Asylum seekers:

Peter Kemp writes: Re. “Malaysia Solution II: Gillard wins caucus support for remount” (yesterday, item 1). The simplistic morally right thing to do is welcome all genuine refugees and help them to a better life but most people can see that the only way to reduce the  flow of boats is to make Australia an undesirable destination. This is a dilemma — most of us know that the great majority of refugees would make great citizens — most of us would love the luxury of open hearts, open doors and less guilt — but most of us know there is a long-term downside to accepting one and all. The simple fact is that to welcome all is to increase the flow of boats, probably in a big way.

The current numbers are not all that bad, the extent of legal immigration and even overstayed visas is greater but there is a limit to how fast our society can absorb different cultures and remain stable. Then there is always the naughty people smugglers who must be stopped at all costs but the more illegal people smuggling becomes the more lucrative and corrupt it will be — witness Prohibition in America or drug distribution today.

The real dilemma is to find a consensus that balances uncharitable behaviour against boat numbers. Given our political landscape this consensus seems to be very difficult.

On one extreme if we bombed all boats and stopped them coming, the problem would go away but we couldn’t live with ourselves and in any case nobody that we approved of would do it.

On the other extreme, the advocates of onshore processing fall into three broad groups, those that genuinely believe it is the best thing and will not harm the country, those who believe that harming the country is an acceptable price to pay and those who don’t really mean what they say.

So there we have it, some say we’re dammed if we do, some say we’re dammed if we don’t and the truth is somewhere between. Aesop would be love it.

Sam Stosur:

Andrew Haughton writes: Re. “The Power Index: what’s a US Open worth to Sam Stosur?” (yesterday, item 6). It was deeply satisfying to see a self-possessed and focused Samantha Stosur defeat, in straight sets, a petulant and badly behaved Serena Williams at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It recalled a Wimbledon final when a self-possessed and focused Arthur Ashe defeated, in straight sets, a petulant and badly behaved Jimmy Connors.

Channel Nine and the Rugby World Cup:

Gary Neat writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). So, according to the Nine Network’s publicity fanfare, we were going to enjoy former Wallaby captains George Gregan and Andrew Slack as the commentators of Wallaby World Cup games.

Well, yes, George and Andrew were sitting in the Sydney studios and we did benefit from their views at half-time, but the match was called by the same anti-Aussie Kiwi commentators who we’ve all grown to hate over the years in the Super 15. Yes, you know, the same crowd that is now booing the Australian team at the World Cup. ( Hey, didn’t we give tens of millions of dollars to this lot after the Christchurch earthquake?)

Remember when Nine was the leader in Australian sports coverage ? Thank God for Foxtel!

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey