It is hard to believe that almost one in two Australians support a total ban on Muslim migration.
Yet that is the finding of an apparently credible new Essential Media Poll.
As nauseating as that statistic is, it does though provide some clues as to where the likes of One Nation’s Pauline Hanson draws her small support base from.
And if you extrapolate these findings to other first world countries, it explains the popularity of Donald Trump, the likely next US President, who wants an American ban on Muslim migration and travel.
I wonder how moderate, tolerant Australians feel about this.
I fear for the future of Australia’s enviable multi-cultural society.
I worry about the personal safety of the many traditionally dressed Muslims I see on the train every single day in my commute into work, who may become the target of violence.
And I wonder what prominent Australian muslims like journalist and broadcaster Waleed Aly, Labor MP Ed Husic, Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour and many others make of their native homeland and the attitudes of their fellow Australians.Might those who want a blanket ban also realise that boxer Anthony Mundine, rugby league star Corey Paterson, cricket star Usman Khawaja and former Demons star Adem Yze are all Muslims? Would they like their family members banned from coming here?
Setting aside the humane argument against such a terrible idea, when you consider the wider ramifications of a ban on Muslim migration, you realise the economic impacts on Australia would be severe.
By imposing such a ban, Australia would be denied many highly-skilled immigrants who could add greatly to the collective intellectual and cultural wealth of the country.
As it would be logical to assume that a ban on Muslim migration would also include a ban on Muslim visitors (for holiday, family or business) there would be huge negative impacts on foreign investment, tourism, retailing and many other sector of the economy.
Just ponder this: What would a ban mean for airlines from Muslim countries like Emirates, Qatar Airlines, Etihad? Would they stop flying into our airports and out of them? That would seem logical given most of their passengers won’t be able to get visas to come here in the first place.
Think of the massive impacts on trade and investment – Malaysia and Indonesia are Australia’s 10th and 12th biggest trading partners.
Governments and businesses from rich Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait invest billions in new Australian hotels, in agriculture, in property development, in shopping malls and in housing. They buy our beef and lamb and fruit and veg as we buy products and services from them
These are some of the world’s richest countries with vasts amount of money. How will they continue to operate in Australia if we tell the world we don’t want their citizens as part of our society? Do you think they will continue to invest or might they simply deploy their funds elsewhere?
Might it also be unreasonable to expect Muslim countries to ban Australians from visiting their shores in response to us denying them access to our?. (Perhaps my South African passport will finally come in handy!).
Will Australians still be able to travel to exotic and wonderful places like Turkey, Morocco and parts of India or even just make a busines trip to Indonesia or have a beach holiday in Bali?
And what about sport, one of the nation’s greatest attributes? Where would we play our World Cup soccer qualifying matches against teams like Iraq and Iran and the UAE? And how would we play home cricket matches against Pakistan or Bangladesh or Afghanistan? And would our teams travel to these countries in return?
(I could go on and on)
So I ask, has anyone who wants a blanket ban on Muslims coming to Australia (or the USA for that matter) stopped for just a minute, paused and thought it through?
If they did, they might see the utter stupidity of it more clearly – even if they refuse to accept its blatant bigotry and inhumanity.