tip off

Time to call the asylum seeker ‘impasse’ what it really is

There are some words one is loath to reach for in politics. Voters may not think it, but rare is the politician at the federal level who isn’t there, even in this benighted age, because she or he genuinely wants to do good by Australia. They may be utterly confused, ignorant or lazily unaware about how to maximise the national interest, but they still pursue it. As a consequence, daring to pass moral judgment on politicians can be hazardous and unfair. One may charge them with cynicism or opportunism, yes, but that is more a judgment on their tactics than on their morality.

But, having paid close or not-so-close attention to federal politics since the early 1980s, I can’t do anything but conclude that the Coalition’s current stance on asylum seekers is the clearest example of outright evil that I’ve ever seen from a political party at the federal level.

As is clear to every other member of Parliament, it is clear to Coalition MPs that Australia’s current de facto position on processing asylum seekers onshore isn’t deterring people who otherwise face many years awaiting resettlement from getting in boats, and therefore risking their lives. People are dying as a consequence, in large numbers. But the Coalition has no interest in altering this position. Shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison showed that last night when he made clear on 7.30 that even if Labor embraced the Coalition’s position entirely it wouldn’t get agreement.

Not merely does the Coalition not want to address the current tragic situation, it actively advocates policies that evidence shows will exacerbate it. If Labor did embrace the Coalition’s position entirely — Nauru, temporary protection visas, turning boats around where possible — it would be doing so knowing full well none of those policies will deter boat arrivals, and indeed in the case of TPVs the evidence shows they would encourage boat arrivals. Labor cannot in good conscience do that and they should be savagely condemned if they did.

Nonetheless, this has led to some weird questioning from the media of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen about why the government won’t simply do that, as if the matter of whether a policy will save lives or lead to more deaths is just another example of Canberra he-said-she-said, as if Labor was simply being stubborn and there was no difference between government and opposition policies. It’s either the most sickeningly cynical stuff we’ve seen from the Press Gallery in a long time, or an example of profound ignorance of the issue, or perhaps both.

There is no “impasse” here. There is simple bloodymindedness in the face of offers of compromise. The government has bent over backwards to accommodate the opposition’s policies while retaining the one policy that may work, offshore processing with no guarantee of being resettled in Australia, coupled with an increase in our humanitarian intake and support for the UNHCR. It has offered to reopen Nauru as a billion-dollar staging post for asylum seekers on their way to being settled in Australia, as it was last time except for the asylum seekers we could gull into returning to Afghanistan or palm off onto the Kiwis or the Norwegians. That would waste vast amounts of money, but it’s only money, not lives.

But, no deal from Tony Abbott’s opposition. No deal because, as everyone knows, the opposition believes it profits politically from each boat arrival. No deal despite people dying; men, women and kids dying horrendous deaths.

The Greens haven’t been much better. They’ve achieved a big policy win: their policy of onshore processing is the country’s de facto policy. The evidence that it isn’t working hasn’t shifted their position. They talk of expanding our humanitarian intake, which is exactly what Bowen proposed as part of the Malaysia Solution, based on the logic that Australia needed to do more to take pressure off the processes whereby asylum seekers can be resettled here without resorting to boat journeys.

At least Christine Milne this morning proposed a way forward based on a multi-party committee, her favoured tool for resolving gridlock. Yes, it’s yet another committee undertaking yet another inquiry but there is some potential there — Milne’s view is that such committees, which involve extensive input from experts, can provide a forum for politicians to abandon rigid positions without losing face.

But it depends on good faith from the Coalition. Of that, there is none to be had.

What will otherwise achieve change? Well, not the latest sinking. It will disappear from the media cycle; there aren’t the graphic pictures that accompanied the December 2010 Christmas Island tragedy to keep it going. Parliament will go into its winter recess at the end of this week and the issue will vanish until the next sinking. Until the next deaths.

Evil.

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  • 1
    Brad Sprigg
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Well done Bernard. Finally someone is calling this situation for what it is. Morrison and Brandis were absolutely disgusting on the ABC last night.

  • 2
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Political advantage at all costs by the Abbott led opposition is what this is all about. Drownings and other human misery does not matter to our Tony, it never has; remember “sh*t happens”. What might break the impasse is if some of his backbenchers that do have a conscience were to resign from the coalition because of this issue and sit on the cross benches (a few of the back benchers do not intend to run in the next election anyway). Now that is something I would like to see - and experience the reaction from our “dear opposition leader Kim Il Tony”. The opposition front bench is mainly made up of persons with the RC calling, and on the issue at hand it is plain to see there they are not cosulting with their priests on Sundays about the moral issues involved here, fact is: despite their RC calling there is not a christian amongst them. My sincere apologies to other people of RC persuasion, agnostics and atheists.

  • 3
    Vincent O'Donnell
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the Morrison -Abbott axis might consider the comparative humanity of the East Berlin border guards. Most refugees were shot dead on the spot.

    The few who made it were feted in the West.

    So what is different? Would it be that asylum seekers are not European and Christian?

  • 4
    Gocomsys
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Bernard Keane. I am impressed. Clear and straight common sense. Why isn’t the general public aware of this, I ask myself? Personally I have always felt comfortable dealing with issues on their merits. I have therefore never subscribed to party allegiances or narrow minded dogma. That is why I found this article refreshing. Let us all hope that with the dramatic media upheaval we get better reporting in the public and national interest!

  • 5
    rossmcg
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    some may call me a pedant but I loathe it when people say loathe when they mean loath .. …

  • 6
    Stewart Eamon
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Why is it so hard to find these points of view in the mainstream media?
    It seems like common sense to me. Great article.
    The coalition are clearly not bothered by 100’s of people dying at sea. As long as it’s gaining them political points.

  • 7
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    We did not muck about when cows were badly treated. It was stopped overnight. Bring in animal cruelty and Australia will stop in its track. Dugongs or turtles, cows in Indonesia, free range chicken scams, Black Caviar with torn muscles, dear oh bloody dear. What is to be done?
    It resulted in a nationwide outrage. Who can forget footage of the poor cows being beaten, their sad, pleading eyes as they went into their final death throes?

    Of course, this was all done in a naughty overseas country. Our condemnation went instantly into automatic or overdrive. Within days the export of cattle was halted and reassuring footage was shown of thousands of cattle being put back into holding yards and given rich grains pouring from laden bins. Thousands flocked to the NT and even Queensland and stroked cows. Thank goodness for our humane treatment of all things living. There were tearstained faces on the telly and many cancelled their holidays to Bali or Java. How barbaric. At some stage old footage of sheep being loaded alive in boots of cars by white frocked men, again in an evil overseas country, was again dug up and dusted off, just in case we had forgotten. We all felt a warm glow of empathy. We were not like that. We are caring and full of humanness. We felt good about ourselves.

    Now, I find all this love and sweetness for animals somewhat at odds with the treatment of people in endless detention. There were sad and pleading eyes as well. There were people being beaten and shot at. Some were driven to suicide. There was lip-sewing, knife or razor cuts, self-harm percentages, children in jail without parents. Opioids medicated people suffering the torment of indefinite detention without having committed a crime. Those ghastly scenes of boat people running around the dark with tracer bullets lighting up the sky.

    This has been going on for years now. How odd, that we seem to accept that. Where is our indignation and love of humanity?

    Reply

  • 8
    cairns50
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    bravo bernard what more can one say ?

    i must say one more thing

    tony abbott is quite simply not a decent human being

  • 9
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Labor trying to lecture the Coalition on how to stop the boats…. we’ve hit the Labor spin zone folks.

    Lets remind the voters:

    1. The Pacific Solution stopped the boats. It’s undeniable, absolutely undeniable. Apparantly according to Labor things that work really really well never should be touched ever again. Labor hacks must have a lot of Toasters they throw out after one use.

    2. Labor are the cause of the new boatpeople crisis. ENTIRELY OF THEIR OWN MAKING. They dumped the policies that worked… now they are crying crocodile tears “Waaaa, how could this have happened??”. All Labor had to do was not touch the policies they worked… but they wanted to show how morally riteous they were and look whats happened it’s bit them right on the ar5e.

    3. 2010 Election Promises. Now in the 2010 Election campaign the Coalition said they would reopen Nauru, turn back boats and TPV’s. Thats the same policy they have now. In the 2010 Election campaign Gillard promised to send illegals to EAST TIMOR and said there is no way Labor could send illegals to Nauru because it’s not a signatory of the Refugee Convention. WELL GUESS WHAT?! Malaysia is NOT a signatory of the UN Refugee Convention, Nauru NOW is! And East Timor? Just another l1e from our pinnochio PM, she didn’t even bother to pick up the phone to them to ask if they wanted it before announcing the policy. Another Labor failure.

    And Fourth and Finally, I actually think the Coalition are shooting themselves in the foot opposing the Malaysian Solution. Labor are limited to sending only 800 illegals. Last month almost 1100 illegals arrived. This month around 1200. The Malaysian Solution will be null and void within 3 weeks and racked up as YET another Labor failure… and then it’ll be all processing at Nauru. So I call on Abbott to support Labors dudd plan and sit back and watch another Labor spectacular failure.

  • 10
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Bernard - that is pretty strong stuff but I think that you’re right on the money. The sheer cynicism of the Opposition is beyond belief. Their ‘negotiating’ tactic - adopt our policy or no deal. They must know that Nauru won’t work now. It worked for a while because would-be asylum seekers thought they were being slung into a black hole indefinitely, and that is probably what much of the electorate thought and applauded. But it is clear that it will be just another Christmas island. Temporary protection visas encouraged asylum seekers to bring their families on the perilous journey. I have strong doubts about the morality of the ‘Malaysia solution’ but I think that it would be likely to work. Who is going to risk being among the first 800? And how is it worse than turning boats back to sink or face an uncertain welcome in Indonesia? I am convinced the Opposition won’t allow the Malaysia solution through because they are afraid that it would work. They want the boats to keep coming until the election.

  • 11
    Gocomsys
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    @ROSSMCG Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Loath = very unwilling to do something
    Loathe = dislike someone or something very much

    In this context both are very applicable!

    This might also be a good time to get another perspective of the underlying issue:
    http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/australian-identity/new-australians/refugee-populations-around-the-globe-the-facts/

  • 12
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Vocal and written comment by religeous organisations in respect to the opposition’s pure venom on this issue is noticeable by its absence. Then again, the issue - its not about gay marriage. Where are you Bishop Pell, as well as the vocal and lobbying pillars of the ACL? God and Jesus just love compassionate people!

  • 13
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Great article Bernard, well worth my subscription.

    Is there any article published by Crikey or other media debunking the myth that the Pacific Solution worked to reduce asylum seekers? It’ll be good to have as a reference.

  • 14
    fredex
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    But, having paid close or not-so-close attention to federal politics since the early 1980s, I can’t do anything but conclude that the Coalition’s current stance on asylum seekers is the clearest example of outright evil that I’ve ever seen from a political party at the federal level.”

    That has been bleedin’ obvious for yonks.
    FFS.
    That the COALition and it is necessary to add, the media, who MUST accept a huge chunk of responsibility for the xenophobia displayed, have pursued policies and practices that are outside the pale of common decency is transparent.
    Although I would quibble a bit and point out that the invasion of the NT, the invasion of Iraq, the treatment of women eg the single parent legislation of the latter years of Howard, the anti-gay phobia ….,hmmm, disturbing isn’t it …. all rank up there for cynical victim blaming evil bastardry.
    And the list could continue.

    But it is nice to see it admitted, at last, finally, belatedly, in one small corner of our Oz media.
    May it become a trend.
    Kudos.
    Belated kudos.

  • 15
    fredex
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Moderated …. again.

  • 16
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    tony abbott is quite simply not a decent human being”

    Labor have reaped what they sowed.

    For years they chastised Howard, Reith and Ruddock about what horrible monsters they were at stopping the boats and how easy it would be just to have an open door policy, playing the moral overlords of Australia.

    Now they are in government they find out ideology just doesn’t work in reality and have blood on their hands.

    They need to publically come out and say Howard, Reith and Ruddock were right.

  • 17
    Mike Shaw
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    From the time they were born and came forth from their mother’s wombs and suckled at their mother’s breasts, would they have ever imagined themselves such a lonely and terrible death?Most of these were just little kids.

    Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

    Christians????..huh!…my arse!

  • 18
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Is there any article published by Crikey or other media debunking the myth that the Pacific Solution worked to reduce asylum seekers?”

    In 2001 before the Pacific Solution was introduced there were 5500 illegals.

    In 2002 after the Pacific Solution was introduced there was ONE single illegal… total…. ONE.

    You’ll need to smoke a lot of drugs, enter the Labor spin zone and completely ignore reality and i’m sure you’ll get the answer you are wanting.

  • 19
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Several people have observed in several countries over a considerable time that humans seem far more sympathetic to the suffering of animals than for other humans. I presume Peter Singer has written on it.

    I suggest that animals are obviously innocent and more helpless, humans less obviously so.

  • 20
    cairns50
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    geewizz i forgot to add howard reith and ruddock to my list of people who are simply not decent human beings

    my apologies for being so forgetful

  • 21
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    @GEEWIZZ what village did you escape from, is it the same village as Suzanna Blake? I agree with you though, the government should use Nauru to once and for all prove that under certain push factor circumstances the Pacific solution of the Howard government is just a myth. Fortunately for Howard, he was bundled out of office before the myth was busted.

    To quote you: “1. The Pacific Solution stopped the boats. It’s undeniable, absolutely undeniable”; is pure unproven over the long term - and “it’s undeniable, absolutely undeniable” drivel.

  • 22
    Alfonse
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Where are the silent Greens in all of this ? Instead of trying to point the finger at the Coalition (note: The Opposition, ie, those NOT in power), why isn’t Labor attempting to redefine a workable solution with The Greens. They are the ones who make up Government (note:Government - IN power). You just can’t run around pointing the finger at those you loathe most whilst those who loathe you, gloat in the shadows !! They could easily agree with their counterparts in power and get it done. Where is the criticism of them ?

  • 23
    allanr44
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t agreed with everything Bernard has said of late, but here he has hit the nail right on the head!
    Thank you for that.

  • 24
    syzygium
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Bernard. I was seething listening to RN Breakfast this morning as Fran Kelly interviewed Chris Bowen and did exactly what you’re saying the media in general are doing: pretending that both sides are being intransigent.

    The Coalition’s position is, “regardless of how many lives are lost, we refuse to find a way forward until we are in government.” If trading in lives in the pursuit of power is not evil, then nothing is.

  • 25
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Howard,Reith and Ruddock were certainly right in setting into concrete off shore endless-detention. They, more than anyone else, nurtured xenophobia, indeed made it into an art-form.
    The unforgetable ‘children’ overboard exploitation was the pinnacle of their success .
    And now, again, the same cynical and obsessive drive to negate any solution threatening their political advantage. The hate of Scott Morrison with T.Abbott and Co just seems to grow fatter as the bodies of the drowned are rotting. A shameful episode. Goebbels would be pleased.

  • 26
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bernard,

    Can you explain what Labor is going to do when the 801st Boat illegal rocks up on our shores?

    It’s a dud policy by a dud PM. I call on Abbott to allow the policy to pass in Parliament and sit back and watch another spectular Labor failure.

    I give it about 4 weeks, would make it the most amazing policy failure in Australian history.

  • 27
    NiceLittleUnit
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Bernard - In your first sentence, the word you want is “loath”, not “loathe”. http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000238.htm

  • 28
    syzygium
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Alfonse - because Labor and the Greens don’t agree on a policy. But Labor and the Coalition do, or are close enough that they can work something out. However, as Morrison said, even if Labor adopted the Coalition’s policy in toto, they won’t support it until they are in government.

  • 29
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    To quote you: “1. The Pacific Solution stopped the boats. It’s undeniable, absolutely undeniable”; is pure unproven over the long term - and “it’s undeniable, absolutely undeniable” drivel.”

    It’s actually historical fact.

    Heres a graph:
    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/07/BoatArrivals.gif

    BTW Worldwide refugee numbers peaked in 2002 according to the U.N, yet Australia had dropped it’s boat arrivals from 5500 to 1 boatperson. This is a spectular turn around, once again undeniable historical fact.

  • 30
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    @GEEWIZZ - to respond to your points:

    1. Nauru, TPVs and turning back boats worked before but would not work now. Don’t believe me, refer statements by some Liberals and Andrew Metcalfe, one of the principal architects of the Pacific Solution.
    2. Labor did not cause the wars in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and the human rights abuses in those and so many other countries. To the extent that the old policies worked, they worked by punishing the victims.
    3. 2010 promises - you’re right. The East Timor solution seemed to be on the right track but Ms Gillard did not have East Timor onside - clearly badly handled by Labor, but it wasn’t a l ie. As for respect for the truth, the PM compares favourably with John Howard in my opinion. And Tony Abbott et al are demanding a policy be implemented that they must know won’t work and they will take this policy to the next election. Not exactly an honest position.
    4. For reasons outlined in my earlier post (under moderation), I think the Malaysia ‘solution’ would work, which in my opinion is why Tony Abbott won’t support it.

  • 31
    Gocomsys
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    GEEWIZZ (aka TruthHurts Troll) posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 1:43 pm
    This is an adult discussion. Infantile responses aren’t helpful here or anywhere. I think any reasonable person on this site is aware by now how much ignorance exists in the general public. We do not need to be constantly reminded of this by trolls. As every sensible person here is also aware there is no easy solution to a difficult worldwide human displacement problem. The only way to assist in limiting tragedies is to find regional solutions. No country can do it alone! Will the Malaysian scheme work? It is a start, a change of a mind set in our neighbourhood and certainly worth pursuing.
    Message to trolls: Nothing to contribute? Keep quite! Very much appreciated.

  • 32
    Mike Smith
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Decided to run a sock-puppet in this one, Savon? In this case, wiki is quite capable of explaining the term.

  • 33
    Mike Smith
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    @Gocom: I figured Geewizz was a Savonrepus sock-puppet, but it could equally be Truthie.

  • 34
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Nonetheless, this has led to some weird questioning from the media of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen about why the government won’t simply do that, as if the matter of whether a policy will save lives or lead to more deaths is just another example of Canberra he-said-she-said, as if Labor was simply being stubborn and there was no difference between government and opposition policies. It’s either the most sickeningly cynical stuff we’ve seen from the Press Gallery in a long time, or an example of profound ignorance of the issue, or perhaps both.
    .
    There is no “impasse” here. There is simple bloodymindedness in the face of offers of compromise.

    Indeed, there seems to be a consensus in the media that “both sides of politics are equally to blame”. This kind of phrase has been repeated so many times Morrison and Abbott must be dancing with glee, since it almost certainly leads to more “blame” attaching to the government than the opposition. Their objective is to create the image of chaos and a government with no control.

    I can only think it is mostly due to so-called journalists being sheep. Very few seem to have looked at the Malaysian Solution and they seemingly see it as just another Nauru gulag. Yet it represents the other thing being bandied about a lot: a genuine regional approach.

    On ABC-RN this morning Fran Kelly was attacking Chris Bowen with all this kind of brain-dead invective, perhaps thinking she is being a “crusading journalist” but really showing she has not done her homework (which is rare, she is usually scarily on top of her subject). Bowen gave as good as he could and thankfully, forcefully rebutted Kelly’s every attempt to fall back on false platitudes (such as the opposition’s schemes). But one could hear the frustration in his voice and who can blame him. With the noble exception of BK, once again the media is not doing its job. In fact the media is a very big part of this problem since it finds it incapable of presenting the facts, instead blindly accepting and spreading the distortion that all politicians are equally to blame.

  • 35
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    And GEEWIZ these people are NOT illegals. It is legal to ask for asylum and Australia, as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, is obliged to consider these requests. It is illegal to overstay a tourist or other visa, as tens of thousands are doing at any one time without anyone seeming to be too worried about it.

  • 36
    Pamela
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou Bernard for calling it.
    This tragedy highlights exactly what sort of leader we will get if the coalition win.
    It aint pretty.

  • 37
    GeeWizz
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    There are too many unanswered questions on Labors dudd policy.

    1. What happens on the 801st boat arrival. Even with the introduction of the Pacific Solution there was around 1100 new arrivals in the 2 following months before the message got out that Australia was serious about stopping boats. Gillards attempting to do it in less than 800. In fact she’s planning on recieving less then 800 in 4 YEARS! 4 YEARS! Yet we are currently recieving 1200 a MONTH!

    2. Unaccompanied minors. Whats Labor going to do with them, send them to the streets of Malaysia, with a 4 corners crew in tow? We know Labor are weak kneed…. they will say everyone is going to Malaysia except unaccompanied kids. Guess what happens then? We get boats packed full of unaccompanied kids who will attempt a family reunion when they get here, a boat sinks and Labor cries “how could this have happened?! How could all these children die?” What a stupid stupid policy.

    3. The Malaysian Solution policy is a joke. It says Australia must pay for illegals we SEND to Malaysia for as long as tthey live there. So thats a 60+ Year financial committment. Yet we also pay for the 4000 we bring to Australia. Are Labor completely stupid? A 60 Year financial liability to another country for people that have nothing to do with us?

    I would really like Labor supporters to think this think through rather than simply saying “wow Labor thought of it, what a great idea!” It just doesn’t pass the commonsense test, but as I say… Abbiott should let it slip through parliament and give Labor the pain they so desperately want.

  • 38
    Townsend Ruth
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why the coalition can’t give the ‘Malaysia solution’ a go. Agreeing to this will not lessen their chance of winning the next election. I don’t think anything can stop that now.

  • 39
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Of all the umpteen contributors and their fightin’ words here, including BK, only Geewizz has advanced any data in support of their position. If ‘evidence shows’ policies advocated by the Coalition will only exacerbate the problem, where is it?

    Just saying.

  • 40
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m not so pessimistic about the potential outcome of the multi-party committee: if Labor, the independents and the Greens can come up with something mutually acceptable, they can pass it even without the noalition.

  • 41
    Pamela
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz- Agreed Malaysia solution is a dud policy.
    But so is the Nauru solution. The criticisma levelled at Malaysia pol can also be levelled at the billion dollar indefinite detention program planned by the Coalition.

    If the aim is to prevent deaths at sea - then an alternative mechanism has to be found. Off -shore processing in Indonesia is the most logical conclusion WITH timely resettlement for those found to be refugees. the indonesians would love it- they dont like deaths at sea any more than some Australians. Replace the AFP ( who are not stopping the boats) with Diac officers able to assess refugee claims on site in Indonesia.

    Provide an orderly formal assessment and resettlement program which will “undermine the people smugglers business model”.

    This is of course if the aim is to prevent deaths at sea-
    Sadly i think that this is a secondary consideration in that most vicious of games- politics.

  • 42
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    More Labor waste, from a person, who knowingly came here illegally.

    The Australian Department of Immigration has defended its decision to transfer one seriously injured asylum seeker from Christmas Island to Perth using a 737 aircraft.

    The patient was believed to be on the asylum seeker boat which sank last week off the coast of Christmas Island.

    He was transported in the aircraft, capable of seating 130 passengers, by himself to Perth on Friday evening for medical treatment after reportedly losing two fingers.

    A spokesman for the immigration department told ninemsn the aircraft was owned by the department and used for immigration purposes regularly.

    “The aircraft used in the medical evacuation is a resource of the Department of Immigration and is used as part of normal operations, transporting clients and support staff for the detention network,” the spokesman said.

    “The provision was taken to use the aircraft as it was already on standby and due to fly back to Perth in a matter of days anyway.”

    The Immigration Department said it would have been more costly to have the Royal Flying Doctor Service return to transport the man.

    “(The patient’s) medical condition was serious enough that it warranted immediate transfer.”

    Three other passengers were flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth for treatment earlier on Friday.

    It is believed around 90 other passengers are dead or unaccounted for following the boat accident”

  • 43
    Chris Graham
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Outstanding as always Bernard. Thank God for Crikey.

  • 44
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    More Labor waste, from a person, who knowingly came here illegally.

    Illegal person, fown on 737 as a lone passanger, just unbelievable, waste

  • 45
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition should reject Malaysian “solution” and let boy Bowen sink with the hundreds of millions he has already paid Malaysia and the hundreds of millions he wants to pay them in the future

  • 46
    listohan
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    GeeWiz. If Malaysia won’t work, tell us why Nauru will work now that the world knows you finish up here anyway?

  • 47
    Savonrepus
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Tony Abbott is NOT the government - this inhuman policy is on Gillard’s head. If she wants her own solution she must negotiate with the Greens. If she wants something that works go back to the Howard solution that does work. Temporary Protection Visas and Nauru.

    It is totally ridiculous for the Government in power to be blaming the opposition for the failure of its policies. Gillard will go down in history as the refugees Chamberlain.

  • 48
    DMX PRIME
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    @Suzanne Blake. For a start, there is nothing “illegal” about coming here by boat. This has been reaffirmed by court after court. The term you are looking for is asylum seeker (Examples of “illegal” immigrant would be a backpacker who overstayed their visa).

    Secondly , how exactly is it wasteful to spend money saving a persons life? Do you really believe that the government should let people die because of money. If so, congratulations on being a sociopath Suzanne.

    And I’m not exactly sure what “solution” you think WOULDNT cost money. Do you think the people of Nauru let us crap up their island with a nasty prison camp for free? Actually one solution that would cost bugger all is release into the community with a work permit. In fact that’d actually gain us money.

    But lets be honest, its not about rationality or humanity, isn’t it? Its about finding disempowered scape goats to blame shit on. Good work.

  • 49
    abmessage
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I do not think the Malaysia ‘solution’ is a solution. I think there is a huge level of opportunism (and frankly racism) on both sides. It would be a tragedy if Liberal and Labor joined together to amend the Migration Act in the way the ALP has been seeking. It is completely abhorent to allow people to be removed from Australia to a country that has no legal obligations to protect refugees. Malaysia has already, this year, sent a man who tweeted his doubts about God, back to Saudi Arabia to face possible death. Removing this current requirement (to abide by our treaty obligations as upheld by the High Court) would almost certainly be used in a draconian fashion by a future right wing government - and it would have been a Labor government that introduced the change. Then again, Labor introduced the original remote camp policy and made Australia the first English speaking country since Magna Carta was signed (800 years ago) to lock up children indefinitely without a criminal charge. Mandatory detention and overseas ‘solutions’ that involve contracting out our treaty obligations to third world countries are ridiciulously expensive, unwarranted and disproportionate responses. Refugees invariably are shown to be hard workers in their new country and to create overall economic benefits to the community. Those people arriving by boat are almost always found to be genuine refugees. In any given year there is around a 95% acceptance rate.

  • 50
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    @ Savonrepus

    Yes you are right, Gillards coalition partners are the extreme Greens. She need to work with them on a solution and get it passed.

    @listohan

    Malaysia is expensive, $800 million. Boy Bowen is wet behind the ears and got screwed by them. Just like Emerson on the Free Trade deal, where we drop all tariffs from Jan 1, 2013 and Malaysia drops all theirs by 2025. He got done over as well.

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