Even if you have little sympathy for the fellow human beings fleeing persecution and asking for our help, even if you’ve internalised ridiculously misleading and flat-out inaccurate phrases like “illegals”, “queue jumpers”, “country shoppers”, and “non-genuine refugees”… if you’re otherwise a rational Australian you’d realise that a few thousand people on boats could never damage our country as much as a significant deterioration in our relationship with Indonesia, our most populous neighbour.
This new PM, Tony Abbott, ranks that relationship BELOW his obsession with persecuting refugees.
The Oz tries to minimise what that damage might mean, making it sound like just a few meaningless speeches, and the News Ltd tabloids are presently a hotbed of “who do those Indons think they are” macho idiocy – but if you think sensibly for a few moments, you couldn’t possibly dismiss it so cavalierly.
…even if this means enduring significant damage to [our] relationship with Indonesia
As if that’s a pissy second-order issue.
It’s true we’ve done things to piss off the Indonesians before – when we (eventually) stood up for the human rights of the East Timorese (before stabbing them in the back for their precious natural resources); most recently when we tried to prevent animal cruelty to our livestock. But unlike the present case, we were not alone in the former – we were backed by most of the rest of the world. And the latter issue didn’t involve affronts to Indonesian sovereignty. In an Indonesian election year.
This new government we’ve got aren’t “adults”. They’re children playing at being cowboys. And if we let them keep doing it, it’s hard to have confidence it won’t seriously hurt us all.
*Not really, obviously.