Liberal MP Chun Lu, who fled to Australia 44 years ago in search of freedom, now says the country he adopted is in danger of adopting a more authoritarian government.
The first Australian-Vietnamese MP in Victoria’s parliament, Lou’s family was among the thousands of refugees who fled communist Vietnam wearing nothing but their clothes after the fall of Saigon.
He recalled his family’s seven days and nights’ sea journeys on overcrowded and wrecked boats, under threat of pirates and water shortages.
“During our journey, we encountered pirates of the sea. They basically boarded your ship and took advantage of the situation. Depending on the situation, people may be killed and women raped.” he told the Epoch Times. [and] personal gem. ”
Lou and his family then ended up in a Malaysian refugee camp protected by a barbed wire fence. They spent six months in a shelter, with daily food delivered by the Red Cross, without access to televisions, air conditioning and sofas.
“Refugee camps back then were different than what we see on TV now,” he said. “Water was a problem…so basically men dig holes.”
“At the moment, there is nothing like apartments, condos, air-conditioned tents, etc.”
Fortunately, Luu’s family was among the refugees selected to emigrate to Australia. Upon arriving in a new country, they worked from scratch to build a better life.
Progress towards big government
Lou, who grew up in the western suburbs, said his desire to help others motivated him to join the Victorian Police and later enter politics.
But MPs said they were concerned that Australia was leaning toward a “more autocratic society”.
Such trends had already started before COVID-19, but until the pandemic hit, “the average person was more aware of it,” he said.
Luu said Melbourne is believed to have the longest lockdown in the world during the pandemic in Victoria, but if people challenged the COVID-19 orders, they would ” Ignored or canceled.”
“Whether people recognize it or not, it’s basically an autocratic style,” he said.
Another example of creeping authoritarianism is in government expansion, said a Vietnamese lawmaker.
“Governments are getting bigger and bigger…and so controlling even more.”
Policy wise, there has been a greater focus on large government projects and more encroachment on small businesses and private companies, Luu said.
Over the past decades, government budgets and tax revenues at the federal level have increased significantly, with spending on health care programs such as the National Disability Insurance System (NDIS), Elderly Care, and Medicare being the biggest drivers. .
NDIS costs are expected to rise by $500 million more this fiscal year compared to estimates made four months ago and exceed $50 billion by 2025-26.
Total government spending also expanded from 9% of the economy in 2000 to 22.3% in 2021, above the global average of 16.83%.
At the state level, the Victorian government last year announced an additional $12 billion a year for the health system and $21.6 billion for infrastructure investment.
“Government is a much bigger slice of the pie today,” said Danielle Wood, director of budget policy at the Grattan Institute in 2018.
The Victorian Small Business Commission declined to comment on the matter.
idealization of socialism
As a refugee from the communist dictatorship, Luu notes that there is a positive sentiment towards socialism and communism among Australian youth, who are often drawn to the idea of egalitarianism and wealth distribution. pointed out.
Similar rhetoric can be found in political discourse around climate protection mechanisms and the rise of new retirement pensions, where large corporations and wealthy individuals are subject to higher taxes.
“Billionaires and big business are not paying their fair share of tax,” Australia’s Green Party said on its website.
“The Green Party Taxes Billionairesto demand payment from large corporations making excessive profitsCorporate Super Profit TaxSubsidize billions of dollars to the coal, oil and gas giants causing the climate crisis and make profitable big companies pay back the job keepers they get. ”
“If they paid their fair share of taxes, everyone could have affordable housing and make dental and mental health care part of Medicare.”
Luu said the concept of an equal society is “great on paper” but doesn’t work in practice.
“Doing this kind of thing is really not good for society because no one wants to work and half of their salary goes to taxes,” he said.
“Politicians have kind of used this as a gimmick, but they don’t explain how it works, so people realize it only after it’s actually explained to them by the people involved. .”
“But you can’t blame the young people. They didn’t go through the war. They grew up in the country they were given,” he added, adding, “It’s not their fault, but you educate them.” It must be emphasized that