James Campbell

Oct 24, 2011

James Campbell serves up the stupid, with a side order of smug

Every week we see our Cut and Paste Trophy th

Pure Poison Icon Every week we see our Cut and Paste Trophy thread filled to the brim with stupid reader comments that the news media have seen fit to publish, but it’s worth remembering that this isn’t the only place where you’ll find detestable nonsense published. Last weekend the Herald Sun went out of their way to remind us that poor judgement isn’t confined to blog moderators when they published this execrable piece by James Campbell.

Julia turns back the clock with an offer of servants

The absence of servants has been the bane of middle-class life in this country since World War II, when our grandparents’ cooks, maids and nannies disappeared into factories, never to return.

…Now, thanks to the decision to abandon offshore processing – the only thing that has been shown to deter people smugglers – all that is set to change.

Campbell’s article reads like part of a transcript from a high school debate, with all of the pompous contrariness, but sadly none of the wit.

Does James believe that the few thousand refugees who arrive in Australia by boat each year will be enough to undermine the working conditions we have in this country? Or is he suggesting that we will suddenly see hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers showing up? More worryingly, does James Campbell really think that people seeking asylum are unfit for anything beyond menial domestic work?

While Campbell’s article tries to hide behind a bit of tongue in cheek jocularity, after all who doesn’t get a laugh out of Stalin’s victims, the vapidness of his arguments shine through.

Alas, unskilled workers will find Julia’s New Australians are prepared to work for a good deal less than they are.

So bad news if you mow lawns for a living, but good news if you’re a human rights lawyer who needs his grass cut.

Firstly, where’s the evidence that people who have settled in Australia after seeking asylum here are not being paid properly for work that they do? And if it is the case then why aren’t the people taking advantage of them being called to account rather than levelling a lazy smear at immigrant workers? Campbell may as well be standing on a street corner yelling “They took err jerb!” if this is the type of argument he wants to make.

Secondly, where are these mythical human rights lawyers who are supposedly exploiting asylum seekers? Or is that smear simply more uninformed fantasy from Campbell?

Speaking of uninformed fantasy:

Now that Julia has decided that anyone can “come on Down Under” I am looking forward to the first Q&A regular caught skimping on the super contributions of the refugee they’ve hired to ferry their kids between soccer practice and their Saturday morning French immersion course.

According to Campbell the decision to process asylum seekers who arrive by boat in the same manner that we process those who arrive by plane is a declaration that “anyone can “come on Down Under””, by that logic I expect that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will be shutting its doors any day.

While Campbell’s whole article is a rather ugly in the way it paints asylum seekers, it’s the central tenet of it that worries me the most, the suggestion that asylum seekers are nothing but unskilled economic migrants. What would his reaction be if the doctors jailed in Bahrain for treating anti-government protesters applied for asylum? Ask them whether that have any experience cleaning pools?

James Campbell has managed something quite unique with this article, he’s managed to reinforce some inaccurate stereotypes about asylum seekers, given the “flooded by boat people” can another kick, given the PM a backhander and all without adding anything of substance to the discussion of this issue. The article gives hope to all aspiring writers that quality is no barrier to publication at the Herald Sun.

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30 comments

30 thoughts on “James Campbell serves up the stupid, with a side order of smug

  1. Fran Barlow

    The problem is Marilyn that the words you attributed to david Marr don’t seem to exist. I admire your enthusiasm for the cause of refugees/displaced persons — like almost everyone on the left, I strongly share it.

    Taking an unfounded swing at David Marr doesn’t help anyone, IMO. Take a deep breath and apologise would be my advice.

  2. Angra

    re my Iraqi doctor friend. I understand the medical registration authorities in each state have separate systems of assessment of overseas quals. and require applicants to take a series of bridging courses to ensure they match Australian practice. The courses vary from State to State. And it isn’t a question of ‘bringing them up to superior Australian standards’ – but making sure they are familiar with local procedures, drug-names, English medical terminology etc. to work effectively here.

    This wasn’t the issue – he was happy to take the courses – although the doctor concerned was very highly qualified in Iraq and had even taught at Med School in a senior capacity. But he had to work f/t and study p/t to manage.

    He didn’t complain (although it took a long time) but was conscientious enough to get a job in a local shop to support his family in the interim.

    Back to Campbell’s nonsense. Many asylum seekers may well be highly qualified professionals. But lack of supporting doco etc due to their hurried exit makes it difficult to prove their bona fides. Any many have no choice but to accept unskilled work to tide them and their families over.

    PS. also knew a high-ranking Syrian Uni Professor, tortured by Assad’s regime, managed to escape to the UK but then had to accept p/t jobs teaching Arabic to evening class students as he could not prove his background sufficiently for an appropriate job.

    He had no fingernails.

  3. returnedman

    Archer, if his qualifications were finally recognised as equal to those in Australia, why did it take five years? And we’re talking about a doctor, here – one of those professions that is generally POACHED from other countries – so why the delay?

    I don’t think that comparing India to Iraq is apples with apples, either – I’ve heard it said that the vast majority of graduates from Indian universities are actually unemployable in their profession. A horrendous state of affairs (and one that I obviously hope will change soon) but that’s how it is – and you’ll find that it’s not the same case in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

  4. Archer

    Angra @20

    “MoC – similar experience. I had a friend who was an Iraqi refugee, an experienced and qualified Doctor of many years and formerly a Senior Lecturer at a Medical School in Irag.

    Took him over five years to get his qualifications recognised here. Meanwhile he worked as a shop assistant to support his family.”

    I don’t see the issue. My niece has qualifications in psychology which would need to be reviewed in the U.S. Ask the odd Indian taxi driver and I guarantee he’ll have an engineering degree. Their qualifications aren’t recognised here (unless it’s one of the major universities) and they may have to resit exams. What’s your point, that in some cases we should accept professionals of a lesser standard expected by our institutions, standards and public.

  5. shepherdmarilyn

    The problem is Fran that they are all brainwashed ninnies. Yesterday Alan Sunderland at ABC told me all the years of international humanitarian laws that show that giving refugees a ride is not people smuggling, including transcripts from our own courts that say it is not people smuggling, that it is ALL ONLY MY OPINION, as if I am fucking god.

  6. dendy

    Laurie said “I think (James is) one of their best and most entertaining writers and (one) of the few reasons to buy the Sunday papers these days.”

    LOL. Come on. “Laurie” isn’t your real name, is it? I’ll bet it’s actually “James”. No one could write that and possibly mean it.

    There really is something puerile about the IPA – their High School level of debate, their air of entitlement – and James epitomizes it. While everyone else on their gap year was baling hay in Hamilton or picking grapes in Penola, James’ daddy got him {EDIT: We can’t publish that sort of allegation, we have no idea whether it’s true or not.}

    Guy Rundle nailed those spoilt IPA boys and girls pretty well back in July around the time the IPA decided to sponsor a tour by Vaclav Klaus.

    Poetic really, that the Czechs should present us with two examples of humanity, under the name Vaclav — one, Havel, who would serve several prison terms, and suffer two decades of harassment, only to emerge into post-communist Europe as a social democrat and an early proponent of Green politics, a man renowned for his generosity, politeness, breadth of thought, and humour; and Klaus, the notoriously rude state bank loyalist who wouldn’t stick his neck out, who denounces democrats as Stalinists, but made his peace with the latter; who vowed to oppose the EU, but signed the anti-democratic Lisbon treaty without a squeak; who purported to stand for the freedom of small nations, yet supported the Russian invasion of Georgia to the hilt.

    And how inevitable that the IPA would choose the latter over the former. For who can doubt that the think tank’s bright boys and girls are, above all, conformists, who, in other circumstances would slide easily into the same sort of accommodations as Klaus, the grey roosts of apparatchik culture, and do Marxian calculations of the falling rate of profit to eight decimal places as eagerly as they read Hayek and Von Mises. After all, it’s easy to pretend you believe in freedom if you arrange it so that you never meet anyone who really stood up for it.

  7. Fran Barlow

    ShepherDMarilyn said:

    [And David Marr today is no better with his unproven claims that “people smuggler rings” are sitting in Indonesia watching our policy.]

    I’m not saying you’re wrong here, but could you point me to a precise link to Marr making such a claim. I’d be astonished if he had made such a claim seriously as he has been very good on refugee and asylum seeker issues. He’s someone I respect and I just can’t imagine what would prompt him to make such a claim.

  8. Aliar Jones

    [Um actually I’d far rather a night spent wallowing in Barrie Humphries’ bile than being preached to by Ben Elton, thanks.]

    If Ben Elton is your idea of ‘left wing’ comedy I would suggest you come out of the 80’s and visit us here in the future..

    And what? Baz is a right winger? I dont think so..

  9. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    Nthing to do with this either
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXpBfRlLnv8

  10. Angra

    MoC – similar experience. I had a friend who was an Iraqi refugee, an experienced and qualified Doctor of many years and formerly a Senior Lecturer at a Medical School in Irag.

    Took him over five years to get his qualifications recognised here. Meanwhile he worked as a shop assistant to support his family.

  11. Matthew of Canberra

    “Campbell’s argument that more immigrants equals lower wages is controversial”

    I’m actually not sure that’s even true, in our economic situation. Managed immigration has definitely been part of what has insulated us from some of the global turmoil. The problem around these parts, for business, is almost one of just getting staff at all. More people = more economic activity, more services, more tax revenue, more customers.

    Tell you what – anyone who wanted to take on the jim’s mowing franchise around narrabundah could make a pretty penny (no, that’s not where I live – but a friend does). The last guy retired, apparently, and everyone has to mow their own lawns as a result (poor buggers, it must be hell).

  12. Matthew of Canberra

    “Many of them are far better educated than Campbell.”

    I used to chat to a guy who worked at my servo who occasionally asked how I’d got into IT. I mistook the question and gave him the usual sort of advice – get interested, go find some courses, look for some work that would give him opportunities for hands-on etc. Then one day it clicked – he had a frikkin’ masters degree. But he couldn’t get a job because he wasn’t a permanent resident and therefore couldn’t get even a basic security clearance (a non-starter in his town). He was trying to GET the residency, but it was taking forever. So he was working in the servo.

    He found a job with a consulting company that didn’t do government work and left the petrol station. Good for him.

    And it’s not like there’s much demand for qualified IT professionals in canberra. Not a bit.

  13. Matthew of Canberra

    I think he’s trying to make a comparison with the fate of illegals in the US. But in that case, the whole point IS that they’re illegal, and therefore unwilling/unable to complain about being ripped off by employers who’d just as soon turn them in.

    Which also happens to be the reason why bush couldn’t get immigration reform past his own congress … because they happen to LIKE having all those underpaid employees, and he looked dangerously close to giving them, you know, rights and stuff. And that would have cost people a lotta money. Much better to keep them around … but illegal.

  14. lalau66

    “Thanks, but we’re already more than well aware right wingers are seriously ‘comedy-disabled’.”

    Um actually I’d far rather a night spent wallowing in Barrie Humphries’ bile than being preached to by Ben Elton, thanks.

  15. Coldsnacks

    …Andrew Bolt to be silenced by means of those leather masks with little shiny zips on them (there’s a mental picture for you).

    Can someone pass the brain bleach…or the arsenic?

  16. shepherdmarilyn

    And with wars, floods, earthquakes and other problems Gillard is going to chogm to whine about the dead Malaysia deal.

    For god’s sake which part of “IT’S ILLEGAL”DIDN’T THE MORON HEAR.

  17. Aliar Jones

    [those of you who want Andrew Bolt to be silenced]

    Oh no! you have it all WRNG…we love Andrew Bolt.

    We just hate his lies.

    Is it too much to expect him to take some responsibility for all that abundant freedom of speech he has?

  18. Angrybudgie

    Maybe he’s hoping to hire some servants cheaply. I’m sure that my grandparents couldn’t afford servants, even in the Thirties when things were tough. I’m also not sure that one side might not have been classed strictly speaking, as servants.

  19. Tomus Barava

    I just did a straw poll at a typical “middle class” school pick up on whose grand parents had servants.

    Out of about 10, only Ali from Bangladesh was able to answer yes, but that was only on one side. He thinks the other side were servants.

  20. Aliar Jones

    [Lighten up, comwades.]

    Thanks, but we’re already more than well aware right wingers are seriously ‘comedy-disabled’

    Your routine would go down a storm in a pre-school though!

  21. monkeywrench

    …those of you who want Andrew Bolt to be silenced …

    Silenced? No. Start telling the truth for a change? Yes. Mind you, that might equate to silence in his case, as he can’t seem to say anything without twisting it out of shape.

  22. Neil Walker

    Am I the only one who also finds it a bit distasteful that James Campbell finds the subject of Stalin’s reign of terror amusing.

    Know who else was renowned for ordering the mass murder of political opponents? That Gadaffi guy. Got “a soft spot” for him too?

  23. stephdoubleu

    … he quoted Greg Sheridan as some sort of expert on asylum seeker arrivals? What? I don’t… I…Words can’t even begin…

    What a {self snip}.

  24. Bloods05

    Careful Laurie, I think you just made a public admission that you pay money for Murdoch Sunday papers.

  25. Laurie

    Sometimes I think Dave and this site hasn’t had a chuckle since John Howard lost his seat. Lighten up, comwades.

    Campbell’s argument that more immigrants equals lower wages is controversial (was mainstream left-of-centre politics for a long time) but hardly a forbidden subject even among those of you who want Andrew Bolt to be silenced by means of those leather masks with little shiny zips on them (there’s a mental picture for you).

    I think he’s one of their best and most entertaining writers and of the few reasons to buy the Sunday papers these days.

    When you’re looking to condemn stupidity and smugness, best to ensure you’re doing your best not to be guilty of the same.

  26. Bloods05

    “Former adviser to the State Opposition”. Say no more.

  27. shepherdmarilyn

    And David Marr today is no better with his unproven claims that “people smuggler rings” are sitting in Indonesia watching our policy.

    Considering that seeking asylum is zero to do with people smuggling how do these fuckers keep getting away with writing such mindless crap and why is what happens in Indonesia anything to do with us, except that we are paying for it.

  28. shepherdmarilyn

    Many of them are far better educated than Campbell.

  29. Bloods05

    Who the hell is this idiot?

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