Anti-refugee hysteria a ‘weapon of mass distraction’

July 26, 2013
Sam Wainwright
Sam Wainwright. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

Sam Wainwright gave this speech at a refugee rights rally in Perth on July 20.

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A statement by famous British Labour MP and socialist Tony Benn said: “The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”

What he was getting at is that the fear and loathing of refugees is a deliberate concoction.

The refugee crisis is real, but the fear and loathing of refugees that’s generated in our media and the general population, is a deliberate and cynical concoction.

It’s designed to distract people from the real causes of the problems in our lives. You think about it. Australia, a fantastically wealthy country and yet we have a housing affordability crisis.

You think about the massive mining wealth that the city of Perth embodies and yet the watered-down mining tax is going to raise less money than the government is saving by pushing single parents off the pension.

Bashing refugees is not going to create jobs, it’s not going to improve services, it’s not going to save the environment. It’s not going to create houses, it’s not going to do any of those things.

This anti-refugee hysteria that has been a theme of Australian politics for the last 10 or 15 years, is a weapon of mass distraction — very purposely pushed. But the problem is the collateral damage are innocent lives. Are real people.

That’s what happens when politics is dominated by a fabulously rich clique — and in Western Australia it’s a mining clique. It doesn’t just mean domestic politics is dominated by them, it means foreign policy and refugee policy is dominated by those people.

To turn it around, for ordinary Australian people to really be able to strive for their own rights, their own dignity, their own future, they have to be able to reject this racist poison that is deliberately spread.

While that racist poison is still spreading in our culture and our politics, ordinary Australian people will be unable to stand up and fight for their rights.

So it’s not just about the dignity of refugees which is what spurred us to be here, but when we take the argument to the wider Australian public, that’s the message we also have to take — that this is a deliberate con job. Don’t be sucked in, stand up for your rights and stand up for other people’s rights.

Video: Sam Wainwright: Fear of refugees is a cynical and deliberate concoction. Green Left.

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