Rudd’s plan will deter people smugglers
Ray Edmondson writes: Re. “Military reshuffle: Abbott’s ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’” (yesterday). Abbott’s solution, like Rudd’s, may be cobbled together under pressure of an impending election, but both are trying to achieve essentially the same thing — stopping the boats for political reasons. If, as a consequence, it also stops the loss of life at sea, that, at least, is surely a good thing. I suspect Rudd’s solution might be better at saving lives if it makes people think twice about beginning the journey in the first place. Only time will tell.
Much seems to have been made in the media of PNG’s place on the “corruption index” — at 150th place out of 174 countries — as opposed to Australia in seventh place (behind New Zealand in first place, it might be added). Apparently these figures are taken from the Transparency International table, which ranks perceptions, as opposed to objective data. But I haven’t yet seen anyone point out that Indonesia holds 118th place on the same index — not a long way ahead of PNG. If the citizens of our two closest neighbours can’t earn a living wage from their day jobs, what do we expect them to do? As long as there are Indonesian officials in the chain who turn a blind eye, sending the boats back solves nothing. The same boats can just turn around and come on to Australia again. On the other hand, if the prospect of life in PNG is a sufficient deterrent, it must limit the people smugglers’ ability to attract customers to begin with.
By now, is there a sophisticated profile of the people who are coming by the boats? Whether or not they are genuine refugees (however we define that term) they are, by definition, people who at least have the means to pay the people smugglers. That means they could not be the poorest of the poor, who have to stay where they are no matter how much danger they are in. How does their profile compare with refugees coming to Australia through the formal channels, where presumably the level of affluence is not a factor?
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Time for Taki to retire
Pamela Papadopoulos writes: Re. “Rundle: standing up for Nazis is not freedom of speech” (yesterday). The Spectator publishes an article about Greek fascism under the guise of diverse opinions and freedom of speech. It’s akin to a bottle of outdated cheap ouzo from the ’70s and a nice glass of red from the Hunter Valley. They don’t mix well together at a good dinner party, just like Taki himself.
His wit and wisdom is lacking when he resorts to racism. The editor should employ an Aussie Greek writer who at least displays a better sense of humour.
It’s Taki’s time to retire as an old syncophant of the establishment.
Seek and ye shall find
Trent Yarwood writes: Re. “Bringing up princeling” (yesterday). Two of your correspondents failed even a basic level of search engine use in today’s letters. To Orm Grace, Thursday Island is one of the inner cluster of Torres Strait Islands and is around 160 kilometres from the nearest villages in PNG — far from swimming distance. The (Australian) Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Boigu are both around five kilometres from the PNG mainland, although a bit further from the small villages. All of which are about as far away from Manus as they are from Cairns.
And to Gavin Greenoak, this Google search; it helpfully gives a literature review on smoking and blindness.
Wilful blindness, indeed.
Katherine Stuart writes: Re. “Revealed: Craig Thomson lawyer in $36k NSW Labor cash grab” (yesterday). Cannot help wondering what “authorised” p-rn and pr-stitute use might be after Andrew Crook’s article in Crikey (“Chris McArdle reckons the ALP owes him over $36,000 in damages for “legal services to Craig Thomson” as his client fends off fraud charges for unauthorised p-rn and pr-stitute use.”).