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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fact: Australians hate people smugglers

Waleed Aly wrote a screed for the SMH yesterday on the occasion of Tony Abbott's appearance on-stage in the UK at the Margaret Thatcher Centre, in which the perennial poster-boy of the left attacked the ex-PM's refugee policies. Big target, right? Hardly difficult to do now the guy's left the frontbench? Right on both counts.

Personally I'm a big supporter of refugees and have on many occasions publicly called for a refugee processing bureau to be established in Jakarta so that we can get more of these people settled in Australia where they can happily contribute to the national economy in peace.

But Aly like so many other commentators on the left ignores one major, glaring fact when they set out to attack some sectors of the conservative side of politics in Australia. This fact is that most Australians supported Abbott's policy of turning back the boats because they didn't want to see any more asylum seekers arrive via people smugglers on our shores. We know this is the case because both major parties had stopping the refugee boats as official policy. And why? Because both parties ran endless focus groups to try to find out what average Australians thought about the issue. What they found is that average Australians make a difference between refugees who arrive by legitimate means through camps and the usual vetting process that applies in them, and refugees who arrived by boats from Indonesia.

It's as simple as that. Australians were smart enough to know the difference. If you had asked me, I would have said something along the lines of, "Let 'em all in!" But the average Australian - and I've never pretended to be an average anything, just ask my mother - thinks differently. They didn't want to be supporting the business model of criminals who took money to ferry desperate people across thousands of miles of sea, to get here.

It's hard to accept, I know, but if you want to do justice to the truth accept it you must. The average Australian didn't like people smugglers. In fact, she hated them. Badly. So badly that she was willing to see refugees locked up in open-ended detention, including women and children. It's a fact. Get over it. Next problem.

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