Riding the asylum seeker merry-go-round

Gillard government – Not a time for political point-scoring but the sinking is all that mongrel Abbott’s fault for refusing to vote for our Malaysia Solution amendments.

Coalition –  Scott Morrison says “the tragedy confirmed the Coalition’s worst fears” but restrains himself from expressly blaming Labor until tomorrow, when he’ll assert for the umpteenth that it would never have happened but for Labor’s abandonment of Saint John Howard’s  Nauru and temporary protection visa policy.  Morrison will embrace the safe bet that a supine media will fail to point out that consistent strong DIAC advice is that the Nauru Solution simply won’t work nor notice that the tiny island nation has had three different prime ministers in the last three weeks, the first of whom resigned after corruption allegations which are unsurprising to anyone who remembers that Nauru survived for some years after the guano ran out by turning itself into a tax haven and laundering billions plundered by the Russian Mafia.

Convulsive conspiracy theorist Tony Kevin  instantly and despite a complete lack of evidence claims conspiracy and “cover-up” by ASIO and Kopassus to sink the boat deliberately to frighten and deter asylum seekers (viz re-run of his SIEV X conspiracy theories for which there was also no evidence).  David Marr can be expected to launch into a prissily sanctimonious version of the same refrain in the next couple of days.

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition and Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens claim it’s both major parties’ fault for “demonising” people smugglers and failing to realise that the best policy would be to make it easier for them to use safe vessels.  If only those heartless government bastards didn’t confiscate the smugglers’ boats and burn them, they’d be able to charter really big and seaworthy vessels (like old cruise liners for instance) and make even bigger profits transporting the yearning masses to Australia in thousands at a time.

Peter van Onselen makes the most sense on Twitter:

“Bottom line is the arguments of the simplistic left & right on this issue don’t provide answers & moralizing about deaths at sea won’t help.”

I still argue that some version of the Malaysia Solution with adequate assured human rights safeguards + an expanded Australian humanitarian migration target of 20,000 per year (now official Labor policy) would be the least bad ex tempore solution, but the chances of Malaysia agreeing to adequate safeguards (because it fears making itself a magnet for asylum seekers in the guise of waiting room for Oz migration) or Abbott voting to enable such an approach (despite urgings from even the Murdoch press) are remote.  Merry Christmas?

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

Bottom line is the arguments of the simplistic left & right on this issue don’t provide answers

That’s funny, because I seem to remember John Howards’s pacific solution providing a pretty effective answer, until the left dismantled it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BoatArrivals.gif

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

What do you mean for a while, Ken?

The pacific solution was in place from 2001-2007, and during that period boat arrivals were basically zero. As soon as Rudd won and discontinued the policy, boat arrivals immediately jumped back to over 2500 per year.

There’s nothing at all to back up your claim that asylum seekers and people smugglers started to ignore it, except the hunch of a few public servants. The actual historical figures are a stark illustration of how effective the pacific solution was.

In the meantime he can rely on credulous supporters like you to loyally ignore the facts.

You are the one ignoring the facts here, Ken. I posted the graph of numbers of arrivals. You apparently think that the hunch of an advisor at DIAC (which you have not referenced or linked to, BTW) refutes those numbers.

On my side – evidence. On your side – hearsay.

paul walter
paul walter
9 years ago

Broadly agree with Ken, no one anywhere in this fine country of ours, or other prosperous country, has much to be proud of over the reality disconnect involving the conditions of the masses and we comfortable few.
The idea Ken talks of could have been kick started with a dropping of the idea of “swapping” asylum seekers to Malaysia, in return for the ones we took from that poor country. Helping a few thousand extra desperate people would have done us no harm and eased a bit of pressure on Malaysia and Indonesia, and tens of thousand of people just like our mums, dads or kids left rotting after fleeing wars of the West’s making.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

I know that the west has ‘won’ so to speak, but it seems a bit much to call Koreans and Pakis and Sri Lankans and Sudanese (where do most refugees come from these days?) western.

Ken, I’m broadly sympathetic to your position but it is far from clear that Yobbo is wrong on this. It is quite possible that people-smugglers and refugees are as clever and rational as you say (indeed I am sure of it) but still couldn’t ‘see through’ St John’s rhetoric.

After all, the whole whining left, disproportionately represented in the media, were full time salesmen for it. They were even dedicated enough to procure the occasional condemnation by obscure UN agencies.

So I’m not as sure that the people-smuggling industry would have wised up as fast as you suggest.

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

Helping a few thousand extra desperate people would have done us no harm and eased a bit of pressure on Malaysia and Indonesia, and tens of thousand of people just like our mums, dads or kids left rotting after fleeing wars of the West’s making.

Paul, the issue has never been the total number of humanitarian refugees we take. That is always up for debate, and like Ken I think it could be increased.

The issue here is that

1. Boat arrivals take allocated places from other asylum applicants who did it by the book and applied for asylum while in their home country or in a UN camp.

2. The people smuggling trade kills hundreds of people every year, and the goal of Australia’s policy should be to stop people wanting to cross from Indonesia to Australia by boat.

The pacific solution was excellent at deterring #2. Labor’s policies in this area have resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Peter Mariani
Peter Mariani
9 years ago

John Howard did not provide a “solution” he provided an “illusion” one that Morrison and Abbott continue to flog to this day.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
9 years ago

Yobbo is incorrect as usual.

Very few people do it by the book.

you either bribe a person in a detention camp in say Pakistan or pay money to a people smuggler.

The major difference is that people smugglers do not go back on their word.

If people are fair dinkum then actually speak to some people who have come here in boats and ask them about why.

There is no ‘book’ or queue. you have to spend money to get out.

Ken is perfectly correct. The story given to refugees in the final years was that if you were prepared to spend a bit of time at Nauru you would come to Australia.
The Bureaucrats knew this and that is why they have changed.

If Australia wants to get rid of boats and actually have a proper ‘queue’ it would need to ensure the offshore processing centre was squeaky clean and orderly.
Whether the host country would allow this is a moot point.

you would need almost no employment from locals who are very susceptible to attaining bribes. This is highly unlikely.

The Gillard proposal went someway along this line but only some way.

the Abbott proposal has no legs

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

The story given to refugees in the final years was that if you were prepared to spend a bit of time at Nauru you would come to Australia.

That’s just not true though Homer. Only around 40% of the people detained in Naaru made it to Australia. 30% were sent home, and 30% to other countries.

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

If people are fair dinkum then actually speak to some people who have come here in boats and ask them about why.

I don’t think you’ve ever spoken to one Homer, and like all your other posts ever, you’ve just pulled all your “facts” out of your arse.

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

Ken you are still missing an important point which is that the Naaru solution allowed Australia to send refugees elsewhere even after they had been granted asylum. Even if it was just to New Zealand, that was a big part of the deterrent.

Ken, how is the “Malaysia solution” any different to throwing the doors open? If we are going to swap 1 for 5 we might as well just not bother and give a visa to anyone who can make it here alive.

However, continuing to forfeit and destroy boats inevitably means (as the Greens etc correctly argue) that those boats will continue to be small, unseaworthy and overloaded.

Ken, if you had spent any time in South East Asia then you would know that’s the way the boats are going to be no matter what Australia’s policy is. They just do not give a fuck. FFS more people die on commuter ferries in the Philippines and Indonesia than die trying to find asylum in Australia.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
9 years ago

helps to talk to the refugees Yobbo.

yes I have talked to some one was even on the infamous kiddies overboard craft, .

mind you it appears I have spoken to a lot more than you as is usual on any topic.

I would agree you use your bottom a lot though

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

Your 40/30/30 figure is misleading. The 30% sent home were those found NOT to be genuine refugees.

What’s misleading about that? Is anyone here under the impression that everyone who arrives on a boat is a genuine refugee?

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

Nobody believes anything you say Homer, I’m not sure why you bother anymore.

hammygar
hammygar
9 years ago

prissily sanctimonious version

What an appalling homophobic comment.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
9 years ago

The figures of people being sent home is highly misleading.

Refugees in Nauru had limited access to legal services.

A very common problem in people being sent home is problems in translation.
The wrong question is asked and therefore answered.

Appealing this requires precise information which can only be handled, usually by a person skilled in legal services. This is one of the reasons Nauru was used by the Government in the first place.

so yes the 40/30/330 figures are very misleading
That Yobbo didn’t know this shows his bottom is used regularly as he might say.

Of course access to refugees would bring this problem to the fore very early.

This practice has been somewhat quashed under the present legislation and so it should have been.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Hammygar, wtf? Would you really be happier if he substituted ‘inane and’ or ‘moronically’? Because they are the words which would have sprung to my mind.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
9 years ago

The reason I put forward is why most refugees now get visas. It is now well over 80% the last time I met refugee support people in Sydney associated with the Anglican denomination.

I might add I see no reason to allow Tamils from Sri Lanka here. Afterall they have an Indian State they can go to who have doors open.

There are no cultural or language barriers there either.

hammygar
hammygar
9 years ago

#19 Patrick. The word used is just a dog-whistle term to denigrate gays.

paul walter
paul walter
9 years ago

A fairly comprehensive thread derail on pretty specious evidence, hammygar.
Why dont you want to talk about a thousand people dying, or is it a relatively trivial issue, for you?

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

I’m sorry, hammygar, you are completely off the rails there. If more evidence of this is required you have united pw and myself. I think it safe to say that ordinarily anything beyond our collective pale’s is extreme indeed.

paul walter
paul walter
9 years ago

Happy Christmas, Patrick. Ahh, but the issue is vexed tho, vexed in a vexed world already full of vexed issues.

Robert Holmes
Robert Holmes
9 years ago

Here we are again. Like a bad re-run of last christmas another boat load has gone down – only this time it is not scores but hundreds lost, and many women and children are among them. How can those who are responsible, (Brown, Rudd and Gillard) sleep at night? If they had a shred of concience or humanity, all would resign immidiately and let someone who has the right humanitarian policies take charge.

Tel
Tel
9 years ago

Ken, how is the “Malaysia solution” any different to throwing the doors open? If we are going to swap 1 for 5 we might as well just not bother and give a visa to anyone who can make it here alive.

Because the individuals who “made it here alive” are not the ones who get invited in. It’s kind of a Tragedy of the Commons situation where decision making at an individual level gets a different answer to decision making at a collective level. If all refugees were part of a telepathic collective organism they could easily get around the trick, but they they probably would also take over the world by other means.

The well known solution to a Tragedy of the Commons is ownership rights and trade thereof so if there was a marketplace where refugees could sell positions to each other in exchange for taking risks on boats then they could get around it that way too… but such a market would be illegal and no one would do that.

All an academic argument now that it’s been ruled out by the courts.

… that mongrel Abbott’s fault for refusing to vote for our Malaysia Solution amendments.

I really don’t get that. If Malaysia can provide sufficient guarantees to convince the Australian courts that it is workable, then why exactly is Abbott required for any of this?

D Mick Weir
D Mick Weir
9 years ago

There is only one solution to the impasse on this vexed issue.

The Governor General must arrest the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition immediately, lock them away together in a room and tell them they will only be let out when they can wholeheartedly agree to a solution.

Anyone who mentions Asylum Seekers, Refugees or People Smugglers while those two ‘kids’ are locked away will be put before a firing squad.

As those two childish so called leaders are unlikely to ever agree we could have a very lomg period of peace and quiet so we can get on with some semblance of a real life.

Yobbo
Yobbo
9 years ago

I don’t see why it’s childish that Tony Abbott doesn’t agree with most of Gillard’s largely awful policies.

D Mick Weir
D Mick Weir
9 years ago

Ken @ 27
there seems to me to be a major flaw with what you have proposed such that neither side would ever accept it

It has too much common sense in it.

Tel
Tel
9 years ago

Ahh, I get it now. They want Abbott (in opposition) to support the overturning of the High Court which the Greens (in government) have openly stated as unconscionable.

Hmmm, I suggest that Abbott should spit on his hand and say, “It’s a deal! I will agree to do the unconscionable one day after you guys deliver a balanced budget.”

Playing the joker sometimes pays off (just ask Chavez).

paul walter
paul walter
9 years ago

Reading Ken’s next serious posting here was a timely palliative, in the wake of Robert Holmes curious statement. D Mike Weir emphasises the point. How is there such a gap between moderates and more partisan types, there seems to be something crucial missing in some of the readings, a reality deficit.
On another note, it’s true that SBS has a series of “Go Back to Where You Came From” upcoming; perhaps a second viewing for those who missed the point the first time.

Robert Holmes
Robert Holmes
9 years ago

There is a reality which those on the left conveniently forget, and that is that there was no issue with boat arrivals until 2007/8 when Rudd and the labor party changed a refugee policy which was detering the sort of risky behavior which results in the sort of loss off life we have seen in the last few days.

Bob Brown and his greens are nothing but a pack of extreemist fools who, when you boil it all down do not care about people a all. Their refugee policy (and their global warming policy) prove this. Even now, when his actions, (and those of the greens) have cost many people their lives; they still do not see the light. All these deaths (and possibly more to come) would have been avoided if the greens had voted with the more sensible approach of the labor party.

Even the labor party policy (Malaysia), though, was almost as cruel; but at least the labor party has partly seen the light on its errors in this field. However, I agree with Tony Abbott in not supporting the Malaysia policy, since he would’ve partly copped the blame when is fails (as it probably would).

Its now long past time for that liar Gillard to stop blaming Abbott, the people smugglers or anyone else when everyone can see that the problem is – HERSELF.