I had a post in mind in the last few days about the similarities between the old Usenet aus.politics discussions, and the chaos that is #auspol. But, I have a heavy heart and can’t write about that kind of triviality.
Instead, again, some of the most desperate of people are flinging themselves against a focus group decorated fence. One where the ALP gets to pretend that caving into its bogan shadow in 2001 had no consequences. One where the LNP gets to talk about upholding human rights with straight faces. One where the Greens get to cry about brown people.
By an astonishing degree of luck, I was born in Australia. I did nothing to make that happen. I won the lottery of birth.
But I was only born here because my family came on a boat. They weren’t locked up in the desert. They were lucky, and didn’t die at sea. And that’s the crux of all this for me. How are these people any different than my family, that fled persecution, war and starvation, to make a new life in Australia? Only the luck of their birth.
The extraordinary revisions of history going on in Parliament this week have been breathtaking. As though the Howard years were a bastion of upholding human rights and being caring and sharing chaps.
The ALP ran from any moral high ground on people seeking asylum for most of the last two decades. Introducing TPVs, supporting the ghastly post 9/11 and Tampa legislation that fed into suburban fears, instead of campaigning for a different narrative.
And now, by laying down a flawed piece of legislation, knowing it would fail in the Senate, just before the winter break, the ALP has squandered the chance for a true change to stop people drowning trying to get here.
And for the Greens? The previous NSW Greens Senator Kerry Nettle campaigned with a wide range of groups during the Howard Government, providing materials and support for activists and spoke out frequently in Parliament. The Greens position on this is hardly a surprise.
But should they compromise when put in a vice by the ALP and now abandon their previous position? I don’t think that was ever likely to happen. Greens members would have erupted in full-blown rebellion if they had.
Instead, the Greens could spend the next six weeks, out in that suburban landscape that seems to be driving all of this, articulating, arguing, campaigning their arses’ off, so that when Parliament resumes, there is a new narrative and pressure on the ALP from the heartland they seem so afraid of.