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Down Under sinks lower: What the desperate and deserving are now being told by a nation that grew prosperous thanks to people in boats

Pushing Back the Boatpeople of Asia

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Phuketwan News Analysis

PHUKET: Just over a week ago, Jose Ramos-Horta, the former president of the poor nation of East Timor, wrote about a boatload of Rohingya sailing close to his country: ''I am ready to welcome these unwanted children of God into my relatively comfortable home.''

The same day, the leaders of the prosperous nation of Australia were making plans to divert all boatpeople, whatever their international rights and status, to the poor nearby nation of Papua New Guinea.

Today, outrage is spreading around the Asia-Pacific region at Australia's arrogance and blatant racism.

John Pilger, the disaffected Australian journalist and author, put it best in an article in The Guardian. ''The election campaign in Australia is being fought with the lives of men, women and children . . .

''This barbarism is considered a vote-winner by both the Australian government and opposition. Reminiscent of the closing of borders to Jews in the 1930s, it is smashing the facade of a society advertised as benign and lucky.''

The ''stop the boats'' hysteria once again shows the nations of Asia and the Pacific that Australia remains a selfish European outpost with no regard for geography and no desire to listen to reason.

Today, probably with considerable embarrassment, officials at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok finally posted on their Facebook page the shameful edict of July 19.

It is only a matter of time now until Australian travellers and expats in the Asia-Pacific region become flummoxed and lost for words as they seek to justify their government's hideous policy.

There is no logical explanation, apart from shocking self-interest. Most Australians have already realised that the country gets the politicians it deserves.

Sadly, Australia does not have a leader with the vision and compassion of Jose Ramos-Horta.

There was a time when the nations of the region looked to Australia for guidance on human rights and ways to deal with poverty and neglect. Not any more.

The boatpeople may be forced to go to another country to live in conditions designed to discourage others. But it's Australia that has lost its way.

The edict, now also posted in the Thai language so Thais can more quickly absorb how a racist policy reads, is as follows:

..A joint announcement between the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea was made today, 19 July 2013, to introduce cooperative arrangements to tackle people smuggling operations.

..Both governments signed a new agreement - the Regional Settlement Agreement - outlining the transfer and settlement of unauthorised maritime arrivals.

..Effective immediately, unauthorised maritime arrivals to Australia will be transferred to Papua New Guinea for processing and assessment.

..Anyone who travels unlawfully to Australia by boat, without a visa, will be transferred to Papua New Guinea. They will never be settled in Australia.

..The announcement sent a loud and clear message that both countries are committed to introducing a multi-layered approach to curbing people smuggling activities and reducing the number of lives lost at sea.

..People smuggling networks around the world will now be offering people false hopes when they tell them they will arrive in Australia.

..If people are found to be a genuine refugee they will be permanently settled in PNG.

..Persons found not to be refugees may be returned to their home country or a country where they had a right or residence, or held in a transit facility.

..There is no cap on the amount of people that may be transferred or settled.

..The agreement reviewed after 12 months.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Anyone been to East Timor will know that they can't even take care of themselves and are relying on the UN. I fail to see why Australia or other western oriented countries should be responsible for muslim Rohingiyas or SriLankans for that matter...completely different culture...Why don't the rich arab muslim countries step in and offer them a place...they have lots of space available ,got the money and since they import all their labor anyway then they would come in handy and fit in well in their muslim societies. Or is the problem that their muslim brothers don't want them ? After all the arab peninsula with all it's rich countries is much closer than Australia and Western Europe ?

Posted by Sailor on July 30, 2013 12:52

Editor Comment:

Anyone who has been to Papua New Guinea may tell you the same thing, Sailor. Perhaps you need to get around a bit more. Do you really want the next generation to grow up in a world strictly divided on religious lines? It's been tried before. It always ends in the deaths of innocent people, possibly the next time in the deaths of millions of innocent people. Given the failures of the past, don't you think it's about time you abandoned your bigotry and tried tolerance and togetherness for a change?


Ed, of course in an ideal world there should be freedom of movement between every human. However having seen the UK have a generous Immigration policy which had led to middle age workers who were born in the country and paying tax being unable to work as immigrants living five or more in a room doing building work, plumbing etc pay no tax and then send money back to their country so actually take away from the country not contribute. Australia is the only country in the region with a comprehensive benefit system (inc Sing/HK who have nothing like the same) and why should they have to pay to educate, feed and house these people. They took the Muslims from Beirut in the 1980's and then their children caused the biggest domestic riots in Australian history. Maybe the government does not want the same again. In addition if Australia sends out the signals that they are welcome how many thousand will die trying to get there, how many will travel to other countries trying to get there. The comment about the Jews is totally different as most of them were very rich and already citizens. Are you therefore encouraging people smugglers and death on the seas. Having seen the problems in the UK where uneducated people take advantage of "bleeding hearted liberal" government policy I think Australia has done the right thing. Having lived in the UK and Australia I prefer Australia. Ask any Brit what their main concern is - immigration. East Timor is a failing state which until recently was policed by Australia. Why should hard working Australians have to finance this, then possibly like after the Israeli/Lebanese war when the government offered a warm hand and took Muslim Lebanese twenty odd years later the children tried to change Australia in to a "Sharia" state. Please don't confuse morality with reality.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on July 30, 2013 13:31

Editor Comment:

I guess riots are never caused by Aussies but by the children of immigrants, eh? Without morality, all judgments are unrealistic. This is one of them. The class-riddled British have never come to terms with each other, let alone immigrants. One would hold out greater hopes for Australia. But it appears greed and self-interest override morals and ethics there, too.


i think most australians are sick of seeing millions of there hard earned tax money being spent on the boat people.australia has taken its fare share or refugees over the years.let thailand open its doors to them. oh can some 1 tell me why farangs pay 200baht to see water fall and thais pay 20 baht that is racist as well farangs are made pay a lot more for many things with is wrong

Posted by GT on July 30, 2013 13:47

Editor Comment:

That's what you call a failed attempt at diversion, GT. The difference between Thailand and Australia when it comes to boatpeople is that Thailand is not a destination country, only a transit point for boatpeople on their way somewhere else. In that vital regard, the two countries are vastly different. But none of you advocates of total rejection have figured that out yet. The rights and morals issues remain the same, regardless.


Ed you say "Without morality, all judgments are unrealistic" If only the whole world was moral what a far better place it would be.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on July 30, 2013 14:32


Anybody that disagrees with Australia's handling of boat people hasn't been to the Western suburbs in Sydney. It resembles the Middle East and these immigrants lack the enthusism/desire to assimilate and be Australian. They rort the system any way they can. They look for free hand outs and contribut absolutely nothing in return.

Posted by thomas on July 30, 2013 15:15

Editor Comment:

That's funny, the west of Sydney used to be filled with Vietnamese, and before them it was Greeks and Italians, and War reffos, and there was even a time when it was mostly convicts. How odd, they're all called ''Aussies'' now.


These boat people are just queue jumping economic migrants looking for a hand-out from Australia's over-generous welfare system. John Pilger is another Marxist like the editor.

Posted by Tommy on July 30, 2013 15:28

Editor Comment:

The point is, Tommy, that the only way to sort the economic migrants from the real refugees is to interview them. Too many selfish Australians are now prepared to even give up that bit of humane decision-making. If I really did face the choice between being a marxist and a mercenary heartless prick, it would be a no-contest.


These bleeding heart lefties like Pilger won't be happy until Australians are all riding bicycles and living at the same standard as people in North Korea.

These pipe dreamers seem to think if you bring these people to a good country they will all miraculously become good honest citizens.

Just ask the Police about the Sudanese refugees and all the problems they have caused in their short time in Australian.

The sooner Australia puts up the 'house full' sign the better. I respect the Thais for protecting their borders.

Posted by Tommy on July 30, 2013 16:06

Editor Comment:

Borders are an artificial construct, Tommy, now disappearing faster with travel and time. Don't get too locked into them. Migrants are often traumatised and they seldom get the sympathy they deserve. Australia is fortunate to have Sudanese to add to the mix. The positives always outweigh the negatives.


Lidcombe, Auburn, or Granville. Been there lately Ed?

Posted by thomas on July 30, 2013 16:12

Editor Comment:

Jose Ramos-Horta says: ''I am ready to welcome these unwanted children of God into my relatively comfortable home.''
And you say Lidcombe, Auburn, or Granville. They'll be gentrified and too expensive before you can say ''second generation,'' thomas.


Seriously ed, your commentary is not much better than the right wing radio shock jocks eforts in Australia except you have leaned so far to the left you are likely to fall over. I'm also not surprised John Pilger has come out in absolute criticism of the policy. It's a bit like asking Lenin what he thinks of capitilism. Australia accepts tens of thousands of refugees every year and are well in eccess of their obiligations under the united nations convention on refugees. The current wave of refugees seeking asylum in Austalia are not in any way being rejected. Thousands of refugees in camps across Asia are being processed and admitted to Australia every day. To suggest we are rejecting Asian refugees from Sri Lanka, Afganistahn, Iraq and Iran in some return to the white Austrailai policy of the 1950's is a gross exageration and simply untrue. What both sides of government in Australia are saying is that they will decide who enters our country and when which is nothing more than any other country in the world would expect from it's government. IdsThailand any different? Do you know that thousands of so called economic refugees are entering Indonesia via air flights from all of the countries mentioned above using the "visa on arrival" process and then immediately using the services of Indonesian people smugglers to get a boat to Australia while the refugees in camps are waiting for legal processing. I would suggest that the people in the camps are more desperate than the people who can afford the flights and the boats. I'm not convinced that the new process is perfect however I don't believe Australia is turning into some sort of Colinial backwater either. Austrailia in this centuary is one of the most tolerant and multicultural countries in the world and one that does not discriminate against it's citizens in issues like business or property ownership unlike some other countires I could mention.

Posted by Peter Melb on July 30, 2013 19:36

Editor Comment:

Human rights is not a political issue. But some Aussies are (effortlessly) persuaded that it is, and that being ''one of the most tolerant and multicultural countries'' (in their own minds) entitles them to be selfish and ignorant in the year 2013. You're kidding yourself, and that's the underlying concern. An Australian politician in election mode will justify anything, even if his (or her) grandmother (or great great grandmother) arrived on a boat.


Sorry Ed, you need to get around some more...I have had the pleasure to work around the world since 1987 ... so I think that I have quite a lot more cultural understanding than you have .. anyway not surprisingly you skate over the fact that their muslim brothers don't offer them ironic is that..much closer and same culture. But let me tell you this, try to go live and work in a muslim country and then tell us all about how much they like and respect you there...the fact is that they don't ! The only religious lines that are drawn are drawn by muslims in todays world, most unrest and problems are in parts of the world where they are ... Iran, Iraq, Southern Thailand ... in Indonesia you have JI , burning of churches, Abu Sayaf in The Philliphines, Syria, Pakistan , Afghanistan ... maybe they should sort out their own problems instead of expecting the western world to solve them for them.
The use of bigotry comes easy to you but try to look at yourself for a change and to use your own words try to get out and see and experience the world by yourself, maybe then you will understand how it works.

Posted by Sailor on July 30, 2013 22:48

Editor Comment:

I've worked fulltime in a Muslim country as recently as 2006 and I live on Thailand's Andaman coast and mix every day with Buddhists, Muslims and Christians without any problems. Your attempt to categorise the people of the world according to their religion smacks of the Dark Ages, Sailor, not the 21st Century, It's doubly sad that your view is both shaped by religion and misshapen by your bigotry. You and others with similar warped perspectives are the problem.


What you don't seem to acknowledge Ed is that these so called 'boat people' have flown to Indonesia. They've purchased air tickets and travelled as tourists to Indonesia from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Once there they, pay people smugglers $10,000 to travel by boat to one of the Australian islands. They destroy all their documentation and are informed exactly what to tell Australian immigration officials as far as being legitimate refugees as opposed to being the economic opurtunists migrants they are. The Sri Lankan government and Navy are trying to stop the boats leaving Sri Lanka with their citizens aboard bound for Australia. They are telling the Australian government to send all the Sri Lankans back because they aren't fleeing from anything. They too are purely trying to migrate to Australia under the flag of persecution and fleeing for safety.
Shame on you for even mentioning the Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese etc. They are some of the biggest critics of these so called boat people. They see all these so called boat people being dumped into their suburbs. All young men not working but bleeding the system dry. Living rent free, playing on their ipads and pushing full shopping trolleys around with their brand new Nike sneakers on. They know it's a farce and the Australian tax payer is being rorted to the point of breaking.
So unless you live in South Western Sydney and actually know these people you really shouldn't comment on the subject. It would be like me commenting on living in Phuket, and that would be just silly.

Posted by It's too late on July 31, 2013 04:19

Editor Comment:

But having said that, you are prepared to comment on what's happening in indonesia, It's too late, and to make the assumption that there are no genuine refugees on the boats. Your conscience is clear, right?
And you are prepared to speak for the Italians, Greeks, and the Vietnamese. Your generosity knows no bounds.


Ed your comments are refreshing. There are so many replies I could make - I am Australia who lives in Timor-Leste and am very involved in this issue. More facts, less propaganda, less racism. Being humane and following human rights conventions is not a 'left' position. And Sailor - a bit misguided to say that Timor-Leste is relying on the UN - you clearly haven't been here in a long time and didn't understand it when you were.

Posted by Anonymous on July 31, 2013 08:42

Editor Comment:

Indeed. Sailor appears to have travelled the world carrying a lot of baggage.


ED, I see you are still doing your best to tarnish Australia and make it look like a racist country.

There is nothing wrong with a country trying to prevent people smugglers from taking the piss out of a nation and preventing more loss of life at sea in the process.

The cost of processing the so called asylum seekers is in the billions of dollars and then there is the cost of feeding, assimilating and trying to find a place for them to live with a housing shortage and a huge waiting list for public housing for those already living in Aus.

Half the world would love to move to Australia and get on the benefits but there comes a point where the gov must step in and say enough is enough and have control over who comes and how many come, not the other way around.

You don't see any Aussies taking refugees and cutting off their arms and legs and making them beg on the streets for cash in front of tourists like they do in Thailand. This happens in your town!

Posted by Glassy on July 31, 2013 09:33

Editor Comment:

It never ceases to amaze me how Aussies note the dollar cost as an excuse for blatant human rights abuses. And the abuses, by the way, taint Australia as a racist country, with racist politicians carrying out a racist policy on behalf of racist Australians. Of course, some Aussies are not racist. Most of them just choose to stay silent and count their dollars. But the world knows.


Ed, you're clearly out of your depth on this subject and bringing the race card into it shows this. It's a clear sign of your lack of knowledge on the situation. A bit immature and disgruntled I think Ed.

Posted by It's too late on July 31, 2013 14:07

Editor Comment:

Deal with the issue or don't bother wasting readers' time, please.


I don't know a great deal about the issue to be honest but am acutely aware of similar debate here in the UK.
What I do want to comment on though (and not for the first time) is the editor's behaviour and language in the comments thread. Editor (and I struggle to us that term) you are clearly outvoted on this issue, though that doesn't make you wrong necessarily.
It is not your place, however, to answer each and every comment that shows disagreement to your article. That is supposed to be the healthy debate generated amongst READERS that a well written article should ignite. Perhaps your readers happen to naturally lie more to 'the right' on the issue but then so be it.
Honestly, piping up at every opportunity using words like "ignorant", "bigoted" and "prick"(!), whilst making comparisons to Jews in Nazi Europe, just does you & your journalistic integrity no favours. In fact it makes you appear insecure about your own argument and conviction. Maybe take a read back over the whole conversation and try to look at it objectively..? Maybe you will see what I mean. Or see how they do it on the BBC or countless other prominent news websites for pointers. Essentially it is about YOU applying the same tolerance of your readers' comments (and their freedom of thought) as the tolerance you ask Australia and your readers to show over race.
I expect you may block this little comment of mine but I don't mind that as at least you will definitely have read it. Or feel free to comment back... as if you wouldn't!
I'm sure you will wish me to stop reading Phuket Wan or, who knows, you might show some tolerance...

Posted by What is an Editor for? on August 2, 2013 14:07

Editor Comment:

All editors have opinions and as journalists they are supposed to be proponents of the truth. However, most of them happily dredge a moat between their journalism and comments by readers. I choose not to dredge that moat. One of our aims in starting Phuketwan Comment was to conscientiously counter the bigotry and racism that was widespread in Thailand's expat forums at the time. Sad to say, a lot of bigotry and racism continues. Valid opinions, expressed without factual errors or self-delusion, are always welcome. Comments that are obviously distorted or based on a poor understanding of the facts will continue to be challenged. If you want the bland, you know where to find it. But we have no intention of allowing free kicks to ignorant bigotted pricks anytime soon.


Your words above ed.." ignorant bigotted pricks"

Calling anyone, let alone your valued readers such names is way out of line ..In fact , so far out of line i would suggest that if you ever said that to the face of most readers[which, keyboard toughguys like yourself, would not do]you would end up bloodied and are an embarressment to yourself and sponsors, and really need to stop this crap.

Posted by Mal on August 2, 2013 17:17

Editor Comment:

My word were: '' We have no intention of allowing free kicks to ignorant bigotted pricks anytime soon.''
That comment is not directed at our readers. I suggest you talk to someone who can explain to you my response, then you will understand your error.


Anonymous, yes, you are right, Timor Leste is not only depending on UN, there are many other contributors , AUSAID is one them with 120 Mill spent in 2012 and projected cost for this year of 125 Mill this year ... and they are not the only ones , so no East Timor can not take care of it self and unless they get some big oil finds that can be used to pay their expenses then they will remain on foreign support for the foreseeable future .

Posted by Sailor on August 2, 2013 17:30

Editor Comment:

And yet a former Prime Minister,fully aware of his country's poverty, can reach out to people who have even less and say: ''We will help if you need us.''
How Australia shrinks by comparison.


My word were: '' We have no intention of allowing free kicks to ignorant bigotted pricks anytime soon.''

Who are these IBPricks then if not every respondent to your article? Please read back the resonses, and then consider to get some perspective before you respond. Please also consider getting some professional help. Oh Dear. Twin Palms man - are you reading this???

Posted by eddy on August 2, 2013 20:17

Editor Comment:

eddy, you don't appear to have been a respondent to the article until now. But if you think the description is intended for you, you would be mistaken . . . unless, of course, you insist. I can't speak with absolute certainty but i suspect our sponsors are as opposed to racism and bigotry as we are.
Aren't you, eddy?


Yes, that is a good point. How Australia shrinks by comparison , now why not make a list of willing countries that would love to have Rohingya boat refugees ... and make the list of countries that are paying themselves...Timor Este is on world welfare . Give us the countries and the number of refugees they take so we can salute them ....!

Posted by Sailor on August 2, 2013 21:02

Editor Comment:

Why is it that when we talk about human rights issues, your response is: ''Show me the money.'' You don't seem to get it. Helping other men, women and children who are fleeing certain death springs from the heart. You and your country either have a heart, or you don't.
Your heart, or the money. What is your choice, Sailor? And what is your country's choice?


The editor needs to take a few steps back from the keyboard and go for a long lie down. Then he can dream about his socialist utopia as that is the only place it exists.

Posted by Tommy on August 3, 2013 11:22

Editor Comment:

What are your dreams, Tommy? All you seem to enjoy doing is wasting others' time with foolish, unresearched remarks..


If i suggested that you are an ignorant bigotted prick, as you do appear to be one...would you post this?
Fairs fair and all that .....Thank you.

Posted by Mal on August 3, 2013 11:27

Editor Comment:

That only goes to show just how poor your reading and comprehension skills are, Mal, and how ignorant and insulting you must be in real life. Your opinion on this off-topic subject adds no value, as usual. Thank You. And Goodbye.


Yes Ed, money talks ...but that is not the point, the point is that you are using the Rohingyas situation to smear Australia at any given opportunity, you probably have a reason for that. The fact is that nobody are really interested in having these people , they should be helped where they are...I suggested earlier that if they were to go anywhere then it should be to a place where they fit in culturally and where they could get jobs...the Middle Eastern islamic states fits this description well, same religion and they import millions of workers from Bangladesh, India etc already why not there ? Much closer than Australia ....Maybe they don't want them ? If that is the case why not smear them instead of smearing Australia ?

Posted by Salor on August 3, 2013 12:01

Editor Comment:

Australia's appalling policy on boatpeople applies not just to Rohingya but to all immigrants, Sala, wherever they come from and whatever their legitimate claims to be refugees. You being you, you will always fail to get it. And of course, you couldn't possibly be a racist or a bigot or a person who dodges international responsibilities on human rights.
There's a whole island continent full of you.


ED, It's becoming clear that you have something against Australia.

You say: "Australia's appalling policy on boatpeople applies not just to Rohingya but to all immigrants" So that would mean that the policy isn't racist as no particular race is favored over another!
If someone was to arrive by boat from a western country, they too wouldn't be able to enter the country, so that's fair.

You then go on to say that Australia is full of racists and bigots.

You need to wake up and have a good look at the country you are in.

:Locals who target tourists for scams are rife.

:There is the 2 tier pricing where Thai's pay less for just about everything and non Thai's pay more.

:Foreigners aren't allow to own land.

:Foreigners aren't allowed to become Thai citizens unless they go through the most rigorous red tape.

:Foreign labor workers get exploited and treated like second class citizens.

:The police setup down Patong Beach to pull over tourists and wave the Thai's past for not wearing a helmet.

:Groups of foreign very young kids are exploited and run around all night in Bangla Road but the cops don't give a dam because they are not Thai.

:Lots of Foreign men are treated like walking ATM machines by many Thai women who flock to Phuket. Of course, the men allow this to happen to them but they are targeted for cash because they are foreign.

And you call Australia racist!

Stop spreading your biased distorted views of Australia all over the internet. People from other countries will read what you write and believe it but it's mostly nonsense.

Of course there is racism in Australia and each time something racist happens, the media is all over it which makes it look bigger than what it is but the level of racism is much lower than most other countries.

Wake up!

Posted by Glassy on August 3, 2013 15:53

Editor Comment:

You don't seem to understand the difference between discrimination and racism, Glassy. Thai pricing is discriminatory whether the non-Thais involved come from Asia, Africa or Europe. Australia's racist policy clearly targets boatpeople from Asia and the Middle East. No other country (including Thailand) has this appalling kind of policy, which treats genuine refugees the same as economic refugees and makes Australia the most racist country in the world.

Here's a quote from a prominent Australian today: ''We owe our freedom, prosperity and the very lives of our children and grandchildren to this great country - one of the most democratic on earth. Yet we know the reality is that racism can't simply be dismissed as belonging to another place or time.
''Racism and its impacts on people's lives continue to cast a shadow in Australia.''

Time you felt some shame, Glassy. Most thinking Australians already do.


So...what is wrong with suggesting settling the rohingyas in countries that share their religion, it is a very important part of their daily life ? What is wrong with that ? Why is it so important that they have to end up in Australia (or in any other western country for that matter) in a culture and a way of life that is so different from theirs ?

Posted by Sailor on August 3, 2013 17:17

Editor Comment:

This article is about Australia's selfish and appalling new policy of pushing all boatpeople to other countries, whether they are genuine refugees or not. The Rohingya are just one kind of boatpeople.

As another intelligent Aussie writes today: ''By appealing to the basest instincts in our society Australians are being led into a dangerous void, filled by fear - in some cases, xenophobic - and vilification. Down this path lie vulnerable refugees fleeing persecution and, while deserving of our empathy, they are instead left degraded and dehumanised.''
Some people will never get it, Sailor. Their lives are all about the money. Stop pretending you give a damn about anyone else except yourself.


The editor doesn't understand the difference between racism and an informed opinion. Racism or racial prejudice means you have 'pre-judged' someone on race.

I don't see the above comment stating 'every Thai' or 'all Thais' he says local people and police. This is an opinion not racism.

Posted by Tommy on August 3, 2013 19:54

Editor Comment:

This article is about Australia's racist police on refugees, not Thais or Thailand. There is racism and there is tolerance, Tommy. Those are the choices. Informed opinion is the opposite of uninformed opinion.


I get it ! Your only concern is that Australia will not open it's borders , that no other country will open their borders for Rohingyas does not bother you at all. And in your universe that makes Australia a racist country.
Well that is your opinion which you are entitled to, I just happen to disagree and rest my case.

Posted by Sailor on August 3, 2013 20:53

Editor Comment:

By pushing boatpeople to Papua New Guinea and Nauru without checking to see whether they are genuine refugees or not, Australia becomes a pariah nation. Australia is a racist country. Even thinking Australians are saying it.


ED, you say "Australia is a racist country" and Thailand isn't? I want to hear what you say about Thailand.

So Australia must be a very multicultural bunch of racists? That makes no sense really.

You also praise and quote a so called "intelligent Aussie" (like Aussies are all uneducated) who says "xenophobic - and vilification" about Australia.

With Australia being at no 11 in the world list of countries by foreign born population, I think that proves Australia has done it's fair share.

Thailand is at 35

Papua New Guinea 152

Nauru 178

Maybe the government is right in settling migrants in these countries as they are obviously not doing there fair share. Nothing racist about that.

Posted by Glassy on August 4, 2013 12:21

Editor Comment:

This time, Glassy, Thailand is not pushing back the boats. Phuketwan spoke out in 2009 when they did. In 2013, Australia is pushing back the boats. The principle hasn't changed. But it's a surprise to find a prosperous, allegedly moral and developed country dodging its human rights responsibilities.
The vast majority of Australians are from Europe. The proportion of Australians of Asian or African heritage remains extremely small.
Racism is all about race, and it shouldn't be confused with bigotry. If the boats were filled with white people, they would still be landing and their refugee status would be properly assessed.


Bit late to the party ... but ...

Alan (Ed uses our full names when given), what a sterling artical and excellent non-waivering rebuttles to the splurge of ignorent patriotic/racist comments here, hardly surprising considering most are from Phuket expats. In fact, this article has drawn me out of my self imposed exile from commenting (see me and Alan don't always agree, and I took offense at his comments to me re: tuk tuks).

Alan has always critised Thailand on this issue when he feels it's warranted, and pulled no punches. So commenters having a gripe at a double standard, you're way off, this isn't the place. The article is about Australia's policy. Plus he's always said that the problem should be sorted by Burma.

Sailor, I agree, other Muslim countries could do something. I suspect there are unnaceptable cultural beliefs about status. But then as Alan says, you want the world divided by religion ? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Fiesty farrang, there has no gvmt. in the UK that could be considered "bleeding heart" since 1979. Since then Thatcherism has prevailed, no matter the party in power. However if you'd like to say, house/job/life swap, with these priviledged immigrants, I'm sure you'd have some takers. Plus most ex-immigrants were invited, to help the British economy. Much like Thailand and Burma. And using Israel as an example of cultural integration ! LOL. (I agree with your 2nd comment though : )).

A vast majority of PW's readers are Australian and Alan knew exactly the reaction he would get from this article. That's why I respect him. In the UK we have considered the majority of 'true blue' Australians to be racists for decades. (Have you read the accounts of being followed by security guards from famous black Aussie football players recently ? And they're household names !) Some counties in the UK aren't much better I'm afraid. I have a friend in the Aus. Army, just come back from Afghanistan ... Can't wait to leave Australia. Why ? Having seen a few things, he can't stand the ingrained racism from people completely ignorant of world/national affairs. Apparently many Aussies think the Aus. Army is in control.

GT - double pricing is clearly wrong, especially to such an extent, but irrelevant here.

Tommy did you realise that Marx said "Capitalism is the most efficient economic system we've ever seen" ? He also saw many ways to make a more efficient system which didn't require devices such as mass unemployment. And "Australians riding bycles ... As North Koreans" ... Intelligent comment ! (Actually more people riding bikes is a good idea :)).

It's too late, a lot of settled immigrants are the most critical of immigration (just look at most Australians, sorry, only joking). However your comment about i-pads, full trolleys and new Nike shoes is comical. Maybe you saw a black doctor ? Or maybe your repeating the same racist propaganda published in the paper you read. Don't worry, The Sun and The Daily Mail are full of the same bs in the UK. Murdoch owns a few publications in Oz, right ? Must have seen a suitable market.

Mal, are you suggesting violence ? How mature.

P.S. Great comment about 'Gentrification'

P.P.S. You commenters do realise that (most) of you are immigrants ? Sometimes economic migrants ! Shock horror - no wonder some Thais don't like you in "their" country.

Posted by James on September 8, 2013 11:51

Wednesday July 17, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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