Would our politicians get on a boat?

English: Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Au...

English: Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe it is time our politicians, especially Abbott, Morrison, Rudd, Bowen and a few others, took an honest look at themselves. Whether you personally like these particular men or not, they have reached the most senior positions in Australian politics. Let me share a little secret – they didn’t get there by being gifted those positions. They fought, sometimes figuratively sticking a knife in a political opponent’s back. These guys have balls. They don’t sit around waiting in some imaginary political queue.

If these men were honest with the electorate, if they were honest with themselves, they know damn well they’d get on a boat. If they wouldn’t, I’m not that sure they really have to balls to run the country – do you?

English: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott address...

English: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott addresses a forum to discuss the Government’s recently-proposed carbon tax at Customs House, Brisbane, Australia on July 14 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not saying getting on a boat, paying people smugglers and risking the high seas is a sensible option. I am looking at WHY people do it. Because unless we understand why, it will never stop. There are myriads of articles on the internet discussing the why, but those “why” reasons are always attributed to “the others”. While no-one ever says it, the implication is WE would never get on a boat, we would all wait in an orderly fashion in the imaginary asylum seeker queues.

BULLSHIT! I don’t believe a word of it. I can categorically tell you if I was sitting in a refugee camp somewhere and there was an chance, an opportunity, however slim, of getting to a new life, I WOULD TAKE IT! I know damn well I would. I would get on that boat.

There is a personal caveat to that statement – at my age now I would probably make the choice to let a younger person with a longer future ahead of them take my place. If I were in my thirties or forties? No hesitation.

I would probably steal a boat, in fact, if that were the only option I saw before me.

Scott Morrison MP, Federal Member for Cook

Scott Morrison MP, Federal Member for Cook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I challenge any one of Abbott, Morrison, Rudd, Bowen and I will add Burke, the current Minister of Immigration simply because of his portfolio, to stand before the electorate and swear on the Bible or take an affirmation that they would not get on a boat if the opportunity presented itself. If they do, I won’t believe them. Because as tough as I have been, they are tougher (or so they would have us believe). If I know in my heart I would get on a boat, so do they if they are honest with themselves. Can they be honest with us?

Once we accept that in the same situation any one of us would do the very same thing, we then may reach a place of better understanding and therefore have a better chance of actually coming up with a workable solution.

Where is the root cause analysis of why people get on boats? I don’t mean the persecution from which they fled, I mean why they choose boats over sitting around in a refugee camp. All I hear is punitive “solutions”: in other words trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted. We don’t hear solving the root cause, yet in our own professional lives in business that is exactly what we would do. We would do that to save money, reduce manufacturing defects and address other business problems. Yet it seems we don’t do it with the most valuable of the world’s assets: people. I know – it is a global problem we do not have control over and the world, bless its heart, refuses to work together to actually solve persecution.  We are too busy fighting over oil, religion, land, power and politics to name a few items the seven billion on this planet love to scrap over.


14 comments on “Would our politicians get on a boat?

  1. […] Abbott reinforced this by saying how bad the asylum seekers’ behaviour was. Think very carefully, dear reader. If you were incarcerated for no other reason than exercising your rights under law to seek asylum and were then told you were stuck in limbo for ever, what would you do? As we now know, it appears the behaviour was not as originally depicted by the government and the poor people were given the wrong or at the very least confusing information about their possible futures. Would you not protest? I know I damn well would! Any regular reader of this website knows I would. If you take away people’s freedom for no justifiable reason, do you really expect them to say “thank you” like meek little lambs? These people are NOT meek – they fought to get to freedom, just as any of those politicians would. […]


    • I can understand how a person will do anything to avoid being imprisoned. probably better to live on the street and collect cans for recycle. even if not in limbo forever, i wouldnt blame anyone who runs away from detention, even if it was for a few months, even if there was no abuse. it’s still torture.
      and often there is abuse and danger in those places, and often in limbo for years.
      put yourself in their shoes. i would knock the guards unconscious and run. i wouldnt hurt innocent people, though.
      families are torn apart in detention sometimes, and that’s even worse than imprisonment. wouldnt blame a parent who would fight physically, tooth and nail.


  2. Great thinking piece Robyn. I’d get on the boat for a chance to improve my life.

    Would those politicians listed do so? I doubt they could imaging the situation and the answer is no. Currently, sadly, empathy has left the political scene.


  3. For sure I’d get on a boat for the chance of a better life. In fact, I could imagine jumping on a boat just out of curiosity out of what Australia is like. When I’ve been travelling I’ve done lots of dangerous things. Likewise,when fishing or surfing in Australia I’ve put myself in the vicinity of sharks and snakes which could kill me. Those who say that they must be true refugees because only a true refugee would take a 5% risk of dying must be people too scared to leave their apartment for fear of dying.

    I was once reading an explanation for why so many African men had unprotected sex with prostitutes, despite wide awareness of how Aids is spread and how many prostitutes have Aids. The explanation was that, for people who grow up with militia, starvation, malaria, lions etc, the threat of death is so common that people either live life or lose their fear of death. Sex without a condom is therefore one of life’s little pleasures.


    • Re your first paragraph: EXACTLY! And to pretend otherwise for political gain is not ethical.

      As for your second paragraph, I really do not know the statitics, however I do know many cultures are really not focused in the future, their focus is to just get through the day, for they may well not. My husband says one of the major problems with Nigeria is there is no planning for the future.


  4. The reality is that everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution, they do not have the right to resettlement as refugees after asylum has been granted in one country.

    They can though migrate to wherever they want after citizenship of the host country has been granted.

    The amount wasted to maintain a lie is beyond belief.

    And Gillard and Abbott did get on the boats as assisted migrants, everyone did until flight was commercial. This is an island after all.


    • They can’t migrate to wherever they want unless they qualify under a particular visa though and for some that would be very hard. Look at how long it takes to brink a parent here – about 10 years! We’d love to bring John’s step-mother, but it would be a minefield we just can’t afford. We are still paying of the last minefield!


  5. I would also get on a boat, especially if it meant my children could have a safer future.


    • Yet so many, including our pollies, rabbit on as if it is such a terrible thing to do.

      Makes no sense to do that when it is a natural thing to do!


      • why is it a horrible thing to do, if their lives are at risk and they’re not hurting anyone?
        attack is the best defense. politicians go on about how horrible those people are to cover the government’s crimes against humanity, and not just in Australia. this has become a world-wide problem, the abuse of refugees by the hands of cruel government.
        EVERYONE would get on a boat. the will to live comples us on. those people are desperate, and their lives and their kids’ lives at risk. a Sudanese woman escaped to Israel once because she was gang raped at age six by soldiers, and she didn’t want the same thing to happen to her four year old daughter. they were both deported.


  6. Again a very thought provoking blog, Robyn. To come up with a good political solution is extremely difficult, isn’t it?


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