Yesterday, as I was driving home through the Sydney rush hour, our PM gave her 5 minute Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the ruling Labor Party. Amongst other things, she spoke of a reassessment of Australian policy with regard to the asylum process as it is now operating (people who are willing and able to enter the country illegally, then applying) with the balance shifting towards offering asylum through UN programs and eliminating (insofar as that is possible) the current system which favors those with a willingness to break the law and the money to give effect to that. That is, actually granting asylum to those that need it as opposed to those who simply want out of their current country (the opposite of what's happening in Ireland for the last 10 years). Can you imagine Eamonski coming out with that? Biffo? Inda?
Then this morning I read this: Registrar warns of rapid rise in 'sham marriages' - The Irish Times - Tue, Aug 17, 2010 or what will probably become Irish Born Child Mark 2.
I was struck by the difference in discourse between Ireland and Australia on this. I married an Australian citizen here a few years ago (whilst legally resident of course! ). I was free to marry, but gaining residency on the basis of that relationship took several thousand dollars, hundreds of documents, photos, officially witnessed statements from 3rd parties, utility bills and wills showing long term cohabitation and commitment and two, personally intrusive interviews. It wasn't pleasant, but I had nothing to fear from the process and recognized it's importance. I was struck by how highly Australians protect and value the right of residency here. It was solemn and serious process.
Our country has already been transformed under our feet with very large and growing communities of people with no relationship to Ireland. They came uninvited and it doesn't seem our political class paused to ponder whether this was somethign we wanted or needed or should accept. The impact this has had on quality of life has already been felt with pressure on infrastructure, crime and quite simply the nature of our society which in places now resembles a different country (to say as much now in 'polite company' is to commit a sin). Those who raise concerns are tut-tutted at best and immediatley screeched down by the left and the politically correct at worst.
Why is it we seem unable to hold the right of residency in our country with the value it surely deserves? Why aren't we protecting it? Have we (people who regard unfettered third world immigation as being a problem) simply been cowed into submission? Is the prime driver for this the new ECJ administered religion of self hating Political Correctness or is it somethign Irish or both?
In Ireland, I guess this latest gross abuse of our ability to control who comes to the country will be met by collective shrugs. In Australia, well, it just couldn't happen.