A friend of mine in Australia, recently informed me how much the Asylum issue will play in the contentious Australian Elections due in September, but over which the two main parties Labor and Liberal will prey on the electorate’s innate sense of fear.
It is the Labor Govt. of Julia Gilard that is in power, and the polls give the opposition Liberals the edge. The Liberals are playing the race card, and immigrants card, namely that additional immigration, especially the asylum seekers are bad for the Country as evidenced in the recent crime committed by an asylum seeker.
They seek to show that Labor is soft on asylum seekers despite the reports in the Australian Press on the HRW report on allegations against the security forces in Sri Lanka.
See Link: http://www.theage.com.au/world/sri-lanka-accused-of-human-rights-abuses-20130226-2f4de.html
It is as well for us in Sri Lanka to understand that what happens here can and does play a part in the election campaigns in foreign lands, and therefore the stance taken by those governments are often more for domestic political reasons as it is for international and humanitarian reasons.
It is easy to see how one party seeks to attack the policies of the present government as being biased towards asylum seekers who should be sent back, despite the claims of torture if they return. So both articles in the links above are arguments put forth by either side in this campaign, and depending on what the populace accept as being a more reasonable approach, can alter the outcome of an election.
I often, painted this Government governs by fear, rather than love for the people and a sense of doing justice to all who live here. If all fails, play the fear of race card to win the hearts of a substantial section easily frightened into believing lies.
Similarly too in Australia, using fear of a country overrun by criminal foreigners is an election gimmick used to fool the electorate there, and the bogey men always is the hapless SL refugee or the hapless SL Govt. is fair game in ‘fair dinkum’ land in a game of poker for power!!