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Feb 27, 2014

Look beyond Manus to see the real asylum seekers

Crikey readers talk Manus Island, Operation Sovereign Borders and the situation in Thailand.

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Where are the tears for asylum seekers who wait their turn?

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Caro’s Flotsam and Jetsam: on asylum seekers and intolerable cruelty” (yesterday). Jane Caro is typical of those hand-wringers who can’t stand the thought that the Abbott policy is working — no boats for 68 days or whatever it is.

She can thank Julia Gillard for Manus and Rudd for PNG.  Rudd was the genius (obviously Harvard quality) who first created the deluge of boats by repudiating Howard’s successful policy.

The idea of beautiful Iranians dying at the hands of Labor’s G4S contractor or a bunch of PNG local helpers is repulsive to us all. No doubt the riot started by the detainees was a tactic to gain media attention, and when you start a violent riot you take a big risk of bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Caro doesn’t weep for the poor bastards in overseas camps who don’t have a razoo let alone $10,000 to pay a smuggler and bribe a corrupt Indonesian official. They are the ones dipping out on a refugee place by orderly government process. Caro needs to look beyond the immediate situation and the beautiful Iranians.

It reminds me of the legendary Lincoln story of pardoning the youthful soldier who fell asleep on guard duty from the death penalty when such extreme harshness was brought to his attention. That he did, but he let many others be shot for military crimes because he agreed that in the bigger picture, the army needed that sanction to keep firm discipline. Was it “firmness in the right”, I think he said somewhere? Not a bad phrase for Mr Abbott to use.

Remember federation?

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Gas shortage? Tapping the bubbling wells of spin and self-interest” (yesterday). Memo federal and NSW governments: I humbly beg to inform you that Australia is now one nation — there are unlimited resources of gas available from sources now in operation without having to destroy valuable farmland and creating millions of tons of extra pollution in NSW. Seeing that creating new employment is very desirable, I submit, it would be a good idea to push production of power from sustainable, non-polluting resources.

The reputation of Coalition governments lying down like poodles to big money in the past was stupid and weak minded, in the 21st century it is criminally irresponsible.

A medal for Conroy

John Shailer writes: Re. “Can’t handle the truth? On the front line in the Coalition’s war on scrutiny” (yesterday). Belatedly Labor has cast off Craig Thomson. It may still have a liability in defence spokesman Stephen Conroy, who under parliamentary privilege (a la Crag Thomson) has attacked distinguished General Angus Campbell over the successful boats policy, to the dismay of all serving military. It is also revealed that primarily under his watch, almost $7 billion was spent to complete 3% of the NBN rollout. As minister he attempted to muzzle the media. Tony Abbott should give him a medal!

History repeating itself in Thailand

John Falconer writes: Re. “‘Dereliction of duty’: Thailand’s PM facing the corruption music” (yesterday). Michael Sainsbury writes about Thailand — “Now they [the anti government protestors] are targeting major business, such as mobile phone company AIS, owned by the Shinawatras.” This is not right. AIS is owned principally by the Singapore government investment fund Temasek. The Shinawatras sold out completely in 2006, making a huge tax-free profit. The opposition party created a public “outrage” about the sale, which led to the 2006 military coup. The rest is history repeating itself.

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