>We’re all suspicious of politicans. It’s a survival instinct. Which is why when pollies surprise me, I’m doubly pleased.
Originally spotted on Asians Down Under, the news about Hong Lim (Labor MP, Clayton, Vic) speaking out against Gillard’s increasingly Howardesque asylum seeker ‘solutions’ was invigorating.
Here’s an excerpt from The Age article, ‘Labor MP slams Gillard’s “cruel” asylum policy‘; it’s part of Hong Lim’s email to all state Labor MPs:
”I am at a loss as to know what to say to people, let alone what to do,” he wrote. ”I hang my head in shame as a leader of the Cambodian community, as a member of the ALP, as an MP, as an Australian … as a human being … to see political expediency being played out so cruelly and so unconscionably even among our Party!”
I can imagine his sentiments getting short shrift in the atmosphere leading up to this next federal election. More’s the pity.
Mr Lim’s email also criticises the response to the federal government’s policy from a variety of community groups, saying there ”had not been a whimper” from Cambodian, Indo-Chinese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian or Hmong leaders.
This is appalling, if it’s the case. I haven’t had a chance to do much checking on this but if no community group leaders are saying the policies suck (or similar), then how are they ‘leading’ the communities? How is it OK to see others be thusly treated when your situation with coming to Australia may have had very similar elements? Or even if they didn’t, actually. Those policies are a failure of humanity and compassion. It’s not only a case of being able to identify with asylum seekers (though, if you could, surely it’s a no-brainer what Oz’s policy should be?). Anyone with a migrant heritage in Australia (which, let’s face it, is everyone except indigenous Australians) should have a little think about how and why they ended up here, and what kind of a country they think they want to live in. I don’t want an Abbott Australia. I didn’t want a Howard Australia. Unfortunately, I’m fast realising I don’t want a Gillard Australia either.
I initially said that Hong Lim’s speaking out was invigorating.
And it was.
Until the whole thing was tamped down by party machinery, with MPs being encouraged by Labor liaison officers to state:
“This is a matter for the federal government. While I am a member of the Australian Labor Party, I am simply expressing my personal view. I have no moral values worth fighting for, and I wish all these brown people would go home instead of taking the jobs of real Australians.”
In the wash-up, Lim is quoted very much as toeing this party line of ‘it’s only my personal opinion’. What’s a guy to do if he wants to stay in the leaky Labor boat, eh? I know that’s not quite fair, but we’re all dying out here for a politician behind whose values we can actually rally. It would be so good to feel optimistic about the policies and social direction of one’s nation.
Kevin07’s apology was one moment.