Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who made himself a gaudy “I Stopped These” desk ornament to celebrate the Liberal Party’s on-going war against boat people, has gone on the record to assert that not only is Australia a “great” immigration nation, but may well be the greatest immigration nation on earth.
Fronting media this afternoon to address the growing crisis in Hong Kong, Morrison announced a raft of measures to provide relief for the 10,000-odd Hong Kong citizens currently residing in Australia. That includes an immediate five-year extension on temporary visas, a more defined pathway to permanent residency, and suspending the current extradition agreement with Hong Kong. The plan did, however, stop well short of offering Hong Kong residents political asylum. And that’s where the bung comments came in.
Morrison asserted that “Australia has always been a very welcoming country to such people from all around the world, and our immigration system is the best in the world,” which is laughable enough by itself, but the Brown Pants of Engadine decided to push his luck even further.
“Immigration as a result has been a pillar of strength of our nation, not just our economy but our society as well. We are a great immigration nation. I would argue we are the best. And many countries have learned from our success in managing immigration in the national interest, and we will continue to do that.”
It’s probably worth pointing out here that “managing immigration in the national interest” in this case refers to the internationally reviled offshore processing system that detains desperate asylum seekers in punitive detention centres for years on end without charge and without much hope for a future life in Australia; a system that has repeatedly been exposed for having shocking health care systems and has bred desperation, hopelessness, and rampant self-harm amongst detainees.
And, to reiterate, that’s from a bloke who has this in his office.
How good’s Australia.Image: Getty Images / Jenny Evans