It was only a matter of time before the Australian Federal Opposition showed it's true colours. Not satisfied with its role in degrading the asylum seeker debate to the level of farce, the Coalition pushed the envelope a little further. Shadow immigration spokeman Scott Morrison saw the opportunity to engage in some dog whistling during a door stop press conference in the hope his subliminal message would get through to the disgruntled working class of the burbs, many of whom see or have been conditioned to believe that refugees are welfare bludgers invading the country.
After an asylum seeker free on a bridging visa allegedly sexually assaulted a female university student in her dormitory, the airwaves became choked with outraged commentators and members of the public demanding that the government account for the whereabouts of all refugees in the community at all times. Enter Scott Morrison:
Morrison was supported by his leader, Tony Abbott, who insisted that the government had completely lost track of the asylum seeker's whereabouts and now they were just disappearing into the community. The government refuted Abbott's claims via an Immigration Department statement:
What was truly alarming was the matter of dog whistling. Morrison was subtly but evidently implying that asylum seekers - commonly referred to as illegal immigrants - pose a threat to the community. In appealing to the baser instincts of those who form their opinions via headlines and their favourite shock jock, he was clearly playing the race card to curry favour with many in Labor's traditional constituencies.
Facts don't mean much in Tony Abbott's political world. The fact that the government and the non-government organisations who arrange the accomodation for asylum seekers on these bridging visas know precisely where they are is useless to him. The fact that asylum seekers commit a fraction of the crime that Australian citizens commit is also useless to him. What Abbott and Morrison want is an alarmed public blaming the government for the growing invasion of their wide brown land by devious foreigners here for a holiday at their expense. The fact that refugees aren't illegal immigrants is another misunderstanding he feels disinclined to clarify. As Hitler said: The Bigger the lie the more people will believe it.
One can only hope there is enough common sense in the targeted community to see through the Coalition's machiavellian manoeuvres - hope being the operative word.