It might have looked like a typical question-dodging tactic, but when Tony Abbott insisted on secrecy over asylum seekers because it might jeopardise ongoing operations, he did so in one of the most brazen ways possible:
“If we were at war we wouldn’t be giving out information that is of use to the enemy just because we might have an idle curiosity about it ourselves.”
Think about the implications of such a comparison. Are we really at war with any foreign citizen who turns up on our doorstep? Should I have declared war on the kind international student who delivered my Indian food last Friday? I sincerely hope not. Indeed, how would it be possible for me to order authentic Indian food in the suburbs of Melbourne at all if it weren’t for immigration?
Immigration is what this nation has been built on for decades. The diversity of culture, food, skills, language, markets, and more, is what has helped make Australia a unique and strong country. So when our Prime Minister insinuates that we ought to be fighting an all out war with desperate, helpless people, we shouldn’t excuse it as innocent hyperbole. Not only does he insult and further isolate vulnerable minorities already living in Australia (who, despite such rhetoric, continue to make positive contributions to our community), but he literally makes ‘them’ the enemy.
But the militarisation of this issue isn’t new; three-star generals don’t work for the Department of Immigration. Sure, it’s called ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’, and not ‘Operation Kill All The Foreigners’, but it might as well be if it’s anything like a War on Asylum Seekers. For what else is a war but an exercise in brutality designed to weaken the enemy’s resolve?
With allegations of Defence mistreatment and the clear aim to deter the ‘enemy’, when do we have to admit that our government might be waging a War on Asylum Seekers?