Politics

Tony Abbott and 'the lesser breeds'

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For those who care about such things it's worth considering just how much the Kipling concept of 'the lesser breeds without the law' infuses and governs Tony Abbott's thinking and much of his public utterance.

He says he won't – and mustn't  reveal if he is bribing people smugglers or not, because this would be telling the enemy what he is up to, and they, the enemy, mustn't know what he is up to.

In this, he proclaims his belief that the smugglers won't talk to anybody. That they don't have mobile phones, or iPads, or access to Facebook, or to a public phone, or a post office, and they wouldn't, without his permission, without his express imperial permission, pass on to their cousins, and uncles, and high school friends the glad fresh news of how to make money safely in the people smuggling business and not go to gaol for it.

This belief, I believe, is racist, or "otherist", or "heathenist", as I like to call it — the belief that obedient darkies lack the power of speech. They are mere chittering jungle animals who know little and learn little, and rarely talk about it.

It presumes the same lack of speech in the asylum seekers also. Though many of them have a tertiary education, a mobile phone, a degree in computer science and relatives in Australia or their home countries they are in touch with, it is thought they will keep his on-water methods secret if he wishes them to. These are the methods piracy, kidnap, bribery which have ruined their lives thus far. Of course they would. Why wouldn't they?

This attitude goes beyond the bizarre and approaches the insane.

Abbott continues to say he has "stopped the boats" while six thousand people in boats mass around Malaysia. How is it they are stopped? They are still coming.

He certainly turned back one boat, by bribing its captain and crew, but it was going to New Zealand, which would have welcomed, we are told, the people on it.

He kidnapped or assisted in the kidnapping of people bound for New Zealand, which wanted them, and sent them to Indonesia, which most emphatically did not want them. Indonesia would have to spend $4 million a year looking after them, for the next 30 years perhaps and most emphatically did not want them.

It is pretty clear that piracy and kidnap, including the kidnap of children and pregnant women, is against the law in most countries (except, one imagines, Islamic State) and, in the cold clear light of Magna Carta, requires any public official, however highly placed, to go on trial for it, and, if convicted, go to gaol for it. Bribery is also a crime in most jurisdictions and in China is punished by a single bullet to the back of the head, and attracts imprisonment in 180 countries.

But the racist attitude of Abbott and Bishop and Morrison and Dutton proclaims, insanely, that this law does not apply to them.

It is as near to the cry of "I am Napoleon!" from an old-fashioned madman as any we have lately heard.

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