The public debate about what to do with people coming to Australia seeking asylum is complex and charged with a myriad of emotions, not to mention a plethora of political propagandist rhetoric and one line slogans such as “stopping the boats”, “boat people”, “people smugglers”, “illegal immigrants”, “border security”, “possible terrorist threat”. If we buy into this rhetoric, then no matter which side of the fence we sit, we have been brainwashed. When we label, we dehumanise people and name them as one problem or another, or worse yet, demonise them. I’m sure we all remember the slogans “War against terror” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.
One thing is clear…. If anybody promises that they will “STOP THE BOATS!” then they are making false and empty promises. It does not compute. There is something that is causing people to flee their homes, risk their lives, and their families to take the journey to Australia. Stopping the boats can only be done by changing whatever dire situations these people face in their home countries. There are no simple answers for this issue.
Let’s stop the rhetoric and the labeling and have a real conversation about the real issues about this problem instead.