What a strange world we live in.
Yesterday (so to speak) the Greens and the Labor’s left factionwere lecturing us on being a bunch of racists because some of us – like this writer - want secure borders, orderly and culturally selective immigration, and an end to multiculturalism.
Today both of them – with no small help from the Labor right –reckon that "foreigners” (and that means Asians, in particular) shouldn’t take Aussie workers’ jobs.
This is delicious.
Consider the Greens and Labor’s green-left. They are, on one hand, against immigration as an orderly and selective process, executed to advantage the national interest. This is because any such orderliness and selectiveness engages Australiain making judgements on the basis of race and culture – criteria which must absolutely be excluded from all policy and decision making whether national or private.
On the other hand, the Greens and the Labor green-left favour a virtual free-for-all when it comes to refugees who should be allowed to flee to this country without let, hindrance or evaluation.
When you examine the position of the Greens and their left allies in the ALP, you realise that their kind of “refugee policy” is really an immigration policy in disguise. They want it this way for a couple of reasons.
First, like the big bad capitalists, the Greens and green-left Laborites are full-blooded globalists. They loath the concept of national sovereignty and so love a policy which favours porous borders and uncontrolled people flows because it weakens the sovereign power of the state: Enemy No. 1 of every globalist.
Second, also like the big bad capitalists, they are cosmopolitans. They hate national identities and their cultivation. They are quirky, angular, unaccommodating factors to deal with, whether you are in the business of moving capital and labour across national boundaries or social and political agendas. Ethnic diversity within modern states is, they consider, a thing to be prized because it weakens the dominant culture, especially where Christian values provide the historic underpinnings of the host society.
So it’s very odd to hear today the Greenies and Labor lefties in a hue and cry over Chinese boilermakers and riggers. What could they be on about?
Well, it relates to the internal politics of the trade unions themselves. They are no longer the mass organisations they once were. Since 1990 the proportion of the workforce covered by trade unions has dropped from a touch above 40 percent down to 19 percent today. Moreover, the workers whom the unions still represent might not be inclined to renew their memberships, if their union fees can’t buy a pro-Australian, pro-unionist employment policy, even when Labor is in power. And there is another thing. Union bosses fear that an increase in foreign workers might loosen the grip of unions on major mine sites and workshops. Migrant workers come here to work, to make their fortunes, and maybe to make Australia home. Union membership and identification with a gentrified tribe of White, Anglo-Celtic, once-were-working-class union bosses is not high on their list of life goals.
So, as tempting as it might be to sling accusations at the Greens and union officials like the AWU’s Paul Howes, of hankering for a return to the White Australia Policy – a Labor-to-its-bootstraps policy if ever there was one – I don’t think race has much to do with the present storm over guest workers. It’s more about preserving the reactionary ideology and tenuous political power of a dying social class in the face of mass rejection of unionism by upwardly mobile Australians old, new, and wannabe.
Of course, if Chris Bowen were promising to bring in gay AFL-CIO construction workers and Muslim welders, he would have silenced, pretty much, his leftie critics. One can almost hear Senator Doug Cameron giving grudging praise to such a measure as yet another sign of Labor’s far-sighted progressivism. The problem is that the Yankee gay hard hats are … well, um … indisposed, and the highly skilled Moslem metal workers are in short supply.
Supply is what it’s all about. Australia does not have enough skilled workers to support our mining boom. Sure, as Bernard Salt points out, there is the intractable phenomenon of east-west labour immobility in Australia. But at the root of the labour shortage is not the reluctance of east coast Australians to uproot themselves and cross the Nullabor Plains. It is the shrinking of the Australian family through birth control techniques including abortion. Not enough Aussie babies have been born to be meet the labour needs of our current mining boom.
Let’s consider, for now, only the matter of abortion.
Abortion statistics are a vexed matter, but let me take one study by way of example. This one was conducted by the University of New South Wales “Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology Research Unit” on behalf of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for its December 2005 report on the incidence of induced abortion Australia. From this document it appears that in 2003 more than 80,000 lives were terminated in Australia by abortion - and this at a time when, according to other studies, our abortion rate was supposed to be in decline. That figure suggests to me that some 1,600,000 Australian lives were snuffed out by other Australians during the last 20 years.
It is a staggering figure: 15 times the number of our soldiers killed in two World Wars.
We can imagine the incandescent rage of Labor’s left and of the Greens - not to mention most of the rest of the Federal Parliament - if any Australian government had sent our armed forces into a foreign war in which so many lives were lost. Yet it is precisely the Green-Labor alliance which represents, with a handful of notable exceptions, the strongest body of political support in Australia for abortion.There are, it goes without saying, plenty of politicians on the so-called “conservative” side of politics who are complicit by their votes in the same carnage of young Australian lives.
If we want to understand why our labour force and immigration policies are as they are, then we cannot black out of our minds the great baby famine that, with the greatest deliberation, we have inflicted upon ourselves.
*Gary Scarrabelotti is Managing Director of the Canberra-based consulting firm Aequum: Political & Business Strategies.