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Jun 26, 2012

Time to call the asylum seeker 'impasse' what it really is

There is no "impasse" on asylum seekers, there is only bloodyminded evil from the Coalition.


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.




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260 thoughts on “Time to call the asylum seeker ‘impasse’ what it really is

  1. Brad Sprigg

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  6. Stewart Eamon

    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. gerard

    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?


  8. cairns50

    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

    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

    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

    @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:

  12. Bill Hilliger

    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. Ms Curious

    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

    “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.
    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.
    Belated kudos.

  15. fredex

    Moderated …. again.

  16. GeeWizz

    [“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

    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

    [“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. Gavin Moodie

    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

    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

    @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

    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

    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

    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. gerard

    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

    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

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

  28. syzygium

    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

    [“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:

    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

    @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

    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

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

  33. Mike Smith

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

  34. michael r james

    [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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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. Joel

    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

    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

    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

    Outstanding as always Bernard. Thank God for Crikey.

  44. Suzanne Blake

    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

    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

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

  47. Savonrepus

    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.


    @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

    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

    @ 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.


    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.

  51. SimsonMc


    I am not going to get into the debate as to which policy worked and which didn’t because I am no expert and depending on which report you read, you get a different answer. However, I am interested in your response about the justification of the current LNP’s position. Here we have the Government willing to compromise (i.e. de-facto admit that they got it wrong, stuffed up, call it what ever you like) and have decent doses of humble pie with all the trimming. Shouldn’t that be enough for the LNP to gloat over and rub their noses in it? I am sure that News Ltd and others will ensure that the public will not forget Labor’s humiliating back down, so Tony’s pursuit of even more political points is just an Alpha Male not knowing when enough is enough. I am interested in your view as to how many lives are a big enough price before Tony should change is mind considering he has won this battle?

  52. GeeWizz

    [“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”]

    No they should oppose it but let the legislation pass.

    Abbott is being given a golden oppurtunity here to see yet another spectacular Labor policy disaster and he’s letting it slip.

    Let Labor have it’s “Malaysia Solution” and the pain they so desperaely deserve and want.

  53. Damien

    Geewiz, you really are a gormless drone. The Coalition doesn’t want its policies implemented for fear the policies won’t stop the boats. That’s why Scott Morrison has been so shrill in radio interviews of late. The whole coalition position asks us to believe that the Australian Government’s stance is the principal driver of refugee boat launches – like there’s nothing else affecting the poor and persecuted in the region. Such a thing defies belief and is an indication of an Australian national arrogance that is really unappealing.

  54. Suzanne Blake

    @ DMX Prime

    They are 100% illegal. They all pay people smugglers in Indonesia, knowingly.

    Walking across a border is one thing and different.

    Entering Indonsesia falsifying immigation forms saying they are tourits is a criminal act, just like paying the people smugglers.

    We should take them all off the boats, onto a Navay ship, sink the boat and take them to Indonesia


  55. Bill Hilliger

    @ GEEWHIZZ & SUZANNE BLAKE refer also to item 11 written by John Menadue which requires your one-sided comments

  56. kennethrobinson2

    What we have are totally incompetent, and corrupt WORLD leaders, who are creating the situation.
    Who wouldnt want to leave a country, where you can get killed, for just being you!!.
    Our pack of dills wouldnt know where to start, maybe by not invading and interfearing in other countries woul be a good place to begin.

  57. Suzanne Blake

    @ Damien

    “Geewiz, you really are a gormless drone. The Coalition doesn’t want its policies implemented for fear the policies won’t stop the boats.”

    WRONG their policy did stop the boats, with only 1 arrived in one of the calandar years they it was in force

  58. pertina1

    Nice piece Bernard, makes a refreshing change from the ” balanced” mainstream reporting on this sad issue.

    PS: is GEEWIZZ a staffer in the shadow ministers office?

  59. Bill Hilliger

    @SB Wot! Aussie navy sink the boats and take refugees back to Indonesia; hmm… the Indonesians would probably say to the Aussies f-off not our problem ….just as we seem to be doing. What I would like to see is a boat load of disenchanted white republican American refugees fleeing another Obama term in office. Daresay they would probably be welcomed by both sides of the political spectrum.

  60. Meryl Joyce

    Thanks Crikey for putting it out there. I was angry and upset hearing the LNP responses last night. They are definitely EVIL

  61. Ian

    Nothing is going to happen. The liberals, both politicians and those who vote for them, have no interest in resolving the problem.

    Unfortunately gutless immorality, corrupted personal ethics and a cruelly impartial ethos has seen to that. Abbott wont change because the weak gutted, mindless excuses that vote for him want more asylum seekers dead. They get off on it. Don’t believe me? Read some of the commentors here, or, listen to talkback radio.

    Abbott wont change because those that support him want as many people to die as they can. I repeat….they get off on it. They’re that sort of human.

  62. Suzanne Blake

    @ Bill Hilliger

    The Indonesians dont want to solve the illegal boat people, of they loose their bribes, from waterfront, police, navy, customs to the top.

    Some border security they have the boats leave with ease

  63. Sharkie

    Spot on BK.

    The Liberal Party aren’t interested in solving any “boat people” problem. They are simply offering up a bunch of non-solutions designed to rile up a pack of racist, selfish, and ignorant ar#sholes in marginal seats.
    “We’ll turn back the boats” AND MAKE THEM TRY AGAIN. (dear god, can you imagine the diplomatic incident that will happen if they try)
    “We’ll reopen Nauru” (and warehouse people without trial for years. Only to see it fill up very quickly indeed) What is plan B?
    “We’ll reinstate TPVs” even though these force people onto boats.

    I also don’t like to assume people’s motives, but I can safely say that Abbott and Morrison would gladly sacrifice a few asylum seekers if it would get them into power on the back of the idiot redneck vote.
    I’m currently trying to work out who I despise the most. Morrison, Abbott, or Gina Rhineheart. (And through in that bum “journalist” Steve Lewis for good measure.
    Thus endeth my rant.

  64. Sharkie

    Fair Dinkum Blake, you’ve got to be one of the dumbest people on the net. Indonesia has 17,000 islands and hundreds of thousands of kilometres of coastline.
    Australia can’t stop boats showing up on three specs in the indian ocean, and you somehow think the Indonesia Authorities could stop them leaving literally thousands of viable departure points.
    I’m stunned at how those with the strongest anti-refugee opinions struggle with event the most basic realities.

  65. Venise Alstergren

    BERNARD KEANE: Thank you! I was beginning to despair that anyone in the media would call it for what it is. EVIL.

    To think that Tony Abbott- together with a large slice of the Liberal Party- calls himself a Christian shows to what depths religion will sink to get its own way. Australia’s name has become infamy.

  66. Damien

    Suzanne, can you really be sure it was because of the Coalition policy? Were there no other factors at play across the region? Had the Tamils been corralled, defeated and massacred by the Singhalese majority in nothern Sri Lanka yet? No. Had the Afghan war been escalated by Nato and was the Taliban resurgent? Had Karzi stolen the Afghan election for his family and other mates? No. Had the Iranians clamped down visciously on a homegrown democracy movement or was that later than 2005? Later, I think. Had the Iraq war escalated into a slaughterhouse of a civil war – or did that come later? Did over 90 per cent of asylum seekers in that period on temporary protection visas ultimately gain peranent residency? Yes. Did almost all the people sent to Naru end up as Australian permanent residents? Yes.

    Still so sure?

  67. Venise Alstergren

    SUZANNE BLAKE: Have you no sense of the difference between bravado and being a willing supporter of EVIL?

  68. Suzanne Blake

    @ Damien

    Dishonest Gillard is clamping down on working families, forcing our cost of living up, decreasing our international competitiveness, putting our jobs at risk?

    Does that mean I can leave Australia and enter India without a Visa? No I cant.

    There is violence, guns, shooting houses in SW Sydney, does that means I can go to Indonesia, cause I fear for my safety?

  69. paddy

    Well said Bernard.
    Abbott & Co aren’t even bothering to disguise their lust for power with the dog whistle any more.
    Plus, it doesn’t help that the MSM is in a total state of flux.
    A deeply shameful state of affairs.

  70. Suzanne Blake

    @ Sharkie

    Look at a map, they are all leaving from the coastline south of their capital and between Yojakata

  71. Dave Keetch


    The Pacific Solution resulted in turning boats away from Australia. Of course, there are no recorded arrivals in that period, because simply, no boats were allowed to arrive.

    Boats still left for Australia during that period.

    A better graph would be one that shows the number of boats leaving for Australia.

  72. Bill Hilliger

    @SB you’re right, but they don’t want them back either, whether delivered by the Australian navy or not.

    As you say, the Indonesians don’t want to solve the illegal boat people because of reason you state; nor does that poltroon Tony Abbott, because he and his team of he and his pusillanimous team can see the political advantage in the boats arriving on our shores. At the end of the day, boat people are human beings.

  73. shepherdmarilyn

    No, you are dead wrong Bernard. WE have to break the refugee convention and international law to achieve what you claim.

    It will never fly as the other 147 nations who are signatory to the convention will all then want to shove away and that would be a catastrophe.

    the boats are not that frigging dangerous, the press gallery mob simply need to get out more.

    We cannot arbitrarily decide we will go our own way because of the deaths of a few people we allowed to drown.

    I swear to god I live in a stupid country with cretins for media.

    No deal will get through the high court so they are all blowing smoke.

  74. Warren Jon

    Unbelievable dribble from Keane. What part of the Howard policy didn’t stop boats? How do you make up what the future holds if that policy is reenacted? simply by making it up and discussing as if its a fact that’s how! Just disgraceful journalism/commentary/spin. Gillard has NEVER put a policy to the test in Parliament…Why not…she’d have something to argue about if it didn’t get through or negotiated. Now Gillard like Keane have nothing to argue with any sense of realism its just more nonsense. As for the coalition and the febrile attempt by ABC’s 7.30 Report to draw them out as if government and opposition negotiations should be done on TV, the coalition should quite rightly only comment on the apparent Gillard willingness to talk when she puts up a bill to parliament and then negotiate where it actually counts. We’ve all seen how duplicitous Gillard is. That’s the only way to test the mettle of all involved including the Greens and those Independent fools (sorry Wilkie I didn’t mean you). How is it that the dirt on this is all down to the coalition…what about Labour’s brothers and sisters in government? surely they are part of the problem. Gillard, you need to put it up in parliament so we can all see who is REALLY doing what to whom. Maybe then we can stop the drownings and the political spin and the media commentary which is just as bad.

  75. Bill Hilliger

    As you say, the Indonesians don’t want to solve the illegal boat people because of reason you state; nor does that poltroon Tony Abbott, because he and his pusillanimous team can see the political advantage in the boats arriving on our shores. At the end of the day, boat people are human beings.

  76. Sharkie

    That’s crap Blake.
    Asylum seekers are leaving from ports on Lombok, West Timor, Sumbawa, Java (north, south and west coasts) and Sumatra.
    You can’t even spell Yogyakarta (and it’s not even on the coast).
    Like I said before “I’m stunned at how those with the strongest anti-refugee opinions struggle with even the most basic realities.”

  77. dazza

    You do know, the people who designed Coalitions policy all those years ago are telling Abbott and co. that the same policies will not work today. Times change but unfortunately, the rats on the front bench can’t keep up.

  78. gerard

    Who would have thought, that Australia with the smallest population of any continent, would get so mean about helping boatpeople to survive.
    Reading Suzanna Blake and so many others, one wonders what happened to the country my parents migrated to.
    We were all, apart from the real Australians, boat people. Some of those boatpeople of earlier times did also not have papers and some even were convicted felons.

  79. Bill Hilliger

    @GERARD spot on! Including boats with wings.

  80. Edward James

    Q&a i thought i had made a comment about how stupid brandis was on the ABC / clearly i missed something Edward james

  81. David Corbett

    Suzanne Blake

    You are 100% WRONG actually, there is nothing illegal about seeking asylum in another country, regardless of how you get yourself there.

    And please learn to spell. It’s bad enough that the content of your postings is so atrocious, but the extremely poor spelling just makes it unreadable.

    If I was a refugee, I would pay people smugglers to get myself and kids to a decent country rather than languish in Malaysian or Indonesian refugee camps, hoping to be one of the 60 people Australia accepts from these two countries (combined) each year. And I would be 100% legally able to do that.

  82. Mike Smith

    @Warren: How is it down to the Coalition?: could it be they got Australia into the war that is producing the refugees. Then they and the MSM tagged the refugees as illegal. That’s duplicitous, to use your own word.

  83. Harry1951

    We need a trial of the Abbott policy as I am not convinced it will work as they allege as it did in the past. Call Abbott’s bluff on it. If the government is proven wrong and the boats stop they will at least largely neutralise this toxic issue. I don’t like it but it may be one of ways to break the impasse?

  84. shepherdmarilyn

    Agreed Gerard, and our media are brainless sheep. I tried to explain to the
    ABC today that it is simply illegal to do what both parties want which is to push away in breach of the refugee convention.

    The fact is that 99.2 % of all boats get here safely and it is not up to us to order people around in other countries and tell them they can’t do this or that.

    Talk about colonial mindsets from all white, middled aged media hacks.

  85. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Suzanne Blake, Geewizz, Warren Jon et al. Please answer one question ; if it isn’t illegal for human beings to seek refuge in Australia why is it OK for Australia under the Howard regime to employ illegal tactics to deny them the opportunity to come here.

    Why is it so difficult for you guys to offer sanctuary to genuine, displaced persons when the rest of the world provides such help?

    Have we become so mean minded or racist or self centered that we can’t share some of the bounty of living in Australia with others?

  86. Owen Gary


    The Pacific solution didn’t work, nearly all of them ended up in Australia anyway.
    There are genuine & not so genuine refugee’s hopping on boats, a lot of non genuine ones can afford to pay to get here & that is why the (Malaysian Solution) will work. As they will be going there on a last in last out basis. Abbott & his cronies know this & that is why he is determined to sink it.

    Now we have lots of lives lost & the PM has offered to negotiate on both fronts, whilst the Noalition led by Cap’n Abbott are still seeking to dictate policy from opposition.

    They have the right to refuse but under the circumstances they do not have the right to dictate from opposition. Gillard has put the cards on the table & Abbot has tipped the table over.

    This guy is a poor excuse for a human, plain for all to see!!

  87. Owen Gary

    No doubt the (Murdor extreme right Media) will turn this into another misinformation fiasco & lay it at the feet of the Labor Party.

    The problem for the Coalition & their “billion dollar backers” is that there is no where to hide in a greenhouse.

  88. shepherdmarilyn

    Owen, it is illegal to shove away refugees to anywhere. The amount of money they have is nothing to do wth anything and sending people away is illegal.

    I hope though that Pakistan decides to shove 2 million Afghans our way.

  89. daly carol

    Finally a journalist has said it as it is! Well said, Bernard!

    Imagine Australia being governed by Tony Abbott PM, Barnaby Joyce Deputy PM, Joe Hockey Treasurer, Julie Bishop Foreign Minister. They have trashed democracy, made a mockery of Parliament and it’s protocols and told lies from the day Tony thought he would walk into government. And when he realised, too late in the piece, that he had to negotiate he was knocked back by people who couldn’t trust him, like Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie.

    In politics as in life negotiation is a skill we all have to learn. Tony Abbott hasn’t. Julia is a consummate negotiator and as a result has achieved much and has my admiration.

    Of course the media don’t like negotiation because you have to arrive at a compromise. It is easier for them to see everything in black and white and Tony as the white knight. No wonder Julia doesn’t play their game and suffers accordingly. In the meantime she is bringing about the change which Australia needs after 11 years of dormancy under Howard.

  90. Warren Joffe

    “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 the way I heard it He clearly took an opportunity to say that nothing would work under this government whose credibility is shot but his (slightly) more substantial answer was the one I heard from Minister Bowen today on the radio (I think it was Bowen speaking for the government) which was that negotiation wouldn’t be done with the media and one’s position wouldn’t be disclosed in advance of actual negotiation.

    Given that the government promised not to seek to send anyone to a country which hadn’t signed the refugee convention and that it cannot get a section of the coalition of Greens and Independents which consitutes its authority to govern to agree to help it break its promise why should you blame the Coalition for voting to prevent it breaking that promise? Not least when 8000 asylum seekers have arrived this year of whom only 800 could be sent to Malaysia. That’s one big problem about blaming the opposition rather than the government. Another is that your sense of proportion is questionable. Australians would welcome an election. An election, unless you think the election of an Abbott government would be “evil”, would be a good thing for this country of 21.5 million people. If the Opposition is to be blamed by contrast with contributing, as are the Greens and the government, to the deaths of a few hundred people who undertake dangerous journeys without necessity how great an “evil” is that in the scale of human woe

  91. Liz45

    Bernard – Good on you! I’ll never forget your humanity, common sense and straight ‘talking’ article. But, we’re looking at the wrong end of the issue here! We caused these people to have lost all hope of a decent life – then when they get here, we crucify them. OR, we wring our hands when they end up dead in the ocean? They face death at home for god’s sake!

    @GEEWIZZ, SB etc – IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO SEEK ASYLUM IN ANY COUNTRY OF THE WORLD (UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14) The International Law also states, that people have this right, regardless of THEIR METHOD OF TRAVEL!!!

    Let’s keep in mind, that less than 5% of asylum seekers come here by boat – the rest arrive by plane. Most of those arriving by boat are later found to be in genuine need of protection, as opposed to those who arrive by plane. Therefore it seems to me, that we should at least treat both peoples with the same respect. If anything, we should show MORE concern to those arriving by boat, as they’re usually fleeing horror!

    SO, Abbott is proving to be a first class bastard, without a conscience or sense of decency or humanity. The arrogant way he just walked past journalists last evening was very telling. He holds us all in contempt! And he professes to be a christian? Bring on atheism I say in that case! Disgusting! Totally beneath contempt!

    I agree with GERARD and am also appalled by the many people who find the cruel treatment of animals far more compelling and in need of our humane intervention, than human beings who’ve suffered physical, mental, emotional trauma, prison, torture etc. What is wrong with you people who argue revolting solutions to this immense problem? I’m disgusted!

    Those arriving from Afghanistan are fleeing a situation that we caused! They’re being persecuted for fleeing our tyranny! We invaded their country without good/legal reasons and have caused the worst civilian(with Iraq) disaster in this century!

    @SB – As usual, you have your facts wrong. the bloody plane was going there anyway – empty. The young boy needed URGENT medical treatment (doctors said) and so he was placed on the large plane that was going back to Perth? anyway – empty! Who cares? It wasn’t a special trip just for him? No doubt you’d have that young boy, who apparently needed micro surgery or other attention for fingers/hand damaged severely. My understanding of micro surgery of this type, that time is of the utmost importance if there’s to be a successful outcome – full use of the hand/s for instance!

    Also – IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO SEEK ASYLUM! I wish you’d get that fact right too!

    @GEEWIZZ – I think you should read some of Judith Moylan or Judith Treoth? speeches – both Liberal Party Members. Further, the changes to the harsh Laws of the Howard Govt were brought about by LIBERAL PARTY MEMBERS????The Committee under the Rudd Govt included members of the Coaltion. They were in agreement with changes made in ’08? It was only later that they decided they could make more political mileage out of human misery that they took their revolting stand. Sharmon Stone was the head of the Coalition members on that Committee! Not a peep out of anyone – while Turnbull was Leader! Not one peep!

    This is Abbott’s influence, and his protestations of having a conscience is sickening.

    @WARREN JON The people on Nauru ended up in Australia as permanent residents, many of them are now Australian citizens. It was Howard who spent $$$$thousands of dollars per day by keeping one man AND A CAT on Manus Island. He too ended up in Australia, living temporarily with Julian Burnside QC until he got his life together etc. A most humane person of whom I have the highest regard. How many billions did he waste on Nauru, when the outcome was the exact opposite to that of his intention. TPV only resulted in more women and kids ending up in leaky boats arriving here, or ended up DEAD!

    Howard’s legacy of 353 deaths via SIEV X! Is that your idea of a successful program?

    Now, before I’m called a ‘bleeding heart’ or some other demeaning term, let me get in first. I don’t give a stuff what people think of me. We have a micro problem by world standards re people seeking asylum. We should just get on with processing people and ensure, that in future we don’t bomb the beejesus out of a country, keeping in mind what the ramifications usually are – thousands of people fleeing for their lives.

    I like Christine Milne’s idea of a multi faceted task force with input from EXPERIENCED people including those learned people re our International obligations. We have signed documents asserting our allegiance to human rights. We either abide by them, or publicly repudiate them. One way shows our strengths and integrity, the other, while honest demeans us all!

  92. khtagh

    Great article Bernard.
    Finally we see the true you, like a magnet I hope you can pull the good journos together to counter this disgraceful act of the opposition of applauding the death of innocent people for their own gain. What a despicable low form of human beings they are. Morals of a gutter rat & policy’s to match.

  93. khtagh

    @ GeeWizz SUZANNE BLAKE, & mad monk apologists.

    All posts

    These are paid opinion for the lieberal party of Australia.
    Authorized by the mad monk & written by the mincing poodle. Peddled by whiz for brains & Flakey Blakey, believed by no-one.

  94. warwick fry

    Nice piece Bernard, good tight and morally profound and sound analysis. Except; for the Achilles heel of Labour’s policy, which I suspect is the basis for the Green objections.
    Mainly, that the Malaysian government does not subscribe to the UN Human Rights charter, where refugees are concerned.
    In that case, I think the Green opposition is sustainable and not as stupid and ignorant as you are suggesting.

  95. shepherdmarilyn

    The ALP are no better. They let those people drown. Neither party wants to abide by the law, they think we can just break it and hope the world does not notice.

    The problem is we have to convince the UNHCR governing body that 25 people per day out of the 12,000 refugees who flee each day is such a problem we have to shove them away without due process.

    What is wrong with you stupid people.

  96. sean

    Funny how each thread degenerates as the motley crew of trolls on this site bombard it with their dumb ranting. Worse still any kind of intelligent discussion gets drowned out as people who should know better keep responding to their drivel. Don’t feed the trolls! Thats why they’re furiously typing away, to arrest the debate. Ignore them and they’ll eventually get back to their shock jocks and daily telegraphs..

  97. Owen Gary


    The point is Refugee’s with no means & in life threatening environment would be willing to escape their circumstances & go anywhere to survive. On the other hand if they are not so desperate & have the means as a way to cue jump they wouldn’t be so keen on spending their time in Indonesia rather than a quick route to Australia.

    That’s just a fact & I’m pointing it out!!

  98. Suzanne Blake

    They fly to Malaysia with papers. Then lie and say they are tourists

    Then they destroy their papers and pay criminals to take them to Australia

    We don’t want these people, they are aiding and supporting criminals, they are an accessory after the fact, they are perverting the course of justice. They would easily be convicted of any or all of the criminal matters.

    Therefore they are in eligible to come he.

    We want the genuine refugeesm who fill out the paperwork, do the health check and pass security checks as they have valid papers.


  99. Suzanne Blake


    Maybe it’s OK for you as a Labor staffer, but the vast majority of Australians disagree, and the majority verdict counts.

    Gillard can’t get a majority in either house so, so majority rule ther as well.

  100. Anna Kae

    After sitting on the sideline for the majority of this debate I think the only solution to this problem is a bipartisan one.
    The Malaysian solution alone won’t work (which Gillard admits to) and I think Abbott is dreaming that Nauru/TPV’s will suffice in this new world economy.
    Unless Australia presents a united front to solving this problem boat smugglers will always find a way around it.
    This is no longer a political debate and should never have been one.

  101. Barbara Boyle

    Well written, Bernard. Thankyou for nailing the situation.

    See what happens when a dummy spit gets out of control: it becomes toxic and yes, evil.

  102. dazza

    Put simply, Abbott is evil…

  103. shepherdmarilyn

    Owen, get a grip on reality, there is no such thing as this queue, it was a made up thing.

    Why do so many Australian want to break the law though is beyond me and the media are just stupid.

  104. TroppoTom

    It seems to me two things need to be said: First its sadly obvious that a majority don’t want refugees. If correct why put in costly detention, off-shore processing and give temporary visas? Simply tell the UN that Australia is no longer part of the refugee conventions. Tell the world the sad but obvious truth: we are a “push off Reffos” nation.

    Second if we want to stop people smugglers pay off the Indonesian police. Like it or not bribes are an integral part of third world public administration. Dress it up as incentive payments, a law enforcement enhancement scheme or similar bureaucratic euphemism. Offering the local constabulary payola if boats are stopped will work.

  105. Owen Gary


    Your loose cannon has misfired again…. & the ball is going nowhere.

  106. Sue Hoffman

    In case anyone is interested, I did some analysis on the Pacific Solution. I’m still working on it with a colleague, especially in light of a number of Afghans who were on Nauru back then and have returned to Australia since 2010 as in the interim years they could not find a country where they could live in safety


    My take on Temporary protection visas, complete with statistics, is here


  107. The Old Bill

    Excellent summation of the current impasse. So good in fact, I bought a subscription to Crikey today!

  108. Scott

    When you use the term “evil” in regards to an Australian political policy, you are certainly stretching the boundaries of credibility.
    Australian’s (on both sides of politics) are not responsible for boats sinking in Indonesian waters. Australian’s are not responsible for asylum seekers getting into unsafe boats. By saying that it is our policies that are causing the deaths, you may as well say those that signed the refugee convention back in 1951 were to blame (as that is one of the reasons why the Malaysian Solution was rejected by the High Court). One of those unintended consequences.
    Sure, there are some things we can do that “may” help prevent asylum seekers from taking the voyage here. But equally, they may have no effect. At the end of the day, it comes down to those making the tragic decision to get into the leaky boat, they are the ones risking their lives for the chance at prosperity and freedom.
    Let’s bring some balance here.

  109. PatriciaWA

    Well said. More of this sort of straightforward comment from Bernard Keane and I could reconsider my decision about subscription renewal.

  110. Smith Edward

    It’s pretty clear to me Tony Abbott and his cronies are hell bent on obtaining power at any cost.He would rather see these desperate people die including children than lose any political advantage.Labor are in power after the last election and should be allowed to run the country for the good of the country.No one knows exactly how effective the Malaysia solution will be but it’s better try to do something to prevent these deaths than to do nothing.The Greens should stick to their motto’ we don’t block policy we improve it’. They need to step up to the plate and back Labor on this.Forget about the Liberals they’re clowns and never going to support anything that could make Labor look good.You haven’t won the election yet Tony and if you do you can implement your agenda then.Currently you’ve got nothing positive to offer Australia so keep it up and hopefully by the next election enough Australians will have woken up to you and your evil agendas.

  111. Owen Gary


    Please point out the falsehood in the statement I made, the fact is real no matter how much you want to gloss over it.

    I certainly have nothing against refugee’s, but didn’t we just see the disappearance of a (Captain Ehmad) recently, whether you disagree with a certain oppinion don’t shun someone for pointing out the truth.

  112. Sharkie

    Suzanne Blake QC, International Human Rights lawyer has just delivered her opinion on the legality of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat.
    Seriously, if you handed that crap to a year 9 legal studies teacher, they would roll around on the floor laughing before handing it back with a big red F- written at the top of the page.
    The teacher’s comment would be “Suzanne, when dealing with complex topics, if you are not sure of something, please ask before committing pen to paper. There is no shame in that. If you genuinely believe your legal opinion is valid, (which I fear is the case) I can’t help you at all. You are destined to become a boring conservative simpleton who embarrasses herself on a regular basis on websites like Crikey”

  113. dag

    I think the Coalition is wasting the opportunity, to have a real win by working on a real bipartisan solution to this problem. If at the next election Tony Abbot get’s in, guess whose problem it will be then! All the rage over asylum seekers and zero tolerance to the boats will not automatically go away with the change of government.

  114. CML

    Great article Bernard! However, I would like to put the proposition that the Noalition are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Just supposing that this situation continues up until the next election, Abbott and his evil crew are elected, then set out to implement their Nauru/Pacific solution. Who is going to pass the necessary legislation for this to become a “solution”? Not the Greens, I’ll wager! And not Labor, if they have any sense – they would just be agreeing to a solution they have been advised will not work. Times have changed since Howard and his revolting sidekicks had their so-called success with this policy. Has anyone worked out yet that this “problem” could go on for years?
    There has been much chatter that if there is a change in government at the next election, and Abbott is unable to get this and other legislation (repeal of the carbon and mining tax) through the parliament, he will call a double disolution of both houses of federal parliament. In order for this to be effective, Abbott must have the majority at the subsequent joint sitting. He may be doing well in the polls at the moment, but to suggest he will achieve this is pie in the sky at the moment. Then the Abbott government has to fulfil all the requirements to call a DD in the first place – that will take between 12 and 18 months after his government is elected. Most commentators agree on this time frame.
    So where does that leave us? The Independents in the lower house, and the Greens in the Senate, need to start talking with the government. The Greens position is okay as far as it goes, but on-shore processing is NOT stopping the boats or saving lives. And Marilyn – while ever ONE life is lost at sea, it is one life too many. I’m disgusted you are trying to argue that a few hundred lives lost is okay, so long as we abide by the refugee convention! If that’s what this whole business comes down to, then bug++r the law. It is an ass! And lay off the navy personnel and other people in the rescue effort. There is NO evidence that Australia did anything else but the right thing in all this. Even Emma Alberici had to admit she got the dates and times wrong (Lateline last night).

  115. shepherdmarilyn

    Captain Emad hey? The entire Sarah Ferguson story was a pack of lies, his name is Mr Abassi and the stooge used by Sarah to supposedly catch him was a guard in the republican guard of Saddam Hussein who was getting revenge on refugees because the UNHCR cancelled his refugee status.

    The Afghan man named is suing for defamation because they claimed his missing brother is a people smuggler, then the cretin cops arrested another Afghan man with the same surname and dragged him away from his wife and kids.

    The man Abu Al Kuwaiti she was on about was really Abdul Kadem who was not a people smuggler ever, he was illegally jailed here for translating for other refugees in Indonesia because he had been robbed by the Indonesian police.

    He was then jailed here for so long his wife had two children born in prison and then they were deported first to “Vietnam on false papers and sent back, then to Iraqi on false papers and nearly killed.

    The problem with only one source is that the source is often deranged – like the Curveball character who claimed
    Saddam had chemcial weapons trucks.

  116. Edward James

    Welcome to THE OLD BILL Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:10 pm | and in response to PATRICIAWA
    Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink keep in mind Crikey belongs to subscribers and may be considered to be a public house where our views may be exchanged. Not a blood house where dissenters are beaten into submission by the mob. Every subscriber to crikey with the sites support has the potential to become a public trust journalist Just a thought ! Edward James

  117. Venise Alstergren

    Only a Christian could have come up with the line, “The end justifies the means.”

  118. Denis Goodwin

    Bernard Keane clearly believes that everyone but the evil Coalition holds the moral high ground in the Parliament.
    The Opposition is not responsible for how the Government governs.
    The Government’s policy failures are of their own making.
    The Opposition is not responsible for them.
    We do not have a Government of National Unity.
    We do not expect collaboration in any other policy area (and surely health policy issues involve matters of life and death, too) so why expect collaboration on asylum seekers?
    Keane makes moral judgments on others.
    He is welcome to his view of what one may do in good conscience.
    I would not seek moral advice from him.

  119. mick j

    It is good that you have realised that the Opposition is evil Bernard. I was wondering how long it would take for more people to cotton on that Abbott is going to put money into the bank accounts of wealthy miners if he wins government, can the NBN because he cannot see any benefit in it for business (there is) and can the carbon tax because big business does not believe that it should pay to pollute. I mean it must be as clear as the nose on your face that the Opposition is a rich man’s party who give not one iota for average Australians.

    The sad reality is that wrecking ball Abbott does one thing and one thing only in the parliament, cause maximum carnage and then try to convince voters that ….its all the fault of the government. Yeah right. It is truly evil and Australians who are easily led will more than likey be conned and elect this moron to the highest office in the land.

    As if often said: you get the government you deserve. Don’t complain when taxes for the middle class go up and taxes for the very well off continue to go down.

  120. Plonkoclock

    I’m always apprehensive about people who wrap themselves in the flag, Suzanne Blake.
    Who was it that said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel..

  121. fredex

    Man goes off to do some shopping and when he returns the topic is flooded.
    I haven’t time. nor desire, to read all of the above but in a [very] quick perusal this comment struck me:
    “In 2002 after the Pacific Solution was introduced there was ONE single illegal… total…. ONE.”

    Well its time to put the kibosh on that particular deceit.
    And who better than Possum?
    Go here [its a Crikey site so hopefully the link will be allowed] for a full and factual [damn that Possum he keeps intuding facts into arguements!] coverage of those nasty boat arrivals.


    “The reason 2002 is an outlier (and also a dodgy stat that we’ll get to in a tick) comes from it being the starting point of the Pacific Solution – the year when 1 billion dollars worth of forward expenditure began to be implemented. It did reduce numbers – by redefining parts of Australia as not actually being Australia. Any boat people that happened to land were conveniently excluded from the statistics by an act of definition.”

    Read the last sentence twice.

    The next para starts with:
    “Let’s be clear – this is what the Pacific Solution did – it diddled the stats by redefinition”
    but the whole para id worth a read.

    So please, no more bleating ‘no boats in 2002″.

  122. Tom

    … and sadly the race to the bottom is resumed. @SB how on earth do you sleep at night?

  123. Chris Johnson

    Doesn’t this sheet home the worth of our wretched Coalition? And all but a handful of its 102 MPs and Senators support Tony Abbott’s persecution of desperate people prepared to drown for a better life. That so many Australians think vilification, punishment and torture is the lot of those who dare to dream certainly gives weight to the argument that evil triumphs in a sick society.

  124. Mark out West

    When the Pacific solutions was in-place and supposedly stopped the boats, the Libs did nothing to support the UN in processing claims and expedite the claims for asylum.
    It takes someone in Malaysia – 87 – years to get to the front of the line, you would be dead and only your grandchildren would benefit from your application.
    The refugees have no rights in the other countries and must beg, sell their bodies/children to stay alive.
    Why should we be involved do we have some liability in this issue, these Libs banged their chest to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan. We armed the warlords and paid them large some of cash. The warlord used the arms and cash to grow poppies to sell to our kids and terrorize anyone who stands in their way.
    The people on this page (Suzy) are those small minded people of the Kath & Kim ilk who have no idea about the world.

  125. shepherdmarilyn

    Well Chris when the media peddle bullshit the people will believe bullshit.

  126. fredex

    October 19, 2009 – 10:50 am, by Possum Comitatus

    Why is that reference to Possum’s archive here?
    Its to replace the link in my moderated comment – which I repeat here with “…” for the actual link.

    Man goes off to do some shopping and when he returns the topic is flooded.
    I haven’t time. nor desire, to read all of the above but in a [very] quick perusal this comment struck me:
    “In 2002 after the Pacific Solution was introduced there was ONE single illegal… total…. ONE.”

    Well its time to put the kibosh on that particular deceit.
    And who better than Possum?
    Go here [its a Crikey site so hopefully the link will be allowed] for a full and factual [damn that Possum he keeps intuding facts into arguements!] coverage of those nasty boat arrivals.

    …………………………………Possum link …………………………

    “The reason 2002 is an outlier (and also a dodgy stat that we’ll get to in a tick) comes from it being the starting point of the Pacific Solution – the year when 1 billion dollars worth of forward expenditure began to be implemented. It did reduce numbers – by redefining parts of Australia as not actually being Australia. Any boat people that happened to land were conveniently excluded from the statistics by an act of definition.”

    Read the last sentence twice.

    The next para starts with:
    “Let’s be clear – this is what the Pacific Solution did – it diddled the stats by redefinition”
    but the whole para id worth a read.

    So please, no more bleating ‘no boats in 2002”.

  127. shepherdmarilyn

    Why do we want to stop the boats? 14,000 boats come here every year with 800,000 people on them and we are dredging harbours to let more come.

  128. Edward James

    @ VENISE ALSTERGREN Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink Too close to G Richardson and whatever it takes! Edward James

  129. Edward James

    @ SHEPHERDMARILYN Posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink Edward James writes ad advisers M shepherd. The “media “whoever it may be, is not all that careful what it promulgates to readers nationwide! Edward James

  130. Owen Gary

    @Denis Goodwin,

    In a bi-partizan minority government under the current circumstances, the Noalition are absolutely culpable Dennis.

    You State: “The Government’s policy failures are of their own making” They cannot get Abbot to negotiate on any policy even in an instance where lives are continually lost because SCABBOT and the big-business machine called the Coalition continually say NO.

    Fate has dealt a real blow to this man & what his party represents. Karma is the term most of us like to use & it is waiting round the corner for each of us. This party has always put it’s ideology before the majority of the public for the benefit of the few. This time we get to see just how far they will push it even as walls begin to tumble.

  131. Edward James

    How can it be there are so many Crikey subscribers and journalist with phones that work, who are essentially ignorant of what is happening around our country Australia. Edward James 0243419140

  132. Mark from Melbourne

    If the way Scott Morrison carried on on 7.30 last night is indicative of the way the Libs will act when in power – putting an argument by shouting loudly – I worry for our democracy.

    And I do have to agree that most of the media questioning has been crap but I guess that is more because most journos dont understand the problem, the cause and effect of this or how to solve “it” any more than do the vast majority of us.

    And yes, Pell and other church leaders are squibbing the moral challenge.

    And Gee WHizz has got to get out more.

    Just saying…

  133. muzza

    Pacific solution did not stop the boats, that is a fallacy……and it will not work now as it is clear to people smugglers that it is nothing more than a stop=over pending residence visas. Abbott has said before political pragmatism will always trump policy. He is holding back for purely political advantage. Why do we pay for half the Parliament to work against the interest of the country? Our political system worked for 100 years but now it is broken. Opposition used to work to improve legislation in the past now it sees it role only to frustrate the national interest.

    Did the pacific Solution stop the boats…see here for some facts about this matter…


  134. Jeremy Sear

    Absurd to blame onshore processing for boat deaths.

    It’s the fact that we encourage those sending boats to send disposable unseaworthy ones with disposable incompetent crew.

    How do we do that? By confiscating all boats and prosecuting all crews. By not returning safe boats. By not prosecuting those who run dangerous boats and incompetent crews. We make no distinction between safe and unsafe, and make sure the smugglers know they might as well send boats about to sink bc they’re not getting them back.

    We can make the boats vastly safer, but both big parties refuse to do this.


    Because in truth they’re much more upset about those who get here safely than those who drown.

  135. Filth Dimension

    Thanks Fredex.

    My memory of the Howard years was that they ‘redefined’ a lot of things to make the stats look good. From memory how unemployment figures were calculated were redefined also but i guess that’s politics.

    Abbott couldn’t negotiate his way out of a brown paper bag. Reminds me of a poster behind a US republican being interviewed once that had a US Warship on it and the phrase 10,000 tonnes of diplomacy written beneath it. Sad days.

  136. Carbonbasedlife

    I think Bernard has this all wrong. This mess has nothing to do with the coalition, or whatever their views may be. Of course, yes, you may argue that the coalition policy position is ‘evil’ … but they’re not, actually, the government in this country at this point in time, so are actually not responsible. That leaves Labour AND the Greens – since they, collectively with a few Independents, actually, are ‘in charge’. If anyone is responsible, they, collectively are. Or, maybe, not. Because we may logically argue that irrespective of their best attempts, whatever those might have been, these tragic disasters may still happen .. because no matter what we do, or how much we may care, there may be no way to deter every single one of these boats from setting sail. So Bernard, Crikey, please don’t sound so biased, let’s stop blaming the coalition – if anyone has to be held to account, for now, it’s Julia, and her party, Christine, and her’s, and those independents. They are our leaders and if someone has to fix this, it’s them.

  137. Filth Dimension

    ^ Last time I checked they all get payed to run the country. Is Abbott earning his keep?

  138. Jeremy Sear

    Uh no, CBL. Every MP is 1/150th in power. They’re all responsible for how they vote. None of them have a majority in the House of Reps. Legislation can only pass if at least some of them vote together.

  139. Jeremy Sear

    … I agree it’s a pity it’s only the Greens who’d vote to stop the policy that’s killing refugees, but I’m already voting for them.

  140. klewso

    [Plonk – “Sam Johnson”.]

    The way they treated “Children Overboard” was generic – they haven’t changed since, using that sort of thing to appeal to a certain “clientele”/demographic.

  141. Archimedes

    Scott Morrison: If the government accepted our amendment to their bill (allowing the Malaysian people swap deal) which has legally binding protection, which is that we only sent people to countries that signed the Refugee convention, which is a legally binding protection, that bill would pass the parliament tonight.

    Bolt: So if Malaysia says “we will sign it” (the Refugee Convention” you will allow the Malaysian people swap?

    Scott Morrison: Yes.



  142. Owen Gary

    Seems like a few Conservatives on here trying to defend a party already in damage control!!!

  143. Mack the Knife

    What year did the refugee boat make it all the way into Holloways Beach in Cairns where the refugees did a bolter into the community?

  144. Peter Ormonde

    Mr Dimension,

    Yep, contrary to his own perceptions, Tony Abbott is not paid to run the country. He is paid to lead the Opposition, to argue policy and develop a considered alternative government prior to the next election. In other words, he lost the last election. Only just, but that’s how it works.

    And it was Tony Abbott personally who cost the Liberals the chance of forming Government. Had it been Malcolm Turnbull – or several others – leading the negotiations with the independents, the outcome may in all likelihood have been quite different.

    His hollow and cynical posturing on asylum seekers is just the latest in a series of policy issues on which Abbott has been skewered, unable to make a decision that interferes with his own personal strategy, that does not reek of opportunism and ambition. It’s all down his shirt.

    But the statements by Mal Wacher following the recent disaster went straight to the heart of the matter – and straight to Abbott’s intransigence. But there is a deep difference at the core of it: Mal is an honest man – his concern is not feigned, his frustration and shame is genuine. But Abbott’s hand-wringing looks more like glee that concern or shame.

    That the odious Morrison was unable to respond to a hypothetical question as to whether the Opposition would support a deal from Gillard that gave them everything they wanted, speaks volumes both for the emerging uncertainty within the Liberal party room and the degree to which Abbott alone is handling the refugee issue.

    But the hypothetical questions reveals the problem: the government – despite stinging losses in the High Court, ahead of further matters in the pipeline and following yet another disaster, the Government is still draping itself in the policies and procedures of John Howard and Phillip Ruddock.

    They are still talking about “sending messages” to people smugglers. Governments have been sending messages to heroin smugglers for almost 100 years. Yet they still do it. There’s a lot of money to be made in it.

    And as a consequence of “sending messages” the market is vacated to the most desperate and best organised folks willing to take the risk – gangsters and sharks.

    Don’t blame the refugees for coming here on boats organised by international gangsters. Their role and involvement is down to us.

    Labor needs to put some daylight between this Government and the failed and unlawful policies of Howard. It starts with a complete re-think of the issue and how to deal with it, how we dealt with it in the past, and building a coalition for reform and a humane strategy.

    Offshore processing might be part of the solution, but not of the sort suggested by the Malaysia solution. This will only work of there is an orderly process – a queue. Otherwise we just end up saying no again. And that will not work. But a fast efficient and fair system of processing genuine refugees adjacent to their countries of origin is the ONLY way to cut out the gangsters and stop the deaths and the boats.

    Sorry for the rant but I’m furious… at him, at her, at all of them. And ashamed. Mostly ashamed.

  145. Alfonse

    So, let me get this straight. The Greens are entitled to hold a particular view on handling asylum seekers and not be maligned whatsoever by anyone in the Labor party (or Crikey subscriber list), whilst the Coalition can have a view and be hung, drawn, quartered, bad-mouthed etc by everyone on the aforementioned list. Suddenly the Opposition are the bad guys for a failed Labor policy, and for not moving an inch on their policy. Why isn’t anyone giving the Greens a bit of grief. It’s their fault Labor can’t get anything done, not the Coalition. Also can anyone explain why the Labor govt has recently approved funding for Homestay Australia volunteers to house asylum seekers in their own homes (a noble gesture), whilst not providing that same funding for Homestay volunteers to look after any of the thousands of homeless Australians who sleep under the stars each night ?? Seems a little discriminatory to me. (anyone capable of giving a sane response without left wing spittle is welcome).

  146. fredex

    Peter Ormonde
    “Sorry for the rant but I’m furious… at him, at her, at all of them. And ashamed. Mostly ashamed.”

    Thank you.
    Good rant.

  147. Peter Ormonde

    Yep. Spot on. The Labor Government has failed on asylum seekers. It has failed in the High Court. As did the Howard/Ruddock policies. A new start was needed. One that was both legal and effective.

    And no one has come up with one other than those with experience of managing the flood of refugees fleeing Vietnam in the late 70s and early 80s. Or those with longer memories of the post-war migration programs.

    This was because of a gutless weakness in Labor’s ranks when confronted by the need for change and the fear of an electoral backlash. They even kept Ruddock’s former Chief of Staff – Andrew Metcalfe as head of DIAC and took their advice from him. Metcalfe also spent time as Howard’s key advisor on Terrorism and Security.

    It is not a question of Nauru versus Malaysia – neither are legal, ethical or effective. The boats will still come. While there is no queue, desperate people will take the risks and find the money to come.

    So yes, you’re right Alfonse… Abbott is not solely to blame – but he is not being hypocritical – he makes it obvious that he doesn’t care. Even Nauru is predicated on a boat trip.

    Gillard has so far wasted the chance to do the right thing. Strangely in this case the right thing is also the only effective solution that would stop the boats completely. We fly them in – or to whoever will accept them. Like we did before. Like the law says we must.

    We can discuss homelessness elsewhere – but it’s worth remembering the reasons many people here have become homeless – and mental illness runs a high first. But elsewhere for that.

  148. Suzanne Blake

    I have a solution that will work.

    No Offshore Processing- saves Australia billions

    Have the Navy turn around boats that are seaworthy

    Have the Navy take on all that have a marginal seaworthy or unseaworthy boat, and send them back to Indonesia.

    Sink they boats and create a MARINE sanctuary, great for fishing, sustainability and the environment. (any diesel left in the boat is of marginal issue, the Japanese sub off Sydney still has its diesel).

    The Australia taxpayer is the winner, by the tune of BILLIONS per annum

    Swan gets his surplus

    The environment is the winner

    The people smugglers has no business and we have no illegal boat people, health issues and massive cost.

  149. klewso

    For what it’s worth, I reckon we shouldn’t have “refugees” coming here – they shouldn’t exist, they’d probably prefer to be “at home” too, living “normal lives”.
    The “UN” should be doing it’s bit (fully funded – pledges honoured) – looking into “domestic violence” and the fall-out of natural disasters in those countries affected in those ways. Even controlling that “doyen” of the free market – the profitable arms trade.
    [And including overseeing the “carrying capacities” of those countries – “fertility programs”.]
    But that is not the reality – so we have to adapt to that. We do have these people fleeing from their homeland and it’s going to get worse – so we have to “help them out” (after the fact) and even accomodate some of them (even the “pittance” – compared to what other countries are taking – we do now).
    And stop using their circumstances for votes from “scared” people.
    It also wouldn’t hurt – if governments are going to drop these people into established communities – if they gave them, and those already established, some support in the “assimilation process” – stressful as that is for both sides? After all it was pretty “odd(?)” Howard using those “boat people” the way he/they did to nurture such apprehension – to then just drop these same people off at the door of many of our suburbs, with a “sort it out/deal with it yourselves” attitude?

    [(Imagine our own Aborigines – if they could have “stopped the boats”?)]

  150. Edward James

    One cold slice !

  151. AR

    the Coalition’s current stance on asylum seekers is the clearest example of outright evil that I’ve ever seen from a political party nuff sed.

  152. Apollo

    Su Kim Il, Russia must look really pretty from your house. We don’t need communist agitator like you to disturb our society. We’ve already got Newsltd. And stop using our flag and embarrass us Aussies, use your own North Korean flag.

  153. taylormade

    Bernard, you mention you have been following politics since the early 80″s. Have you seen such wretched policy decisions from a Fed govt.

    Win govt in 2007 and abandon the Pacific solution. Sen Evans says its the proudest moment of his life. Give in on the Oceanic Viking by fast tracking their claims. Keep repeating that it is push rather than pull factors that is causing the increase. Then announce a delay on the processing of claims as there may be pull factors after all. Then stage a photo op with west sydney MP David Bradbury on a navy patrol boat during the 2010 election campaign. Announce the East Timor regional processing facility, even after every one knew it was not going to happen, keep saying that discussions are continuing. Then float the idea of restarting Manus Island, send a couple of ministers over for talks, PNG not interested due to internal politics. Then announce the Malaysian solution that seems to be harsher than Pacific solution. High Court rules it illegal, but govt still clinging to it despite thier partners in Govt, the greens not supporting it.

    Never mind the Govt is not to blame for anything, is all just Tony Abbot’s fault.

  154. Morris Chris

    I see lefties like Bernard Keane now accept government policy is killing refugees. Didn’t you lot call Andrew Bolt a bloodclot for saying the same thing? He was warning about this for years: you reacted with shrieking hysteria and denial.

    Now that you’ve belatedly accepted that government policy is killing refugees, please remind me, who implemented the existing policy in 2008? I guess it must have been some caretaker government, absolved of all responsibility for the current mess along with the people who cheered them on back then.

  155. GeeWizz

    [“Read the last sentence twice.

    The next para starts with:
    “Let’s be clear – this is what the Pacific Solution did – it diddled the stats by redefinition”
    but the whole para id worth a read.

    So please, no more bleating ‘no boats in 2002”.

    BZZZZT Wrong.

    Possum was the one diddling the numbers because he didn’t like them.

    He claimed that because 1100 or so illegals were in Pacific Solution detention in early 2002 means that 1100 people arrived in 2002.

    So using that logic only January 1st 2012 if there were any illegals in Australian immigration centres it means they all arrived in 2002.

    The 1100 in detention in the Pacific Solution in early 2002 was because of boats that arrived in late 2001, including 450 on the Tampa boat itself(you guys remember that one right). See the problem with Possum is he can’t correct his mistakes. I called him out on his little fibbie fib back in 2009 when he wrote the article and he STILL hasn’t corrected his mistake.

    As they say… L1es, L1es and Statistics…. or Staticians if you please.

    1 Boatperson arrived in 2002, these are the numbers as released by the LABOR FEDERAL Government.

  156. GeeWizz

    [“So using that logic only January 1st 2012 if there were any illegals in Australian immigration centres it means they all arrived in 2002.”]

    Oops, should read “So using that logic only January 1st 2002 if there were any illegals in Australian immigration centres it means they all arrived in 2002.”]

  157. Patriot

    Scott Morrison:

    If the government accepted our amendment to their bill (allowing the Malaysian people swap deal) which has legally binding protection, which was that we only sent people to countries that signed the Refugee Convention, which is a legally binding protection, that bill would pass the parliament tonight.

    But I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We have a dysfunctional assessment system that is incapable of distinguishing between legitimate refugees and dangerous criminals. The exploits of Captain Emad and co. proved that. We shouldn’t let a single one of these illegals in until we are capable of assessing the legitimacy of their claims. It’s downright dangerous for us.

  158. pedro

    Notenough time to read the replies, but I say let them go for the three-worder again this time. Tony – a tired ex-Howard hangers-on with tired language. My mum made his wife’s wedding dress…no shit!

  159. Whistleblower

    Having spent several months in voluntary hibernation from Crikey, I returned this evening to find Bernard Keane has joined the motley crew of lotus eaters and well-meaning single issue latte-sippers hard at work defending the indefensible. Only a few clear thinking individuals can see beyond the hype and bullshit of current Labor policy.

    Despite manifold Labor denials, it is now blindingly obvious that the pull factor of permanent citizenship and full access to Australia’s social welfare systems is driving the people smuggling agenda. Labor under Rudd and Gillard, in appealing to the chattering classes by being soft on refugees, has created a monster and no amount of denial can eliminate this fact. Labor has blood on its hands.

    In response to the increasing flow of boat people, immigration assessment has become a revolving door to minimise the levels of refugee claimants in detention, and cursory refugee assessment virtually guarantees permanent residency in Australia for those willing to risk the boat trip. Refugee assessment has become such a revolving door that permanent residency and citizenship is being granted before appropriate security assessment. So now we have the ludicrous situation of identified security threats appealing to the High Court to not be deported.

    This unholy situation is aided and abetted by single issue advocates focusing on the individuals who have forced their way in rather than addressing the collective impact of the relaxation of border control. The problem that needs to be understood is that well-meaning refugee conventions take no account of supply and demand. Every queue jumping immigrant coming into Australia impacts on genuine refugees rotting in refugee camps, and we now have the whole Australia’s refugee intake being managed by criminals. Australia is a lucky country, but the question is how much of our luck do we want to share? In the pursuit of the vote of the chattering classes, Labor has so compromised refugee assessment of the procedures as to make them meaningless. Whatever one thought of John Howard, temporary protection visas provided immediate protection, but no guarantees of citizenship, or access to the “pot of gold” in Australia’s welfare systems.

    The real question is how many thousand refugees per annum do you want, how are they to be selected and what controls are you going to impose to stop the several millions that would want to follow? Single issue advocates focusing on the micro level do not address the broader strategic issues, and it would appear that micro management is the order of the day for the majority of Crikey respondents who cannot see the big picture.

    Empowering people smugglers to put their cargoes in harms way so that the Australian border control staff can rescue them is just another “brick in the wall’ of the failure of government policy. I must take my hat off to Suzanne Blake who seems to have a very simple but somewhat politically unpalatable solution.

  160. Moira Smith

    You are just right, Bernard, it’s evil.

    I saw Amanda Vanstone on ABC24’s ‘The Drum’ last night opining that the way to ‘stop the boats’ was to ‘stop giving these people what they ask for’ (my paraphrase/recollection). Which is, presumably, freedom from immediate or feared persecution, a safe haven. Don’t let’s give them that – it’s like training a dog (Amanda is a dog lover). Don’t feed him when he begs for food at your table! If you give him what he wants when he ‘misbehaves’, he’ll just do it again next time! Let’s TRAIN these people to understand it’s OK for them to have their family members killed/imprisoned /tortured etc, just so long as they STAY AT HOME AND DON’T COME BOTHERING US seeking their international rights or our compassion.

    This whole discussion is crazy. Also on the Drum panel yday was a pregnant woman, some politician I think, agreeing with Amanda … and I thought, oh yes and how far would YOU go to save that by now very obvious life, a long way I’m willing to bet, possibly (in inverted commas ‘illegal’, because as we should all know by now it’s NOT illegal to seek asylum, however leaky the boat) but she hasn’t connected the dots.

    Jonathan Green’s commentary on the Drum’s website http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-26/green-asylum-seekers/4093658 makes thought provoking reading (and invokes the shade of Jonathan Swift who had a similarly sensible proposal to solve the ‘starving Irish’ problem a couple of centuries ago …. And how many of those Irish died in disease-ridden/leaky boats?).

    Novels about the harrowing experiences of previous generations (Irish, Jewish, whosoever) seeking a life elsewhere when all around turned to sh*t … their fortitude, sorrows, persistence and so forth as they left dead relatives along the trail of tears, but somehow found the strength to battle on … sell well and win literary prizes. When this stuff is happening today and we could actually do something to help it’s a different story isn’t it?

  161. Owen Gary


    That’s a lot of print to defend a toe-rag like Abbott & his motley party who say’s NO to any negotiation, I’m quite sure most of us here can see the bigger picture. If we can’t I’m sure you will try & draw us one.

    As for the current Labor policy they don’t have one because they can’t implement it down of course to that clown of yours who has only a 1 syllable 2 letter word in his vocabulary. Whilst this is going on people like (Emad) will be passing through the gates, but if they had to spend years in Indonesia 1st I wonder if he would have ever got here??

  162. Brady


    I hope you are joking, otherwise, that’s disgusting, even for you. I ‘love’ how some people take the elitist attitude of ‘keeping people out’, when, firstly, unless you are an indigenous Australian, you yourself are a ‘boat person’ or a descendent of one. Secondly, and not withstanding my first point, what wonderful thing did Australians do, that these ‘boat people’ did not, that allows us to live in such an awesome country? Oh that right, you were born. Congratulations, a quirk of fate means its not you in the boat that we are rejecting.

    As to Abbott’s indifference to the asylum seeker plight, I think its actually goes further then that. I think he’s absolutely glad when a boat arrives, and people die. Truly, what a blight on human society that man is. Also, remember that Abbott was up to his neck in a government that went to war in Iraq, and is indirectly (or directly….) responsible for the million or more deaths that resulted. Clearly, the liberal parties agenda’s is MUCH more important then human life. And the worse point of all, …….., he, or somebody in his partly, is going to be our next PM. I’m thoroughly depressed.

  163. Patriot

    Greens want a multi party committee… made up of members who support the Greens “open borders and community release” policy. They’re nuts, you know.

  164. CML

    The problem with the Green’s policy of on-shore processing is that the asylum seekers still have to get here by boat to be processed. So the drownings continue. What an intelligent solution?!! Ditto for the rAbbott’s solution of Nauru.
    To those who think we should be flying these people in from Indonesia or Malaysia: the numbers wanting to come would probably increase by thousands, if not millions. So all those in favour of this idea, I have a question for you. How much extra tax are you all willing to pay to cover the $billions this would end up costing? None? Thought not.
    Anyone with half a brain should be able to work out that off-shore processing, preferrably in multiple regional countries, has to be the way to go even if it is not a perfect solution. There was some talk around last year, before the High Court dropped its bombshell, that countries like Thailand, maybe New Guinea and others in the Asian region might be willing to join a network under the auspices of the UNHCR. As I said, this may not be ideal, but it is better than people losing their lives as at present. Wasn’t there a regional off-shore processing scheme in operation to deal with the Vietnamese refugees when that war ended? And didn’t Australia take more than their fair share of these people? So what exactly is the problem?

  165. Suzanne Blake

    Thanks @ Whistleblower

    Will save Australia billions each year and fix the problem immediately.

    Also it will stop the corruption up the chain starting in Indonesia.

    Create a marine sanctuary for fish, will will please the Greens.

    Everyone is a winner

  166. luip

    and how does the Coalition explain its position, that it claims has always been consistent, when in 2008 and 2009 they didn’t support the Pacific Solution or tpvs (see this article today http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=32048 )

    See this Lateline transcript http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2545143.htm
    for example where Sharman Stone says “we don’t need the Pacific Solution now, that’s Nauru Island and Manus Island, because we have the Christmas Island centre completed. A very well structured and appropriate facility…” and this was after the Chrismas Island boat explosion.

  167. oldskool

    @ Geewiz-

    “Let’s be clear – this is what the Pacific Solution did – it diddled the stats by redefinition. Boats still made the attempt to enter Australia – which is a point worth noting as many of the proponents of Pull Factors cite reducing the risk of death from reducing the number of people attempting the voyage by boat, as one of their key rationales. Yet we know that SIEV(s) 5,7,11 and 12 in 2002 attempted to make the journey and were returned to Indonesia while SIEV(s) 4,6 and 10 actually sank. That was in very late 2001 through late 2002. In 2003 we know that boats were still attempting to make the voyage such as SIEV 14, but were again towed back from whence they came.”

    You are so full of it it is a wonder you do not squeak when you walk.

    I guess you are just comfortable with untruth.

  168. oldskool

    Above quote from Possum- totally disproving the dopes comment

  169. oldskool

    Actually lets not forget the really important part of what Possums analysis tells us- the Pacific Solution did not stop the boats, it diverted the boats and stopped them arriving here. However since the UNHCR estimates 1600 people attempted the trip in 2002, it is not exactly what you would call a raving success, and not likely to change this particular outcome one bit.

  170. Anthony Bromhead

    Bernard, I don’t dispute your tagging of the opposition as evil at present. They started the race to the bottom re refugees -i.e. at least in the unprincipled use of it electorally. I know it was the ALP who introduced mandatory detention as they wished to pre-empt the expected use of the issue by the Liberals to get votes from the ALPs traditional base. Would the ALP be different if they thought they were onto such a winner?
    Nobody anywhere in the world is going to come out of issues to do with refugees without some dirt attaching to them.
    Australia should meet it’s treaty obligations to anyone who reaches Australia’s territory i.e. the excisions should be dismantled. We should maintain the highest possible standards concerning the treatment of these asylum seekers.
    As an rusted on extension of the US, Australia is responsible for the destabilisation of the Middle East. We could save many lives by refusing to be a part of the US’ pathological policies.
    We should pay compensation to the countries we have ravaged and cease creaming off their trained elites such as doctors, engineers etc.
    We should encourage non military methods of encouraging reconciliation between competing groups in other countries rather than continuing to destabilise them as the US-NATO does.
    We should encourage respect for human rights and international law by seeking to apply the same standards applied to African dictators to the leaders of first world countries.
    Given that from a moral point of view all humans should have access to a fair share of the world’s resources we should increase our aid to the poorer countries to the highest level which would be acceptable to the Australian people.
    Accordingly we should encourage a significant reduction in Australia’s consumption of these resources.
    People who won’t agree to this are not evil – just human and inclined to look after those closest to them.
    Apart from the responsibilities outlined above in terms of the current debate Australia is not directly forcing the refugees onto the leaky boats nor requiring that the people smugglers use defective equipment. The people who advocate the Malaysian solution may believe that they are doing so for humanitarian reasons – I am sceptical In a completely contaminated debate I believe that the Green’s position has more moral integrity than the one you propose Bernard.

  171. eric

    The slimey, jesus loving ( obviously hasnt read the gospels lately) Abbott is all about becoming PM and gaining power to help his mates out in the mining industry.

    He couldnt care less about how many people die so long as they just keep coming on boats.

    I note with interest that he and Morrison NEVER talk about the tens of thousands of illegals coming in every year by plane!

    It will be sad day for our nation when a Murdoch/News Ltd stooge like phony Tony becomes PM.
    You wonder what promises he has made to Murdoch already.

    No doubt LNP urgers like our Suzie will be happy that the evil ALP is gone.

  172. eric

    The Greens are also getting away scott free for blocking the govts plan and as someone who voted for them in the Senate last time I wont be doing so again.

  173. fredex

    Greg Jericho on The Drum [some time ago]:

    Alexander Downer told Fran Kelly on Radio National how the “turn the boats back policy” worked back in 2002:

    [“The other thing we did, which we did more sotto voce was to tow the boats – I must say this is not something that has generated much publicity recently in Australia – we used to get the Navy not to guide the boats into the Australian shore line what we did was [laughs] we got the navy to tow the boats back to the Indonesian territorial waters, left the boats with enough fuel, food and so on to get to a port in Indonesia – guided them where to go – and them left them.

    Obviously monitored them to make sure the boat was safe but disappeared over the horizon. And this worked very effectively, but we did this without any publicity, we didn’t run around boasting that we were doing this because we knew the Indonesians accepted these people back through gritted teeth. But what the present Government has done is in a way is what we did over the Tampa make too much noise publicly, back the Indonesians into a corner and so then the Indonesians said they wouldn’t take the people, just as they wouldn’t take the people from the Tampa.”]

    Downer makes it clear that turning the boats back only has any hope of working if you keep it quiet, which is rather difficult to achieve when it is your major policy position. So it is no surprise to read yesterday that Jakarta is putting out some pretty negative vibes about Abbott’s stance.

  174. fredex

    From Wiki [just as a contrast to Downer as quoted above]

    “In the Gospel of Luke, the parable is introduced by a question, known as the Great Commandment:

    Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

    He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

    He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind [Deuteronomy 6:5]; and your neighbour as yourself [Leviticus 19:18].”

    He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

    But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”

    — Luke 10:25–29, World English Bible

    Jesus replies with a story:

    Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?”

    He said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

    Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

  175. Pamela

    Sick of the tedious repetitious dross which passes for debate following BK’s honest insightful piece?

    read this


  176. Jeremy Sear

    I repeat, since it was completely ignored above, that the drownings are bc we encourage those sending boats to send disposable ones (since they won’t get them back) and incompetent crews (who don’t realize they’ll be locked up and charged).

    If your problem is the drownings – and you’re not using it as a means of covering up your real hatred of those who arrive safely – then surely the answer is to make the boats safer.

    Make running a dangerous boat a crime. Make being incompetent in the running of it a crime. Return safe boats and crews. The trip is doesn’t have to be as horribly dangerous as we’ve made it.

  177. GeeWizz

    [“You are so full of it it is a wonder you do not squeak when you walk.”]

    Sorry, Possum was caught out telling fibbie fibs.

    He claimed that because 1100 illegals were in Pacific Solution detention in early 2002, that means 1100 people arrived in 2002. Did all the people sitting in Australian immigration detention centres on 1st January 2012 all arrive in 2012?

    I mean how stupid can you get… he fudged the figures to suit his agenda and was caught out and STILL hasn’t fixed his mistake.

    We know 1 Boatperson arrived in 2002 because thats what the Labor Government has told us in it’s report on boatpeople numbers. Possum accepted these numbers for all the other years…. yet for 2002 he invented some fairy story that somehow if you are in detention in that year that means you arrived that year… BECAUSE THE STATS DIDN’T SUIT HIS AGENDA!

  178. fredex

    http ://www.unhcr.org/47ac3f9c14.html

    A link with a gap in it to, hopefully, skip around moderation.

    A quote from the link:
    “UNHCR welcomes the end of Australia’s Pacific Solution …….UNHCR had strong concerns about the ‘Pacific Solution’ – a deterrence policy which diverted more than 1,600 asylum seekers to Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG), denying them access to Australian territory to lodge asylum claims. It was introduced by the Australian Government in 2001 in the wake of the Tampa episode when the Norwegian Freighter, the MV Tampa, was refused permission to disembark 433 mainly Afghan asylum seekers it had rescued at sea ….”
    “diverted more than 1,600 asylum seekers to Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG), denying them access to Australian territory to lodge asylum claims.”

  179. fredex

    Nup, that didn’t work.
    Here it is without the link [which will doubtless appear eventually for confirmation].

    A link with a gap in it to, hopefully, skip around moderation.

    A quote from the link:
    “UNHCR welcomes the end of Australia’s Pacific Solution …….UNHCR had strong concerns about the ‘Pacific Solution’ – a deterrence policy which diverted more than 1,600 asylum seekers to Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG), denying them access to Australian territory to lodge asylum claims. It was introduced by the Australian Government in 2001 in the wake of the Tampa episode when the Norwegian Freighter, the MV Tampa, was refused permission to disembark 433 mainly Afghan asylum seekers it had rescued at sea ….”
    “diverted more than 1,600 asylum seekers to Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG), denying them access to Australian territory to lodge asylum claims.”

  180. Pastiche

    TPVs and then the Pacific Solution were not working so the Howard government had to resort to forcing boats back at sea. It is such a dishonest debate people are having here and elsewhere – a bunch of know-it-alls in a very complex policy area. Yes forcing boats to indonesia worked (the only policy of howard’s that did, for a time) but it was a repulsive policy then and would be again. Two women drowned and many more were lucky not to die during that operation – who and how many will you offer up to die this time?

    Have a look at what was happening at the end of Howard’s term when the boats were starting to come again because of conflicts in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan – new conflicts, new problems, short sighted policians who didn’t put good policies in place.

    If people don’t die in the water coming here they know they are likely to die anyway or be condemned to a life they would rather not keep living. If the boats stop the people on them will quickly be forgotten while they die somewhere else.

  181. oldskool

    Where exacty does he claim this?- he adds the numbers that were known to be turned back, or redistributed under the Pacific solution, nowhere can I see where he says that everyone in detention in 2002 arrived in 2002.
    In regards to 2002 the only statement regarding thisin Possums article is “as of Sept 2002, 1495 people were processed under the ‘Pacific Solution'”. however they were not counted as boat arrivals as they were processed in Nauru, then arrived. Sly- much like many coalition policies, like quietly turning boats back to indonesia, how neighbourly.

    You seem to be the one making up fairy tales.

    And I assume that the UNHCR also claim this same untruth?

  182. GeeWizz

    [“TPVs and then the Pacific Solution were not working so the Howard government had to resort to forcing boats back at sea.”]

    Well whatever spin you want to put on it the Howard/Abbott solution worked.

    The Malaysian Solution is untested, it has a 800 illegals limit and Labor haven’t told us whats happening with unaccompanied 5 Year old kids onboard

  183. Pastiche

    Geewiz, the facts are difficult i know. Nauru only held about a thousand people (referred to by you as ‘illegals’ to prove that you are a coalition supporter – the word is like a password/clanword for coalition membership) – so what happens then? especially now that they will all know they are coming to australia if assessed as refugees. 800 to Malaysia without a visa to Australia, 1,000 in Nauru with resettlement in Australia. Why are coalition supporters so scared of letting the govenrment govern?

  184. Pastiche

    good luck with your uninformed debate here – i’m sure you will all solve something.

  185. GeeWizz

    [“Where exacty does he claim this?- “]

    Sure heres where Possum has been caught telling Fibbie Fibs:

    [“The reason 2002 is an outlier (and also a dodgy stat that we’ll get to in a tick) comes from it being the starting point of the Pacific Solution – the year when 1 billion dollars worth of forward expenditure began to be implemented. It did reduce numbers – by redefining parts of Australia as not actually being Australia. Any boat people that happened to land were conveniently excluded from the statistics by an act of definition.”]

    The 2002 Stats were never excluded from Labors statistics. It clearly showed ONE single boat arrival.

    The numbers shown in Labors statistics clearly listed all boat arrivals… no matter where they landed.

    And then the Fibbie Fibs grow bigger with this one:
    [“If we adjust the 2002 number to account for boats that not only attempted to make the voyage, but ended up detained within the Pacific Solution system using the numbers provided by the Select Committee for an inquiry into a certain maritime incident 2002, we can add 1546 to the 2002 number. Redoing the same chart as above now gives us:”]

    But hang on… what he’s done here is assume that EVERYONE in Pacific Solution detention in early 2002 ARRIVED in 2002… including the 430 onboard the Tampa, including all those people who arrived in late 2001 after the tampa. Infact every single one of the 1546 arrived in LATE 2001. NOT 2002. LATE 2001.

    He’s been called out on this plenty of times… I actually found the document listing all the boats that were part of that 1546 number and ALL of them were in Late 2001. I showed this document to him…. he’s tried to squirm and squeel his way out of the truth of the matter. He just hates the truth it doesn’t suit his agenda.

    Possum can’t tell the truth because he doesn’t like the numbers…. no wonder he is having problems finding work outside of crikey.

  186. Mike Smith

    @Geeewizz, fibs? Pot calling the kettle black. It’s ‘spin’ when someone else does it, but facts when you do?

  187. Peter Ormonde

    Mr or Ms Tiche …

    For the simple reason that “they” don’t believe this is a government. Not a real one – a minority government. Now a minority Abbott Government – that would probably be OK. But no one who knows him trusts him… there’s not much to know… just a seething ball of ambition… a bloke who will let the boats keep coming, let the smugglers keep ripping people off … as long as the “illegals” are whisked off the Nauru.

    See that’s one of the problems with all these send-a-message/send-them-somewhere-else – “panaceas” … that all necessitate leaky boats and smugglers. So all this hand-wringing about men, women and kids drowning is just a sham. On all sides.

    That and the slight impediment of illegality and immorality.

  188. Merve

    Tony Abbott told us, he thought about it for a while, and his conscience is clear.

  189. Merve

    Somewhere, the Catholic Church is missing an excellent Cardinal.

  190. GeeWizz

    [“@Geeewizz, fibs? Pot calling the kettle black. It’s ‘spin’ when someone else does it, but facts when you do?”]

    I back mine up with documentary evidence….. he pretends that he is a mesiah and can rewrite history.

    The reality is that in 2001 there were 5500 illegals. In 2002 after the introduction of the Pacific Solution there were ONE.

    Use whatever excuses you like for the change in that number, the alignment of the moons, the Chinese year of the Monkey or whatever other excuse you can think up…. but at the end of the day those are the hard numbers.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts.

  191. Merve


    “Well whatever spin you want to put on it the Howard/Abbott solution worked.

    The Malaysian Solution is untested, it has a 800 illegals limit and Labor haven’t told us whats happening with unaccompanied 5 Year old kids onboard”

    It worked to the extent that the pain it caused people, turning them insane and suicidal, turned people away. The experts inside he immigration department then advised that since most of those who went through the pain actually were granted asylum, since they were genuine refugees, that this ‘deterrent’ would no longer be effective. Circumstances and understanding change. Keep up with the information from the experts, that is the advice the government is acting on.

    The 800 can be renegotiated later, but it stops boats in the sense that people have to be in that first 800. Who is going to go first, so that those coming later can still get in?

  192. Andrew McIntosh

    Let them in. Spend large amounts of tax money to fly them in and assist them to assimilate. Anyone prepared to actually DIE to get here is the kind of person I’d want living next door to me, working at work with me, having relationships with. Such people would improve this community and society. Such people are necessary. The more “boat people” who make it here, the more this nation improves.

    The people who need to be “sent back” are the vile bigots who are currently sinking low enough to pretend to care when refugees die. They don’t want them in this country but delight when they drown so they can score points. Such people pollute this community and society. Such people are parasites. Send them to the moon, there’s no “boat people” there that I know of.

    A plague on Labor, Liberal, every racist media mouth-piece and every one of their cowardly, bleating supporters. You think being born here is some kind of licence to take and take and complain when you’re not getting enough, you think NOTHING of contributing, helping, showing the slightest skerrick of compassion or altruism to anyone else. Get out of my country, you traitors!

  193. Pamela

    YES GEEWIZZ —— AND the Taliban fell in late 2001. as a consequence the Hazaras stopped running for protection.
    Illadvisedly as it turned out becasue the coalition ran off to invade IRAQ and the Taliban reasserted their dominance.
    Give us a break Mate- life is not as simple as you try to present it.
    My argument is not the only factor either but maybe one argument at a time is enough for you.

  194. alan


    So you think the pacific solution was an undeniable success

    Laughable, i say

    This link to a unhcr chart clearly demonstrates the sharp fall off in asylum seekers in 2002

    Unless of cousre, you think that the howard govt policies were a global phenomenon


  195. beachcomber

    I don’t see how Abbott can sleep at night. On one hand he claims to value the sanctity of life and opposes abortion, claiming it destroys human life. On the other hand he is happy to watch women and children, as well as men, drown while fleeing dismal lives of victimisation, abuse, famine, persecution and/or war. If he really held “christian” values, the shape of someones nose, or the colour of their skin, would not matter. By his actions Abbott truly is evil, and he clearly will use any issue to his own, perceived political advantage. Even life and death. He is not worthy to be an MP, let alone “the next elected Prime Minister” (his words).

  196. graybul

    Finally Bernard, You have cut through. Abbot’s actions and values are indeed evil Nuff said!

  197. oldskool

    Actually Gee Wizz, what you are saying (assuming you are correct for the moment) is that 1500 refugees arrived after the instigation of the Pacific Solution (September to December- your words), then, after the fall of the Taliban, when the Hazara were less persecuted the system was effectively unused. How is that an indication of success?
    If you are correct with the numbers etc that you have provided, then your evidence indicates that the Pacific Solution is a dud, 1500 refugees arrived by boat within 3 months! Given that we know that the vast majority at the time were Hazara from Afghanistan and they ceased to be a refugee issue worldwide for most of 2002, then we can assume that the Pacific solution
    a) was not effective
    b) actually increased the number of boat arrivals- from your figures from Jan- Sept 3,954 (avge 440/ month) Oct- Dec 500/month)

    Which is it- have you given me the wrong figures, or was the Pacific Solution ineffective, or possibly a ‘pull’ factor?

  198. klewso

    See where you’re a naturalist too, Owen?
    You’ve noticed how, after having controlled those main streams of communication for so long, whenever they see a group of those that don’t agree with their view of the world, find a “water-hole” around which they can congregate, a troupe of “Elusive Brotherhood” will descend on them screaming and waving their Righteous indignation around trying to scare off such an public aggregation of contrariness? Some will even pick up a humerus bone to wield (…… ever watched someone try to write with the implement in their “unnatural hand”?) to try to steer these “heretics” back to their mainstream?
    Head down, keep grazing – and watch as they are left chattering among themselves.

  199. Mark Duffett

    Further to Fredex, and those of you wondering where the churches are on this issue, please note (for example): unitingjustice dot org dot au slash refugees-and-asylum-seekers

    Please don’t tar all Christians with the brush of certain of its professed adherents.

  200. TroppoTom

    I see another boat has capsized. I await the shock jocks to tell us asylum seekers–known as “illegals” to the slow moving dope community–are doing it on purpose to get easy entry to Australia, and Scott Morrison to reject any compromise so the coalition can retain the tattoo belt vote.

  201. GeeWizz

    [“YES GEEWIZZ —  —  — AND the Taliban fell in late 2001. as a consequence the Hazaras stopped running for protection.”]

    Hi Pamela,

    As you well know Asylum Seekers numbers actually peaked worldwide in 2002 because of the Afghan War.

    What we are seeing currently is a perfect correlation of boat arrival numbers based on Australian domestic policy.

    When the policy weakens…. the boats flood in…. when the policy strengthens, they slow down. We saw it with the Pacific Solution…. we saw it even with the announcement of the Malaysian Solution(though numbers were still quite high) and we saw the massive flood we are now getting with the Labor/Greens open borders solution.

    If we want to stop the boats and stop the deaths we need to be tough. The Malaysian Solution is a fizzer because it has a 800 person limit, it is a fizzer because Labor will need to send unaccompanied 5 year olds to the streets of Malaysia or risk boats packed full of kids.

    But as I say…. lets give the Malaysia Solution the test Labor so desperately want and make them take full responsibility for it and the consequences.

  202. Gocomsys

    Another good article worth reading on this site.

    by John Menadue and Arja Keski-Nummi, Centre for Policy Development fellows and immigration experts.

    So far the “trolls” haven’t arrived to obscure the picture on that thread. What worries me about “troll” opinion in general is that it reflects the embarrassing state of ignorance and apathy in the wider public. And yes the “Abbott’s” of this world will always follow their narrow agenda regardless of the cost to others. Its been like this since time immemorial and all that can be done is to make sure that these types are never in a position of influence. Easier said than done I know.
    We already experienced the TROLL invasion here. Let’s see how long it takes for the TROLL infestation to take hold on the above article. Now that the viruses have been alerted how long will it take for the attack on common sense to begin?

  203. GeeWizz

    [“Actually Gee Wizz, what you are saying (assuming you are correct for the moment) is that 1500 refugees arrived after the instigation of the Pacific Solution (September to December- your words), then, after the fall of the Taliban, when the Hazara were less persecuted the system was effectively unused. How is that an indication of success?”]

    The policy needed time to get the message out that Australia wasn’t going to put up with boat arrivals anymore and that if you came you absolutely would be going to Nauru, no if buts or maybe.

    But yes you are right, it took a few months for the policy to have it’s impact. Then realise that the Gillard Government is currently doing 1200 illegals a MONTH now, yet the Malaysia Solution only has a limit of 800.

    I mean it’s a perfect Labor policy… ill thought out and a disaster waiting to happen, which is why I am all for it being passed through parliament.

  204. GeeWizz

    [“Laughable, i say

    This link to a unhcr chart clearly demonstrates the sharp fall off in asylum seekers in 2002

    Unless of cousre, you think that the howard govt policies were a global phenomenon”]

    Thanks for providing the graph, As everyone can see in the graph, Worldwide Refugee numbers actually PEAKED in 2002.

    Thank you for proving my point that the Pacific Solution worked so incredibly well(Down from 5500 in 2001 to 1 person in 2002)

  205. Stiofan

    How are the recent drownings the fault of Gillard, Abbott or Uncle Tom Cobbley?

    These people got on a boat which was not under Australian jurisdiction. They set sail without any notification to Australian authorities. The boat sank and many of them drowned.

    That’s a human tragedy, but why is the Australian Government or Opposition at fault? The only possible way in which Australia could possibly have prevented it would have been a complete open door immigration policy with free airfares for anyone wanted to come to Australia.

  206. Suzanne Blake

    Amazing that today Boat (in Indonesian Search waters etc), had a Satelitte Phone no less.

    Pretty well organised.

  207. Alfonse

    Next time a vessel sinks somewhere on a vast ocean, somewhere in the world, and someone on board has actually heard of Australia, then lets blame Tony Abbott and the Coalition. Seems like they get the blame for everything. Imagine how much blame we can heap on them if they were actually in power !!

  208. cairns50

    well mr alfonese as far as what is happening with the situation to our north

    it is mr abbotts fault he has blood on his hands and im sure he does not care one little bit

    what a disgraceful indivual the man is

    im waiting for more crocodile tears from him morrison and co

  209. P. Martinovic

    They should legislate that legislations to deal with refugees and asylum seekers must always be done by a cross-party committee with advise from experts on all related fields, this way no one can be opportunistic and exploit the issue and cause social disharmony.

    Either that or withdraw from the UN convention and write our own bill of rights for asylum seekers and refugees.

  210. Gocomsys

    Question: What is worse than a run of the mill average silly troll like Geewizz (aka TruthHurts)?
    Answer: A dumb and illiterate one (SB).

  211. GeeWizz

    I call on Tony Abbott to let Gillards Malaysian Solution of 800 People to pass parliament.

    The 800 will be filled up in about 3 weeks and be one of the most stark political failures in Australian history.

    Then it’s off to Nauru for a real long term solution!

  212. Liz45

    Funny how the warmongers and others are so concerned about the Treaties etc with the US, but don’t give a hoot about the Human Rights Laws that we’ve signed and also given our support to – verbally, with much pride! The Greens are the only ones who insist on our compliance with our given word! Too many others want them ripped up when they prove to be “inconvenient”? The only problem with that is – Asylum seekers rights today, Your Rights tomorrow! It’s not a fruit tree – you can’t pick and choose the ‘juiciest’ and discard the rest!

    OR – let’s have the guts and say we’re going to rip them up! But say it loudly, not behind our hands!


    All this angst and concern when people die where we can see them. Where was/is the outcry when the bombs of the countries(US/Britain etc) we supported in Afghanistan killed and keep on killing people in their own homes. Where are the tears and anguish when kids pick up cluster bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan and blow limbs off? There’s more orphans in Afghanistan than any other country in the world – thanks to us and our allies! All the people working at the ‘limb factory’ have lost limbs themselves.

    I’m sick to death of the crocodile tears for other human beings, particularly when those whose eyes are pretending to be wet with tears caused this themselves.

    Over 1 million in Iraq, and who knows how many in Afghanistan? We don’t even bother keeping count. We also don’t bother with the babies born with horrific deformities from Depleted Uranium bombs which we sanction the use of. The sight of these kids makes me weep, but not a word passes the lips of the politicians in Canberra – except for a few, plus The Greens?

    We are all responsible for the terrified people who will risk anything to get away from our weapons, and those of whom we support without question. We remain silent over the torture, death and loss of hope. We focus on the ‘goodies’ of a rich nation, and show more compassion to animals than human beings.

    Whenever there’s a sharp rise in the numbers seeking asylum, it has coincided with awful violence in the countries from which they flee! Last year was among the most violent in Afghanistan resulting in even more civilian deaths. But not one tear has been shed by those who now pretend to give a damn. We are beginning to resemble those countries, where dictatorships and misery are the order of the day. We are no better than Saddam or Syria or? We allow death and misery to run rife, and we do NOTHING! We should be ashamed of ourselves. None of our politicians have even hinted that this journey of misery may be our fault – not even a little bit!

    Italy takes in 25,000 asylum seekers in a short period of time, sometimes in one weekend, while we thrash around with hypocritical tears over several thousand a year?

  213. Peter Ormonde

    Hello Troofie … I see you have forgotten all about apostrophes during my absence.

    Now you know, I know, everyone reading this knows that you’re just pretending to be nice about all this.

    You know, I know, everyone knows that what you would really want to do is turn the ship’s cannons on these awful little boats, or if someone’s watching, drag ’em back where they bloody came from.

    You don’t have to pretend to be Nauru nice at all, Troofie … just unleash the real you… the rabid pig ignorant knuckle scraping xenophobe who is terrified that we are about to be inundated by foreigners. And we all know that down deep where it counts you reckon that the more that drown the better. Talk about sending a message. Floating corpses beat Nauru or Malaysia hands down message-wise.

    Or an I underestimating you?

  214. Alfonse

    ……………..and the Greens sat giggling in the corner, knowing full well who smashed the cookie jar !!

  215. GeeWizz

    Hi Pete,

    What do you think about boaties drowning now we have your preferred open borders solution?

    Is it hard sleeping at night mate?

  216. Mal White

    According to the media reports, the entire 200 passengers on the first boat to capsize were all men, and the initial reports are saying today’s capsized boat was carrying women and children with hardly any men.

    I am not sure what the reason for this is, but it does indicate a deep level of organisation on the part of the people smugglers than simply helping desperate families to get a better life.

  217. Peter Ormonde

    Open borders? Gee I wonder why these guys are hopping into boats then?

    See I’m not actually suggesting open borders – what I’m suggesting is what we have done in the past when there were a lot of people moving about the place and wanting to come here. We went and got them.

    People with funny Greek and Italian names. People with even stranger Vietnamese and Khmer names. One of the truly good things Malcolm Fraser did as PM was his response to the Vietnamese boat people.

    So no, not open borders Troofie but a systematic and efficient approach to assessing and processing refugee applicants adjacent to their countries of origin… and flying them in when they pass muster. Real useful meaningful offshore processing. No boats. No people smugglers. No one drowning. No open borders either. And no more “sending messages” with peoples’ lives.

    We’ve done it before and it worked. And we are all the better off for it in every way. Awful isn’t it?

  218. CliffG

    No one seems to remember the man and his cat on Manus Island. Or refugees on Nauru being denied access to lawyers and the media being completely shut out. Abbott wants that again!!!!!! It worked precisely because they could make people suffer. 97% of the people on Nauru came to Australia or New Zealand. It succeeded? Yes in unnecessary torture and brutalisation. Nauru can’t do that now as a signatory to the refugee conventions without UN condemnation.
    Ther man and his cat were abandoned in the most inhumane and atrocious way by the Howard government, which in Opposition, now denies the vote to the Malaysia solution, claiming to defend the human rights of refugees.
    And what about Cornelia Rau, Vivian Solon? Children Overboard?
    How quickly the writing on the farmyard wall fades.
    Abbott and the Opposition stink to high heaven. They do not regret boats sinking. It adds maggots to their stinking rotting flesh of xenophobia and feeds the shock jocks their hate filled lines. Just ask Bob Francis.

  219. Mal White

    The people smugglers are quick learners.

    Having observed how quickly Australia responds to distress calls and takes survivors to Christmas Island, even when rescued in Indonesian waters, I wonder if they will now instruct their crew to make a distress call the moment they enter Australian waters.
    They can disable their boat as soon as Australian help arrives, even start sinking it to help push their rescue along.
    It would be the next most logical thing to do. It would make the last half of the journey much safer.

  220. Patriot

    Another mass-drowning, another policy failure!

  221. Peter Ormonde

    And another cheap shot. What a totally tasteless bunch. I wonder if they’d be saying these things if those boats were filled with chubby white kids from England.

  222. Patriot

    Communist Party Environment Spokesperson Peter Ormonde,

    I wonder what your attitude would be if those boats were filled with chubby white kids from England. Oh, wait. We already know what your attitude would be – you’d call them evil, colonialist invaders.

  223. Patriot

    Probably would want them to apologise for the so-called “stolen generations” too.

  224. Mal White

    I don’t know who you are repl.ying to Peter, but my point applies even if the boats were filled with “chubby white kids from England”. I don’t think people smugglers really care who there are sending, so long as they pay.

  225. Peter Ormonde

    What country is it that you love so much again Mr P?

    Some terra nullius of your own imagining.

    Think just for a minute before resorting to the usual bile – put chubby white English faces on those boats and tell me you’d be demanding Nauru – demanding that we send strong messages by gaoling them or towing them out to sea. It’s a simple enough test.

  226. Patriot

    Well, it’s a hypothetical question with an absurd hypothesis. There is no reason for people from England to seek asylum here. If you’re hung up on skin colour we could discuss white refugees from Zimbabwe as an example. If they turned up here in boats, having jumped the queue and deliberately taken steps to obfuscate their identity, I would have no more sympathy for them than I do for these Middle Eastern illegals.

  227. Peter Ormonde

    You have a very short and selective memory Mr P.

    What’s a 10 pound pom? There were heaps and heaps of UK economic migrants brought out here after the war. Essentially economic refugees. We went and got them. We advertised for them. We paid their passage here. We even gave them a tenner to be going on with… We gave them Adelaide!!!

    We did it with Greeks, Italians Yugoslavs and Poles as well and lots more.

    We did it when the Vietnamese started turning up in 1977 in boats.

    But the reason you will not ask yourself this simple little hypothetical – of putting chubby English cheeks on those sinking boats, is because you would be appalled and ashamed and screaming for justice. Just not for this lot – they’re so foreign.
    Be honest at least with yourself.

  228. Mal White

    It was interesting watching the Drum tonight and hearing about a successful refugee wanting Tony Abbott to get into power.

    The reason, by stopping the boats (in theory) it allows a higher intake of family reunions under the quota system. With less boat people arriving, already established refugees have a better chance of bringing family members out.
    Self interest runs deep.

  229. Patriot

    I’m curious, what led you to think I would have some special sympathy for the English above all others? Please tell me you haven’t assumed some stereotype regarding my ancestry.

  230. Peter Ormonde

    You bet I do Mr P … UK from your bootstraps to your pith helmet under the veneer of patriotism … tell me it’s not true.

    Incidentally what you said above – effectively that “well it’s not them is it … it’s just hypothetical” … amply demonstrates that you would react differently if it were. You cannot even answer.

    Even you are ashamed.

    You are like this – hanging tough, “sending messages” – because they are “foreign” children.

    My disgust increases with your every post Patriot. Where’s that country of yours again? Certainly not here.

  231. Patriot

    You bet I do Mr P … UK from your bootstraps to your pith helmet under the veneer of patriotism … tell me it’s not true.

    It’s not true, Peter. You’re getting quite incoherent. Are you drinking?

  232. Peter Ormonde

    Tell us your real name Mr P and where your grandparents came from – or are you a koori?

    And you still cannot tell me you would be screaming “failed policy” and demanding to send little white pommy kids to Nauru or back home or towing them back where they came from.

    Or are you being consistent and would be demanding these kids from Glasgow or London or Cardiff be sent packing… these illegals.

  233. Patriot

    Since you’ve developed a fixation on the English, I’ll answer your question. If they arrived under the same circumstances I can honestly say I would be asking the same questions of them: Why not seek refuge closer to home? Why travel through numerous safe countries without seeking asylum? Why not come by plane? Why obscure their identity? Why pay tens of thousands for a dodgy boat trip?

    I can honestly say I would come to the same conclusion about them: that they were attempting to exploit poor policy, abuse our humanitarian program and defeat the orderly assessment and resettlement of refugees with the goal of illegally immigrating here.

  234. shepherdmarilyn

    Does anyone understand that Gillard is such a desperate liar that she would strip asylum seekers of all rights to achieve a spurious goal because the refugees she wants to push off still have to get here.

    The Oakeshott bill is the worst bill since the white Australia policy but at least it will not get through the senate.

  235. Patriot

    Oh, and ultimately I’d want them sent home. Honestly.

  236. Peter Ormonde

    Thought you’d be a pom. Looks like I was right despite the initial denial.

    So you would be advocating detention centres and indefinite incarceration for chubby cheeked white kids then? Towing them back somewhere? Sending them home? You would be after exactly the same policies applied to little Tommy and Annabelle?

    Not questions – detention, gaol, expulsion and people smugglers – you’d want that would you, really?

  237. AR

    PatrIdiot first erupted like a boil in these comments several months ago and, after being comprehensively dissected & treated with the antiseptic of fact, disappeared.
    Now it seems to have metastasised and returned, unchastened and as ignorant & disgusting as ever.

  238. Patriot

    AR, you stupid man, I was never dissected by anyone. I exposed Peters shocking, secret past as a Communist Party operative and environmental extremist, then got bored with him. The guy was never the same after that.

  239. Peter Ormonde

    Sorry AR … I’m bored. And I just enjoy watching this anonymous “patriot” demonstrate the appalling racism of his hate-filled position. I’ll stop now and read a book on woodturning.

    As usual I have a couple of comments in the plump white hands of the Moderators, so they will get posted eventually after vespers.

  240. Peter Ormonde

    Sorry AR … I’m back…

    Secret? No, secret is when you don’t reveal your name and do things in hiding like a roach… something you’re not proud of. I’m actually very proud that in 1978 before and since I have been on the side of the angels and never ever been afriad to put my name to my opinions or actions, Mr “Patriot”.

    So for white kids – detention, indefinite imprisonment, towing them back somewhere or sending them to Nauru is the go then, yes – exactly the same rules and treatment?

  241. Patriot

    I don’t think I can make my position any clearer. I’d want the same treatment for anyone that arrived under the same circumstances (ie, arriving from the other side of the world, on a boat, with no identification). They should get an immediate flight home without any assessment of their claims.

  242. Patriot

    Communists are angels now, according to Peter. The guy’s finally flipped.

  243. Peter Ormonde

    Oh so you are opposed to Nauru, Christmas Island, towing them back or fulfilling our obligations under international law as well? Just fly ’em back to the bloody civil war unleashed by the Great Scottish invasion of 2013… excellent!

    Come on … confess … Thames Valley isn’t it? Or maybe up North? “Patriots” are always outsiders. Austrians and the like.

  244. Peter Ormonde

    No being on the side of the angels means fighting for poor people, low paid workers, like the environment, land rights, old style feminism, ecology that sort of faddish nonsense.

    Enough the lathe book looks far more interesting.

  245. AR

    PO – cease, desist, you know it ain’t worth answering.

  246. AR

    PO – I doubt it’s a pom, more likely a teabagger astroturfer – I’m only surprised that the term ‘limey’ didn’t slip through – but the language is stock standard troll.

  247. Karen

    Its been very interesting reading all of the posts above.

    @ Pamela – thanks for including the link to the elegantly written article by Prof Maley in the Canberra Times, which reveals the inefficiency, hypocrisy, cynicism and brutality of ‘deterrence’ policies.

    Deterrence policies have not stopped the boats eg. Siev X being one of the most infamous boat tragedies one can think of in this context. Temporary protection visas, for their part, had also coincided with a 43% increase in boat arrivals. So much for deterrence policies…

    What is clearly overlooked in this debate are the push factors that drive refugee numbers eg. the overthrow of the Taliban saw a sharp reduction in Afghani numbers at the time of the Pacific solution. The deteriorating political situation in Afghanistan since then has produced a sharp increase in refugee numbers. Failed western policy in the middle-east, most particularly, Iraq and Afghanistan has also overseen a sharp increase in Iraqi and Afghani refugee numbers. Foment in Iran and Syria will see the same.

  248. shepherdmarilyn

    I think everyone should read the transcript from Clive Palmer. He talks more sense than the rest of them combined.

    And when the media and government can’t control the news we see and hear the words from rescuers happy to have saved lives.

    but two boats sinking in the same place in one week stinks of an AFP sabotage to me.

  249. Peter Ormonde

    Mal White …

    I was having a chat with a local troll called “patriot” who actually couldn’t and wouldn’t answer when I asked him if he would be advocating strong deterrence like Nauru, Malaysia and towing them back etc if the faces were white chubby UK kiddies.

    We can only do these things to people we see as different, as foreign… people who are less than human.

  250. klewso

    Yes Marilyn – I gotta give up the bottle – Palmer’s making sense – on lobbyists and refugees!
    But what gives with the sinking feeling at the ABC that used to be the flag-ship of our newsfleet?
    When Jones seems quite sanguine at the prospect of potential about Santoro touting his influence in an “Abbott government” :– because the ABC isn’t in the market “to line the pockets of a Liberal lobbyist”, and isn’t about to invest in “The Santo Clause”?
    [Then again Palmer does have enough money to be above petty politics and enough time to play “Bait the Media” …. as well as having Yabulu hanging over his head, which is either going to cost a lot of money to address, or a lot of public sympathy (which he isn’t getting from Newman – “at the front door” at any rate).]

    Then at 7:30 on “The Leigh Sales Assizes” :- after years of politicians playing “badminton for votes ” with asylum seekers while the “tabloid media” (which includes much of the ABC now) sat in the front row, watching on, suddenly it’s become the “moral raison d’etre du jour”?
    Perhaps Milne had a point about why this state of affairs has evolved and degenerated around “boat people” (including a decade under Howard) and perhaps this “populist rush/knee jerk reaction” (spurred on by a media suddenly finding it’s moral compass) to the latest deaths, might not be the best and most efficient route to go down – but because that view doesn’t fit that of Sales, with her set of prejudices, was reason to brow beat her? And “Reith-Morrison” on the same subject, with his record (wanting to play politics and make a political point from “the cost of refugees attending funerals” last year) got a giggle out of her 48 hours before. compare “sign-offs”.

    While Mark Scott worries about the likes of Stephen Long (with his comments about “Reith-Morrison”) – as his ABC journalists should “Provide insight and analysis where you can and when you can’t, don’t. You shouldn’t be delving into the realm of personal opinion……” – but at the same time the prejudices of others are allowed to dictate their interview style with immunity?

  251. Mike Smith

    Time to unsubscribe from this thread, it’s going nowhere.

    Ciao, all.

  252. Liz45

    95% of asylum seekers arrive by plane. They are treated differently to the 5% who come by boat. Those arriving by plane are usually of white or lighter skin, speak English and are allowed in the community until their claims are processed. Why is this? could it be that the approx.5% are used as political pawns, particularly when the overwhelming majority are deemed to be in need of protection and are granted refugee status?

    Surely it would not be tinged with racism, Patriot, Geewizz and others? No, wouldn’t happen would it?

    Did any of you watch that interesting series on SBS re Australia’s history of the White Australia Policy? We have NOT moved on from that racist and xenophobic thought processes, it’s pure racism in my view.

    If we really cared about people dying needlessly, we wouldn’t have been in Iraq or Afghanistan for years. We don’d care about the families, including women and babies who’ve been murdered at a family wedding etc, or the many we’ve maimed etc.

    It’s only when we can see the deaths that we make out that we care – on a national level we don’t? Except for The Greens and many caring people in the community? Over Hockey’s “dead body”? He and his mates have the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of people on their hands, but they’ve never seen them and so it doesn’t count!

    Patriot, how do you think the catholics on the front bench of the Opposition, or the Govt for that matter reconcile their racist use of vulnerable people? I think they’d be thrown out of the Temple? Disgusting!

  253. Liz45

    I’m listening to the debate in the Senate. I suggest those who can to tune in. I’m hoping to hear some REAL FACTS from the Speakers – (apart from the many I’ve learnt from people like Pamela and Marilyn, and my own reading, documentaries etc).

  254. Pamela

    Right now 1200 assessed and proven refugees are waiting for resettlement places in indonesia . there are also 4000 asylum seekers waiting for assessment.

    2012 – Australia will take 300 people from Indo- a decrease from 500m last year.

    So far Jan to June – 24 people have been resettled.

    message to refugees- you have buckleys waiting – do it yourself- find aboat and try.

    background rumour doing the rounds of hostels in Indonesia – australia is about to close the way to all boats.


  255. Liz45

    At present, a Liberal Senator is speaking passionately AGAINST the Bill! Where was her passion when Howard used the Navy to react in such an aggressive manner that included not even being kind to the children. the ‘We will decide blah blah’? Vivien Salon, Carmelia Rau and the at least 200+ who were locked up ‘wrongly’? How much did all that cost? And I include the compensation, medical bills for kids who were so damaged that they still require psychological/psychiatric care?

    The ‘As a Last Resort’ (inquiry into the jailing of kids) found that 92% of Iranis, and 98% of Iraqi children were in need of protection. One would assume that their parents were too!

    Anyone read this report (apart from Marilyn and others?).

  256. Venise Alstergren

    Clive Palmer did make some sense, however, what sort of people would he attract? QLD is the total pit on the social conscience of Australia. And Palmer would attract all the lovely racist rurals of that fair state. Pauline Hanson anyone?

  257. Liz45

    @VENISE – What would he say now but act differently if elected? Don’t like him, don’t trust him either! Haven’t heard his comments re indigenous people etc? Perhaps I don’t want to? Pauline Hanson? She has a lot to answer for that woman! Remember the role Abbott played in her demise? Relevant at this time isn’t it? Awful person!

  258. Gocomsys

    Reading some of these posts, no wonder my bullsh*t allergy has flared up!

    It is great to have a progressive government in charge. Some good policies are now in place. It is a start and long overdue. Much more is required. It is important not to interrupt and jeopardise progress.
    As a society we simply can not afford to tolerate bullsh*t from anyone! Speak up!


    NB.: Trolls not invited. Dummies need not respond! Appreciated.

    (Many have previously suggested not to feed the trolls. Easier said then done. How about continuing to comment on these dummies silly and repetitive contributions but making sure never to address them directly. Think that’ll work?)

  259. Liz45

    It’s so depressing. The plight of a few thousand people and the major political parties are now reaping what they’ve sowed. THEY politicised this, unlike the administrations of Fraser, Hawke and Keating (not withstanding the awful mandatory detention policy’s introduction?).

    I listened to an interview on Radio National yesterday morning with Malcolm Fraser. His suggestion re the toxic climate the politicians have embroiled us in, was to put them all in a boat, take them out to sea, and pull the plug – he didn’t differentiate between political parties.

    Interesting that his expertise wasn’t invited to be on the ‘expert panel’?

    I can’t stand the bs and total lack of humanity exhibited here. The crocodile tears in Parlt, almost made me throw up. They created this quagmire – the main political parties that is! It’s disgusting!

    My sympathies to you Marilyn. Nil desperado? (Don’t let the bastards grind you down,mate). Keep on doing what you’re doing. If ever I’m in strife, I’d like you on my side! You’re a legend! Thank you for all you do – please tell asylum seekers you meet, that we’re not all like some of the deadwood here. Some of us, who don;t even boast christianity(unlike too many in the Opposition, and the Govt too for that matter) believe in acting in a ‘christian’ manner!

    The likes of Italy that has up to 25,000 asylum seekers in a week or weekend must think we’re the most selfish bunch of bastards ever! Amazing!

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