« profile & posts archive

This author has written 2362 posts for Larvatus Prodeo.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

166 responses to “Breaking the stalemate on asylum seekers and refugees II”

  1. Katz

    The incompetence narrative seems to reflect truth.

    I other words, those of us who said that the Gillard government is incompetent are correct.

    I would add that Gillard simply added her shovel-load of incompetence to the steaming pile she confiscated from Rudd.

    It really should be very clear now that playing defence on a turf shaped by its political opponents and the media is absolutely and fatally counter-productive.

    Absolutely correct.

    But don’t forget that this terrain had been well and truly staked out under Rudd. Gillard’s primary personal mistake was to claim it as her own.

    Did she think she could turn it around? If she did she has demonstrated no indication that she ever had an adequate plan to do so — hence the ridiculous Malaysia Solution which arose out a desperate flailing around for some fix, any fix.

    Also, let us not forget her absurd “citizens’ assembly” on climate change. As worthy as the sentiment might be, this looked like the government ducking responsibility to lead.

  2. Tyro Rex

    I agree. This is as good a circuit-breaker as any for the government to snap out of it’s hideous self-induced funk, forget about the bullshit political news cycle and put some actual policy wins up. But I am not hopeful on this issue, I really fail to see why this issue bedevils the ALP when most of its *members* disagree with the government’s position.

  3. Fine

    “If the ALP is to lose anyway, the paradox might be that by regaining its soul, it might just avoid its fate. If not, then it might just provide a path by which Labor could return to opposition demonstrating that it actually stands for something.”

    This so true. It’s current hardline status only loses it votes. They just might win a few votes by doing the right thing. It certainly won’t do them any harm. And who are their lawyers? Don’t they know what they’re doing.

    Sadly, the emphasis is still on the demonisation of the people smugglers, which completely misses the point of the issue. It’s ridiculous that the Libs have been able to grab the moral high ground on this, but they have by arguing that Malaysia is even worse than Nauru. Talk about a plunging dive to the very bottom of a murky pool. Of course, this decision now means that all off-shore processing looks dubious. Pressure should also be put on he Libs in this context. But, you know it ain’t gonna happen.

  4. Rob B

    The High Court merely rules on the law as it’s written. The Parliment writes the laws in regards to refugee’s. Labor and Liberal (or a future majority Liberal Government) simply need to nut out a solution, and legislate that solution. The High Court will then no longer be a barrier.

  5. Occam's Blunt Razor

    I am sure the ALP can fix it with a few new policies :

    Boat Watch

    Cash for Asylumclunkers

    Pink Boats

    Boarding the Esylum Route

  6. Occam's Blunt Razor

    @3 – “hardline status”

    About as hard as my abdominal muscles.

    Reinstate TPVs.

    Re-open Nauru (if they can).

    Withdraw from the Refugee Convention.

    Send unaccompanied minors back to their families poste-haste.

  7. Kim

    OBR. Your talking points are no longer feasible. The landscape of possibility has changed. The High Court has changed it. Mark is right too that there is not a majority in House or Senate to overturn the effect of the decision and go back to Howardia.

  8. Occam's Blunt Razor

    Kim – don’t you think bipartisan support to make TPV’s and Nauru could force them through Parliament?

  9. Sam

    The PM has attacked the Chief Justice, accusing him of inconsistency. According to her he said different things in this judgment than he did when he was a Federal Court judge.

    Oh dear. This is not a good look. Attacking High Court judges because they have delivered a politically inconvenient judgment smacks of Mugabe-ism. Not that she would have meant it that way, of course, but the ranga is clearly under a lot of pressure, and it shows.

  10. Katz

    Taking a broader view of things, the world is witnessing an unprecedented collapse in the viability of nation states in our region and worldwide.

    This means that millions of refugees are roaming the world in search of the kind of prosperity and stability enjoyed by Australia and a dwindling number of nations.

    In that context, bastardry will be electorally popular. Every voter has a level of tolerance of unauthorised arrivals. The facts of the world are that even high levels of tolerance will be exceeded at some stage. Voters aren’t necessarily reacting only to facts on the ground. Rather they are predicting what might happen given the state of the world.

    Those who expect the problem to deteriorate are large in number. And it will be difficult to persuade them that their fears are unfounded.

    The Gillard government can make some generous gestures. But this isn’t Medibank or the Family Law Act. These initiatives were much more than gestures. They established bureaucratic and judicial structures that changed and improved the lives of millions of Australians.

    It will be easy for Abbott to promise to sweep generous gestures to refugees aside and it will cost him nothing to do it. And it will win him votes.

  11. Tom

    Disaster for Labor.

    And it’s hard to feel any sympathy whatsoever for them given the Malaysian Solution is itself misguided and morally bankrupt. Not to mention a cobbled-together lot of rubbish.

    When Rudd was elected and ended processing on Nauru I cheered him on. That’s been frittered away and more. The only thing left in their favour is that Abbott would be worse.

  12. Fran Barlow

    I very much agree with the thrust of the above pice by Mark and Ken. If Australia were a more rational place, the ALP would do things because they were humane and rational regardless of “whether it {was} a good look” (copyright: M Grattan).

    That said, one of the advantages of being in an apparent shambles is that there is very little downside risk to which the sundry eminences grises and Sussex St spivs can point in objection. They’ve had their wicked way and it has been shown to have been not omnly ethically repulsive, but, where it hasn’t been useless, electoral poison.

    The government has 2 years. Let them give people who can’t stomach voting LNP or who might think the LNP, if they won, could make Australia a worse place than it is at that time of the election a strong reason for thinking so. Pandering to the reactionaries hasn’t worked. If the ALP were to present itself as a consistently centre-left party, it would almost certainly recover and be, at worst competitive. That would rattle the cages of the LNP more than anything else. Right now, the left-of-centre friends of the ALP are completely sandbagged.

    Let the ALP declare that it was wrong:

    a) to try to force vulnerable people to endure squalour indefinitely in refugee camps or admin detention in Australian detention centres. From now on, it would treat vulnerable people with dignity, setting about dealing with their trauma and equipping them with new skills in a supportive enviornment irrespective of the progress of their applications for asylum.
    b) Let them abandon the MRRT and introduce a serious resources rent tax, with a view to retooling Australian manufacturing, the education sector, the CSIRO and R & D more generally. Let them look hard at building up quality public housing with equitable access policies in areas near the the centre of major cities.
    c) Let them abandon the failed Afghan occupation. Just leave, now, before any more Afghan or Australian lives are lost. The US are going and Australia can cut its losses now.
    d) Let them radically cut back unreasonable assistance to the big polluters in the carbon pricing scheme. It’s not needed. Put the money into low interest loans for business to effect low-carbon re-engineering and more generous assistance for low-middle income households — perhaps through means tested health, mental and dental schemes, OOHCC, food cooperatives etc. In addition, the phasing out of tax deductibility of fossil hydrocarbon fuels by 2020 would be started. A benchmark based on CO2 intensity in 2011-12 would be set, and deductibility would be based on getting under that mark. In year 1, if you failed to beat the mark, only 87.5% of the cost would be tax deductible, but if you beat the mark by 12.5%, you’d get it in as a deduction. In year 2, you’d need to beat it by 25% to fully deduct, and so on, until by 2020, only fully carbon neutral businesses could deduct. Businesses could elect to purchase permits to reduce their emissions liability. As a business cost, these would be tax deductible. All diesel fuel rebates would be withdrawn.
    e) Let them have an open debate on gay marriage and then legislate to provide that marriage will be recognised between consenting adults.
    f) Let an inquiry into media diversity and the usages of ostensible mass media practice proceed, with a view to examining questions of professionalism and competitiveness. Let it be a standing commission, publishing interim reports. Let there be a focus on discouraging any one player having a market share of more than 30% in any two population centres above 1 million people (or 40% in any one). I’d favour a model in which, rather than forcing divestment, rival players who passed due diligence could acquire soft loans and relatively concessional taxation, while those above the 30% line would cop a progressive tax surcharge the further above that line they were. The money raised here would be fully hypothecated and disbursed as described above by a trust at arms length from the government. Recipients could not have on their share register or have as an equity holder anyone sharing a pecuniary interest in a business above the 30% line.

    That would do for a start. It would be fabulous to shove that up the noses of the reactionaries.

  13. BilB

    We could always hand sovereignty of Christmas Island to Great Brittain.

  14. Sam

    Labor could return to opposition demonstrating that it actually stands for something.

    Labor’s problem isn’t that it doesn’t stand for something. Labor’s problem is that it stands for everything. In the refugee context, Labor is tough on border control and compassionate andrespectful of our obligations under the refugee convention and contemptuous of them, while reaching out to inner city Greens voters while also nodding and winking to Lindsay voters.

    And yet Gillard wonders why it’s all gone tits up.

  15. Adrien

    If Australia were a more rational place, the ALP would do things because they were humane and rational

    There’s no such place as a rational country. Well there is, but the suicide rates are high. 🙂

  16. Chris

    It is very puzzling that, given that Ministers would no doubt have been supplied with excellent advice from the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, this result wasn’t foreseen.

    Well I wonder now if they just decided to ignore advice or the just got bad legal advice in this case? They seemed so confident it would withstand legal challenges from the start.

    OBR @ 7 – I agree, the ALP might just feel desperate enough to cooperate with the Libs to pass a Nauru solution. I hope this doesn’t happen!

    And in the longer term I really hope that the ALP manage to get through the carbon tax legislation and the pokies legislation before they implode.

  17. Occam's Blunt Razor

    Vote Fran 1 – you know it’s right.

  18. Wozza

    @8: “Attacking High Court judges because they have delivered a politically inconvenient judgment smacks of Mugabe-ism. Not that she would have meant it that way, of course”.

    Come off it, Sam, why wouldn’t she have meant it that way? A direct accusation of inconsistency is pretty hard to misinterpret, and we are talking about a woman who has never admitted responsibility for any of her numerous policy cock ups back at least as far as Medicare Gold. Obviously, someone else is to blame for this one too, and since even she can’t stretch it Abbott for once, it has to be the court.

    For a Prime Minister who explicitly threatens freedom of the press when she gets a little bit of unfavourable coverage, a shot at a judge or six who cross her is just a logical next step.

  19. adrian

    Good start Fran, to which I’d add introducing an equitable means of funding schools in Australia.
    It would drive Abbott and his media lackeys crazy, but that’s an added benefit.

  20. BilB

    We could always hand sovereignty of Christmas Island to East Timor, in which case it would become a regional processing centre for refugees.

  21. adrian

    Don’t make me laugh -only fools who read Andrew Bolt believe News Ltd has anything remotely to do with ‘freedom of the press’.
    We all know what freedom means to Murdoch.

  22. Wozza

    @11 “It would be fabulous to shove that up the noses of the reactionaries”.

    A fine basis for policy-making Fran. Pure spite. Don’t ever try preaching evidence-based policy again, please, we now see where you are really coming from.

    All joking aside, this scenario is worrying – that a Government that knows it’s gone, and most likely for several terms, but with two years to go still in this one, will make a concentrated effort simply to poison the well for its successor. Laws, policies, resource commitments, qango and public service appointments, etc that are as complicated and difficult to undo as possible. As undemocratic a reaction as this would be – they know that barely a quarter of the population support even their current agenda let alone the sort of thing that Fran espouses – on form to date that wouldn’t worry many of this Cabinet least of all its Prime Minister.

  23. Ambigulous

    Many of us were uncomfortable when Howard Govt Ministers strongly criticised High Court decisions.

    The PM has now taken a similar stance. What a pity.

  24. billie

    The media commentators who have been baying for Gillard to resign over this high court judgement need to take a chill pill.

    Graeme Richardson was saying that the Labor government would last less than another 10 months as Andrew Wilkie will get sick of waiting for his pokie legislation and side with Abbott. Personally from where I sit, along way from Canberra, I can’t see that Wilkie would have much of a political career after Abbott called an election to get a new parliament.

    Michelle Grattan writes like she is commenting on the weekends footy rather than on Parliament which should be planning and taking decisions that set us up for the next generation. Grattan should be commenting on the wisdom and foresight of such decisions,

    Richard Farmer at Crikey said that DFAT advise to Rudd was that the Malaysian solution legislation was incompatible with our obligations under the refugee convention signed in the 1950s.

    The Gillard government should have known the HIgh Court had a heart because the previous refugee problem taken to the High Court the government won, but the government was also had to pay costs. My off-the-cuff 2nd hand legal advice is that the Pacific solution is unacceptable also unless Australia withdraws its signature from the Refugee convention. Radio National is saying we can send refugees to New Zealand. They can live in the community while their claim is processed, they become New Zealand citizens then they have unimpeded access to Australia. They will take the same path as those incarcerated on Nauru.

    Gillard looks very desperate at the moment, why is she being pushed around by bogans like Scott Morrison and bullys like Tony Abbott

  25. Chris

    Radio National is saying we can send refugees to New Zealand. They can live in the community while their claim is processed, they become New Zealand citizens then they have unimpeded access to Australia. They will take the same path as those incarcerated on Nauru.

    So the solution is to declare war on NZ, invade and then send unwanted asylum seekers there?

  26. GregM

    We could always hand sovereignty of Christmas Island to East Timor, in which case it would become a regional processing centre for refugees.

    Or to Nauru. In which case, as a signatory to the Refugee Convention, it would be responsible for providing asylum to them and not passing them on to us.

  27. Katz

    GregM is correct.

    The fact that Nauru is now a signatory to the Refugee Conventions means that Australia is no longer bound under its commitment to the Conventions to take asylum seekers from Nauru.

    This is because all refugees who have landed in Nauru have exhausted their rights as refugees under the Conventions.

  28. GregM

    So the solution is to declare war on NZ, invade and then send unwanted asylum seekers there?

    Why not?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=773aoMo7hPE

  29. Sam

    Fran 12

    that’s a good program for a government that has a working majority, is facing death and wants to leave a worthwhile legacy.

    This government however needs the permission of the independents to wipe its arse, much less implement the most wide ranging reforms since the Whitlam Barnard duumvirate of December 1972.

    It will not happen.

  30. GregM

    Sorry Mark. My comment was frivolous but, as Katz has pointed out, was informed by my knowledge of the operation of the Refugee Convention.

  31. Adrien

    The Gillard government should now accept the inevitability of its forthcoming election defeat

    That never happens well not until the election anyway.

    and concentrate on putting in place asylum seeker processes that are as sound as possible from a policy (rather than short term populist) perspective.

    Hahaha. This government has demonstrated a fatal flaw and that is that its members are not very good at developing a policy. They’re like B-movie producers in the ’50s. They wanna see the poster and if that’s okay then okay. Also their core constituency is at odds with the the middle-class ground they’re losing to the Greens.

    If the ALP is to lose anyway, the paradox might be that by regaining its soul, it might just avoid its fate.

    I have a feeling there’s a lot of people there who don’t have a soul and believe in nothing but winning. As for avoiding its fate. This one stuff-up is so monumentally stupid and myopic that it justifies their removal. The fact that this will make Abbott prime minister of this country condemns them to an outhouse in Hell.

  32. jumpy

    Ohh, a 4 hour debate with Shorten,B.Brown,J.Hockey and B.Joyce on this.
    4 parties 4 policies.
    What a show.
    Any idea on a neutral moderator ?

    (Forget Jules and Tony, no-one listens to them anymore)

  33. Adrien

    There is very far from unanimity in attitudes towards asylum seekers among the ALP’s ‘working class base’, no matter how many ‘Lindsay tests’ suggest otherwise.

    Well is there a reliable source on that? I’d also like to see a cross-reference with the carbon tax which I’m sure is a wedge as well.

    They have probably lost most of those who want a ‘tough on asylum seekers’ line already.

    They’ve lost quite a few. And the problem is that this loss is due not to a turn on ALP philosophy but on the ineptitude.

    It’s also not outside the realms of possibility that a sensible and humane policy approach on asylum seekers would win back some middle class Liberal voters. Kevin Rudd did in 07.

    Possibly. But then there’s the problem of policy development, the know-how issue. When Gillard went up against Abbott she said the solution to the refugee problem wasn’t going to be easy. She was right about that. But then she puts forward a policy a first-year at law school wouldn’t touch for fear of failing the course. Fundamentally the refugee problem boils down to an electorate who no longer supports Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the convention on refugees. This problem may very well get a lot worse and the government’s response will become harder.

    My real beef with all this is effectively we are going to be in a position where there is no viable opposition. If/when the Coalition return it will be the tired dregs of the Howard years without any intervening soul-searching and policy redevelopment. I’m pessimistic about politics but I think Abbott will make things worse.

  34. jules

    The govt actually might have one way out. Thats to totally repudiate the “stop the boats” meme. It started in 09 and belongs to Abbott and as long as the govt tries to play along they belong to Abbott too. That was pretty much when they lost the game – when they gave that traction. They need to embrace the boats.

    The positive of that is its actually the right thing to do. It stops the fear and panic and saves us shitloads of money, and as an extra special bonus takes several million dollars out of the hands of ruthless private security companies – why the fuck are we giving SERCO any money at all, let alone money for locking up people who come to us for help?

  35. Lefty E

    That could always point out the boats had dropped 50% in the last year, even before anyone said “Malaysia”.

    Here’s an approach: point out what a total non-issue it is.

  36. pablo

    Billie @ 24 ‘second guessing’ a Radio National source, puts forward New Zealand as a possible fix on the asylum issue. It is worth considering the possibility if the Wellington Government is prepared to take the first step. The Tampa incident provides some perspective.
    Gillard’s ‘pacific solution’ is stuffed and the problem of boat arrivals, albeit relatively small, is insoluble in any non humanitarian context given Australia’s location and attraction to enterprising and desperate emigres, whether political or economic refugees.
    The NZ initiative, as with Tampa, should be to accept all boat arrivals for processing, preferably without mandatory detention. Arrivals should be encouraged to integrate into the community, with schooling and jobs open to them while being assessed. Being roughly the size of Victoria, keeping track of people is not a problem. Given manageable numbers nor is the issue as politically charged as allegedly it is in Australia.
    Australia needs to be generous in sharing the costs of processing.
    In return the issue is off the front pages in Australia and over time the unrestricted movement of people across the Tasman will be of little consequence.

  37. akn

    I like the talk of Labor ‘finding its soul again’. I suggest something like a Mayan ceremony where they tear the beating soul of Labor out of the chest cavity of Arbib and the Spivs of Sussex St. Or th rectum. Wherever it is coz no-one knows. Nothing else will be sufficient. Blood, lots of blood, and pain is required to recover the ‘soul’ of a political party so totally bankrupt that it actually advanced a total no win proposal to the the High Court which said ‘no, no, non’, emphatically, to a half arsed and far less than half baked proposal. Any half way decent party of social democracy would have the Attorney General in the stocks by now so we could wave our private parts in his general direction and break wind in his face. Bring on Abbot, I say, let the lunatic loose, take off the collar, let loose the hound of chaos. We’d be better of facing that two wheeled turd than compromising our principles by propping up the insufferable careerist incompetents of the ALP.

  38. Russell

    Dare I mention the name of Bill Shorten here?

    Although I have supported Gillard since she became PM, I doubt she can recover from this incompetence. Bowen has to go. Shorten has done well in his roles, so let’s see what he can do with immigration. If he is seen to do well, and the issue settles down over the next 12 months, then Gillard should step down, and Shorten, with perhaps Combet as deputy, should take the ALP to the next election.

  39. Darryl Rosin

    [email protected] this government ( and the previous one) can’t explain why water runs down hill.

    Their only hope is to go ‘crazy’ and turn the political landscape upside down. Unfortunately, this government doesn’t know why it’s in power and there doesn’t actually seem to be anything they *really* want to do, so they’ve got no story to tell about why they’re turning everything upside down. but what else are they going to do?

    d

    most people think the roof insulation caused fires and the government was responsible for the deaths of insulation installers.

  40. Darryl Rosin

    Oops, left in an aside I meant to delete. :^(

  41. weaver

    Dare I mention the name of Bill Shorten here?

    Clearly someone isn’t paying attention to Wikileaks. Speaking personally, I prefer the Australian premier to be at least coy about our vassalage.

  42. Malcolm

    Shorten -yuck. He’s seen as a craven opportunist whose ambition and ego exceeds his talent. He may have some good policy ideas but he’ll come to office with all the negative baggage he’s already saddled with and, like Gillard, he will be tainted with it throughout his potential premiership. He seems to have no morals or ethics whatsoever in his quest for power and he frightens the heck out of me.

    A far better choice would be Greg Combet with Tony Burke as Deputy or vice versa. Combet has proved a competent performer and policy visionary and would probably be able to both kick Abbott to the curb and deliver good government in the Hawke-Keating mould. Burke is also a good performer and policy-maker and, I know from personal dealings with him, that he has a deep sense of compassion and empathy for those less fortunate in our society (including asylum seekers) and he’d be great in some sort of leadership role.

    But please keep Shorten away from anything to do with power. He’d be an unmitigate disaster

  43. Malcolm

    That should be “unmitigated disaster”

  44. skepticlawyer

    There’s a really outstanding post on the wider institutional issues this raises available here:

    http://belshaw.blogspot.com/2011/09/refugees-and-nsw-disease.html

    I think Jim Belshaw has put his finger on where the ‘incompetence narrative’ has its origins.

  45. Russell

    I don’t think the public see Shorten as having much baggage, and as for ambition – Hawke? Keating? I like Combet too, but after the mess the government has got itself into, Combet might be too low impact to cut through. People seem to like a leader with self-confidence, and a bit of ruthlessness, which Shorten has.

    Tony Burke might be good but he seems to smirk a lot.

  46. Patrickb

    “But don’t forget that this terrain had been well and truly staked out under Rudd. ”
    Nope, don’t buy this at all. The problem arose post coup as the ALP desperately tried to remove the taint. The whole issue of asylum seekers was all the LNP had, and the govt decided to make a huge issue out of it in an effort to … I’m not sure what but it all stems from the same team that bought you June 2010.

    As to Mark’s hope that the ALP will march to defeat with a stoic determination to leave a well bleached and scrubbed sty, don’t hold your breath. These people are at the bottom end of the bell curve over original thinking. And even if they managed to polish the turd prior to Abbott taking over, he’s relish the act of replacing it with one of his own.

  47. Patrickb

    @11
    “When Rudd was elected and ended processing on Nauru I cheered him on. That’s been frittered away and more”
    This is a very salient point. If they had continued as they had started the whole issue would have been second or third order, the media have a short attention span. But we’ve have a slow descent in a degenerate that has had just enough of a repulsive element about it to keep people interested. The whole story is not even about refugees, it’s about the debasement of the ALP.

  48. Patrickb

    @13
    Don’t they have August Bank Holiday Island?

  49. Patrickb

    @40
    “Fundamentally the refugee problem boils down to an electorate who no longer supports Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the convention on refugees”
    Look, there are probably scores of treaties and conventions that, if asked, the electorate would stridently demand that we withdraw from. Of course once they realise that we’d start to look like a small ex-Soviet nutjob state they may reconsider. It’s best not to ask them.

  50. Fran Barlow

    Adrien said:

    My real beef with all this is effectively we are going to be in a position where there is no viable opposition. If/when the Coalition return it will be the tired dregs of the Howard years without any intervening soul-searching and policy redevelopment. I’m pessimistic about politics but I think Abbott will make things worse.

    As things stand, the dregs of the Howard years aren’t much more odious than the dregs of Sussex St, and the marginal Green hue aside, no difference at all. The last thing this country needs is for the ALP to be defeated but imagine that by reiterating the Beazley/Crean years or something like Abbott colours reversed it could be back in the frame in 2016. If they don’t change, it would be better for them to be totally beaten to a pulp, politically.

    If there really are enough malign and stupid folk to get Abbott across the line between now and 2013, then IMO, they should do their worst. Let those in this country that allowed that to happen or were party to it understand where ignorant populism leads. Let those who winked and smiled at the LNP as they trashed reason and public policy have the ugliness of LNP rule placed like a pile of dog droppings at their doors. This is what you asked for, we will be quick to remind them. That the country is a shameful mess will be entirely on them and their rightwing spiv pals in the ALP.

    More importantly, we will remind the ALP left that this is where their silence on/abandonment of matters of political principle took them — from an impregnable position in 2007 to utter despair in 2013.

    Compared with them learning that lesson, “effective opposition” is an utter banality. We’ve had enough “management of things”-style government. We need destinations and a good roadmap.

  51. Ambigulous

    Today Tony Abbott suggested mildly that the PM should recognise the strength of Parliamentary opposition to the ‘pokies legislation’ and quietly abandon it.

    Knowing that without Andrew Wilkie, the PM cedes government to the LNP.

    It seems Tony is now so confident, he wants to play at “messing with her mind”. [a la Rudd with Howard]

  52. Fran Barlow

    Wozza quoted me:

    It would be fabulous to shove that up the noses of the reactionaries.

    then continued …

    A fine basis for policy-making Fran. Pure spite. Don’t ever try preaching evidence-based policy again, please, we now see where you are really coming from.

    The last bit was icing on the cake rather than the rationale for the cake itself. Each of the policy measures is warranted in its own right, though I do admit it would be nice to show the reactionaries how the country might really run if Bob Brown really were the de facto PM, as they so often and disingenuously claim.

  53. alfred venison

    dear Fran
    ” it would be nice to show the reactionaries how the country might really run if Bob Brown really were the de facto PM, as they so often and disingenuously claim”.
    hear, hear! too bloody right!
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  54. zoot

    Fran @57: Hear, hear!

  55. Sam

    Informed sources say that there wiil be a move against Gillard within days.

    Remember where you read it first.

  56. codger

    The year of derision and the derisory…an authentic update…

    Red rodent and bogans overboard along with the missed opportunity of implementing the marginal seat labor people smuggling model.

    Dreadful, dreadful images on our screens today – focus groups, legal advice and national interest decisions (guaranteed) heartlessly smashed on the rocks of French Connection Island and not a ride on mower or happy teeth in sight save a rancid Richo…just dreadful…

    We’re all upside down now in a moving forward paradigmatic kinda thingy way.

    ‘It would be fabulous to shove that up the noses of the reactionaries.’
    Agreed, and they are, Fran?

  57. Lefty E

    Yes, generally speaking, on the “you made it, you eat it” principle, there’s no compelling ethical reason why Gillard shouldn’t be rolled as PM.

    Abbott is so odious to the indies, that I suspect they’d stay with whoever replaced her. (Of those options, only Rudd would come with a chance of victory in 2013).

    But realistically: best to see this as the final 2 years of 6 gloriously Tory-free years, and make the reforms that are needed in this country.

    I think this govt will go down in history as a political flop – but there’s every chance they will achieve in policy terms far more than Howard did in 11 years. An admirable policy legacy is still a genuine chance – and ultaimtely, silly games and spin are quickly forgotten – thats all that counts.

  58. Tim Macknay

    If Gillard does go in the near future, the Indies had better support her replacement. Otherwise, no carbon price for the foreseeable future. And no Resources Rent Tax. Etc etc.

  59. Thomas Paine

    ‘It really does point up the desperation and short term media cycle driven horizons which have bedevilled the Gillard government, ironically to a degree greater than they bedevilled the Rudd government. ‘

    Does anybody believe that Rudd wouldn’t have examined a policy like Gillard’s to nth degree and executed it a thousands times better, or not given he would have no doubt seen the dangers Gillard was blind to given lack of leadership ability.

  60. Thomas Paine

    ;..ironically to a degree greater than they bedevilled the Rudd government. ‘’

    I also find it interesting that people have taken the MSM created meme of Rudd being bedevilled by this or that without actually examining the truth of the matter or comparing to previous administrations. Seems to me it is slack writing to slavishly follow MSM because it may suit the person’s own bias.

  61. BilB

    I think that it is time to re-read this TigTog thread from last year

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/08/02/transcript-laurie-oakes-interviews-tony-abbott-human-weather-vane/

    Toxic Tony cannot tell the truth about anything simply because he does not understand the concept of “truth”

    and then if you have a spare hour read

    http://yadnarie48.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/is-tony-abbott-a-closet-sociopath-who-has-declared-war-on-the-impoverished-that-is-the-whistle-blowers-big-blog-question-of-the-month/

    The evidence is mounting that this guy has serious personality problems. Toxic Tony is prepared to destroy anything and everything to get his way.

    The Malaysian solution is not about sending people to Malaysia, it is about the exact opposite. If the process worked as expected then there would have been no more people hopping the 300 kilometres to Christmas Island (thereby avoiding the other 2750 kilometres to Darwin), and therefore there would have been no more people going to Malaysia other than the original handful. But this entire mess is not about what is good for Australia or boat people, it is about what is good for people smugglers and political parties.

    The same total diregard for Australia and Australians is played out on climate issues.

    The fact is that there is only one truth about the condition of the Earth’s Climate. But purely for political gain Toxic Tony Abbott is prepared to lie and cheat in order to gian Power. I am encountering a steady stream of

    “well yes every one knows that we should do something but not now, not now with the world economy in such bad shape…..no other country is doing anything…..this carbon tax is going to be a huge cost that we can’t afford”

    In other words lies and distortions with sufficient air time and ferociously repeated (remembder Bush and those fictitious weapons of mass distruction) works on minds that trust their government to get the big issues right. Toxic Tony Abbott is breaching that trust.

    It is one thing for a shock jock to distort and twist reality…but it is NOT OK for someone who aspires to be a Prime Minister.

    All those here who have descended into Gillard bashing would do well to think a little further into the future and imagine what the future really holds.

  62. Fran Barlow

    Bilb

    That ALP apologia was an ethical shambles. Simply appalling.

  63. Tiny Dancer

    Clearly it is the fault of the ms and Abbott. Julia hardly had anything to do with it

  64. BilB

    Making no apologies at all, Fran. This is seeing life as it really is, not in the pseudo ethically pure way that Sarah Hanson Young chooses to see it. I have little sympathy for people who travel through multiple culturally compatible countries, bypassing multiple Australian embassies, to then pay an exhorbitant amount of money for a 300 klm boat ride to arrive on an Australian territory and call themselves political assylum seekers. We could easily expand Australia’s population to 300 million in the space of a few years with people desperate to improve their economic situation, and not achieve anything other than make this country as desperate as the rest. It is not a solution.

    As I’ve said before, Australia has 30 million climate change refugees soon to arrive here, and these people have a very legitimate claim as it is Australia’s blatant over emissions of CO2 that have contributed far ahead of many other nations to the plethora of negative climate impacts that are in the process of destroying those people’s environmental survivability. Australia should be taking in 200,000 absolutely really desperate Somali’s right now. Where is Sarah Hanson Young on that?

  65. Patrickb

    @67
    With you 100% there you democraticness.

  66. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Clearly it is the fault of the ms and Abbott. Julia hardly had anything to do with it

    Are you reading the same thread as everyone else?

  67. Helen

    To people who still support the Gillard government in this matter, I see you are reduced to “Abbott would be so much worse!”, e.g. BilB @68.

    Make the most of it, because at the moment that’s all you got.

  68. BilB

    Helen,

    Now it appears certain, thanks to the total lack of strategic thinking from the Greens acting supposedly heroically for a bunch of people who are by and large political opportunists who are prepared to use every illegal means available to enter this country, that the reins of government will be handed to someone who is, in my opinion not mentally fit to even be an MP. The consequences are that this hands the entire country over to the conservatives who have avowed to do absolutely nothing about the threat of climate change.

    So coming after the next election

    Cancell all renewable energy projects

    Unmandate ethanol fuel

    Expand coal extraction , if that is in fact possible

    Reinstall work _______s #3

    Cancel the mineral royalties

    Australia will become the nuclear dump for the world

    Signup to nuclear energy

    Newscorp will be able to buy up the rest of the country’s news organisations including the ABC

    GST increased to 15% and tax scales readjusted to further advantage “those with initiative”

    MDB environmental flows cancelled in the “interests of the nation’s economy”

    The Deep Hole in the Pacific solution for any refugees including environmental refugees reinstalled and made permanent.

    This situation will survive for at least another ten years, as the conservatives have a penchant for catering to the stronger darker side of human nature, and the Global Warming Action battle will be completely lost. History routinely pivots around seemingly trivial events. This is one of those.

  69. Helen

    BilB, after the Labor party has sold out every tenet it previously held to become Liberal-lite, thrown its previous voting base under the bus, and degenerated into a pit of power-playing rightwing dudes, anyone who blames Greens voters for any future Liberal victory can kiss my wrinkly arse, seriously!

  70. Eric Sykes

    “who are prepared to use every illegal means available…”.

    sigh

  71. Sam

    Bilb 75

    This is all the fault of the Greens?

    The Greens have faults aplenty, but it wasn’t they who did the deal with the Malaysians in breach of the Migration Act, who laughed off the High Court challenge, and who slagged off the Chief Justice when they lost 6-1.

    Gillard and Bowen have been out-thought, out-fought and out-played by everybody on this matter: Abbott, the refugee lobby, the people smugglers, the Malaysians, the refugees (genuine or otherwise), Uncle Tom Cobbly, everybody.

    And you want to blame the Greens?

    What a joke.

  72. adrian

    As I said earlier, boneheaded friggin’ ignorance is unfortunately no impediment to having an opinion.

  73. Sam

    boneheaded friggin’ ignorance is unfortunately no impediment to having an opinion.

    Indeed, in many circles, it’s a pre-requisite.

  74. akn

    Gillard has criticised the HC or inconsistency today. Another missed opportunity and deeply politically inept. Far better would have been “we support the separation of powers…respect the umpire on this…see that offshoring is not viable…” and to generally hide behind the HC decision and go for other responses like offshore processing centres where Australian officials do the work, take responsibility and then fly the refugees in to Australia. Inept doesn’t even touch the sides of this one.

  75. BilB

    The fact is that those who thought that they were doing the “right thing” by asylum seekers, have ultimately achieved the exact opposite.

    Briliantly executed stupidity.

  76. billie

    See Robert Manne’s piece in The Age today about the Murdoch empire’s systematic abuse of their media power and subversion of Australian democracy.
    Specifically he mentions the campaign to use the Carbon Tax to destroy The Greens and the marginalising of opposition media like ABC and Fairfax as it pushes public discourse to the Right

  77. adrian

    Which is all the more reason for Labor to ignore the baying of the media pack and achieve some lasting reform.

    “Brilliantly executed stupidity”

    Yes, how dare refugees and their legal representatives exercise their legal rights. Don’t they know their place?

  78. Sam

    It’s hard to see how the applicants in the High Court case are going to be worse off than if they’d been sent to Malaysia. I mean, I like a good laksa as much as the next man, but if I were them I’d prefer to take my chances in the land that is girt by sea.

  79. billie

    Anthony Burke has addressed the illegal boat asylum seekers meme in an article at The Drum today. see http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2867052.html

    He argues that
    1. Australia’s immigration actions have no effect on the flow of refugees, condition in their home countries do
    2. asylum seekers are not a threat to our national security
    2. offshore processing of asylum seekers has never been legal under our refugee treaty obligations

    Anthony Burke is Associate Professor of International Politics in the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

  80. jules

    “The right thing” by asylum seekers is … give them asylum when they ask for it. Not the bollocks we have been doing for the last 20 years.

    Billie @ 86, yes thats right. But really we all knew this before Howard got elected.

  81. skepticlawyer

    For those interested in some more detail on the legal (and institutional) issues, as well as on what may happen next, Legal Eagle (one of whose colleagues was counsel for the plaintiffs in this matter) has prepared a casenote:

    http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2011/09/02/malaysian-solution-post-mark-ii/

  82. Ootz

    This morning on ABC breakfast Ric Towle, UNHCR Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, made the comment that,

    YES the government was on the right track with Malaysia.

    He further mentioned that there needs to be, in the long term, a regional agreement. The refugees need to be save and adequately supported in the region.

  83. blogreader

    I was formerly a supporter of onshore processing for “queue jumpers” but I now think that some type of offshore processing is necessary. I have changed my opinion because I no longer think that the people traffic from Indonesia is an organic process driven by asylum seekers themselves. The traffic now seems to have a contrived air about it with the people seeking asylum being the pawns of others who have a different, disruptive agenda.
    Offshore processing would make it more difficult to recruit people for the dangerous journey.

  84. jules

    The traffic now seems to have a contrived air about it with the people seeking asylum being the pawns of others who have a different, disruptive agenda.

    @ 90 what do you base that impression on?

  85. blogreader

    @ jules
    A few reasons.
    The fact that the labour government has decided to pursue a similar policy to the previous administration (albeit minus the xenophobic dog-whistling, a sure-fire vote winner :-), that accompanied the liberal government’s policy) suggests to me that they also think that the traffic is not driven solely by individuals seeking refuge.
    The current labour policy flies in the face of the perceptions of many potential labour voters. There must be some reason that the labour government persists with a policy that is so unpopular with its supporters, not to mention its coalition partner, the greens.
    The longevity of the activity also makes me suspicious about the nature of the forces driving the traffic.

  86. Fran Barlow

    Blogreader surmised:

    There must be some reason that the labour government persists with a policy that is so unpopular with its supporters, not to mention its coalition partner, the greens.

    There is. They are ignorant and ethical bankrupts to boot. They think that pandering to the reactionaries neutralises harm on their right and that the left are hostages to their fortune. Sometimes the structural similarities between the way the left responds to the ALP and spousal abuse or those with stars in their eyes about some potential sexual partner are rather disturbing.

    This regime ahs been so bad though that there’s just the hint that people on the left are beginning to wake up to the fact that many of us have enabled the very behaviour of which we complain. Last nioght, at the Community Cabinet meeting, someone got up and after making clear to Gillard his preference for humane policy on asylum seekers, enjoined her not to speak of “breaking the people smugglers’ business model”. “We’ve heard all about that” he noted …

    For the first time in ages, I cheered from the car. Hubby and I are apparently, not alone on this one.

  87. Tiny Dancer

    see bilb at 68

  88. John D

    Inside Story asks:

    But there’s a broader question. Do harsh measures against asylum seekers have significant electoral benefits for either party? The conventional answer is yes, but the evidence is very thin.

    Then goes on to argue that the answer is “no’. The analysis it presents suggest that the TAMPA decisions had little to do with the 2001 outcome and 10/11 was the real problem for Labor.
    In the meantime Labor is trying to attract the votes of the workers by supporting a redneck immigration policy instead of addressing real problems that are effecting its working class support base. At the same time it is demoralizing its middle class supporters by with its immigration policies.
    What I would like to see Labor doing is more to improve conditions for those near the bottom of the pile and return to a much more humane immigration policy that decent Australians can be proud of.

  89. John D

    The interesting thing about Howard was that, when faced with defeat, he introduced a series of changes that benefited his core constituency. (The better off part of our society.
    Perhaps the Labor party should do the same thing. A mix of things that are attractive to both its core constituencies? Some of them may even respond by returning to championing Labor?

  90. jules

    blogreader

    What Fran said

    and in response to this:

    The longevity of the activity also makes me suspicious about the nature of the forces driving the traffic.

    So the fact that refugees continue to travel to Australia in boats to claim asylum, and that the rate this happens actually mirrors the rate of worldwide movements of people seeking refuge and asylum makes you suspicious of brutal government repression and intentional destabilisation by economic superpowers following a shock doctrine?

    Thats good to hear. We should all be suspicious of repressive governments and Chimerican destabilisation in the service of profits and control of resources.

  91. Adrien

    Fran – There is. They are ignorant and ethical bankrupts to boot. They think that pandering to the reactionaries neutralises harm on their right and that the left are hostages to their fortune.

    It’s a long standing doctrine and it does hold water in the electorate. There were people who refused to vote for the Greens because of preference deals made with the Libs. Loyalty to a political party is not in the interests of a good chunk of voters yet they persist.

    More importantly, we will remind the ALP left that this is where their silence on/abandonment of matters of political principle took them — from an impregnable position in 2007 to utter despair in 2013.

    In my experience the Left are worse than the Right when it comes to policy failure. This lot make all the mistakes of the Old Left, have none of its heart or courage, have the ethics of a reptile (or the NSWALP). They’ve taken the worst bits of everything and mixed ’em up.

  92. Adrien

    BilB – Now it appears certain, thanks to the total lack of strategic thinking from the Greens acting supposedly heroically for a bunch of people who are by and large political opportunists who are prepared to use every illegal means available to enter this country

    These people are mostly from war zones. That is what the 1951 convention was in aid of. Blaming the Greens for this stupid legislation is the sort of spiritually vacuous disposition that led to this shambles.

  93. BilB

    Adrien the 2 war zones that you are speaking of are now reasonably stable with (if barely) working governments and Australian consular representation.

    The Greens have done their best frustrate the government’s solutions on asylum seekers, and have vow to defeat any alterations to the laws to make the solutions work in the wake of the High Court decision. If the hostile press are able to use this situation as a lever to shift public opinion further against the government, then the Greens will be very much largely to blame should their be an electoral defeat.

    If the stakes were not so high then this would be a monor issue, but they are very high in this coming election….extremely high.

  94. Adrien

    Adrien the 2 war zones that you are speaking of are now reasonably stable with (if barely) working governments and Australian consular representation….

    Really there are consulates? I bet those places are a buzz with bothersome Aussie tourists. I thought about going to Khabul for a holiday seeing as how it’s so stable. And the consulate ca easily be found at a number of locations that are not publicly disclosed due to security reasons.

    The Greens have done their best frustrate the government’s solutions on asylum seekers… the Greens will be very much largely to blame should their be an electoral defeat.

    Indeed. Hate the Greens I know you want to and fine. They need to learn. But you learn by facing your mistakes. The ALP doesn’t do that anymore.

  95. Adrien

    In fact I’m being far too polite. This ‘Malaysia Solution’ is a dog of a policy. Essentially it’s Howard’s policy only worse. Nauru doesn’t have much of government to fuck people over. The Malaysian government on the other hand is a functional and very authoritarian state particularly toward Muslims.

    Legally this policy is amateur hour. That is the ALP’s fault. Morally, this policy is the nastiest Machiavellian shiza combining damned lies, draconian indifference and total negligence of principle. That is the ALP’s malaise.

    And yeah you can all kick back tonight with your sausages and cheap beer and blame the bloody Greenos for splitting the Left. But here’s the news: The Left/Right spectrum is a generalization which in no way obliges or prevents citizens from combining for political influence as they see fit. The Greens and their voters and all other Australians owe you no loyalty.

    And if you could get that thru your fat collective heads you might actually once again be a contender for the honour to govern this nation. ‘Til then, and until you get some humility and find your hearts and guts and brains – FYATHYRIO!!!

  96. adrian

    Well Adrien, I agree if BilB is indicative of the thought processes of the ALP right (blame the Greens, blame asylum seekers, blame anyone but yourself while displaying the most appalling ignorance), then Labor is well and truly stuffed.

  97. Adrien

    I agree if BilB is indicative of the thought processes of the ALP right (blame the Greens, blame asylum seekers, blame anyone but yourself while displaying the most appalling ignorance), then Labor is well and truly stuffed.

    He is actually.

    When the dreamers, true believers
    Up and leave the room
    The caucus schemers, get down and
    Arrange the leader’s doom

    The first arrangement made
    Is that they all get bloody paid
    Afterwards a gloat, then
    Maybe save the boat

    Get it back the bogan vote
    By plugging the hole with a luvvie’s goat.
    We got the goat now the hole is where?
    Oh right!

    Easy enough when you put it there 🙂

  98. Occam's Blunt Razor

    I am going to have to count you kids if you don’t behave.

  99. Chris

    I think this smh article on changes on how people smugglers are charging asylum seekers demonstrates how hard it is to really break the people smuggling business. Asylum seekers now only have to pay a much smaller upfront fee ($500) and then pay the rest once they have Australian residency and start working. It makes it affordable to a wider range of people and there’s less risk as if the Australian government sends them back then they don’t have to pay the rest.

  100. GregM

    Chris what the article shows, should what it reports be reliable, is a collapsing market, at least until the High Court decision, and therefore heavy discounting by the suppliers.

    It also suggests the super-profits that the people smugglers had been making up until then.

    Bear in mind that usually they are carrying undocumented people, their documents having been long lost or destroyed by the asylum seekers, for their safety, before they got on the boats, as is usually explained when the asylum seekers arrive on Australian territory, so how could they pursue these undocumented people, about who they know essentially nothing, in payment of the debt, when they get to Australia?

    Even if they did know their identity how could they pursue an action for debt against them for recovery of that debt in an Australian court when the very contract that gave rise to that debt was a criminal act which no Australian court would enforce?

    It is the business of the courts of our country not to do that and our courts take their business very seriously.

    So where does that leave them?

    The answer is obvious.

    Criminal enforcement of an illegal contract in order to recover a debt.

    In complete defiance of the rule of law that underpins our society, and our understanding of the decent relations we have with each other within it.

    Do you really think that is a good idea?

    Perhaps you do. If so please tell us.

    Otherwise please think things through.

  101. John D

    Sam: The conservatives screamed like stuck pigs over a number of High court decisions and relentlessly attacked judges like Kirby for their liberal judgments. Why shouldn’t Gillard be able to criticize the high court? They are not gods who must always be worshiped.
    The Malaysian solution would have benefited more refugees than it disadvantaged and appears to have prompted some positive changes in Malaysia. in the meantime the high court will take no responsibility for the negative effect of their decisions on some refugees.

  102. Chris

    GregM – I wasn’t endorsing it, just saying what is happening. And commenting on the implications for solutions people think will work. Criminals are quite capable of innovating too!

    It’s time to finally give up on the offshore processing. If people are genuinely concerned about the safety of those attempting the boat journeys then send more ships out to intercept them earlier.

  103. BilB

    The debt to be recovered, GregM, is the cost of recovering, processing, housing, and transporting these people including court charges and legal fees paid by government services. If “refugees” acquire a protection visa then the debt should be recovered once these people start working, hex fashion. Refugees who arrive by plane with visas pay all of their own bills.

    The alternative is that we pay the bill for these people. During five years of the Howard solution the cost was $10 per Australian per year. Or for my family that was $200 for the five years. Hands up those who thought that it was costing nothing because it was “successful”? Fail. This is money that would be better spent supporting people who really need it, such as those in famine stricken Somalia right now. 1 billion dollars over five years.

  104. Tiny Dancer

    Good work. Lets keep banging on about Howard. FFS he’s gone. Nobody knows what the real coalition policy is.

    Let’s also face facts. Julia called the chief justice corrupt, but in a nice way.

    She should just go away.

  105. jules

    I can’t believe you people buy this “stop the boats” bullshit. At what point did you get possessed by the spirit of Tony Abbott?

  106. Russell

    “If “refugees” acquire a protection visa then the debt should be recovered once these people start working, hex fashion”

    Bilb – most comments of yours on this blog over the years I’ve agreed with, but that one I find genuinely shocking. There are a few things that should be a part of every kid’s education, and one of them is the story of the Good Samaritan.

  107. Tim Macknay

    BilB are you seriously complaining because asylum seekers cost you $40 per year over five years? Man, you’ve lost the plot.

  108. BilB

    Adrien @104,

    Its so hard to avoid it and I’m fed up and annoyed at
    That Toxic Loudmouth Abbott who needed muting long ago,
    And the High Court d’cision fowling gov’mnts plans, Oz News ever scowling
    Thrust to Julia the queiry “is there a chance of overthrow”?

    Jules laughs, “don’t worry or believe it”, Aussies will perceive that,
    Its a very minor setback way below our win on Carbon char,
    If you need something to lift you contemplate how we on our side view
    All those opposite with 2 long years to spend yet, their bums feathered over tar.

    Right back at you fella.

    Russell, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You do need to appreciate that if this supposed “embarrassment for the government” is manipulated by the media to further weaken Labour into an election loosing position then the damage to Australia and our region is many orders of magnitude greater than the issue that triggered the damage. It is the environment at stake here with millions of lives at risk versus a very small handful and the overblown political agendas of those who are using this same handful of people as political fodder. And, yes I do believe that if people are intentionally breaking the laws of this country requiring massive expenditure as they prey on the good intentions of this country and are willing to smash and burn until their will is submitted to, then they can pay the cost. Just as we would be expected to. Good Samaritan? That is the beauty of a hex like bill. If these people stay underprivilleged for life then they never pay. If they do well out for being here then they will be willing to pay.

    Tim Macknay,……? nah not worth the trouble.

  109. Tim Macknay

    Anyone remember the film Brazil? It portrayed a scheme similar to BilB’s proposal, where people were arbitrarily isolated, detained and interrogated by the State and then billed for the cost of their treatment. In the final scene, the protagonist, Sam Lowry (played by Jonathan Pryce) is about to be tortured by a government interrogator, and a kindly security guard says to him: ‘don’t fight it son – you’ll jeopardise your credit rating’.

  110. BilB

    Interesting that you would store away every detail of an evil scheme such as that, Tim Macknay. Would this be your version of Work Choices #5 that you have been quietly working away at on your computer, there, for submission to Toxic Tony’s Terror Team, when the time is right?

  111. Marilyn

    They do realise they are babbling on and on about just 25,000 people in 16 years don’t they?

    For god’s sake I wrote on day 1 that they would fail on Article 32 of the refugee convention – no expulusion for any reason, why were the morons so shocked that they couldn’t sell people.

  112. GregM

    They do realise they are babbling on and on about just 25,000 people in 16 years don’t they?

    Marilyn, is it just 25,000?

    I understand that a large part of the logic of people smuggling is that when an asylum seeker has their claim recognised they then bring the rest of their family to Australia under the family reunion provisions of the legislation, a form of migration by stealth.

    I recall that you argued that the reason for the SIEV X disaster, with its great loss of life of women and children, (for which you blamed the Australian government almost entirely, with only the most cursory acknowledgement that it might have been just slightly careless by those embarking on such a trip in a grossly overloaded boat in perilous waters, but definitely not irresponsible, still less criminally reckless) was that under the TPV regime of the evil Howard government the practice of family reunion was ended.

    So when we count those who have come here under the family reunion provisions, Marilyn, is it still only 25,000? Or what is the actual figure?

  113. billie
  114. billie

    GregM why single out refugees using Family Reunion as a method of migration by stealth?

    Australia’s healthy international student industry [which was our third largest export earner in 2005] is used by families with young adult children as a migration program paying $100,000 for a degree plus residency permit as opposed to $1 million for a business migrant permit.

    I know a Chinese family from Phillipines who sent their 4 children as student migrants to Australia, UK, and ???. The parents migrated to the country where the most successful child was, as you would when you are a minority living in an economy trashed by a century of american imperialism

  115. GregM

    Billie, I haven’t done that. I haven’t singled refugees out at all with regard to the use of family reunion provisions as a factor in Australia’s immigration numbers.

    I am quite well aware of the dishonest abuse of our “healthy international student industry” as an immigration vehicle rather than to actually provide anyone with an education or any useful training. Happily so does the government. They are shutting that abuse down.

    I merely make the same point about refugees.

    But I don’t expect Marilyn to be back any time soon with an answer to my question. A foul-mouthed torrent of abuse is much more likely.

    I love your comment about the Phillippine economy being trashed by a century of American imperialism. Your ignorance is staggering, but unsurprising. The Phillipines was an American colony from 1998 to 1946, with the years 1942 to 1944 being at the tender mercies of the Japanese. That’s forty-eight years, not a century. Then they got their independence.

    Really. Get an education.

  116. billie

    GregM pot calling kettle black.

    I don’t understand your reference to SEIV-X and TPVs. As I understand it the SEIV-X was full of 350 odd women and children trying to reunite with their primary bread winners who were in Australia in TPVs. temporary Protection Visas are issued for 3 years, do not afford the right to family reunion, have restrictions overseas travel

  117. Jack Strocchi

    Lefty E @ #42 said:

    That could always point out the boats had dropped 50% in the last year, even before anyone said “Malaysia”. Here’s an approach: point out what a total non-issue it is.

    Border protection is hardly a “non-issue” over the long term. Border protection is a top priority for Australian nationalists, at least 2/3 of the population. “girt by sea” Australian people read the internet and go overseas. They have no desire for our country to wind up like the EU or US, borders leaking like sieves with a never-ending social conflicts festering in the political process.

    Lefty E draws the opposite-to-the-truth conclusion on this issue, as usual. The mass drownings on Christmas Island (which are a predictable result of border protection liberalisation, as I have predicted for the whole decade) precipitated a tougher line by the government and tougher sentences from lower-level judiciary. People smugglers got the message and reduced their trafficking business.

    The High Court’s decision, which deliberately thwarts the will of Parliament, sends the opposite message. Quite apart from undermining of our border protection regime this decision means thousands more will come by boat, attracted by on-shore processing and a fast track to their refugee application. Hundreds will most likely die as their unseaworthy boats sink straight to the bottom of Davy Jones Locker.

    But the GREENs and their ilk will be able to admire themselves on their moral vanity mirror. Thats the main thing.

    Tell me LP’s: when the next wave of people-smuggling boats hits our shores and boats start foundering, people start drowning, will you finally admit you were wrong?

    Or will you just be knee-jerk liberals, sticking to your high moral ground despite abundant scientific evidence and public opinion which suggests that your open borders philosophy is seriously flawed?

  118. billie

    John Menadue, Possum Comitas, etc say that the number of refugees heading to Australia is determined by factors in their country of origin ie fear of death, imprisonment, violence against their person.

    Possum concluded the above after
    1. graphed the correlation between arrivals in Australia and New Zealand,
    – both countries girt by sea in same region,
    – different asylum policies – lock em up or integrate,
    – booming economy vs basket case
    2. graphed the numbers of refugees over the past decade arriving in different countries

    97% of asylum seekers arriving by boat are eventually settled in Australia because they are “genuine refugees”.

    It’s a small problem. There are 50,000 visa overstayers in Australia and 1350 boat arrivals

    Offshore processing has cost $1 billion in a decade. a refugee can be housed in the community for $10,000 per annum as opposed to jailing them on Christmas Island for $171,000.

    It takes 18 hours to process a refugee application, some protesting refugees had their applications approved in June 2010 yet they are still imprisoned

    Security: There are concerns about the routine prejudiced assessments by the Australian government
    – using Sri Lankan government assessments for Tamil Tigers
    – using Pashtun assessors for Hazari refugees

    So you can panic over evil people smugglers threatening the Australian way of life and lock up refugees or you can spend that $1 billion on improving infrastructure and the Australian way of life

  119. jules

    Border protection = this.

    Or will you just be knee-jerk liberals, sticking to your high moral ground despite abundant scientific evidence and public opinion which suggests that your open borders philosophy is seriously flawed?

    High moral ground = not being a fascist arsewipe Jack.

  120. Mercurius

    @124, Jack Strocchi is, as usual, not even wrong…

    …They have no desire for our country to wind up like the EU or US…

    What? Landlocked on a couple of sides?? Might happen in a few tens or hundeds of millions years once we bump into Asia. Until then, Jack, we will remain “girt by sea”, and hundreds or thousands of miles of open water will remain our best defence, and the words of our anthem can remain as they are, including the part that goes “for those who’ve come across the seas/we’ve boundless plains to share”. See? I can be a nationalist too, and I don’t even mumble when I sing the anthem!

    The mass drownings on Christmas Island (which are a predictable result of border protection liberalisation,…

    They only drowned at Christmas Island because we have offshore processing. The policy of offshore processing is as culpable as any other factor. If we had onshore processing, they could be picked up by coast guard when they get to WA at a sandy beach, or brought safely ashore much earlier in their journey through coast guard interceptions at sea.

    The High Court’s decision, which deliberately thwarts the will of Parliament…

    Ehh? The will of Parliament is not the concern of the High Court. The constitutionality and legal correctness of legislation is. But I guess you prefer the Malaysian solution to legislative matters too – puppet judges that do the bidding of the ruling party.

    Quite apart from undermining of our border protection regime…

    Our borders are well protected against invasion by the ADF — Navy, Air Force and Army. We don’t need to be “protected” from boat people, so your point is moot.

    …this decision means thousands more will come by boat, attracted by on-shore processing and a fast track to their refugee application.

    Good! That would be Australia following through on the voluntary international treaty to which we are signed and ratified. Being a nationalist, I would expect no less than our great nation would follow through on its commitments. Only banana republics and tin-pot dictator states try to back out of their commitments, and I don’t count Australia in that company.

    Tell me LP’s: when the next wave of people-smuggling boats hits our shores and boats start foundering, people start drowning, will you finally admit you were wrong?

    I will admit that the coast guard should be funded to either bring people safely ashore, or that we should resume onshore processing so people don’t need to attempt dangerous landings at Christmas Island. Offshore processing is the expensive, dangerous option here.

    Or will you just be knee-jerk liberals, sticking to your high moral ground despite abundant scientific evidence and public opinion which suggests that your open borders philosophy is seriously flawed?

    Open borders haven’t even been tried, Jack, so your positivist claim of flaws is premature — there’s no evidence because the experiment hasn’t been run.

    All these unnecessary deaths can be laid squarely at the feet of the policy of offshore processing within the framework of indefinite mandatory detention. If we simply return to the pre-mandatory detention regime of the 1980s, we can expect sanity to prevail on this issue in the Australian body politic.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

  121. BilB

    Mercurius,

    You do realise that the smugglers use Christmas Island because it is easy to get to from Jakarta, about 300klms, and as a territory of Australia it is considered to be Australian soil, rather than partake the riskey 2,800 kilometers to Darwin, not because Christmas Island is an offshore processing centre. Smugglers act in their self interest. The $200,000 return for a 300klm trip is a good return on very little invested is an easy proposition. The Darwin journey would be far more difficult to sell to “refugees”.

    Someone said that the Greens were considering a bulk billing arrangement so that the smugglers could bill the Australian Government directly to organise charter flights rather than waste money on non returnable boats at the refugees expense. The whole exercise would be safer for the travellers, come out cheaper overall for the Australian Government, and save money as the smugglers would not be required to accompany the “refugees”, the speculation suggested. And once the smugglers were Registered People Trafficers then they would perform self regulation to limit the number of new smugglers entering the market.

  122. Adrien

    They do realise they are babbling on and on about just 25,000 people in 16 years don’t they?

    What does figure refer to. We’ve received roughly 5000 p/a the whole century. It went up by 20% after Kevvie – http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/60refugee.htm

  123. Mercurius

    Yaah, Bilb — but there have been plenty more landing sites over the years than Christmas Island…it’s the current favourite because of the…facilities there.

  124. BilB

    Well that makes sense, Merc. But the “hotel” there is a bit like the Waitangi flag pole, you can’t be sure that it will still be erect when you need it.

  125. Tim Macknay

    [email protected] – You haven’t seen Brazil then? You should check it out – it’s a great piece of anti-totalitarian black comedy. /OT

  126. jules

    Tim @ 132, yes it is.

  127. su

    “What the solicitor-general’s advice today says is that it would be difficult under existing laws under existing legislation to pursue offshore processing in New Guinea or Nauru, or for that matter in many countries,” he told Barry Cassidy on ABC’s Insiders program.

    “There would be considerable challenges for any Government that tried to do that including, of course, the Opposition.”

    This is excellent news, and maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part but it seemed to me that Bowen thinks it’s excellent news as well. You don’t need bipartisanship on refugee policy if any form of offshore detention is deemed illegal, there is far less reason to fear electoral backlash now, Howard style dogwhistling and appeals to the worst impulses of the populace will be far less effective if both parties are constrained by the law to process all applications onshore. If they closed the onshore detention centres for all bar those undergoing necessary health or security checks they would also neutralize any attempts to draw political capital from refugee protests as. Doing the right thing is not only politically feasible but politically advantageous.

  128. su

    Of course if Abbot gets in and has a senate majority he will just change the Migration Act, I have no doubt of that. Having discovered an effective means of winning government through the politics of fear, he will never let it go. So anyone who wants to campaign against this government for being less than perfect –be careful what you wish for.

  129. Occam's Blunt Razor

    The ALP does not discuss Cabinet decisions and anything and everything to do with Cabinet including when it meets is not discussed.

    The ALP Government does not release Legal Advice as a long standing principle.

    Oh look over there . . .

    by the way here is legal advice for Cabinet that the ALP is releasing.

    Just got to respect a Political Party that knows how to stickj to its’ principles.

  130. Occam's Blunt Razor

    How did that s become a j?

  131. Russell

    You’re past your peak, OBR, it’s all downhill from here.

  132. Occam's Blunt Razor

    The ball Russell . . . otherwise Poll Bludger might eb more your style.

  133. Russell

    Facts are facts, OBR, you’re not getting any younger. Until you have that cataract operation you won’t be seeing any clearer.

    Asylum seekers: I’ve just been indulging in one of my favourite pleasures – lying out in the sun listening to the radio, and heard Marilyn Lake talking about the importance of knowing history in understanding an issue like Australia’s feelings about refugees. She had some good advice for the PM.

  134. Jack Strocchi

    mercurius #127 said:

    Jack Strocchi @#124 is not even wrong, as usual.
    They only drowned at Christmas Island because we have offshore processing…All these unnecessary deaths can be laid squarely at the feet of the policy of offshore processing within the framework of indefinite mandatory detention. If we simply return to the pre-mandatory detention regime of the 1980s, we can expect sanity to prevail on this issue in the Australian body politic. But I’m not holding my breath.

    A fact-free Fisking by mercurius, takes me back to the early days of the blogosphere. Ahh, those were the days.

    Unfortunately some factual water has run under the ideological bridge since then, and we can use the magic of hypertext to check our predictions against observations. Here is a graph showing numbers of people smugglers. Guess what? It turns out that the Pacific Solution deterred people smugglers and that less people smuggling caused less people drowning. Who woulda thunk it?

    mercurius has a lot of cheek trying to turn Pauli’s haughty dismissal of metaphysics against me. Can mercurius point to her prediction on this subject? No, I didn’t think so. Just post-facto rationalisations.

    My prediction that Rudd’s liberalisation of people smuggling would lead to more people drowning was tragically confirmed. Here I am on 18 APR 2011 in this very blog, repeating a prediction I have made numerous times over the naughties, arguing that retrenching Howard’s Pacific Solution would lead to mass drownings:

    Howard claimed success because after the tougher policy was introduced “the boats stopped coming”. Which was true, in early 2002 there was a massive drop off of people smuggling boats.

    Its all very well for Howard-haters to hurl the stock-standard racist accusation at the border protective section of the community,..But how are they going to deal with the fact that their lax policy is the occasion of more mass drowings and burnings, [as] it now appears.

    And now how do Left-liberals respond to the Christmas Island disaster? More of the same of courselike any group of fanatical ideologues, courtesy of another round of over-lawyering busybodies. Ditto for civil liberties mantras (see Bali Bombings), ditto for celebrate cultural diversity (see London riots), ditto for indigenous self-determination (see NT child abuse), ditto for population boosting (see packed to the rafters), ditto for sub-cultural perversity (see sexualisation of absolutely everything including children).

    I would expect that further liberalisation of asylum-seeker laws will see another bounce in unauthorised maritime arrivals, with further maritime disasters. But at least Left-liberals can call themselves “humane”.

    You guys never learn because you do not practise the scientific method of checking your expectations against observations.

    “Not even wrong”, indeed.

  135. Jack Strocchi

    Addition: Missing link on the frequency of boat arrivals 1976-2012, courtesy of the Australian Parliamentary Library. The efficacy of the Pacific Solution in curbing people smuggling sticks out like the proverbials, doesn’t it?

    And here is a round-up of the mass drowning events that occurred off Australian shores ever since Rudd and the Greens retrenched the Pacific Solution. It does not make for edifying reading, but inconvenient truths rarely do.

    There is no simple and ethical solution to the problem of asylum seeker boat arrivals. Certainly not in a democracy where red-necks get the vote. The Pacific Solution represents the lesser of two evils. Its tragic, but life is like that.

  136. jules

    Abbotts offering to do a deal with the government to make politics bipartisan as far as changing the migration act. If that happens when the next election comes he’ll say “See I was even responsible for the best legislation in the last govt.” I mean it probably won’t matter much, but still. Asylum seekers is the issue. It all went downhill when the ALP pandered to the politics of fear. And it keeps them down.

    Imagine if they’d responded along the lines of “No we shouldn’t be so scared,” and actually shown some leadership, then we wouldn’t have to put up with John Howard on the telly. Imagine how galling it must be for the ALP hierarchy to hear Howard saying the govt lacks authority. And he’s right, it gave it up to Abbott when it surrendered on Carbon pricing and Asylum Seekers.

    If they don’t immediately change tac on asylum seeker detention and offshore processing then they will always lack authority cos its the opposition that started the ball rolling on this. Its always been there as an issue, and cos the govt is playing on the oppositions terms they are stuffed. Isn’t this sort of thing sposed to be obvious? I thought these people were sposed to hardened political warriors with strategy and tactical skillz/nous…

    They are gonna lose anyway, they may as well do it with some class and dignity. If they get the oppositions support to change the migration act they’ll have neither.

  137. Fran Barlow

    No “s” was indicated OBR. The characters k & j are adjacent.

  138. Paul Burns

    Did anyone actually think Gillard would not do a deal with Abbott to bypass the Greens in the Senate on offshore processing. (Wonder what the Green payback will be? Now that will be interesting.)

  139. wbb

    The Refugee Convention is looking sicker by the decade. It is the type of humane instrument that is too delicate to survive the furnace of political partisanship. (Capital punishment would be a similar issue.)

    While I would only praise David Manne for his heroic efforts over many years, I think it is tragically ironic that he is hastening the demise of the convention.

  140. Mercurius

    Strocchers goes for gold!

    Ditto for civil liberties mantras (see Bali Bombings), ditto for celebrate cultural diversity (see London riots), ditto for indigenous self-determination (see NT child abuse), ditto for population boosting (see packed to the rafters), ditto for sub-cultural perversity (see sexualisation of absolutely everything including children).

    Look, to get into each of those issues would be waaaay off thread, but suffice to say that Strocchers’ uncritical, univariate, unicausal mode of analysis is a betrayal of the very objectivist empiricism he preaches.

    You guys never learn because you do not practise the scientific method of checking your expectations against observations.

    Actually Jack, it’s you who never learn because you do not exercise your critical faculties enough to realise that your (mis)application of (un)scientific method to social phenomena can always be relied upon to produce observations that match your expectations (everything bad, ever, is the result of left-liberal policies, just like I predicted!)…or did I just blow your mind?

    Anyway, psychologising the Strocchers, boring, and OT.

    Labor have screwed the pooch on this, because if they decide now to be all high-minded about ceasing offshore processing, their position will have no credibility. After all, they were for offshore processing for a decade before they decided to be against it…

  141. alfred venison

    dear Paul Byrnes
    no, no, no, yes. that’s precisely what i expected would be attempted – and here we go.
    i certainly didn’t expect them to embrace a greens proposal sensible & honorable as one might be.
    i didn’t quite expect abbott to be so obliging, but that’s my under-over-estimation.
    they are hung on their own petard, lurching from bad to worse.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  142. Fran Barlow

    Alfred Venison uttered a curiously shambolic metaphor:

    they are hung on their own petard, lurching from bad to worse.

    You hcan’t be hung on a petard. A petard is a bomb. If one explodes under you, you don’t lurch about. You are ‘hoist’ by it, rather like those suicide bombers or builders of IEDs who become the premature victims of their own bombs’ early detonation.

    In the famous Hamlet reference, the use is metaphoric, as Hamlet alters the note from King Claudius requiring his execution to redirect it at Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, his emissaries.

  143. alfred venison

    dear Fran Barlow
    thanks for the correction: hoist, of course. i was less than happy with that one, but in a hurry – between porridge & prune juice and the door. shouldn’t do this in the morning.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  144. Paul Burns

    alfred venison.
    Now, what if the Greens got together with Wilkie and said end off shore processing or we will abstain voting in the lower house on supply next budget.
    Abbott’s Nauru proposal, whatever its acrual legal status is a poison chalice. But courage on the refugee issue is something Gillard lacks. So they’l probably drink it.
    I dunno what’s happening to my country, but whatever it is, it ain’t nice. I despair at our current politics.

  145. Jack Strocchi

    mercurius @ #147 said:

    Actually Jack, it’s you who never learn because you do not exercise your critical faculties enough to realise that your (mis)application of (un)scientific method to social phenomena can always be relied upon to produce observations that match your expectations (everything bad, ever, is the result of left-liberal policies, just like I predicted!)

    So it was my “(mis)application of (un)scientific method to social phenomena” [sic] that “produced the observations” (Christmas Island maritime disaster) that “matched [my] expectations” (numerous predictions made throughout the noughties that Left-liberalism=people-smuggling=people-drowning). I will spare you linking chapter and verse to these sepia-toned comments, mouldering away in the dusty archives of cyber-space.

    Perhaps my predictions caused the maritime disaster? I think even mercurius would baulk at this level of occult suspicion.

    Would it not be simpler acknowledge that in opposing liberal asylum-seeker policy I stated the bleeding obvious? If you reduce the cost of an activity you get more of it. Including dangerous ones like people-smuggling. Liberalised asylum-seeker policies (on-shore processing, discretionary detention, fast-tracked refugee applications) reduce the cost of people-smuggling and unauthorised arrivals. We thus get more people-smuggling and more people-drowning.

    Its that simple.

    mercurius’ desperate and floundering attempts to deny the bleeding obvious do her and her comrades no credit. It would be better to face up to, and handle, the hard truth in the manner of an honest scientist and good ethicist.

    BTW, still no word on whether mercurius, in the aftermath of Rudd-Greens ending the Pacific Solution, predicted maritime disasters like Christmas Island. Can we have her prediction/assurance that there will be no more maritime disasters if Nauru, Manus Island et al are all moth-balled?

    Instead of batting these talking points back-and-forth across the ideological divide I suggest a historic compromise between the opposing partisans. As a sop to the Left-liberals, increase the asylum-seeker quota, perhaps double it, together with more pro-active processing in countries of origin. And to toss some red-meat to the Right-“corporals”[1], toughen up border protection (deterrence, detection, detention) including off-shore processing.

    And, following Shakespeare’s advice, lets “kill all the lawyers”.

    1. “corporalism”: ideology of institutional authority. Antithesis of liberalism, ideology of individual autonomies. My neologism, but it fits well, connoting authoritarian social organization with punishments.

  146. Chris

    Paul @ 151 – that will reinforce Abbott’s line that the Greens are really the ones in charge.

  147. Paul Burns

    Maybe. But I don’t care. At least it will end this disgraceful chapter in our history if it were to happen. And, in any case, Greens or no Greens, does Gillarf look like she’s actually in charge of anything?

  148. alfred venison

    dear Paul Burns
    apologies for misspelling your name earlier.

    i hear what you say & i despair, too – sometimes more, sometimes less. i’m also heartened by the fact this parliament is hung & there appear to be good honourable people on the cross-benches.

    i await the next session of parliament with cautious optimism.

    and, mr abbott whatever, if the greens are not in fact “really in charge” then maybe they ought to be.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  149. Sam

    The High Court’s decision, which deliberately thwarts the will of Parliament

    Au contraire Jack, the will of Parliament was expressed in the wording and passage of the Migration Act. It was the Government who sought to thwart the will of Parliament by implementing policies that were unlawful under the Act.

    The High Court, far from thwarting the will of Parliament, upheld it. The Court did thwart the will of the Government but that’s what happens to governments when they try to rule outside the law.

    It is entirely open to this or any other Parliament to amend to Migration Act so that refugees can be lawfully sent to Malaysia, or indeed Antarctica if need be. But until and unless that happens, what the current Act says, happens.

  150. Jack Strocchi

    Sam @ #156 said:

    Au contraire Jack, the will of Parliament was expressed in the wording and passage of the Migration Act. It was the Government who sought to thwart the will of Parliament by implementing policies that were unlawful under the Act.

    Oh rubbish. The High Court took it upon itself to create a whole new raft of entitlements for asylum-seekers way beyond the original intent of Parliament, as expressed in the Refugee Convention and the Migration Act. Rights under international and national law that are way beyond what was contemplated in the after-math of World War II when the Allies were grappling with the problem of what to do with Displaced Persons.

    We had a perfectly workable relationship with Nauru which has now been retrospectively out-lawed. Now every third party country that the Commonwealth treats with on asylum-seekers must not only be a signatory to the Refugee Convention, but must also have an unblemished human rights record and be prepared to offer all asylum-seekers their full civil rights entitlements, including welfare state benefits.

    Thats judicial activism gone mad. These un-elected busybodies are unaccountable to the people. Its not their head on the chopping block when the next boat-load of unauthorised arrivals goes down with all hands. They will do their best impersonation of Pontius Pilate and throw it back into the court of the Minister.

    Parliament should makes its intention perfectly clear by amending the Migration Act to put maritime asylum-seekers in their place. They are unauthorised arrivals who do not enjoy entitlements to full civil rights until their claims have been fully processed, at the discretion of the Minister.

    And just so their Lordships are under no illusions as to the seriousness of the matter, the Minister should put it about that he is considering submission of a bill for Australia to withdraw from the Refugee Convention. If it were up to me I would be considering sacking and stacking the full bench.

    Parliament is boss cockie in this show. The High Court should, like asylum-seekers, know its place.

  151. Fran Barlow

    The Man from Strocchiverse, unlike Ms Gillard, proposes abolition of the frontier between the executive and legislative branches of government … in pursuit of the right to brutalise vulnerable people, pander to reactionaries, and to spit on one of the key lessons of WW2 …

    These un-elected busybodies are unaccountable to the people. {…} If it were up to me I would be considering sacking and stacking the full bench. Parliament is boss cockie in this show. The High Court should, like asylum-seekers, know its place.

    Such radical measures aren’t necessary. A simply modification of the act to say that the Minister’s declaration is non-judiciable would suffice. The HCA made no new law. They merely said that s198a had to be based on something measurable and not mere handwaving. It is however, open to the regime to rule handwaving in.

    For full transparency, if the regime goes this way I’d prefer a separate act, called something suitably candid — perhaps The Louis XIV and I am the state act (kicking the crap out of refugees and pandering to bigots) Act of 2011.

    Henceforth the Act could run, and notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, declarations of the minister about any matter germane to compliance with any international treaty to which Australia is a party shall be deemed decisive and all other laws in any jurisdiction shall be null and void of effect to the extent of any inconsistency, or shall be construed in such a way as to be consistent with the minister’s declarations.

    As the minister is the ex-officio guardian of unaccompanied minor children he or she if he declares himself so may send such unaccompanied minor children to any place he declares “a sleepover location” and any clothes they are wearing to be pyjamas, for the sake of the provisions of the act. Brutalisation by officers of another jurisdiction shall be deemed “local culture”. Child trafficking shall be deemed “apprenticeship opportunity” and gaol “secure accommodation”.

    For the purposes of this act right may be declared wrong, or wrong right. Night may occur during the day and vice versa. He may even declare Andrew Bolt a man of wit and wisdom and be immune from suit by Mr Bolt or his agents for defamation and prosecute those who laugh out loud. So there.

    Pretty simple really …

  152. Fran Barlow
  153. Mercurius

    @158 LOL Fran.

    Jack is clearly a devotee of the Mahathir Mohamad School of Jurisprudence. Now wonder our judges are not so hot on the Malaysian Solution! 😀

  154. Brett

    Here’s one way to break the stalemate on asylum seekers: for DIAC to give Abbott the green light to ratchet up the scare campaign even further.

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is likely to be told by government officials today that if Australia drops offshore asylum seeker processing, the community could then expect social problems similar to those of Paris or London.

    In a special briefing in Brisbane to be led by Department of Immigration secretary Andrew Metcalfe, Mr Abbott will be told more than 600 people a month will flood into the country.

    The ABC understands the briefing will warn that large numbers of people will overflow from detention centres into the community, creating tensions.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-07/details-of-immigration-briefing/2875040

    Just when you think things can’t get any more insane…

  155. tssk

    You have to be kidding. So apparently the Coalition are the voice of moral reason on refugees when one of their number can come out with this.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3318964.htm

    PHILIPPA MCDONALD: The Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce was also on the war path.

    BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONALS SENATOR: This idea of spare the rod and spoil the refugee is just beyond me, how on Earth the Labor Party got themselves into this position. They’re at sixes and sevens and they deserve to be because of the abominable way that they’ve acted.

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Bring back Alexander Downer, he was less of a disaster than Barnaby.

  156. Fran Barlow

    I read this transcript of Barnaby this morning in context and it’s not clear to me what he means. Taken literally with regard to the figurative force of the aphorism, it seems to be chiding the regime as being too harsh on refugees, it being “beyond him” (i.e. he doesn’t agree with) “spare the rod and spoil the refugee” (i.e fail to apply sanctions adequate to compel good conduct and/or good character).

    Then again, Joyce is from a party that very much favours harsh treatment of refugees (turning the boats around, admin detention, off-shore processing) and of course he is not an articualte communicator — swapping billions and millions, speaking extravagantly about default and “school halls” speaking of Productivity Commission reports as “toilet paper”. Perhaps what he meant to say that his problem with “spare the rod and spoil the refugee” was rejecting this concept as outdated (they abandoned John Howard’s “Pacific Solution”) and he couldn’t see why it was outdated. Perhaps, to use the Abbott defence, it’s not one of those “carefully crafted policy statements and not gospel”.

    Whatever he intended, the language is appalling bearing in mind especially that unaccompanied minors are amongst those who are refugees and that it’s being argued that SERCO is guilty of abusive conduct.

  157. tssk

    Part of me thinkgs it’s just BJ being BJ. But part of me sees this odd ambigueity everywhere with Coalition statements. They seem to be worded so that everyone can take away their own interpretation.

    So for left wingers the take home message could be “The ALP is too hard on refugees, we don’t understand why , these people are vunerable.”

    For Coalition supporters the take home message might be “we will always be tough on people smugglers.”

    The risk with this approach is by standing for everything you stand for nothing but for now it works well for soundbites as it gives opinionistas the opportunity to interpret it how you like and write it your way.

    On another thread I whined about asking why I was parking my vote with the Greens. This comment from Banarby reminded me of the policies of both majors and why my vote can’t go anywhere else.

  158. Fran Barlow

    Sidebar on the aphorism:

    Proverbs 13:24 (similar but not exact) (KJV)

    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

    cf:

    The vision of William concerning Piers Plowman, (1377)

    Who-so spareth ye sprynge, spilleth his children.

    Here the term “sprynge” refers to the sprig of a tree or shrub, used to encourage someone to a lively physical response (i.e make them spring, rouse them). Spilleth = spoil.

    Samuel Butler’s (1662) poem, Hudibras includes the following passage:

    But since our sex’s modesty, Will not allow I should be by,
    Bring me, on oath, a fair account, And honour too, when you have done’t,
    And I’ll admit you to the place You claim as due in my good grace.
    If matrimony and hanging go By dest’ny, why not whipping too?
    What med’cine else can cure the fits Of lovers when they lose their wits?
    Love is a boy by poets stil’d; Then spare the rod and spoil the child.</strong
    A Persian emp’ror whipp’d his grannam . The sea, his mother VENUS came on; And hence some rev’rend men approve Of rosemary in making love.
    As skilful coopers hoop their tubs With Lydian and with Phrygian dubs,
    Why may not whipping have as good A grace, perform’d in time and mood,
    With comely movement, and by art, Raise passion in a lady’s heart? {…}

    Apparently the poem was somewhat tongue in cheek …

  159. tssk

    I don’t know if this is the right place….this is one of the most powerful speeches I’ve heard on refugees and other related issues for years.

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bookshow/stories/2011/3318299.htm

    Richard Flanagan is one of Australia’s most loved novelists.

    His books include Death of A River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and Wanting.

    His new collection of non fiction And What Do You Do, Mr Gable? has just been published.

    Richard Flanagan is also a powerful orator.

    So he was an obvious choice to give the closing night address at the recent Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

    The theme was The Decline of Love and the Rise of Non Freedom.

    Due to copyright restrictions, Richard Flanagan’s speech will not be available as a transcript.

    I urge all to go listen to this and lament that it takes a fiction writer to make such a speech when all politicians can do is squark cheap soundbites.