Gillard wins what?

Today’s story by Phillip Coorey in today’s Sydney Morning Herald reads: Gillard wins ALP backing on asylum. Details provide:

JULIA GILLARD’S hopes of reviving the Malaysia plan are hanging by a thread with the opposition agreeing to consider her plea to support legislation to overrule the High Court ruling but threatening ultimately to reject it.

Sentiment in the Coalition remains firmly against doing anything that would help the beleaguered government and it will leave it hanging for another week before responding. ”We’re likely to oppose it,” a senior Coalition source said last night.

Therefore the conclusion is that as far as the Opposition is concerned this is all about playing politics rather than helping to provide any solution.

As many here will know, I have often been called a rusted-on however on this occasion I have to admit to some severe misgivings concerning the government’s direction on the asylum seeker issue. On one hand I would have preferred that the government had accepted the decision of the High Court, supported that decision and used this decision as a reason for a more humane treatment of those seeking asylum.

On the other hand I see Julia Gillard’s reasoning to attempt a regional solution to a regional problem. Should the government not attempt anything for fear of failure?

However my greatest misgiving is:

There will also be changes to the laws governing the guardianship of children to overturn severe limitations the High Court placed on the sending back of unaccompanied minors.

To this I am vehemently opposed. The recent High Court ruling indicates that no decision may be taken by the Minister as legal guardian of unaccompanied minors which would be to the minor’s detriment. IF the law was changed, it must follow that it can only be changed to accept that actions taken by the Minister could be to the detriment of the minor – and if so, would this be on the balance of possibility or probability.

That is, there is a possibility that it would be to the child’s detriment or that there is a probability that this would be the case. Neither to me is satisfactory when you are dealing with children who have no other legal guardian except the Minister.

On this issue I am with Senator John Faulkner who stated that the amendments were breaching party rules – that the parliamentary party was entitled to make whatever decisions it wished as long as they were ”not contrary to the platform”.

66 comments on “Gillard wins what?

  1. Min I cannot see why the Gillard government cannot implement onshore processing whilst still seeking a regional framework. Yes the boats will come, but they will always be a fraction of the annual migrant intake yet in the meantime proper and humane regional processing centres can be established with third party oversight.

    When established those processed through a regional centre could be given priority over those who come by boat and it will soon get around that it’s better to go to a regional centre than to put you fate into the hands of a people smuggler.

  2. Mobius, a problem that I see with a regional processing centre in Malaysia is that people will still leave Indonesia by boat and will still need to be intercepted before being taken to Malaysia.

    Clearly the ideal would be a regional processing centre in Indonesia thereby lopping the people smugglers off completely – however Indonesia has shown no will whatsoever in this regard..we are dealing with a country which does not treat people smuggling (for any reason) as a serious issue.

  3. You missed the point in your first paragraph and it’s the one the MSM are missing, probably deliberately so.

    Did I say Malaysia? No I said regional framework in place. A regional framework is exactly that, a chain of centres in those local regions where the prepondance of refugees congregate to. That would inlcude Malaysia and Indonesia, but not exclusively those two countries.

    If Malaysia is the first then so be it but it shouldn’t be the exclusive regional processing centre and with Malaysia or any other country setup all efforts should be made to bring other countries into the network.

    In the meantime though all processing should be done onshore and that should never stop even when a regional framework is in place. Australia should be just one more country in the regional network. The way to reduce the boats coming here is to make it more attractive to be processed in a regional country other than Australia and fly the genuine refugees here.

  4. Well this is a problem of the ALP’s own making. We had a system which while not great did work in 2007.

    However Labor said we needed to be more humane and caring and they dismantled the Pacific Solution and we have had trouble ever since.

    My understanding is that neither side wants onshore processing because if a refugee’s claim is rejected they will appeal to the courts and clog up the system. It will be a boon for lawyers however.

    If we have onshore processing it will just become a race to see who can get here first to get one of those 14,000 places.

  5. Mobius, Indonesia won’t wear it..Rudd has been trying to get some joy from them for years now. High level discussions, the Indonesians nod wisely and do nothing.

  6. Which brings me to another point about Abbott’s turning back the boats – the Indonesians would not be impressed at all – once the boats leave their shores and enter Australian waters they see this as essentially ‘our problem’, which it is of course.

  7. Neil, the January High Court ruling stated that whether onshore or offshore that refugee applicants should have access to the Australian Courts. JWH clearly excised Australian territory with this in mind, aka deny people the right to apply through the justice system. The High Court ruled in January that this was unlawful.

  8. In the meantime though all processing should be done onshore and that should never stop even when a regional framework is in place.

    I agree

    I also liked Clarke and Dawe’s (and my) idea about sending a boat to these countries to bring them here. The processing can begin once they book their place, so by the time they actually get here, the process will be well under way.

    Or is that just pie in the sky thinking?

  9. Also, as I said elsewhere, this is possibly the worst decision (imo) that Labor have made. The biggest problem though, it will probably be the one thing that actually gains them support in the electorate 😦

  10. Yes Min those advocating a back to past in Howard’s solution forget it was beginning to fail as word got out that nearly all those who went to Nauru were sent onto Australia and important aspects of Howard’s legislation had been ruled illegal so he would have had to change it to what Rudd did anyway.

  11. Tom, that is an excellent idea. We seemed to be heading in that direction at one time. The things that you don’t read about in the MSM include (and I had to go to Canada for this one!)

    7. Our cooperation with Indonesia, a key transit country for Irregular Maritime Arrivals to Australia, is particularly strong. Since September 2008, 190 people smuggling ventures involving approximately 4,753 people have been successfully disrupted by Indonesian authorities and 117 alleged people smuggling-related arrests have been made. Australia’s provision of training, funding, equipment and intelligence to Indonesia contributes to operational successes.

    8. In March 2010, Australia and Indonesia concluded an Implementation Framework for Cooperation to Combat People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons which underpins our bilateral cooperation.

    9. Australia has also maintained a positive working relationship with Malaysia on these issues. The Malaysia-Australia Working Group on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons was established in 2009 and it enhances our cooperation, including through intelligence sharing, legal cooperation and capacity building activities. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies enjoy close working relationships.

  12. “beginning to fail”


    We had 6 people in detention in 2007. ALP MP Danby said Christmas Island was a white elephant.

    In your dreams.

  13. Nauru was a deterrent?

    Under the Pacific solution, 96 per cent of asylum seekers resettled from Nauru and Manus Island ended up in Australia or New Zealand.

    And this of course was MINUS the recent High Court ruling that refugee applications should have access to the Australian Courts, which contradicts the idea that they will ‘clog up’ the court system..they were obviously found to be genuine refugees minus any requirement to apply through the court system.

  14. We had 6 people in detention in 2007.

    It appears that one high court challenge would have changed that pretty quickly.

    Yes Min, the Government looked like they were heading in the right direction, and the Malaysia deal, while not a very perfect solution, was just a step in the right direction. (ie, working in hte region)

    They appear to have jumped in the wrong direction here though.

  15. Tom, I sadly concur. However, I don’t go along with the MSM that the government stuffed up the legislation but rather the government had no way of knowing that the High Court would rule contra to a previous Federal Court opinion.

    I am completely against any alteration to the High Court’s ruling pertaining to unaccompanied minors and I know that a good many rusted-ons feel the same..too many years spent working with organisations such as ChilOut and lobbying for children to be released from behind razor wire.

    And importantly although a Labor government might promise to treat children humanely, it should also be remembered that any future government will also inherit this legislation. Sorry Labor but while Ruddock and Abbott are still around I would not give them any potential additional power over anyone, much less children.

  16. I am completely against any alteration to the High Court’s ruling pertaining to unaccompanied minors and I know that a good many rusted-ons feel the same

    METOO!! 😦

  17. Good question, Min.

    Well, she wins time. Even a week is useful for someone in her situation.

    As well, surely even the uncertainty will be a deterrent for some asylum seekers contemplating buying an Australia bound berth on a fishing boat?

    It’s a good look over here! Even the HSU scandal is getting slightly less attention. And the carbon tax!

    I thought Nick Xenophon did a good job for the government in the senate last night. I wonder what Abbott will have to say about all that. Perhaps he’ll have to wait until he knows how Cardinal Pell and the Holy See respond.

  18. Does anybody find it disconcerting to find that they are hoping tabot actually does votes against the Government?

    Personally, I think he is just grandstanding, until the full implication of what kind of free reign he will have should the unthinkable happen is explained to him.

  19. Nauru was beginning to fail and the Howard government knew it as they were proposing legislative changes. Word was out via the people smugglers to the asylum seekers in the region that if you got to Nauru you had a greater than 90% chance of getting to Australia.

    The choice for them was either stay in squalid camps for five or more years or goto Nauru and stay in better coditions for two to five years with a very high chance of getting to Australia.

    Nauru was no longer a deterrent, and I guess it was really never setup to be. It was a place to park asylum seekers out of sight for periods of time and deny access to anyone other than the government allowed. Nauru was all about winning an election and had little to do with stopping the boats.

    And Nauru is again about winning an election and nothing to do with stopping boats. If Gillard had proposed Nauru upfront before Abbott had muted it then Abbott would now be going on about Malaysia as a processing centre.

  20. “Nauru was beginning to fail and the Howard government knew it ”

    Too bad the facts do not agree.

    We had 6 people in detention in 2007.

    This whole refugee problem is a creation of the ALP and Kevin Rudd who changed the laws in 2008 saying they were a more humane govt.

    Gillard has no idea what to do.

    The current policy is to have a boat race to see who can get here first to get one of those 14,000 places

  21. The current policy is to have a boat race to see who can get here first to get one of those 14,000 places

    … and what happens if you are number 14,001??

  22. Sorry the facts do back that up Neil, but you chose to ignore them.

    Tell us how Abbott’s Nauru solution will be successful now?

  23. Mobius it fulfilled Howard’s rhetoric about “coming down hard” on asylum seekers and “we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances….” when the fact remains that 98% of those on Nauru were found to be genuine refugees and settled in either Australia or NZ.

  24. TB, I personally don’t like their chances. The lawyers for the people smugglers are arguing that this is no different than say the French Resistance who likewise engaged in ‘people smuggling’. The lawyers I believe would have difficulty arguing that one given that the asylum seekers are paying passengers so it could hardly be argued that they are performing ‘a public service’.

  25. Maybe I am missing something. The only one pushing for Nauru is Mr.Abbott and Mr. Morrison. Mr. Ruddock said it might not work again.

    The President of Nauru said in NZ that he is not in the habit of talking to Mr. Abbott. Could he be saying he is sick of Mr. Abbott using his country as a political football.

    The truth is that Nauru belongs in the past.

    In the ideal world, the best option is onshore processing, getting the people into the community as quickly as possible.

    Sadly we do not live in the ideal world.

    It appears with what is coming out of the UNCHR, the regional proposition is not a figment out of the mind of the PM.

    It is something that many have been working for many years.

    Malaysia, who has much bigger problem than us is keen for the regional solution to continue. I see no reason that Indonesia do not come on board for similar reasons.

    The truth is that Australia is accepting it’s responsibility. We are being committed to taking many more from this reason.

    Mr. Abbott has said that the Nauru solution is a package. Processing on Nauru. Bring back temporary visas. Turn back the boats.

    None of his plan is viable today. If anyone disagrees, tell me why it is viable today.

    We need to remember that many of these children are nearly eighteen when they become adults.

    I suspect many are travelling with family friends, especially any that are very young.

    The State Ministers that are responsible as guardians for state wards carry out their responsibilities by having individual case plans devised for the wards by nominated departments.

    It would not be hard for this to happen in regard to the unaccompanied minors. They could be educated under student visas and sent to Malaysia once they turned eighteen. I cannot see why similar plans could not be carried out in Malaysia until they are eighteen.

    The minister has to guarantee the well being and safety of the minors.

  26. CU, the difficulty with Indonesia is that they do not perceive people smuggling as a serious fact there is tradition hundreds of years old of people smuggling being a profession especially in the Straits of Malacca area.

    While it would be a significant step for Indonesia to allow the Australian navy to enter and police their waters, there are precedents for these types of co-operative naval operations, of which the counter-piracy operations off Somalia are one example.

    The above was written in 2009, the co-operation from Indonesia is yet to be forthcoming.

  27. The best solution for now is onshore processing, while they quietly work away in the background for a regional solution.

    The government can retrieve the situation if they take a deep breath, a step back and look at the big picture. And listen to what people are saying.

  28. Min, I am aware of that. What I am suggesting that Indonesia also have refugees that are not welcome. I could be wrong, many through Malaysia.

    If the truth was known, they probably not fussed if many leave by boat.

    It is not unreasonable to believe that they also would be opened to a deal that seen us take more by plane in return to taking back those who come by boat.

    This fits in with a genuine regional solution.

    Neil, why was Mr. Howard pending millions on new facilities Christmas Island if the problem was solved.

    I suggest, he knew that all that had occurred was a temporary pause at the most.

    Nauru came about, not because of ant great plan but because the PM of the time was angry because a certain ship captain refused to leave people in the water, and did as the law allowed him, took the people to Christmas Island.

    Mr Howard more though spite than good planning told his Foreign Minister to find a country, any country to take them..

  29. I think that a problem is that the people in Indonesia have not been assessed therefore there would be no way of knowing whether these people who we might be flying to our shores were or were not genuine refugees. I should imagine that a free flight might encourage drug runners and sex workers to try their luck, especially in Indonesia where the bribing of local officials is a way of life.

    Unfortunately Indonesia fairly promptly knocked back the idea that they would enter into a scheme similar to that of Malaysia. They said that they might look at it sometime in the future though.

  30. I am watching PM Gillard introduce the Carbon tax legislation into the house of reps. As TV shows Tony Abbott isn’t even bothered to be in the house!
    So why complain!

    Will the MSM report this fact.

  31. PM received applause from the public galleries.
    More applause for the PM as she leaves the chamber and Combet stands to introduce other climate Bills.

  32. Min, I believe many have been assessed. We have agree to take from there in the past. The problem is we did not keep our word or at the very least were slow doing so.

    We have to take more, to slow down the boats. Indonesia has to be a part of any regional solution. Indonesia, I believe have many fewer than Malaysia.

    I believe we assist Indonesia in caring for refugees.

    I was wondering why the house was so quiet.

    I wonder if Mr Abbott realise it was being televised.

    Many would take this action either as rudeness or lack of guts. Maybe both.

    The truth is the only power he has is to pull stunts. Like the toddler who throws a tantrum, he will change nothing.

  33. Mr. Abbott is absent, talking to the workers, accompanied by Mirabella. Nothing new in his speech. still the up, up, up etc.

    We are having a media enquiry. Abbott upset.

    He doesn’t support Malaysia.

    Mr. Abbott is not having much suggest this morning.

    All he can do is whinge and name call.

  34. Abbott had to be at a press conference at a small business in Hume

    another business that could feel the effects of being an abbott supporter, hume is a canberra electorate

    Abbott has announced that the govt has said, there is to be a media inquiry, the naughty bullying government blah blah blah

  35. CU
    did you here that one
    ” the govt is on a witch hunt with the media.”
    Gee fancy name calling the murdoch press witches

  36. bad look for abbott looks like something hanging from his nostril
    i know he has been frothing at the mouth but………..ewwwwwww

  37. Sue, spot on, blah blah blah.

    Personally, I think this a bad move on his part. I do not believe he take into account that it would e televised.

    Parliamentary Budget Office. Does not meet his approval.. Another broken promise.

    Repeating all that he said before. Why not tape it and play it over and over.

  38. CU
    one intrepid reporter did ask if he could actually DO ANYTHING to have more time for debate on the Bills
    he just rambled after that question . so in a word you understand abbott NO

  39. Govt accused of trying to railroad carbon debate

    The above item headlines ABC News online, were asking for comments, the majority of bloggers were against Abbotts stance on this matter, all of a sudden the comment page vanished.

  40. CU, I will stand corrected on this one but the refugees coming from Indonesia have not been assessed…hence the need to assess them once they arrive in Australia.

    In 2009 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees set up a base in Indonesia (not sure exactly where in Indonesia), and I’m not certain as to it’s progress.

  41. Yeah, the naughty government has just sprung this legislation on the opposition. They had absolutely no idea this was going to happen! You can tell this is right, after all if they’d known they would have been out and about campaigning against the ………… Oh wait!

    And we’re to have a media enquiry? Yay! I wish that slug Hildebrand had known that when he was on QandA last night. He mightn’t have been quite as pleased with himself. I wonder if the shredders at Ltd News are working overtime?

    Sue, my question is will the Liars Party even bother turning up to debate the legislation?

  42. Crowey, an interesting phenomenon indeed..the mysterious case of the comments page.

    **I’ve put up a quick (and I do mean quick) Topic on the Carbon Tax issue.

  43. Yes, Crowey. That’s a bad habit that some moderators have! To my shame I have done it myself very recently here at Cafe Whispers when the Hard Labor For the Innocent thread wasn’t going in the direction I’d hoped!

    I hereby apologise to Min and other bloggers for its abrupt termination! Beyond the two expert opinions I already had from TPS and few more generally sympathetic comments, even at my own site I didn’t get anything like the focus or intensity of debate I had hoped for around the issue of Zoe Thomson’s well being. People just simply wanted to talk about the rights and wrongs of the HSU scandal or politics in general.

    That may be a little different from what Crowey is talking about, but it does show how moderators everywhere can influence debate. Many moderators don’t have to end the discussion as I did, or as Crowey observed at the ABC website. They delay publication and select comments they like before they are published, so one never really knows how much the site reflects the opinion of readers.

    Which I guess vindicates this site’s policy of immediate publication and non- interference or censorship except in extreme cases of bad taste, personal abuse or potential libel. Keep up the good work, Min..

  44. jane
    the shredders probably started as soon as they hung up the phone
    and how was it that abbott announced the government’s intention on an inquiry before the news sites had it.
    murky press must have phoned abbott before the shredders started

  45. Sue! Abbott MIA!!!

    I guess that really proves it. He doesn’t have a pair!

    Or maybe Labor provided him with some. Just for the day. .

  46. (I’m still not altogether sure it’s such a bad thing that the focus and intensity of political debate didn’t occur, and hopefully won’t occur, around the issue of Zoe Thomson and her specific wellbeing, all things generally considered; but that’d just be an argument going to moderation, I guess.)

  47. patricia, I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the potential risks to Zoe Thomson and her baby, but It probably was a limited discussion; we all agreed that the health risks were high and that we were angered and disgusted that these two innocents are being victimised for base political advantage.

    Having said that, I suppose a letter or email of support for the Thomsons might be a good idea. They may feel better able to withstand the storm of hypocrisy being unleashed.

  48. patriciawa
    i do like your wicked mind

    in QT today after a slinging match across the table, the PM told the house that Yabbott was upset because the PM spoke to him in a vile way, so how could he support her in passing legislation.
    PM called yabbott a “poor petal”

    oh patriciawa, yabbott would be upset with our observation

  49. Just read a piece in Politically Homeless that contends that Gillard might be angling for onshore processing.

    It goes along the lines Gillard has angled it so that Abbott to get offshore processing through must give bipartisan support to her legislation, which everyone knows Mr Negabore for no other reason than to be negative and not allow the government a policy success, which has led to 188+ policy successes, will not do.

    So on the failure to get her offshore legislation through Gillard now will go to the Greens and Indies with an onshore proposal. If she gets that and writes the legislation to be watertight then it will be one more policy he will have to unravel if he wins government and will only be able to do so if he has a majority in both houses.

    The aim may have been to angle for onshore processing all along.

  50. From Alan Kohler….

    The supreme irony in the Government’s High Court disaster over the “Malaysia solution” is that it results not from its own incompetence but from that of the Coalition.

    What’s more it looks like Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will get a big political free kick by helping Julia Gillard to fix John Howard’s mistakes.

    The amendments passed hurriedly in 2001 to support the Howard government’s “Pacific solution” following its refusal to allow Afghan refugees on board the MV Tampa into Australia were poorly drafted.

  51. Trouble with Kohler’s contention is that it assumes Abbott will support Gillard’s policy amendment and so far he has categorically stated he won’t. Abbott has put all his eggs in the Nauru basket and rather than fixing Howard’s flawed (as was just about all his legislation) policy, Abbott is proposing to go completely back to it.

  52. ME @8.14am 14 September, that’s a very interesting hypothesis and one I like. If accurate, it would have to be the political wedge to end political wedges. And the government can put it all down to Liar’s Party intransigence. Fantasticerer!!

  53. I think that I’ve made it plain that I am not happy about changes to the Migration Act. No, I don’t have any suggestions about a solution for the people smuggling problem…Julia does, a regional processing centre but at the expense of watering down the human rights of asylum seekers.

    But, are we looking at a double-wedge here..

    <blockquoteHowever, it is unlikely Mr Abbott will agree to endorse the legislation, a move which will leave the Government no option but to process asylum seekers on Australian soil.

    Bingo. We will have onshore processing, and it will all be Tony Abbott’s fault.

  54. Pingback: Abbott wins what? « Café Whispers

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