On Manus Island and asylum seeker policy

Robyn Godbehere writes: Re. “Manus disturbances a logical consequence of Liberal-Labor policy” (yesterday). I get so annoyed with the media always using Labor as a scapegoat and thought Crikey was above that. Any policy adhering to Manus Island is the fault of the current government. Kevin Rudd overturned Manus Island in 2008 which was the Howard government’s policy. I don’t think Labor was going to cut Australia off to the detainees for good — they just had to wait their turn.  I’m trying to ascertain if it was Scott Morrison who said they had to be re-located in PNG.

Jim Catt writes: Both the editorial and Bernard Keane’s article make good points about the appalling mess that is (and has been for many years) Australia’s policy towards refugees seeking resettlement. There seems to me to be a possible policy solution which has not been tried by either party, so far as I’m aware. One that will ensure that the boats stay stopped, but will treat genuine refugees compassionately and appropriately. I would propose that the Australian government negotiate an agreement with Indonesia that would allow us to set up a refugee processing centre in Indonesia. This centre would undertake to process all refugees in Indonesia, in order of arrival and arrange resettlement in Australia or suitable third countries (such as New Zealand) for all who are assessed to be genuine refugees and who pass appropriate security checks. To facilitate this process, Australia would substantially increase our intake of refugees to, say, 60,000 per year.

Secondly and, again, with the agreement of the Indonesians, we would return all boat arrivals to Indonesia, as soon as possible after arrival, where they would go to the back of the queue. This would remove all incentive for refugees in Indonesia to make the dangerous journey to Australia, while at the same time ensuring that we live up to our moral and legal obligations to those who seek our protection. Now, with the current mistrust between Indonesia and Australia on refugees it may be very difficult to negotiate such an agreement — but that shouldn’t stop us trying. As for its political acceptability in this country, I believe that most Australians are sympathetic towards genuine refugees but are deeply opposed to people smuggling and unauthorised boat arrivals. This policy, if properly sold, should be able to satisfy both feelings. It would be nice to think that we could have a bipartisan approach to a solution like this.

The clock is ticking for Abbott and his cabinet

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Will the Liberal leadership endgame play out sooner than expected?” (Monday). The government is in trouble because of a serious lack of political skills and policy development. The game is to formulate policy by consulting with those affected (the horrible stakeholders), gaining an appreciation of what is necessary and possible, coming up with a sound plan and then persuading stakeholders to support it or refine until you have majority support and have at least neutralized the opposition.Then you announce it and hold fast to its implementation.

Persuasion takes political skill, and formulation takes work and knowledge guided by a firm idea of what is good for the country. Sadly Abbott has failed on health, the ludicrous PPL, the bovver boy budget buggered by buffoon Hockey, and even hit the wrong key when playing the gift card of Islamic terror. The only bright spots are Morrison, Bishop and Robb. And Crikey folks, this endorsement is all coming from your resident Liberal Imperialist.

On Tom Switzer’s new ABC show

Bev Maunsell writes: Re. “Another conservative host at Aunty: Switzer’s new show unveiled” (Friday). There was a wonderful quote in the Sydney Morning Herald many years ago which said something along the lines the ABC  was not left wing enough, reason being, no other radio station presented any left views whatsoever!  How true! PS Amanda Vanstone is boring beyond belief, as are her guests.