Mike Baird’s straw man against refugees

Polarising and wrong

Polarising and wrong

Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, has fallen into the trap of polarising the refugee issue into ‘welcomers’ and ‘bigots’.

In his view, if you oppose certain kinds of immigration to Australia, you are ‘fearful or ignorant’, conveniently avoiding the real issue at stake, which is the kind of refugee Australia should be accepting.

For non-refugees, there are very strict rules for gaining entry to Australia, and those who wish to live here must satisfy a rigorous character test before being granted a visa. The test is on the Border Protection website but can be summarised as follows:

A person is deemed to have failed the character test if:

  • they have a substantial criminal record
  • they have an association with another individual, group or organisation whom the Minister reasonably believes has engaged in criminal conduct
  • they are likely to engage in criminal activities in Australia
  • they are likely to harass, stalk, or molest another person while in the country
  • they are likely to incite discord within the community, or a segment of the community within Australia
  • they represent a danger to the community, or a segment of that community by being likely to become involved in activities that are disruptive, violent or threatening.

These are all reasonable criteria to apply to those wishing to make their home here.

But when it comes to refugees, it’s open slather. Many arrive with no documentation or identification and our border officers have no idea of their background – if they meet the criteria for refugee status it doesn’t matter. They may be jihadis, terrorists or criminals, and we would have no way of telling.

And even if they are none of those things, the reality is that many immigrants from majority Muslim countries like Syria or Iraq will have little concept of the culture of Western democracies and standards of behaviour in them, and may well fail the character test for that reason alone.

If you want a foretaste of massive, uncontrolled Muslim immigration to a Western democracy that was wholly unprepared for it, just take a look at Germany, as in these earlier posts:

Mr Baird, it is not ‘fearful or ignorant’ to refuse entry to refugees that will neither integrate, nor assimilate, nor respect Australian values or culture.

It is not ‘fearful or ignorant’ to want to assist those fleeing genuine persecution in the Middle East, but would rather assist those cultures that are compatible with ours – and the truth is that often this will mean those of a Christian background.

Personally, I desperately want Australia to help those persecuted minorities in the Middle East escape from their life of dhimmitude, and play a full part in a society that respects and welcomes them.

But like many, I am not prepared to see Australia sink into the mire of misguided cultural relativism that is currently swamping Europe, and should not be branded bigoted or ignorant as a result.

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