Howard appealed to fear. He vilified an innocent group of people. He did it to placate a growing group of xenophobes, and as a distraction from boosting immigration rates.
In August Howard attempted to block the delivery of rescued refugees to Christmas Island by the Norwegian vessel Tampa. He portrayed the refugees as unwelcome and dangerous aliens. Soon after, I wrote
Prime Minister John Howard has set Australia on a slippery slope … he has promoted a dynamic in Australian society that, left unchecked, will deliver us into fascism.