THE Liberal-National coalition which forms the opposition in Australia has just confirmed that it is the party of xenophobes by proposing that whenever asylum-seekers are allowed to move into a neighbourhood on bridging visas, the people staying there and the police should be notified.
This is dog-whistle politics of the lowest kind, but the Coalition will do anything to get votes. A federal election is scheduled for September 14.
Should this extend to the asylum-seekers who are granted permanent residence? Or does the granting of such status suddenly make the asylum-seeker a person of good character?
The irony of this proposal is that Scott Morrison, the immigration spokesman for the Coalition, claims to be a practising Christian! Yeah, sure.
There is a streak of racism which is part of the body politic in Australia and that is very much present within the Coalition.
In the past, John Howard has displayed a kind of closet racism in his bid to stay in power. The 2001 election was shamelessly built on the arrival of asylum-seekers in a ship called the Tampa. Howard and his ministers lied their way to electoral victory on the backs of these poor souls.
And Howard continued in this vein right to the end of his political career. Ironically, he was voted out by immigrants who had grown to a pretty large number is his seat of Bennelong. Sweet revenge, indeed.
But the dog-whistle is still present in Coalition ranks. And it is blown whenever needed. As it has been today.