One step forward, two steps back.
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Jul. 12th, 2010 | 09:39 am
Pissed off at the moment about the fact that our first female prime minister has spent much of her first weeks in office fuelling racial mistrust and xenophobia, over the issue of asylum seekers. What she's doing is completely obvious: trying to win the racist bogan vote, stirring up fear about border protection. Julian Burnside said it perfectly in an article in the Age:
Julia Gillard wants an open debate about refugee policy. Good thing, but let the debate start with the facts. So far this year, just 3500 people seeking asylum have arrived by boat in Australia. That is a very small number. If it keeps up at this rate, it would take about 20 years to fill the MCG with boat arrivals. We receive about 240,000 migrants each year, so one year of asylum seekers arriving by boat is equivalent to about one week of new migrants. We aren't being flooded.