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Racist government, racist opposition, racist debate

By Jennifer Wilson - posted Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bob Brown said it on the 7.30 Report on Monday, July 5, 2010.

There are at least 50,000 people living illegally in Australia.

These are not asylum seekers who arrived on boats. These are the people who’ve overstayed their visas. They’ve got lost in the general population. Some of them may even have worked out a way to fraudulently claim welfare payments.


They may be thousands of them in the western suburbs of Sydney, or in Queensland.

These 50,000 “illegals” are queue jumpers. That means they’ve ignored the proper processes legitimate migrants have to go through before they can call Australia home. They haven’t made their application and waited their turn in the line.

They shouldn’t be here. They’re taking Australian jobs, for less pay than Australians, no doubt, because it’s all in cash and under the counter. They are deceitful and disobedient, and they are living in hiding from the authorities.

They’re unlikely to do much good for the country because they can’t live a legal life here. They can’t build community. They can’t pay taxes. They can’t make any worthwhile contribution at all. They can only take.

Hardly qualifications for good citizenship. Hardly the type of person we want in our country.

These 50,000 illegals aren’t eligible to call themselves asylum seekers, or to apply for refugee status. They are lifestyle illegals. They’ve decided to stay in Australia because they like the life here better than the life at home. They paid for their airplane tickets, and they showed their passports. All they escaped was a climate they didn’t like, or social mores they didn’t fancy anymore.


Until the problem of these 50,000 illegals is acknowledged and addressed by the government and the opposition, as loudly and indignantly as is the issue of boat people from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, or anywhere else for that matter, then our politicians are engaging in, and promoting racism.

It is racist to single out Afghans and Sri Lankans as public targets for deportation, and as the only significant threat to our borders, while publicly ignoring the 50,000 illegals already in the country, and no doubt with more arriving each day even as we speak.

It is racist in the same way as the Northern Territory intervention was and is racist. There are thousands upon thousands of white Australians who mistreat their children, yet it was not considered necessary to manage their incomes, and intervene to prevent the abuse and sexual abuse of their children. Only our Indigenous population came in for that singular attention.

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About the Author

Dr Jennifer Wilson worked with adult survivors of child abuse for 20 years. On leaving clinical practice she returned to academia, where she taught critical theory and creative writing, and pursued her interest in human rights, popular cultural representations of death and dying, and forgiveness. Dr Wilson has presented papers on human rights and other issues at Oxford, Barcelona, and East London Universities, as well as at several international human rights conferences. Her academic work has been published in national and international journals. Her fiction has also appeared in several anthologies. She is currently working on a secular exploration of forgiveness, and a collection of essays. She blogs at

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