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MORALITY AND REFUGEE POLICY December 5, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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Green Senators spoke with emotion on the treatment of refugees in the last evenings debate on the amendment to the legislation. The debate, such as it is, was delivered to a near empty Senate chamber.This is a moral case, and as democratic citizens we have to take responsibility, and hold those who presume to rule us to account.

Senator Hanson-Young makes the case that Minister Scott Morrison is “a sociopath”:

Senator Scott Ludlam begins by describing the legislation as “a sordid chapter in the race to the bottom.” The bill was inevitable arising from the consensus by Liberal and Labor to use violence as deterrence against those fleeing violence:

Then Senator Milne argues that there will be a reckoning for all those who have knowing supported the bill, which is violation of International Law, and whose purpose is to negate that law:

Moral stands are easier for minor parties than the major parties who seem to be both freaked out by the violent attitudes to refugees by a apparently significant section of the Australian electorate. When callousness and political calculation are intertwined successfully, it is only a matter of time the scapegoating will be domesticated. Even in Australia there will be social tensions, and the tried and test methods will be used.

I think the fundamental issue is that technology is removing jobs, together with international trade agreements and offshoring, and the ideology of the market, cover for corporate fascism and income inequality. I would anticipate violence to increase. Mohandas Gandhi is a more significant social and political philosopher grounded in practice. “Constructive Programme” is linked by strategic vision to nonviolent opposition based on truth (hence “satiagraha”). The idea of constructive work is to make your local community independent of the oppressive dominating power. This is somewhat more apt for a village-based society. He does not deal with the role of propaganda and public relations, which when focused on election outcomes is corrosive of democratic participation. Pragmatism exists with the accepted norms and assumptions. Simply, this is how success is achieved. Gandhi has and had his critics. Arundhati Roy recalls BR Ambedkar who fell out with Gandhi over the question of separate electorates for the Dalits (Untouchables).

It is interesting to observe that the French thinker Alain Badiou. According to the Radio National, The Philosophers Zone (30.11.14):

‘The question of how to change the world is a very complex one. When there is a new proposition in the concrete world there is always three dimensions not one. First there needs to be a strategic vision—an idea common to all the actors. Today, that does not exist. Most people today think that capitalism is here for many centuries to come. In the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street there is no strategic idea; they are built on negative conviction. We want something else and so on, but there is no clear opposition common to all. The second point is that uprising and revolt by itself cannot change the situation.’

‘This is why we have the third necessity: the question of organisation. And this is always the most obscure question in the field of politics because it’s the question between action and thinking.’

In the meantime, we should expect the system to produce predictable results, which extend to the principle actors as much as the policies. Perhaps there is some consolation in the undemocratic Senate – unlike. for example, the NSW Legislative Council – embellished with proportional representation which allow for the happenstance of the vainglorious cross bench. Protest in all its forms is necessary but not sufficient, particularly if not founded on effective moral purpose.

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