How petty are we?

We imprison people seeking asylum (most of whom will later be found to be genuine refugees). While we detain them on a remote island and they can’t do anything else, we have a system where we enable them to earn “credits” up to a maximum of $50 a week. If they saved these credits, they could eventually save up for something like an iPod.

This was beaten up and turned into a “the government is buying boat people iPods when I don’t have the self-control to save up for one myself!” story, enraging the locals.

So to stop this, we’re simply resetting their credits each week. We’re telling them they can’t save a little at a time, they can’t try to take control of the meagre resources we give them – they will use them straight away, or we’ll take them back. Saving your pennies up, week after week, to eventually buy something worthwhile, instead of just pissing them away on disposable garbage? THAT’S NOT THE WAY WE DO THINGS HERE, BUDDY.

It doesn’t matter that they’d be sacrificing something in order to obtain such an item, and it wouldn’t be costing us an extra cent – that’s entirely besides the point. The point is the galling notion of refugees enjoying any sort of comfort. Nothing appalls us more.

ELSEWHERE: And what’s happening to the refugees we’ve sent to Indonesia is even worse. Is that the kind of further suffering you were hoping the refugees would be made to endure, enraged Christmas Island locals?

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5 responses to “How petty are we?

  1. How apalling.

    If locals on Christmas island are really ‘impoverished’ then the solution is to help them – not to punish refugees so as to make the locals feel better about being impoverished.

    Sometimes this country depresses me.

  2. The cost of “detaining” (such a euphemism) an adult person is at least the equivalent of paying an entire adult wage to that person.

    In the community, this money could be frittered away on rent, food, and possibly even iPods!

    In the name of stimulating the economy, offshore detention must be ended now.

    (It’s either that, or we simply excise EVERYTHING but Uluru from the Australian Migration Zone, and sell the filiming rights to that Bruckheimer fellow . “Amazing Racists” or something…)

  3. AdamTheLurker

    This is a horrible idea, it doesn’t necessarily save any money but it does erode the detainees thrift and encourages them to spend as soon as they can, which really isn’t healthy if they are going to be trying to make a life here.

    I still don’t see the big deal with the boat people. I doubt I will ever see a boat arriving immigrant in my life. I live in a city of 150 000 people. How is an influx of 200 willing and hopeful people a threat to my lifestyle??

  4. It literally will not save a cent. Instead of spending $300 in one shot, they spend $300 in four increments.

    No matter which way you slice it, they’re still spending $300

  5. Yeah, but it will teach them “Australian values”.

    (/sarcasm)

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