News of the latest violent incident at a detention centre for illegal immigrants brought to mind a couple of recent conversations with customers.
The first was with a woman who said she could understand people wanting to get away from places that were violent, or where they couldn’t get enough to eat. If she were in that situation she would do everything she could to get her family out too.
‘But,’ she said, ‘if things really are that bad, and they come over here, and we make sure they’re safe, we feed them, we give them medicine, we teach their chidren, and all this costs them nothing, why are they so angry?’
‘I know it would not be nice being in detention, but they must know that’s reasonable if they arrive with no ID, and that if they are patient, most of them will be accepted?’
‘So how can being in a safe comfortable place be something you would riot over, and cause harm to property and other people?’
The second was with another female customer. She too had read recent stories of violence among illegal immigrants. She too was sympathetic to a desire to get one’s family away from poverty and violence.
‘But,’ she said, ‘these people have stuffed up their own countries. Or they live in countries which have been stuffed up. And some of those countries could be very rich. And then these people come over here, and they demand to have the same rules that made their countries so horrible. So why don’t we just say no, you can’t do that, and if you want to live like that, go back where you came from?’
“People come to Australia because it’s a better place,” he said. “So then you should become Australian and abide by the customs of Australia, not change Australia to suit your customs from another country.”