Yesterday, on the drive back from Turkey, we were overtaken by a pickup van featuring a rather unique sticker. It had the map of Australia, and the text said "fuck off, we're full". Lovely.
Thing is, as unique as this expression of xenophobia might be (and I've never seen this sticker before), if definitely expresses the thought of the majority of Australians. At least those that voted for Howard with his ongoing policy of "we control how people get in here", or to put it another way, "we're racists and we don't like people that look too different to us". Or those that are in favor of those concentration like camps known as detention camps where illegal immigrants are stashed out of sight without any trial, some times for many years.
Minor facts such as the fact pretty much everyone here who is not an aboriginee is an immigrant does not really matter; those who are xenophobic are also ignorant enough to acknowledge the fact.
Even some of the people I call friends can exhibit such tendencies when pushed (and one does not need to push very hard). Which makes you think how much of a friendship this could end up as. It usually just ends there.
What I find funniest is that those ignorant people fail to realize that immigration is one major reason why the people living in Australia are quite well off. Take Jo & I, for example: We are not exactly what you would call leeches sucking the bloods of Australian tax payers - we actually pay quite a lot of it. We're productive and we help the country's markets expand.
Thing is, we weren't born productive; the knowledge that made us what we are was financed by the British and Israeli tax payer. Australia got its free lunch but it's still unhappy.
We brought our savings here, too, and bought a house and spent lots of money settling down here. Australia needs a major load of tourists to get so much foreign currency in here.
Anyway, the bottom line is that there's a lot of shit in Australia, despite the lovely and innocent image people tend to have of it.