If you missed them
A few highlights from Punch staff and contributors are over the jump. For a bit of fun, check out the #medievalbumperstickers thread on Twitter from today. And here’s a video that’s worth another look.
One reader insight from this week is from Punch regular Zeta, with a considered position on asylum seekers (also over the jump). Have a great weekend.
I think the reason we aren’t as accepting of refugees in this country is that we’re an isolated island in the middle of no where that’s never had the same pressures of global exodus put upon us.Israel’s list of the ‘Righteous Among Nations’ includes no Australians. It’s not like we have a culture of including refugees in our society forged through war. When we did accept an influx of ‘refugees’ in the late 40s and 50s, it was purely self serving. We needed the labour to build a dam. Then we let them stay, because we needed to breed. There was no altruism there. Before the second World War, we only allowed immigration to help us pull gold out of the ground. All this, from a country of settlers. This attitude, which has permeated our culture, is really quite disturbing.
In Northern Europe, even ultra conservative political movements are accepting of refugees because it’s ingrained in their culture. In the last 2 centuries, the European population has been transient as a result of wars and the persecution of minorities. Australia has never had these pressures, and was always distant enough from them to be ambivalent. In a way, the current situation is a result of increased globalisation. When my grand father came to Australia from Greece, all he knew about Australia is that their soldiers wore funny hats. It’s not like he could turn on a television and watch Neighbours. It’s just that we’re so damn attractive to the rest of the world. A peaceful country of opportunity. We’re what the United States was a century ago. But unlike the United States, we’ve never had a leader who said ‘give us your hungry, your poor’. We have leaders who say ‘give us your doctors, your accountants, but keep your poor because we don’t really like them’.
From a conservative perspective, we have a moral obligation to accept refugees and socialise them. I believe we have a moral obligation to export freedom and western democracy to those nations that reject it, even down the barrel of a gun if necessary. But it’s quicker and easier to simply bring those people we’re freeing overseas to our own country, and have them see the wonders of western civilisation first hand. The biggest patriots I know are all immigrants. Take a walk through Chinatown in Sydney’s CBD and talk to restaurant owners. Those guys would bleed blue to make sure our flag’s color’s stay bright. It takes time, sure. And it’s easy to demonise those first generation immigrants that haven’t quite embraced the glory of freedom and democracy. But they will, and their children will. If they don’t, we reserve the right to send them home. But we should not preclude them from having the opportunity to embrace us. If Western Culture is to remain the dominant paradigm on planet Earth, we have to let them in, give them vegemite sandwiches, utes, and football. And eventually, they’ll become just as xenophobic and insular as the rest of us. I had this great Iraqi cabbie a couple of days ago who told me how he brought his family out in a boat. He then went on to tell me how the Australian Government needs to make sure they don’t let any of those Sudanese people into the country. He was listening to Alan Jones on the radio. That’s the system working. Being a racist, talkback addicted Australia is so awesome, everyone deserves to become one.
Highlights from this week, in no particular order. Hope you find something you like.
Clint Hillery: The top 10 wine ordering crimes
Leo Shanahan: Close encounters with the wooden spoon
Kate Ellis: Body image problems are far from fantasy
Tory Maguire: But Karl Lagerfeld is right, sort of
Claire Mallinson: All sides of politics ignore refugee facts
Kevin Andrews: The ETS is just like a GST hike
Mark Colvin: Hand on heart, take care of your kidneys
Paul Colgan: Researchers giving bad advice to good parents
Peter Lewis: Where did the scary union dictators go?
Nedahl Stelio: I’m not sure about this future fashion trend
Nicola Roxon: I’m no nanny, it’s about saving lives’
Catharine Lumby: Does cheating still matter?
Sarah Ayoub: Believe it or not, fidelity is still in vogue
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