Every city and town all over the world has its underbelly. It needn’t be an organised crime kind of underbelly as in The Mob, but it is an organised something. Usually covert. Usually subversive.
This was put in the mailbox of everyone in my street today.
There are a lot of people in Australia for whom immigration is a real issue. Every now and then when I want to either be amused or infuriated I tune in to the radio shock jocks. There is nothing scarier than an Aussie redneck with a beer in one hand and a microphone in the other. They hate the Chinese, the Indians, people from the Middle East whom they refer to collectively as Muslims even if they’re from Israel, Africans, Eastern Europeans, the Indonesians – the list goes on and on. This kind of hatespeak is offensive, of course, and it should be easily dismissed. The problem is that oftentimes, it isn’t.
It gets sucked into the underbelly and leaches, often quite subtly, into the mindsets of some parts of the community.
Pretty much everyone in Australia came from somewhere else. Even our indigenous people came from southeast Asia originally. You will find that is the case for most nations across the world. So it’s probably fair to say that we’re all immigrants.
When you ask people why they are opposed to immigration the usual response is they take our jobs. Or they immediately go on benefits so we end up supporting them. Or they create ghettos that are hotbeds for terrorism and anti-Australian sentiment.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. There is one and only one reason to stop immigration. And that is if a country runs out of resources (and I include in that category water and affordable housing). What these fanatical groups don’t realise is how incredibly difficult it is to emigrate to Australia in the first place. The prerequisites are very tight. My sister Shelley was toying with moving back to Australia until recently. She lived here for over ten years and was an Australian citizen, but she gave up her citizenship for a U.S. Green Card. Even though she lived here before and has family here she would have to go through the same process as everyone else.
People seeking entry to Australia have to go through a points system. For a permanent residency permit/visa there is an annual quota. If your circumstances allow you X number of points you can enter. If they do not, you cannot.
You need professional work qualifications – which vary from year to year according to supply and demand. The big issue for most people though is transferable capital. Most people need a large chunk of savings as well as a guaranteed job before they are even considered for residency.
My sister gave up – there was far too much red tape.
There have been reports here and there in the local papers of the rise of Neo-Nazi groups in the inner city suburbs of Sydney. That worries me a lot.
What is the function of a Neo-Nazi group apart from spreading hatred? To bash everyone who doesn’t look like a member of the Aryan nation? That person’s family could have lived here for three or four generations. That person could run a company or business that keeps hundreds of the people the Nazis define as real Aussies employed. That person could have been born here. I am a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white skinned person. Yet I am an immigrant. Technically, I should be bashed too.
I don’t understand why people who feel so strongly about what is essentially a political issue don’t lobby government. I am constantly writing letters to my local member about environmental issues. And because I write to her in a sensible, genuine way, she responds. I have spoken to her on the phone. Believe it or not it is possible to establish a working relationship with a politician as long as you don’t come across like a lunatic.
So why don’t the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups lobby government? Because they prefer to get the veins of hatred throbbing. Spread a lot of misinformation and most importantly find a group to blame for the ills of society and you’re on to a winner.
But mostly, because they’re there in the first place to keep the underbelly well fed.