• Kristin Perissinotto

Morrison is using migrants as political pawns

Since the Morrison government was re-elected in 2019, it has cancelled visas of more than 4 000 'non-citizens' and had them deported. Many of these 4 000 had lived in Australia for most of their lives, and did not know any other home. There were cases of deportation when the person did not even know they were not a citizen of Australia until they received a notice of cancellation from the government. Now, the Coalition is trying to pass new legislation that, if passed, will see that number increase significantly.

Get the back story and hear from the principal solicitor at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Hannah Dickinson on 7am by Schwartz Media.

In 2014, Scott Morrison was the Immigration Minister, and in that capacity, he strengthened visa cancellation provisions, making it easier for the government to deport people. When speaking on the changes, he said

'Entry and stay in Australia by non-citizens is a privilege, not a right.'

Prime Minister, I wonder: If people have been displaced by wars Australia is involved in, for example, people fleeing Afghanistan, are they enjoying a privilege if we bring them to our shores? Is it a privilege for people who have spent nine to 12 years locked in detention centres that do not uphold human rights to finally be allowed into our country? Is it a privilege for you, for me, and for most people who call themselves Australian, to live here peacefully after our ancestors invaded this island?

Visa holders in Australia have been deported based on traffic infringements, with the government claiming they do not deserve to be here if they don't follow our laws. Is a parking fine worthy of deportation? If one is driving with a tail light missing, should they be shipped back to a country they do not identify as home?

The timing of this bill is not a coincidence. The Liberals are going strong on a 'national security' platform in the lead-up to the election, which can be translated into fear-mongering. This platform has served them well in the past, and if you want my opinion, it's because a huge percentage of this country's voter base is fucking racist. And the government knows that. The treatment of First Nations People and people of colour in Australia is appealing. We don't truly acknowledge our racist past, which many people think is so long ago it's not even worth thinking about.

The White Australia Policy hung around until 1964. Attempts to overturn it failed until 1961. How can we possibly imagine that Australia is a multicultural paradise with such a blight on our very recent history? Politicians leveraging off racist ideals is a fucking disgrace. Visa holders and migrants are not pawns for political gain. 'National security' has become synonymous with a message of 'keep them out,' referring to people of colour trying to enter our country.

It's not about security. It's not about ensuring people who live in Australia abide by Australian laws. It's about pandering to a base of racist voters, and fuelling a fire that already rages in our country. Society, as we know it today, was built on racism, on white supremacy, on the belief that colonialism and capitalism is the only way to succeed. Australia tried to erase First Nations history - many are still trying, and a lot of them work in Parliament fucking House.

We're told the Aussie way of life is all about a 'fair go'. But the unspoken rules dictate who gets that fair go. Who gets the so-called privilege to live the 'Australian dream.' Who is allowed to migrate here, and from where? Who can live here without fear that an ominous letter or uniformed officials might show up at their door? The government has a responsibility to improve our society, not capitalise on the worst part of it for political gain. But all they care about is winning another term - at any cost.