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Q&A: Human Rights and Wrongs on Population, Immigration, Refugees and Asylum-seekers

On Monday 31 March 2014, I watched the last half of Q and A, entitled "Human Rights and Wrongs." I was very annoyed by the hugely innaccurate information the panellists were operating with, which went uncountered by Tony Jones.

The panellists were Egyptian author, Mona Eltahawy, Kenneth Roth, International Director of Human Rights Watch; Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner; Ilwad Elman, Somalian peace and human rights activist; and Lucy Siegle, Ethics columnist The Observer.

A large part of the discussion concerned refugees and took in a pond of misinformation and ignorance . The worst misinformation was the impression given that 20,000 refugees = total immigration to Australia.

Actually, in addition to the refugee quota, Australia takes in about 200,000 non-refugee, economic immigrants per annum.

This was left unsaid, as ignorant panelists from somewhere else called our country racist on national Television and no one objected. The more the asylum seeker issue is conflated with immigration over all, the more confused the Australian public will become. Australians need to understand that refugees hardly contribute to Australia's population growth, but that there is a whole other stream of 200,000 plus economic migrants who do, enormously.
On the whole a middle class public take the ABC as the Oracle and many form their views according to what they are exposed to on the ABC. If the text messages shown mainly flogging Australia for its supposed immigration inadequacies were truly representative of the ABC audience for Q & A on 31 March, then there is a marked unearned guilt inferiority complex amongst them based on the ABC's continuous misinformation.

One of the panellists on Q and A drew our attention, as though it were an original thought, to the possible need for havens in Australia for overseas climate change refugees. The reality of this situation is that Australia, itself , the driest and least fertile inhabited continent on the planet may well itself have serious environmental problems. In addition, most of Australia's population and infrastructure lie on coastal land, much of which is projected to be lost to rising sea-levels due to climate change. The rest of Australia has very few inhabitants because it consists of deserts and rangeland.

Why would anyone think that Australia will stay the same while much of most other countries is inundated or in other ways environmentally destroyed?

Why do I have to pay for the ABC to let uninformed people from other countries lecture on immigration to Australia. The ABC compounds the general ignorance.

The real problems facing us are environmental decline, overpopulation, and the very real prospect of serious deficits of energy availability which will necessitate enormous changes to our total way of life. Q and A largely misses the point as far I’m concerned in all the episodes I have watched.

It would be helpful if Q and A would consider getting in some real experts one night to discuss the real challenges we face as a nation and as Earthlings.


Former PM John Howard deliberately was tough on "border control" and asylum seekers to use them a smokescreen to propagate high rates of NOM. Attention was diverted from high rates of immigration by using the asylum seekers as a distraction. He declared himself an supporter of high immigration, in retrospect, but at the time the media used asylum seekers to grab the " immigration" debate away from the masses arriving at our airports quite legally - at about 1000 new arrival each day!

The ABC is using the same diversionary tactic.

Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson, in Washington, admitted that Australia would inevitably have to settle climate change refugees in the future. At a conference, someone from Fiji wanted to know what Australia's position was with regard to climate change and refugee policy.

Some islands in the Pacific are threatened by rising waters, but also by heavy population growth.

Australia also has heavy rates of population growth, and is expected to be hard hit by climate change.

It's assumed that Australia has unlimited resources, despite being largely a hot, dry continent with infertile soils. Australia is to be a safety valve for the region, yet we have no fail-safe places of refuge or a contingency plan if the coastal fringes that our population is hugging can't maintain present levels of population growth! Australia is assumed to be the "immigration nation" forever, and have a bottomless capacity for human settlements.

Isn't it ridicuous that the ABC can't talk about population and indeed seem to obscure the facts under a cloak of refugee distraction? Someone told me that the taboo on talking about population (as a concern, not as a growth spruiker) is similar to a taboo that crept in during the 1960s or 70s concerning the Peace Movemement..He told me you could not talk about peace or you would be considerd a communist!