Tony Abbott has told dodgy radio station 2GB that asylum-seekers are “having a lend of us” because most of them are “economic refugees”1. While commenting on anything Tony Abbott says is a little risky because his inarticulacy tends to make one think he may have, at the time, simply lost a connection between what remains of his brain and his gob, and said something he didn’t really mean to say. However, I’ll have a stab at this one because like most of these desperate muppets in the federal government, he will say anything to try to fight against the existential threat to his political career posed by Zali Stegall2.
To call someone an ‘economic refugee’ is to create an oxymoron. Asylum-seekers arrive on our shores seeking protection from the regimes or conflict they have fled. They are assessed to see if they are genuine refugees, and something like 85% are adjudged to be genuine, despite the criteria being quite strict. These criteria do not allow people who have fled their country solely for economic reasons to be considered as refugees. Those that aren’t adjudged to be refugees are sent home. So, there is no such thing as an ‘economic refugee’. This is just another of Tony Abbott’s lies, which are numerous3.
While it is not unknown for politicians everywhere to lie, the degree to which this government has enthusiastically embraced this despicable tactic has meant that every time any member of the government says anything, the rule of thumb that should be applied is that whatever has been said is a lie. Then you will be less likely to be surprised.