Thursday, 4 October 2007

Playing the Race Card

Dear fellow blogger, it was disappointing yesterday to find our esteemed minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Mr Kevin Andrews, playing the race card in an issue relating to Sudanese refugees.

Taking a lead from Pauline Hanson who has been rabbiting on about African refugees, but not getting a lot of media, he has quoted “anecdotal” reports of Sudanese gangs on Melbourne streets, and using this as a rationale for reducing the component of Sudanese in the mix of refugees to be accepted in the future. This has probably earned the coalition some votes from the redneck constituency.

A statement from the Victorian Police Commissioner pointing out that their crime statistics aren’t showing this has been brushed off using quotes from an unnamed beat cop who has made a vague reference to Sudanese moving around in groups. They do the same in Toowoomba, and because they’re physically very striking (very tall and very dark), they stand out. The fact that they don’t get up to anything whilst in these groups is apparently neither here nor there.

Our local experience, with which I have some familiarity through my parish, has been generally very positive. Sure they need help in settling in, but I’ve always considered that this was typical of refugees, and that a compassionate society would offer this help.

Andrews argues that the Sudanese have difficulty adjusting to the Australian community because of the experiences they’ve been through prior to coming to Australia. What a surprise! I’d assume that this would make them more deserving.

Apart from his limited capacity to bumble his way through the more challenging aspects of his portfolio, Mr Andrews is demonstrating a complete lack of anything resembling compassion. I guess that “mean and tricky” is a box to be ticked to ensure a ministerial position in Howard’s cabinet.

Kevin Andrews has the appropriate qualification.

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