The opportunists

The unusually generous approach to the Vietnamese refugees has led to some undesirable consequences. At an early stage some cynical fool of a bureaucrat came up with the idea of allowing the Vietnamese to change their “personal particulars”. This right applied only to the Vietnamese.

It meant that, at any time after their arrival in Australia, notwithstanding any documents they might have had at the point of selection, or any information which they had given to officials and which was now recorded on their personal files, they could ask for changes without challenge. They could change anything, except their sex.

… … It was indeed remarkable how the tom-toms worked; there was information flowing out of Vietnam and out of the refugee camps into Australia, and vice versa, that should have made Telecom and Australia Post reconsider their efficiencies. … … Some of the changes sought related to age, apparently depending on the differential in welfare and other benefits available. Other changes included: number of children, number of siblings, number of uncles and aunts – for obvious reasons. But why was this right available only for Vietnamese?

After a while, everyone who wanted anything, for themselves or for anyone else, went political. Some played rough; one refugee lady went to four senators accusing the Immigration Minister of killing her grandfather in Vietnam because the Vietnamese government would not let him out! Where other elderly migrants would not be eligible for the age pension without satisfying a qualifying period, aged relatives of refugees could apparently become our collective dependants on arrival. The name of the game was whinge, attack, whinge.

Australians had taught the ‘ethnics’ how to control officials or “frighten the shit out of us” as one of them said. The ethnics have now adapted, and with a vengeance. I do believe, however, that this country needs more of such go-getters. The trouble is that the ethnic communities on the gravy train are now rather clever at playing the role of mendicant. Like the sea, they await the water from any river.

Every ethnic community now wants more and more from the taxpayer, even if they have been in Australia for more than one generation. But they ask in the name of their first generation members. Many of these have grown old in Australia and now apparently need assistance with English and accessing services. “Many who have gold in the house are looking for copper outside,” say the Russians.

Eventually, the change in personal particulars policy was dismembered. I was the one who was ordered to do it; someone up there had eventually woken up to its dangers. No complaints resulted.

The other major generosity to the Vietnamese with undesirable consequences was the encouragement given to ‘anchors’. These were the children placed on refugee boats by their parents with friends or relatives; when selected they would be instrumental in bringing out the whole clan. How wrong was Sophocles, who said that children are the enchantment that holds a mother to life. … But what about the poor bloody kids? Are they always a means to … family prosperity?

… Did Australia’s intake of refugee minors cause any problem? Apparently, yes. … While heart-warming stories of the settlement success of some of these minors abound, it seems clear that many are not success stories. … the long-suffering, law-abiding, traditionally silent Vietnamese Aussies … are surely entitled to live in peace in Australia. However, police and media reports continue to highlight the high levels of criminal activity, especially in the drug trade, in areas of ethnic (particularly Vietnamese) concentrations …

… As I once said to a Minister, who asked me what would happen if Australia opened its door without any barrier, why should we assume that Australia already has the best crooks and opportunists in the world?

(These extracts from ‘Destiny Will Out’ show that the opportunists in our communities are the ones who ensure change, even if not always for the better. Today, we have a different batch from overseas, supported by some Australians who will not benefit personally in having someone else’s hard-earned money spent in questionable directions. Their success depends upon the folly of our elected leaders.

I have worked with Vietnamese colleagues; one of them was so enterprising that he also had a shop in a nearby suburb. The community also noticed that the small bakery/retail shops in our surrounds had been taken over by Vietnamese.

I also met a former ‘anchor after my retirement:’ I learnt how his family had benefited from our caring policies. His elderly parents, by claiming that they could not get on with the anchor’s family, who had provided them with their own self-contained accommodation in his large house, obtained government accommodation. How do I know this? The son told me.)