If you’re one of those people who think “people smugglers” are the SCOURGE OF HUMANITY, then can I suggest you make your feelings known to the people who are making their job so much easier? The people who are making Australia seem like an easy target with “soft” rules that will let in anyone even if they’re not a “genuine” refugee, and will give them all sorts of “luxuries”?

That’s right: far right columnists, particularly at News Ltd.

Since the election of the Labor government in 2007, these people have been campaigning hard, with every ounce of their influence, in the interests of “people smugglers”. Every policy change of the government, no matter how minor, has been trumpeted as some kind of “red carpet” for refugees – invaluable advertising for anyone trying to convince a desperate family to hand over every possession in the hope of getting here.

Every time the Labor government has tried to send the message that Australia is really horrible and you don’t want to live here, really, these useful idiots have shouted far and wide that it isn’t true, that Australia’s making it easy for “boat people”, and that really, anyone who’s thinking of coming should give it a go as long as we’ve got a Labor government.

And the “people smugglers” have cut out those articles and stuck them on the wall in their offices.

How’s a government supposed to deter unauthorised arrivals if the biggest media organisations in the land keep telling the world that we’re a “soft target”? Sure, it’s not true, and the refugees discover when they arrive that they’ve actually signed up for indefinite imprisonment in remote, badly-run prisons, despite not having committed any kind of crime. But that’s only after they arrive. Thanks to the inaccurate perception of welcome deliberately spread by these irresponsible polemicists, the “people smugglers” have got their money, the refugees have risked their lives, before they discover the unfortunate truth.

It’s the same sort of thing in the world of crime. Courts pass severe sentences to deter potential other offenders from committing the same crimes – and find their work sabotaged by underquoting and misreporting by the tabloid media, which tell those who might be tempted that the courts are “soft” and imply that they might as well go out and do what they like. Instead of the message the Court is actually sending – we take these offences seriously and you will be punished if you commit them – we hear the opposite. It doesn’t matter how much the Courts work to deter crime: their efforts are constantly undermined by a deliberate campaign of under-reporting by certain sections of the media.

And then they blame the Courts for the crimes they’ve in fact encouraged. Just like they blame the government for the boat arrivals for which they so vigorously advertised.

If only everyone disturbed by those outcomes would ask them to stop.