Picture the life of an asylum seeker presently locked up by the Government indefinitely, without charge.

Now reconcile that with the image Andrew Bolt wants you to have of these “lucky” people:

No wonder they keep coming

Private jets and four-star hotels. Welcome to the lifestyle of a Rudd asylum seeker:

He links to and quotes from a story at The Age about the government spending millions on private companies and private hotels to transport and house asylum seekers, and implies that this means that they’re being transported and housed in absolute luxury. (“No wonder they keep coming.”)

And, if you have a persecution complex and want to believe that the government LUVS ASYLUM SEEKERS and HATES AUSTRALIANS then perhaps you could convince yourself to believe this incredibly implausible claim. I guess it’s easier to justify ignoring someone’s pleas for help if you can fool yourself that, despite all evidence to the contrary, they’re somehow better off than you. That’s why the refugee-demonising industry does so well with its fatuous “queue jumping” and “rich boat person” lines.

Bolt’s readers certainly got the message. As “Rosemary from Queensland” opined to Andrew:

Meanwhile in the real world, Aussies are living in cars, on the streets, in caravans and tents, and off the goodwill of extended family because they cannot get a real roof over their heads. I have read that families with children are being shunted weekly from one lot of temporary accomodation to the next, living out of boxes and suitcases, with no sense of stability or routine for these children.

Yet blow-ins from elsewhere get the four-star treatment here, get given wads of money and seem to want for nothing. These people have not paid a day’s worth of tax, they have not contributed a day’s worth of work for this country, and for that they are treated like kings.

But anyone with more than an ounce of common sense should immediately realise that this “treated like kings” line simply doesn’t add up. If the government LUVVED asylum seekers so much then why would it refuse to process their applications? Why would it lock them up in prisons?

Remember, a large part of the expense involved in housing asylum seekers is in security staff to detain them – it’s like pretending that living in prison is luxurious just because it costs a lot to house each prisoner. Hint: that money does not go to them. Guards, security systems, these are all very expensive things. Likewise, the “private jets” are presumably expensive because they’re keeping these prisoners – sorry, “detainees” – away from the general public, not because the asylum seekers are somehow being put up in first class and dining on caviar and champagne. (And just because a hotel has four star accommodation, that doesn’t mean that’s how the asylum seekers are being housed.)

Now, if the question is – why are we spending so much money just to treat asylum seekers like dirt, then I’ll join with other taxpayers in asking it. It seems like no-one benefits from the present system other than the private companies milking the department.

But this politics of envy by Bolt, this attempt to misleadingly imply that all this money being spent to keep asylum seekers away from us is somehow being spent to give them cushy lives, and that it thereby tempts them over here – well, that’s both dishonest and stupid. And it’s very disturbing that there are people in his forum who are happy to switch off their brains and believe it, just because they so desperately want to resent these people instead of feeling guilty about their lack of compassion.

Does any Bolt reader really think they’d like to trade places with an asylum seeker in Australia in 2010? Perhaps their wish should be granted.

PS: Bolt’s attempt to blame this practice on Rudd falls over when you read the actual article and see that the previous Coalition government was just as profligate with its spending on keeping prisoners away from us, spending $578k to fly David Hicks back on a private jet. I suspect he’d have much rathered they spent $1000 and flew him back economy.

UPDATE: Back at Bolt’s, “The Bad Samaritan” has a theory to explain this “favoured treatment” that makes sense to him:

However, a blow-in from some sh*theap WILL remember the luxury holiday at the Brissy Motel, for decades to come. Mr Rudd is counting on this translating into permanent ALP Votes. Got it Rosemary?

So cunning! I think it’s fairly obvious how many detention facilities “The Bad Samaritan” has visited.

UPDATE #2: Originally the first line of this post said “in the desert”, but this isn’t quite right. The former government’s desert-based centres at Woomera and Baxter have been closed, and according to the Department, the remaining ones are in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and on Christmas Island (which is remote and sandy, but not a desert).

However, the Government is reopening the Curtin Detention Centre, 28 hours from Perth, known as one of the very worst of the Howard-era facilities.

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