleague, in certain Mediterranean cities. There were many unattached young women who enquired about migration. But they offered no skills. Coming from sundry villages, they could offer nothing more than onion picking or something like that. Knowing that there were many single Mediterranean men in Australia, the interviewing officials used to ask if the female applicant could sew. Inevitably, the answer was, “Yes.” So Australia gained another seamstress, hopefully as marriage fodder.

… … When the Solidarity union movement was attacked in Poland, Australia widened its global humanitarian policy, which had hitherto required an applicant to be outside his country and fearful of return because of discrimination. The policy now allowed an applicant to be within his country of nationality. Presumably, the Polish government consented to the departure of those who sought entry to Australia under this expanded policy.

… … when the East European refugee programme was introduced, there was talk of some of the new arrivals in the migrant hostels asking about the cars they thought they were to receive. … One arrived late one afternoon with a group of fellow countrymen. He was outstanding, with his lovely tan-coloured suitcase, matching shoes, and a silver grey suit. The next morning he wore torn jeans and a T-shirt and was queuing up for welfare support. He must have been well briefed overnight.

Another entrant took a dislike to the hostel food and was seen chasing the chef into the car park while brandishing a cleaver. Another was a traumatised person who used to punch out his hostel walls periodically. As his country of origin seemed to produce a disproportionate number of troubled people, some Aussie officials began to wonder if our intake had included former inmates of certain institutions in that country.

I once met a former senior scientist who had moved freely, and by air, between an Eastern European nation and other communist nations. His work had required this travel. He admitted that he had been happy in his job and that he had been well off. When I asked him why he had decided to become a refugee, he said, somewhat lamely I thought, that freedom was more important. A recruit or volunteer? He was going to learn a sharp lesson. Many of the professional Poles I met were unhappy because their qualifications and skills were not recognised in Australia. Driving taxis was no substitute for the job satisfaction they had relinquished. Freedom, which they did value, meant a relatively lower job satisfaction and status.

Later, I was to find that some had returned to Poland – long before Perestroika. They had written back to their friends in Australia to say that they were doing well again. Does the Russian adage: “A lizard on a cushion will still seek leaves” apply here?

… … When I addressed a multicultural group in a country town one night and talked of the government funding ethnicity-based services to the new arrivals, old and young rejected the intrusion of the State into their lives. Independence and self-sufficiency made the nation, they said. “What about accessing services?” they were asked. They were not aware of any problems, they said. And many, many of the old migrants do sincerely hold this belief. They are not jealous in any way of the new arrivals. They saw the new policies as undermining their faith in the individual’s ability to adapt without government interference, for they know what that can lead to.

So, did the welfare industry sell the taxpayer an expensive pup? The test is whether the newer arrivals, supported by an expensive network of settlement services, became better integrated than their predecessors. Judging by a tendency to whinge about needing more from government, an Australian tradition, yes.

(If the above extracts from ‘Destiny Will Out’ suggest that humanitarian entry was somewhat of a game … …! Yet, to my knowledge, Australia did acquire good people, in the main.

But there had developed a sea change: where the earlier immigrants and war-displaced refugees had looked after themselves without whingeing, there seems to have developed, from about the 1970s, a more welfare-oriented perspective. This was, to me – an outsider in the game – the commencement of an era of ethnic empowerment. This subsequently became melded into the age of entitlement.)

The abuse of humanitarian entry

When the taxpaying community becomes tired of subsidising some of the rorts of humanitarian entry, the true spirit of adventure and self-reliance that were the hallmarks of migration will return. So say most of the old migrants and the old Aussie, but not the professional ethnic or his welfare cohorts. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime (or two) should be the basis of policy, instead of encouraging him to sit around waiting for a handout of a sardine pickle.

… … Humanitarian policy is often misrepresented. My first experience of such misrepresentation was when the then Minister announced a one-off amnesty for people illegally in Australia. After a very clear exposition by the Minister, at which I was present, one of the ethnic representatives, who spoke excellent English, went back and wrote a biased and error-filled report in his ethnic language newspaper. An unexpected and genuine gesture was misrepresented.

“They gave the naked man a shirt and he said it was too thick,” as the Russians say. What did the newsman gain from such a misrepresentation? Did he see his role as attacking the government at every opportunity (while seeking privileges)? Attack, whinge, attack – is the tactical ploy of some professional ethnics.

When I was transferred to the position of head of the humanitarian entry policy of Immigration, I found that a new policy had just been approved but not implemented. In addition to refugee entry based on the formal definition relating to a well-founded fear of persecution, there would be humanitarian entry based on a well-founded fear of discrimination. The policy as drafted seemed to be an impossible one to administer. …

… … I rewrote the policy, the Minister approved it, and it was implemented. A survey of the programme after six months showed not one Baha’i, the only people who, according to Amnesty International and other reports, were clearly in need of succour through that policy. … … I finalised the support mechanisms with the leaders of the Baha’i faith to provide settlement assistance to those approved for humanitarian entry into Australia.

… … With time, more and more people were approved under the humanitarian policy, always on a case-by-case basis. There had to be an apparent prima facie basis for acceptance. And all manner of people from a range of countries were coming in. To my knowledge, that programme was successful, although there were many instances of abuse. Those who knew how to squawk the loudest were the most successful of the dubious cases. Some of the sponsors were not averse to personally abusing officials – I can vouch for that.

… … When the refugee programme (which had resulted in a huge intake of Vietnamese, mainly of ethnic-Chinese ancestry, and with a substantial proportion of Catholics) was expanded to cover East Europeans, I understood from my political contacts that their party wanted some white refugees for a change. When the programme was subsequently expanded to cover Latin Americans, it was rumoured that the then Minister wanted some left-wing refugees, also for a change. Was it significant that the people in the geographical areas covered were predominantly of the same Church?

The bureaucrats too made their contribution to changes of policy. Their motives were mixed – to grease the squeaky wheel (for genuine humanitarian concerns or to ease the pressure on the Minister); to big-note themselves (with an eye to promotion into the international agencies); or to do favours (with a possible career upgrade if politicians so decided). I do not believe that cost to the taxpayer, coherence in policy, or the consequential shifts in ethnic community balance or relations or tensions, were given adequate consideration. That would also require a certain intellectual competence and I saw little evidence of that in my day.

(The above extracts from my book ‘Destiny Will Out’ should indicate that humanitarian entry policy was essentially a political ploy. Flexibility, not corruption or lax administration, was the name of the game, although a few inexperienced senior bureaucrats were then unavoidable.

Today, asylum-seeking economic immigrants arriving by boat (without documentation) or by air (with entry visas) have thrown politicians into confusion. Approvals of boat people reportedly exceed 90 %. How could that be?

Their supporters are either irresponsible in terms of the cost to honest taxpayers, or to the inherent policy issues. These include inter-community cohesion in Australia, and the family responsibilities of the men who place their women and children on unsafe boats, surely knowing that processing of their claims will take place overseas. Whinge, attack, whinge remains the weapon of choice of asylum-seeker glee-clubs.)