This article was initially submitted to EUREKA STREET, a web magazine that is said to be radical. After delays it was not accepted. I failed in efforts to get it into the public realm in other Australian media outlets. Even though my main target was an Australian audience, It was then accepted by http://www.groundviews.org, on 7 Nov. 2009, where, predictably, it drew few comments from the Sri Lankan readers though 563 did dip into the essay.
The ongoing brouhaha around the boat people ‘storming’ Australian maritime waters displays two tendencies in Australian politics and its cultural underpinnings. The first tendency, A, is the insidious influence of a long-standing hostility to potentially subversive foreign elements. The second dimension, B, is a more recent phenomenon that I shall label “bureaucratititis.”
The force of factor A is of lesser import than factor B in raising the present storm. It is also not easy to demonstrate. So, I merely suggest. I mark the concerns about the “Yellow Peril” of Chinese migrants that prevailed in Australia from the late 19th century and the manner in which it contributed to a White Australia policy. That programme is no more.