Stop The Australian Bollocks

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Introduction

Is ‘Tony Gillard’ trashing or representing the Australian reputation? Should we say ‘Stop the Bollocks’ instead of ‘Stop the Boats’. This article in an edited for was first published in the Herald Sun here on October 16 2011.

‘Stop the Bollocks’

Few would disagree that the current debate around refugees, immigration and population is one of the poorest in Australian history. However, few realise that the bad image created by our leaders is also costing us Australian jobs.
Take international education. It is a sector in crisis. Glen Withers from Universities Australia has said that the way we frame the refugee and immigration debate has created an impression that Australia is unwelcoming to visitors and students.
Education is worth 1% of GDP to Australia and is a bigger expert earner than wheat, beef, gold or gas, yet an unwelcoming image turns away the foreigners that drive the jobs in this sector.
For every two international students Australia loses, our economy shrinks by a net extra job. The loss of 23,000 international students in 2011, and predictions of 75,000 by 2025, equals 11,500 jobs already and 37,500 jobs lost by 2015.
What about with tourism? We have seen a down turn and loss of jobs there too. Some is dollar related, but some is a growing reputation that we are unwelcoming.
I believe the unwelcoming reputation is wrong. But am I misguided on this? With more coverage on our refugee debate than our tourism ads, how do you think we are perceived?
Many have said that the refugee issue should not be a big issue. And I agree. It should not be. But it has now moved beyond one of boats, beyond the location of processing and moved beyond one of people.
This debate has grown to become an issue about the soul of our country, an issue about the content of our collective character. It is now a debate about who we are and how we wish to be perceived.
The asylum debate is difficult and it does our country no good to simply say ‘stop the boats’. But nor does it do justice to a complicated issue to say ‘just let them land’.
We should be perceived as an intelligent country that should debate issues in details, and not sound bites.
While Hollywood may have been fascinated by ‘Brangalina’, the current race to the bottom of the barrel on refugee policy makes some think our Prime Minister’s real name is ‘Tony Gillard’. Neither of them is mapping out an optimistic or positive plan.
Perhaps we could start by changing the unwelcoming policy title from ‘Border Control’ to ‘Controlled Entry’.
You can control entry with a positive or negative image. Boarder control implies we want to keep people away. Controlled entry implies we want people to come, albeit in an orderly manner. Perhaps then we can rescue our nation and make Australia positive again.

Read more?



See here: Maria. This is the story of the Bosnian  refugee girl I met in northern Serbia. A 12 year old who changed my life forever.

But what is an alternative?

Below are some links to  my views on alternative asylum, but also a positive, short video extract from the Richard Searby Oration where I think setting out where Australia should be.
 

If you are interested in my views on alternative asylum policy, see my other blogs:

 

Refugees

  1. Tampa 12 months on.
  2. Stop the Bollocks: Is Abbott trashing Australia’s reputation?
  3. Fear of refugees is a red herring.
  4. Resettlement not Processing is the real solution for refugees?
  5. Carrots and sticks can provide answers to asylum policy.
  6. Mental health of refugees our new Stolen Generation.

More discussion like this is in: 

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