How Low Can You Go?

Today was a pleasant day, right up until I came home and caught the news on ABC 24: Kevin Rudd has come up with the penultimate solution to the asylum seeker problem:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says asylum seekers who arrive by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees.

Mr Rudd has confirmed a deal that will see asylum seekers sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment, and if they are found to be refugees, they will be resettled there.

And there you have it – the race to the bottom is finally won: Kevin Rudd has claimed whatever jersey (most likely some shade of brown) it is that you award to the politician who’s prepared to do the most to pander to racists and xenophobes in marginal electorates. The only way that Tony Abbott could trump him on today’s policy announcement is to come out with a declaration that the Coalition will sink the boats where it’s safe to do so.

That’s all for now – I feel an urgent need to go and vomit.

About Paul Bamford (aka Gummo T)

Gummo Trotsky is the on-line persona of Paul Bamford. Paul recently placed his intellect at risk of finally becoming productive by enrolling in a Lemonade, Lime & Bitters degree via distance education. He also plays the piano but Keith Jarrett he ain't.
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34 Responses to How Low Can You Go?

  1. Marks says:

    What’s wrong with PNG?

    Might I ask what it is about PNG, or its people, or its culture that is so objectionable, that it would cause you to vomit GT?

    I would add that I have no problem whatever in accepting boat people either as economic or humanitarian refugees. In the first instance, it shows a certain degree of determination and bravery sorely lacking in our society which would be advantaged by extra citizens with those qualities (perhaps we could even swap some small business types from Sri Lanka with some of our mining magnates – Although sending Gina to Sri Lanka in exchange for a Sri Lankan shop keeper would be cheating the Sri Lankans), and in the second, surely it would be our humanitarian duty to accept them. However, should we be so short sighted as to not see the advantages in my first reason, as long as wherever they are settled protects their lives in an acceptable manner, I repeat: what is wrong with PNG?

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Agreed – ie with Marks.

    • Bill Posters says:

      Shorter Marks & Gruen: we revel in our ignorance of our closest neighbour.

      • Marks says:

        Which is why the question was posed. If there is a reason, I am quite glad to be educated by someone who can provide any such reason. Presumably if anyone has good answers to the question, they will post them. The smart traveller link, for example, was a good start. However, if that were bad enough to mean that asylum seekers should not go there, then perhaps we should be accepting PNG citizens as asylum seekers.

        This is an important policy issue, and good information and debate is needed. Entrenched positions, snark and/or knee jerk reactions are worse than useless.

        • Bill Posters says:

          Your request that I do your Google searches for you is noted and rejected.

          Honestly, does anybody fall for this tired old line anymore?

          But bonus points for the faux-sincere proclamation of your own Seriousness.

        • marks says:

          Thus supporting the Rudd position Bill.

          When one party in a dispute advances snark from an entrenched position in lieu of reasoned argument, it only helps the opposition. But you know that, I suspect, which says much about the sincerity of your position.


  3. Crispin Bennett says:

    @marks & @nick:

    To use a neighbouring ex-mandate as a deterrent is a brazenly calculated insult to PNG (let’s not mention asylum-seekers, as in our political discourse they’re no longer considered human). The Aussie public will no doubt lap this up, being the nasty and ignorant bunch we generally are.

  4. Doug says:

    PNG has substantial problems of its own with West Papuan Refugees – and limited administrative capacity to deal with its own development issues – this is neo-colonialism – but it makes Australia vulnerable to developments their.

  5. john r walker says:

    If we do provide enough money to allow PNG to properly (after deducting payola) look after Iranians fleeing the appalling Iranian Government. Then surely they will still come. (and it will cost more than doing it here). The policy looks like nonsense.

  6. Mel says:

    The Brits until recently welcomed large numbers of certain ethnicities to their shores and as a result:

    (a) they now need a dedicated police Forced Marriage Unit that deals with 1,500 forced marriage cases each year
    (b) certain parts of London are patrolled by Muslim gangs who target scantily clad women, gays etc for a bashing while targetting white women for religiously motivated rape (akin to the Islamic rape squad that terrorised Sydney a few years back, only on a much grander scale),
    (c) individuals who speak out against Islamic excesses have been subject to Fatwahs (Rushdie etc …) and must now live with the constant threat of being murdered, and
    (d) 312 mostly Muslim persons including many “refugees” and children of refugees have been convicted of terror rated offences since 9/11 while hundreds more await trial.

    I think many Australians, including slightly left of centre ones such as myself, have have seen what has happened OS and have made the prudent decision to oppose allowing the same to happen hear.

    It isn’t racist or xenophobic to want to protect one’s family from the clash of cultures horror show that now infects much of Western Europe.

  7. Tyler says:

    Maybe commenters on here will have some idea since it’s typically a well-read/perceptive group.
    Is it actually more dangerous to get on a boat to Australia than to spend years in a refugee camp in for instance, Pakistan? A cursory google search suggests that there may be little difference but i thought someone here might be able to direct me to some decent research or statistics.

  8. hc says:

    Gummo try some bi carb. Moral indignation often leads to reflux problems. But instead of telling us how indignant (and, incidentally, how very moral) you are what do you propose doing? Labor’s policy has been a shambles and has created a severe problem. Rudd’s current policy is regrettable mainly because past Labor policies listened excessively to people who suffered reflux problems with the policy of John Howard. At least that policy worked and 1000 people would now be alive had it been kept in place.

    Read a bit about the scale of the displaced persons problem (although take the antacid first):

    and tell us all how would you select from the 4 million or so extra people seeking resettlement each year. Take them all in Australia? Encourage the US to take more than its current 50,000 intake? Double Australia’s planned intake so it equals the US total intake? Be selective and allow those who apply with visas to get first shot? Or put people to the front of the queue who attempt entries without visas?

    Of course you might instead tear out your hair and grind your teeth. That can often be helpful.

  9. Mel says:


    On (a): haven’t found a police forced marriage unit on Google yet but I did

    You obviously didn’t try very hard. See here and follow the link to the stats. Also, contra your absurd claim, the forced marriage unit deals overwhelmingly with Muslims from all the usual suspects, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc…

    Look up the Mi5 site for stats on terrorism. My terrorism figures come from that site.

    A large Muslim rape gang was busted in Britain earlier this year and there were dozens of media reports on it and similar Muslim rape gangs. Again, if you are interested you’ll source them yourself.

    Dozens of European citizens, including various high profile individuals are subject to fatwas and other demands for the execution, including the schoolgirl mentioned by Murph the Surf, politicians like Geert Wilders and a long list of cartoonists and authors. Surely you didn’t miss the kerfuffle about the Dutch cartoons.

    • Gummo Trotsky says:

      You obviously didn’t try very hard.

      You didn’t try at all, either in your first comment or your follow up. Here’s the rather lazy Google search I ran after I read your first comment. You might note that your most recent link is the first item on the results page.

      …if you are interested you’ll source them yourself.

      Wrong. If you are serious about supporting your arguments youwill provide the empirical evidence. Not just for me, but for other readers of this comment thread who might be persuaded to share your opinion.

      • Mel says:

        We’re having a gentlemanly exchange of views here, Gummo. I have no interest in changing anyone’s opinion.

        As to Muzzie rape gangs, here is one of numerous widely reported examples and here are some snippets from the article:

        With experts on paedophilia insisting street grooming by Muslim men was a real problem, the judge made it clear he believed religion was a factor.

        He jailed the 59-year-old ringleader for 19 years and eight other men for between four and 12 years, telling them they had treated their victims ‘as though they were worthless and beyond all respect’. He added: ‘I believe one of the factors which led to that is that they were not of your community or religion.’

        Muslim leader warns that some British Pakistani men ‘think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought’

        As many as 47 vulnerable girls were plied with alcohol, gifts and money. They were then passed around for sex with ‘several men a day’

        Note that the perpetrators are Pakistani and Afghani Muslims including asylum seekers.

        I’m gobsmacked that a learned man such as yourself would be unaware of this particular cultural phenomenon.

  10. derrida derider says:

    This “solution” is probably illegal and in due time the High Court will so find it, and I expect Mr Rudd knows this. So we will probably end up taking these people but not until long after the election. Of course Mr Abbott (and his foul minion Scott Morrison) has been similarly playing this game of proposing “solutions” of dubious legality (and even worse morality) in the sure knowledge that he won’t be called to account for them until its too late for the mug voters.

    It’s a cynical move by Rudd, but he may be privately justifying it to himself by saying not many people will actually be greatly hurt by this. Sincerely christian politicians get good at the casuistry they need to be politically successful while staying christian, and I reckon Kevin and the Mad Monk are both well practised at this. They know the sermon on the mount has fine principles, but no-one was ever elected on a platform of implementing them.

  11. Mel says:

    In relation to the Salman Rushdie fatwa:

    – Rushdie’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death in Tokyo
    – the Italian translator was stabbed in Milan
    – the Norwegian publisher was shot in Oslo
    – 37 people died in a fire in Turkey that targeted Rushdie’s Turkish publisher

  12. Patrick says:

    Gummo, it seems to most of your fellow citizens that the more ‘humanitarian’ our refugee system in relation to boat arrivals, the more people die.

    Howard’s Nauru solution was largely a band-aid and largely didn’t ‘work’ in terms of avoiding resettlement. But it worked in terms of reducing boat numbers.

    Rudd Mk I’s policy didn’t work, on any metric. Most obviously, it didn’t work on a humanitarian metric.

    If you wish to think of Rudd as a moral agent, what would you do in his place? It isn’t worth much to vomit about something that you can’t imagine doing better, so I imagine you have a better plan.

    Remember, Rudd is only able to directly affect Australia, so his sphere of action (no matter what he might sometimes think) in your hypothetical needs to be confined to things Australia can do.

  13. whyisitso says:

    This “solution” is probably illegal and in due time the High Court will so find it

    Unlike you, the High Court will need to give reasons for such a decision. The government claims that they’ve now covered the legislative faultline that led to the Malaysia decision.

  14. Pappinbarra Fox says:

    I am incensed by this constant pejorative against Papua New Guinea by people who clearly get their information fror Murdoch Tabloids. Actually Papua New Guinea is a grand place to live, the people are friendly and kind to others less fortunate. 75% are subsistence farmers and fishers. Better people you will not meet. I am incensed about all the talk of “hellholes”. The press only paints the hyperbolic worst cases which is not good for PNG but once outside POM you meet the real people of the countryside you will be amazed at our understanding of life, the outside world and our generosity of spirit. I doubt that there will ever be 3000 people on Manus seeking refuge but if there were I could only think of a couple of nicer places to be – the islands of Milne Bay.

  15. Pappinbarra Fox says:

    I’ve seen the Travel Advisory – click the back button and check out other advisories, just about the whole planet is warned off of from.

  16. hammygar says:

    As to Muzzie rape gangs

    I assume “Muzzie” means Muslim. What a disgustingly racist insult. It’s akin to using the “N…er” word in relation to African-Americans, or “” in relation to aborigines in Australia. This thread has descended into the pits.

  17. john r walker says:

    U-turn on boatpeople not costed
    PUBLISHED: 21 Jul 2013 05:37:00 | UPDATED: 22 Jul 2013 08:24:02

    Labor will not reveal how much the Papua New Guinea asylum-seeker plan will cost, but Immigration Minister Tony Burke admitted the initial spend will be high….Labor has indicated some of the money will come from the foreign aid budget.

  18. Bill Posters says:

    Marks above:

    When one party in a dispute advances snark from an entrenched position in lieu of reasoned argument, it only helps the opposition. But you know that, I suspect, which says much about the sincerity of your position.

    What a lovely bit of ad hominem.

    You asked: “What’s wrong with PNG?” – a question easily answerable by anyone with an internet connection and a working brain, at least one of which you clearly have.

    The demand for easily found evidence is a tired, tired old rhetorical trick and rejecting it says nothing about sincerity.

    • Marks says:

      The original poster, emotionally moved, made an unsubstantiated comment on a new policy announced by the PM.

      I asked if the OP had a reason. (A Dorothy Dix opportunity if ever there was),

      Some silly know it all then derails the serious issue by making smart arse comments.

      And continues to justify smart arsedness, despite it being pointed out that he has been detected in smart arsery.

      You say, I should somehow know what the OP’s reasons were, or google them. I say that if the OP has reasons for a position, he should justify them. If you disagree with that, then we will have to agree to disagree.

      As for ad hom against you, well, since you did not advance an argument that I can rebut, nor did you add anything to the discussion, I do not think it unreasonable to assume that your reasons for posting were mere snark, and point that out. Tiresome unoriginal snark too – seemingly designed to divert discussion from the real issues.

      • Gummo Trotsky says:

        The original poster, emotionally moved, made an unsubstantiated comment on a new policy announced by the PM.

        Do you deny that the facts of the PM’s announcement are as I posted – a direct quote from ABC news? All the comment in the post states my own low opinion of the PM’s decision and, as opinion not fact, requires no substantiation. At most it requires justification which is a different animal altogether.

        I asked if the OP had a reason.

        No you damn well didn’t – you asked the loaded question:

        What’s wrong with PNG?

        Then went on to load it further to insinuate that my objection to the deal was based on racist attitudes to PNG and its people. In your first comment you did not consider other possible reasons for my desire to vomit. Such as that it exposes K Rudd for the hollow political animal that he is. Granted, I didn’t make it explicit that this might be what was troubling my vagus nerve and I have to accept responsibility as writer of the post for that.

        Since the post was written – a mere two business days after the announcement of the deal – there’s already a media advertising campaign underway, promoting the deal. In full page advertisements in both of Melbourne’s major metro dailies yesterday and on whatever commercial radio station was piped over the call waiting queue at my local GP clinic today.

        It’s highly unlikely that this advertising material is going to be seen or heard in Teheran, Kabul or Columbo where people are making decisions about whether to take the plane/boat trip to Christmas Island, Ashmore Reef or the Kimberley Coast. It’s entirely for domestic consumption. Another indication that K Rudd’s policy announcement on Friday was primarily for domestic consumption and that what matters isn’t how it plays in Tehran, Kabul or Columbo but how it plays with (I believe) a small, far from select, audience in Eden-Monaro and similar electorates.

        And, just to make things quite explicit, I don’t believe that small, far from select, audience comprises all of the voters in Eden-Monaro; merely enough that both the ALP and the LNP coalition believe that their votes will swing the seat.

        And, naive Pollyannaish sod that it might make me, I prefer to believe that, however critical the party strategists might think them, they’re nowhere near being the majority of the Australian voting population. No matter how deeply John Howard might have entrenched that belief inside the Parliament Circle echo-chamber.

  19. john r walker says:

    Christ, after watching SBS we said to each other, “this government runs concentration camps…. “

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