As our Prime Minister and Opposition Leader continue to struggle under the weight of negative approval ratings perhaps the time has come to draw guidance from the humble hagfish.
Tomorrow is official Hagfish Day, a day to celebrate the ‘beauty of ugly’ and make the point it’s not just cute and cuddly creatures that deserve our attention.
Haikus are written, songs are sung, school kids are encouraged to learn more about the slimy deep-sea scavengers.
It’s not that our political leaders are slimy scavengers. Hang on… it’s not that our political leaders bear any physical similarities that make Hagfish Day relevant; but their pursuit of popularity does end up reinforcing all the negatives that drive our disdain with politics.
The High Court injunction to Labor’s elaborate asylum-seeker swap with Malaysia provides yet another forum to fuel, rather than soothe, community anxiety about the arrival of boats carrying asylum seekers.
This crisis has been driven by Government policy, Opposition alarmism, media sensationalism and all tied up with an ongoing sense of economic and cultural anxiety that we have lost control of our borders.
But as this week’s Essential Report shows, concerns about asylum seekers are not only informed, but are actually driven, by the myth that we are currently being flooded by new arrivals.
The concern about the level of asylum seekers arriving by boat has assumed the mantle of an Australian character trait.
It will be cold comfort for the latest batch of asylum seekers being prodded onto aircraft bound for Malaysia, but their personal journey reflects the political dead-end the Australian Government is currently confronting.
Having risked everything to find a safe haven, the Government’s plans have now been derailed by forces outside their control and now they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Just like the asylum seekers.
As this week’s Essential Report shows, political support for the plan to trade asylum seekers for certified refugees at a rate of five to one has collapsed over the past six weeks.
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