Dear David (Butch) Harrison,
I’d like to take this opportunity to reply on behalf of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and also on behalf of all rational, intelligent Aussies who actually read through your brain hemorrhage of a letter.
You started your manifesto expressing your ‘concerns’ about ‘muslim (sic) asylum seekers/refugees/illegal immigrants’. In response:
a) An asylum seeker is a person who has fled their own country and applies to the government of another country for protection as a refugee.
According to the United Nations Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention), a refugee is a person who is outside their own country and is unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their:
- membership of a particular social group
- political opinion.
The term ‘asylum seekers’ refers to all people who apply for refugee protection, whether or not they are officially determined to be refugees.
The vast majority of people seeking asylum in Australia arrive by plane:
- 95% of asylum seekers arriving by boat are found to be genuine refugees
- Just 3441 asylum seekers were given refugee status in Australia last year, roughly 1% of the total migration program for that year.
- In comparison, around 50,000 people over-stayed their visa last year alone – mostly people with business, student or holiday visas
- Australia only accepts 1% of the world’s refugees
- At the current rate of refugee arrivals, it would take 20 years to fill the MCG
- It is not illegal to arrive in Australia seeking asylum.
Asylum seekers are coming from all over the world and are not just Muslims. And one of the main reasons that over 95% of sea-bound asylum seekers are found to be genuine refugees is because they are fleeing the very people you are afraid of, David. The real terrorists. Those who are, along with occupying forces, killing people and dictating inhumane laws and forcing people to flee their home countries at extreme risk to themselves and their families. People genuinely want to get away from that. And because Australia is a signatory onto the UNHCR 1951 Refugee Convention – asylum seekers and refugees are NOT ILLEGAL. It doesn’t matter if they are Muslim or Tamil or Hindu or Buddhist or Christian or Atheist or if they came by boat or by plane or by digging underneath the ground for thousands of kilometers – they are NOT illegal.
Now David, while I struggled to refrain from punching the computer screen in while reading your car-accident style discourse, I would like to express my gratitude for your services in Vietnam. And I don’t doubt for a minute that you don’t love your country. But neither of these are even close to being excuses for your extreme ignorance and lack of coherent reasoning.
You said you have posted your diatribe on the noticeboard at the Frankston RSL, and that you would post Prime Minister Gillard’s response. I certainly hope that my response rates the same level of publicity for the decent members of that RSL, as I’m sure there are a few people who find you to be a loud-mouthed bigot and merely nod their heads and agree with you whenever you open your gob, simply because they can’t be bothered entering into a debate with such an idiot.
You’ve said that Muslims in Australia want Islamic states and that they want to live under ‘their own laws and rules’. You’ve said that they are killing every man, woman, child and even baby that stands in their way.
Muslims have lived in Australia for over a century, and have made no substantial, observable, influential move to install any Islamic law, nor have any Muslim political parties or movements made any movements to undermine any democratic process or legislation in our country. After over a century of having the freedom to live in Australia, 41 years of which had uncapped immigration levels after the abandonment of the White Australia Policy, Muslims currently number at less than 3% of the Australian population, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
As such, there have been many key figures who have stated their unjustified fear of Australian Muslims and insatiable desire for them to all be deported or killed, or at least stripped of Australian democratic rights, (Hanson, Jones, Hadley, Price, Bolt, Devine, Akerman, Bernardi, Howard, Costello and Barker to name a few), and yet none of them have been killed, nor have any of them faced anything more than criticism from the ranks of Australian Islamic groups.
You’ve used Dandenong as an example of a place in Australia where Muslims apparently dictate whether or not schools can celebrate Christmas and Easter. Yet after contacting Dandenong High School, Greenslopes Primary School, Dandenong West Pre-School, Emerson School, St Gerard’s Primary School, Yarraman Park Primary School, Dandenong North Pre-School, Dandenong Valley School, Heritage Pre-School, Mount Dandenong Primary School, Shalimar Park Pre-School, Mount Dandenong Pre-School and Dandenong South Pre-School, none said that they had banned Christmas decorations or songs, and none said that they had prevented or punished students or families wishing to participate in such events.
You then used the example of Coburg West Primary School’s decision to serve halal sausages at a welcome-back BBQ. What you failed to do was to contact the school for more details. And what you failed to mention was that only a few parents actually complained. One said this: “It’s not fair on my children that they can’t eat at the school.” What a load of garbage. Halal tastes exactly the same, and anyone can eat it. And while the xenophobes insist that halal meat is inhumanely prepared, the majority of us do our research. Why do you think there hasn’t been a nation-wide boycott of halal? After all, it’s only an option that is in place to be more inclusive to a mere 3% of our population.
And you continued with your bumbling rant: “Your Centre Link (sic) and other government departments are banning Christmas decorations…”. Well no, that’s just not true. What you might be referring to is the Department of Education memo that went out to all DET staff suggesting that they consider additional ways to celebrate the end of the school year, rather than just focus on Christmas. If you did your research, David, you would understand that this in no way constitutes a ‘ban’ on Christmas decorations.
At this point, it would have been easy for Gillard’s media representatives to dismiss you as a tin-foil-hat wearing lunatic, tossing your rambling letter into the recycling bin. But the halfway point of your brain-rape is no deterrent for me.
You continued, in your undoubtedly drunken stupor, to imply that Australia only accepts migrants from Northern Sudan, and not Southern Sudan, and that people from Northern Sudan have only come here to get pregnant and claim the baby bonus. Firstly, neither statement is true. Secondly, I reckon I could walk around your precious Frankston RSL and find at least a handful of blokes who have cleaned up a couple of paychecks from our Government simply by making deposits in their girlfriends’ clown-car vaginas. Generalising makes you look stupid, David.
You suggested that rather than act in a humanitarian way to asylum seekers, we should whack them on planes to return to their home countries, and to almost certain deaths. You say this because
- these people have only come here to bomb us, and;
we spend millions of dollars keeping them in detention.
Firstly, do you honestly think that a person is going to want to bomb a country that has opened its doors to them after they’ve fled a war-zone where their families were killed? Do you honestly think that a person is going to want to bomb a country that has provided them with decent healthcare, an education and the opportunity to earn a living and build a life? Do you honestly think that people are born with the desire to bomb countries in their DNA? And secondly, Australia accepted 3441 asylum seekers last year (which equates to roughly 1% of the world’s refugee intake). International flights cost around $400 – $1000 each. That’s a couple of million dollars spent on flying people around the world, when they could be living here in Australia, buying things from our shops, paying taxes to our Government, working in our economy and getting an education they wouldn’t have dreamed of back in their home country/s.
Did you know that Australia currently spends over $10 billion per year on border security? Ten years ago, Australia was spending around $1 billion per year. And all this to prevent 3000 asylum seekers. Not even enough to fill the Sydney Entertainment Centre. And you do realise we already have over 300,000 of those horrible Muslim terrorists living here, right? And they’ve been living here for ages! A large majority have been here before, during and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Yet none of them have got on trains or buses or planes in Australia and blown themselves up. With tensions the highest they’ve ever been, and the world’s attention given to them on a platter, not one of the 300,000+ Muslims in Australia can even be bothered setting off some fireworks in a shopping centre.
You asked what value Muslims added to Australia, and you added that they:
Don’t want to call Australia home – yes they do, and they do;
Don’t accept our Christian culture – well shucks, neither do I, as an atheist. And Australia is a secular country, which means that we have freedom of religion. In addition to that, many Muslims I know celebrate Christmas!
Don’t want to speak English – yes they do, it’s for their benefit. Research shows that the overwhelming majority of those who cannot speak English in Australia are first generation migrants (those who have arrived here and were not born here). And they are given free English lessons. And their children go through our education system where learning/knowing English is mandatory;
Don’t want to abide by our laws – the large majority of them do. And people from all backgrounds commit criminal acts in Australia. Not just Muslims;
Don’t want to integrate – well, the only ones who don’t want to probably feel completely shunned by people like yourself, David. The rest have no issue with living here and being a part of Australia’s multicultural society;
Don’t want to go to our schools – well they do. Even those who choose to go to Islamic schools are going to our schools. They are run within our education system, meaning that in regards to all subjects other than religion, they learn exactly what every other child in their state is learning. All children end up sitting the HSC, David;
Don’t want to play sport – ah that’s crap. Do you know how many kids I grew up with that idolised Hazem El Masri?
David – you said that you were watching the TV footage of the Queensland flood cleanup and didn’t see any Muslims or Sudanese people helping. Funny that, because Muslims and Sudanese people also lost their homes and properties during those floods. The waters didn’t part around their belongings, leaving them high and dry, no. The floods affected 3 out of every 4 Queenslanders. Of the 300,000+ Muslims living in Australia, only 5% of those are living in Queensland. So in Queensland, there are only about 15,000 – 20,000 Muslims. The Queensland Population Counter has the QLD population calculated at 4,579,210. So in Queensland, Muslims make up 0.32% of the entire population.
At this point of your raging tyrade, you demand questions of the Gillard government, so I’m not going to address them. But I’d encourage you to do your own research, as I found answers for eight of your twelve questions just by searching the Internet.
Finally, David, your Centrelink information that you tacked onto the bottom of your letter (after copy-pasting it from some tired, made-up email forward) is completely incorrect. You claimed that Aged Pensioners in Australia receive $16,068.00 per year, compared to ‘ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/REFUGEES’, who receive $56,680.00 per year. Wrong:
Myth: Refugees can receive social security payments simply because they are refugees.
Fact: A refugee who has permanent residency in Australia receives exactly the same social security benefit as any Australian-born person in the same circumstances. Refugees apply for social security through Centrelink like everyone else and are assessed for the different payment options in the same way as everyone else. There are no separate Centrelink allowances that one can receive simply by virtue of being a refugee, nor do refugees receive cash payments under either the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) or the Settlement Grants Program (SGP).
Myth: A single refugee receives $1458 more per month than an age pensioner.
Fact: A single person applying for Special Benefit or the Newstart Allowance (whether or not he or she is a refugee) will receive $456 per fortnight, whereas a single person on an Age Pension payment will receive a fortnightly payment of $671.90. A single age pensioner therefore receives over $200 more per fortnight more than a single refugee (or a single Australian-born person) who qualifies for Special Benefit or Newstart – not $1458 per month less, as claimed in the first hoax email. Australian citizens and permanent residents with dependent children on lower to middle incomes (including refugees) may also be eligible to receive Family Tax Benefits or Parenting Payments, however none of these allowances are paid at a higher rate than the single age pension.
Myth: Refugees receive higher rates of payment under Centrelink programs than age pensioners or other Australians.
Fact: Centrelink payments are calculated at exactly the same rate for both refugees and non-refugees (for instance, a single Australian-born person and a single refugee on the Newstart allowance would both receive exactly the same fortnightly payment of $456). The hoax e-mail which claims that illegal immigrants and refugees receive higher rates of payment than age pensioners under a number of Centrelink programs, including the Partner Allowance and the Hardship Allowance, quotes figures which are grossly inaccurate. For instance, a single person on an Age Pension payment receives a fortnightly payment of $671.90, not $253 as claimed in the email, and the maximum payment for the Partner Allowance is $411.50, not $472.50.
Myth: Asylum seekers can receive Centrelink payments.
Fact: Asylum seekers are not entitled to the same forms of financial support as citizens or permanent residents. The Asylum Seeker Assistance (ASA) Scheme provides assistance to eligible asylum seekers who are in the process of having their refugee status determined. The ASA Scheme offers income support to cover basic living expenses, paid at 89 per cent of the Centrelink Special Benefit. This would equal approximately $405.84 per fortnight for a single asylum seeker – over $260 less than the single age pension.
Myth: Illegal immigrants can receive Centrelink payments.
Fact: In general, only Australian citizens and permanent residents can receive social security payments from Centrelink and illegal immigrants would certainly not be entitled to such support. It is also factually incorrect to refer to either refugees or asylum seekers as “illegal immigrants”. Recognised refugees in Australia by definition hold either a Refugee Visa or a Protection Visa, both of which entitle the holder to permanent residency. Asylum seekers – regardless of how they arrive in Australia – are permitted under Australian and international law to enter Australia for the purpose of seeking asylum, therefore asylum seekers have not broken any law and should not be referred to as illegal immigrants.
Statements about the hoax emails have been issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Minister for Human Services. These statements can be viewed at the following URLs:
Payment rates for the Age Pension can be viewed here:
Payment rates for the Newstart Allowance can be viewed here (note that Special Benefit is usually calculated at the same rate as Newstart):
Payment rates for Family Tax Benefits and Parenting Payments can be viewed at the following URLs:
Payment rates for the Partner Allowance can be viewed here:
Information on Hardship payments can be viewed here:
Information on the IHSS, the SGP and the ASA Scheme can be found at the following URLs:
David, I’ve spent an hour of my life replying to your junk mail that I will never get back. People like you make me sick. You are ignorant, and the primary target of the sensationalist mainstream media. You have no clue about the world around you, and more specifically, minimal understanding about the country you live in. You are more happy to forward a few emails around, stoking the fires of bigotry and propaganda than you are to do your own research and form your own opinion. Just because you’re frightened of people who look different to you doesn’t give you the right to push bullshit like this around the cybersphere. Just because you are a war veteran doesn’t give you the right to shoot your mouth off like a drunken neanderthal.
If you’d like to reply to me directly, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – or better yet – pop along to my website that I run with a few other people who hate racists like you: