Monday, June 25, 2012

Stop the PPM NOW!

So the Australian Federal Parliament has gone into the winter recess without resolving the issue of desperate people trying to get a better life - refugees - by risking their lives on inadequate boats. I have no doubt that, despite the shows of emotion during the debates, we will now be regaled by blame apportioning - each side will blame the other for its intransigence and, no matter what the rhetoric, all will try to make political capital out of the fiasco and tragedy.

Our politicians are showing themselves exemplars of PPM - Piss Poor Management. They say that political points should not be made out of this. They claim to be interested in and concerned about the refugees. Then go and continue their puerile facade of blaming each other for a failure to stop the boats coming. Their behaviour belies their words. Their behaviour makes it clear that they don't give a damn about the refugees - they are interested only in their own political stance and the possibility of retaining or obtaining power. This applies to all the political parties in our Federal Parliament.

Like many others, I've had enough of the negativism from the Coalition opposition. I've had enough of the resolute refusal to consider any view but their own from the Greens. And I've had enough of the "do it my way" from the Labor government. And I've more than had enough of the rambling rhetoric of the radio and news media shock jocks who foster extremist views through their commentary on the refugees themselves and on any attempt to take a truly humanitarian stance in dealing with them. And I am totally fed up with the demonising of refugees coming by boat when, in reality, they comprise only a small proportion of the illegal migrants in Australia who have arrived legally, mainly by air, and then overstayed their visas.

It is not an offence to be a refugee. It is not an offence to flee from perceived persecution. It is not an offence to be so desperate that you get on an unseaworthy vessel, travel huge distances, and endure untold hardship in order to find a better life for yourself and your family.

After World War II we took in huge numbers of refugees from Europe. Some of what, today, are our most successful business operations were founded from amongst these numbers. After the Vietnam War we took in thousands of refugees. Today many of these are making their mark as valuable contributors to our society. What's different with these new people?

Part of the reason they are refugees is that we have helped destroy their homelands. We invaded Iraq on a lie; we invaded Afghanistan on a pretext; we are complicit in terrorising people in Pakistan's border areas through the use of drones that kill the innocent along with the possibly guilty. We rightly mourn the deaths of our own solidiers in these conflicts; we are rightly concerned at the physical and emotional injuries suffered by our soldiers in these conflicts - but what about the innocent victims - the "collateral damage" -in these countries. This is the source of the refugees. We share a significant proportion of the blame for their condition because we have contributed to their plight.

I understand that true leadership is a foreign concept to our politicians, but, just for once, it would be great to see them look at the really big picture then do the right thing - place genuine concern for these refugees that we have helped create ahead of their petty political posturing. Until they do that then the task given to former defence chief, Angus Houston, is the ultimate act of cynicism (and that's no reflection on Angus Houston - its just that he's not being set up for success.)

People are dying while politicians play games. That's Piss Poor Management at its worst.

Our politicians need to stop this PPM now.


  1. Doug, you have captured exactly my feelings. Brilliant post. I wonder if it would make the Heckler column in the SMH.

  2. Thanks Stewart. I've just sent it to them so we shall see!