Crikey readers talk the enormous cost of offshore detention, unemployment benefits and lack of whistleblower protection.
The other cost of offshore detention
Alex Romanoff writes: Re. “The boats have stopped” (Thursday). While those like Tamas Calderwood et al who preen about the “success” of “stopping the boats”, there is another reality, that of the cost of offshore detention in its various forms to the Australian taxpayer. Where Calderwood etc see boats, there are living, breathing human beings whose costs were estimated by none other than the National Commission of Audit, which estimates the cost of offshore detention as about $450,000 per person. This suggests we could buy a house in Australia for each asylum seeker for the cost of keeping them in offshore gulags. Perhaps this would not be such a bad idea.
How to reach our Prime Minister?
Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Politicians are under surveillance — what will they do about it?” (Thursday). On March 27 I presented a paper on dodgy unemployment figures to Tony Abbott seconds after he completed a media conference on the lawns in front of Parliament House. The “presentation” was shown on ABC 7pm news that night, and Abbott said he would respond to my paper (he hasn’t). Well, did the Australian Federal Police go berserk. One officer gave me the third degree while others hung around like a bad smell. What was my name? licence? what was in the paper? whom did I represent? give me a copy … were all questions asked?
When I refused to give him my licence and most of the details he wanted to take me to his superiors inside Parliament House, all the while complaining of having to write a report on the incident. After much to-ing and fro-ing he started to back off as a media TV scrum were nearby filming the confrontation. Thank god they were there, as god only knows where I would have ended up: Canberra’s Lubyanka? All because I am a whistleblower, and in a so-called democracy, I wanted to give the PM my paper on dodgy unemployment figures. Of course I could write, but I did that in September last year, but no reply has been received. How else do we plebs get to meet a PM?
Our welfare system in context
Peter Murphy: Re. “Australia’s ‘overly generous’ welfare in context” (Friday). I wonder what the comparison would show if this chart was based on expenditure per capita of unemployed? Unemployment rates in may of the eurozone countries is much higher than in Australia so logically total expenditure as a percentage of GDP would be higher.