One day I was enjoying a leisurely chat with my neighbour when from out of her mouth came the following statement “these bloody boat people come here and get everything”.
Now aside from the fact that Schmeverly* possibly listens to too much talk-back radio, she is not a nasty person. Ill-informed and lacking in critical thought yes but not nasty. I chose not to argue because we live alongside each other and quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered.
Do I think about her words when I take in her bin or she asks my husband – the son of hard working Italian immigrants – for a favour? Every single time. Do I hope that she’s since learnt some compassion? I do. And that’s why I have prepared this handy tutorial just in case she hasn’t, and just in case you are ever faced with a similar conundrum.
Problem: My father-in-law made the following claim:
Solution: Advise your father-in-law that it has never been illegal for anyone to seek asylum in Australia without a visa. We signed and helped to write the UN’s declarations on refugees which makes this a right. If your problematic in-law continues to argue, make the following suggestion:
Do not expect to be invited back for afternoon shandies.
Problem: A colleague raised the following question at work:
Solution: Inform pesky work colleague that since our nation has deployed troops to take down an oppressive regime it would be logical to take in the people we have displaced. If colleague is now employing the strawman argument to accuse you of insulting our troops, suggest the following:
Solution: Explain to neighbour that just because 100,000 morons liked a complaint on a facebook page suggesting that asylum seekers get Centrelink payments doesn’t make it true. They are not entitled to anything unless they become a permanent citizen in which case they get the same as everyone else. If neighbour keeps complaining suggest the following:
You will no longer need to collect their mail.
* Schmeverley not her real name