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Crikey Says

Feb 19, 2014

Crikey says: Morrison exports his department's failure

A major data breach identifies asylum seekers. Plus Guy Rundle on the politics. Inside Qantas' exclusive lounge -- where the political deals are done. Proceeds of crime and behind the raid on Channel Seven. Micro-parties priced out of the election. Newspaper editors at war: Crikey mediates. What to do about North Korea. And Jane Caro: are lefties smarter?

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The federal government worries about the damage to our international reputation from reports broadcast across the region on the ABC.

Perhaps the government could simply not spy on the leaders of allied nations.

Or mismanage detention centres to fuel violence and even death.

Or not identify — actually identify — the poor souls to the brutal regimes they fled from.

You can expect that last little PR blunder — one that actually puts the lives of thousands of asylum seekers in some peril — to be broadcast across the world via The Guardian today (and no doubt by the ABC). They would laugh at us overseas if they weren’t so appalled at the sheer incompetence and unthinkable potential risk.

It is Australian policy — bipartisan, in effect — to place asylum seekers into a cruel, unending purgatory offshore. That policy — if “stopping the boats” is its measure — appears to be working.

But as Bernard Keane argued yesterday, the government cannot outsource accountability over the process. This is dangerous, already deadly, management failure within the Department of Immigration under Minister Scott Morrison’s watch.

The victims of Morrison’s “whatever it takes” approach are mounting. The world is watching.

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