I endorse Eltham's view that: "What Australia needs most is a new policy to change the attitudes of Australians, not the practices of people smugglers. We need a national effort to stop the fear, not the boats. A sustained campaign by government, the media and informed citizens to demystify the issues around refugees and to allay the fears of ordinary Australians might help change the debate. Rather than mounting a hysterical reaction as boat after boat reaches our shores, we might instead reflect on the opportunities we are offering desperate people to start a new life."
What I'd like to focus on for the moment, however, is something a bit different. I haven't ploughed through the 400+ comments, BUT I've looked at enough to be appalled. Perhaps if you read further than I did you'll conclude I'm overstating things. But from what I see, here's how it looks to me. Eltham has put a very careful and rationally persuasive argument, in which, among other things, he sets out what seems like strong evidence that the number of boat arrivals is driven by events in
But few commenters really want to deal with that at all. Those who disagree don't even try to follow the argument or examine it, or engage with it, fairly - they simply express widely-aired, but superficial, talking points that could have come from one of the many populist journalists, commentators, shock jocks, and politicians with which Australia is well stocked. It's depressing if you think about it too hard, as, I suppose, I am hereby encouraging you to do.
Sorry about that.