The asylum-seeker debate in Australia is demeaning and miserable. The politicians who participate in it have contempt for the Australian people. They believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that if they appeal to the fearful and mean sides of our nature, they will win support. They are showing that they believe we won’t know enough about the world to know that for the most part what they are saying is plainly false. Australia should not seek to avoid its obligations.