Onshore: the right place for refugees

Today we wake up with something that refugee advocates have been aiming for ever since one John Winston Howard sort to utilize the issue of asylum seekers who arrive by boat as a method of political point scoring – to prove that he was “tough on terrorism”.

Howard and cronies held these people as examples of the inherent dangers of these sorts of people, after all they did throw their children overboard didn’t they. Where was the outrage from the mainstream media who sat there blandly and did nothing more than their smiling noddies while Phillip Ruddock pronounced that although such practices as lip-sewing were alien to our culture that these could be likened to body-piercing.

Thus demonised, it was deemed that “these people” these irregular boat arrivals should be placed as far away from public view as conceivably possible, and if desert camps in Australia weren’t invisible enough then clearly way way out of sight such as Nauru would do the trick.

The cracks in the Migration Act and the application of it as per the Howard years commenced with the High Court ruling that asylum seekers should have recourse to the Australian justice system, this being precisely what Howard tried to avoid by the excising of the islands and offshore processing.

This brings us to where we now are and I refer again to the opinion of Frank Brennan, Professor of Law at the Australian Catholic University and Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales.

No government can engage with legal certainty in offshore processing without first having Parliament amend s.198A. If there be no amendment of the Act, government must expect a legal challenge to any proposal for offshore processing wherever the announced destination. The legal challenge would commence in the High Court but probably be referred back to the Federal Court for a trial on the factual issues of protection and adequate processing. There would then be an appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court followed by an application for special leave to the High Court.

The amendment as presented to parliament yesterday was always destined to not proceed because even if Tony Crook had chosen to support it, it would then have been defeated in the Senate, given that neither the Greens nor the LNP would have supported it. And then as per Frank Brennan, even if at some later date any amendment was passed by both Houses of Parliament it would have been challenged by refugee advocates via another High Court challenge. Whether the High Court would have gone against “the spirit of” their August ruling is highly unlikely in my opinion.

Unless the legislation is changed there can no longer be any offshore processing and in spite of whatever Tony Abbott might say, this includes Nauru.

Yesterday saw the decision by the government to present amendments to the Act rather than withdrawing them in spite of the fact that they knew that one way or the other that these amendments were bound to fail. The strategy here is obvious, if the government had not presented the amendments Tony Abbott would have pronounced it as “a failure of” the government to try to “tackle the difficult issues”.

I think that we are all aware of the rhetoric which would have naturally followed.

And so where are we now? We now have onshore processing and because of the reasons stated by Frank Brennan.

The bill will now sit idle in the House.

Prime Minister Gillard says the Government’s proposed amendments will remain on the parliamentary notice paper until the Opposition is prepared to back them.

“The Leader of the Opposition is fond of saying that I should make various phone calls [to Nauru],” she said.

“If the Leader of the Opposition wants offshore processing for Australia… He needs to ring this Prime Minister and vote for the amendments.

“We are at real risk as a result of Mr Abbott’s conduct of seeing more boats and that will put pressure on the detention network.”

In what will be considered by advocates to be an improvement of some substance to government policy, bridging visas which have always been used as a matter of course for irregular air arrivals, will be used for those who arrive by boat. The Gillard government has also announced that it will honor its commitment to take the 4,000 already processed refugees which is part of its now ‘idle’ Malaysia deal.

93 comments on “Onshore: the right place for refugees

  1. …. and we wake up to the death of Labor. Tony Abbott single handedly has exposed the stupidity of this government’s Border “Policy” and the governments grubby capitulation to the greens.
    Palliative care only for this government until it is forced to the polls.
    Next NewsPoll I am tipping sub 25.

  2. Excellent point by Amnesty International, that every other western democratic country which is a signatory to the convention all have onshore processing.

  3. As I have previously mentioned there are 80 million people in Bangladesh most of who live 2 meters or less above sea level. As the sea level rises, many will be looking for a boat to “escape” (good business opportunity for some Somali pirates).
    Those in favor of giving succour to illegal migration will no doubt say “because of our role in global warming we have a moral responsibility to house, feed and educate these 40 million or so desperately poor Muslim refugees”
    Of course we could accommodate this number, some Liberal Party capitalists could even turn a profit from all that cheap labour.
    At what point do we say we have the right to refuse entry to desperate people?
    There are some desperate times ahead and tough choices to be made.
    Encouraging those who ignore the rules to move here means these same people will ignore our rule of law upon arrival (Sharia Law anyone?).
    That is a recipe for anarchy (the bad kind). Remember failure of civilised human behaviour is just 36 hours without food or water away.

  4. Luna, as has been mentioned by Amnesty International, Australia’s refugee ‘problem’ is indeed miniscule compared with the rest of the world. Due to our isolation alone only an extremely small number of people from today’s “hot spots” make it as far as Australia’s shores. If a country as wealthy as Australia considers it a huge imposition to process these few..then heaven help us in the future.

  5. Unfortunately the Ombudsman has made himself the story on immigration rather than being an impartial observer. I did find this comment by Abetz, self serving,

    “Opposition frontbencher Eric Abetz agreed that it was sometimes ”appropriate” for witnesses appearing before parliamentary committees to script their own questions and organise to have politicians ask them ”

    Ah Godwin where are you now and do you still hold your PS pension? Or maybe Alan Asher has a spot for you on the team!

  6. Sue, treat me gently..but isn’t the Ombudsman just saying that he will need additional funding? And he’s right, he most likely will.

  7. Min
    The ombudsman is supposed to be independent, in this instance he has decided to become a political player. The Ombudsman can rightfully release press statements but he chose not to, he as did Grech approached a politician to influence a senate committee. He has broken the Public Service rules and as such has destroyed the impartiality of the Office of Ombudsman.
    As a citizen would you feel confident in approaching his Office knowing that the Ombudsman has tied himself to a political organisation?

  8. Min
    now for the funny side Abetz and Hanson-Young now will be linked in political history. who could have guessed that lol

  9. Even funnier as shown in the piece from the Canberra Times and this needs shouting

  10. This is probably my biggest dislike, the way that Abbott says duh whatever and the MSM repeat it as if it’s God’s own truth..

    As the Prime Minister renewed her commitment to her Malaysian people swap, the Opposition Leader accused her of caving in to Greens policy by shelving offshore processing entirely.


    And just watch my eyes glaze over while Tony Abbott dones on (yet again) that “the government has lost control of our borders”.

  11. OMG, let’s be afraid, be very afraid…

    “This week we have seen the Gillard government adopt Greens policy twice.

    “First they’ve got the carbon tax, which is Bob Brown’s policy, now they’ve got onshore processing, which is Bob Brown’s policy.”

    Quick Tony you had better rush out for a Benedictine cross..that is known to ward off evil spirits.

  12. Memo to Tony Abbott, we know the Prime Minister is intelligent, but she is not clairvoyant…..

    The Prime Minister’s Climate Change speech


    Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise
    by: Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan From: The Australian August 20, 2010 12:00AM

    JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.

    THIS IS NOW…..

    Win right for Julia Gillard, but anger growing
    by: Dennis Shanahan, Political editor From: The Australian October 13, 2011 12:00AM

    But Labor’s defiant declaration that the tax could not be repealed may prove as toxic as Gillard’s initial decision to break the promise there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.

    Mr. Shanahan also wrote:-
    The decision to introduce a carbon tax despite Gillard’s pre-election undertakings is the most damaging she has taken since becoming Prime Minister almost 16 months ago. Large sections of the public feel betrayed and are expressing bitter anger towards Gillard and Labor.

    Pre-election undertakings ??

    That would be when the PM said she was prepared to legislate a price on carbon in the next term.

    Bald-face lies from self-important wankers !!

  13. Lunalava,

    I must say I share some of your concerns.

    If non-orthodox immigration were to be constrained by the natural impediments to the sorts of numbers that we have traditionally seen then I can’t see a problem (for us).

    At some point beyond that however, domestic tolerance threshholds will be breached, aided and abetted by shock jocks and political opportunists, and you will begin to see the uglier side of the fair-go society up on its hind legs.

    It’s why I thought the Malaysian solution was such a good idea: no more drownings, an opportunity for refugees who didn’t have the means to pay people smugglers, and a more regulated inflow within the capacity constraints.

    The world is not a happy place at the moment. I guess the next 12 months or so will give us some indication of where we’re headed.

    I might just add that I am personally quite troubled by my own qualified compassion: “a few is fine, but..” I’m not Jesus Christ.

  14. Mangrove re “domestic tolerance threshholds will be breached, aided and abetted by shock jocks and political opportunists.”

    And does it matter?

    I think that one point that has been completely overlooked is that via the Malaysia solution the deal was to take processed refugees who would take precedence over non-processed people.

    This in its turn is the reason why the Malaysia solution was an humanitarian one..to take people who have been ‘in the queue’ and already processed over the people who haven’t. And also as a deterrent, as the people smugglers would not have been able to guarantee anything other than to ‘join the queue’ in Malaysia.

  15. A history lesson most need to revisit.

    “…….Peter Reith – “it’s as clear as day ….” “they’have also got film … someone has looked at it, and it is an absolute fact – children were thrown into the water.”

    Philip Ruddock – “more disturbingly a number of children have been thrown overboard”…. “clearly planned and premeditated”

    John Howard – ”There is something to me incompatible between somebody who claims to be a refugee and somebody who would throw their own child into the sea. It offends the natural instinct of protection and delivering security and safety to your children.”

    I will refrain from detailing the record of Mr Howard’s government (or the current government) when it comes to how well they have acted on this “natural instinct of protection and delivering security and safety to children”.

    Mr Howard also said “I don’t want people like that in Australia.” As it turned out, the vast majority of the refugees on the boat in question (known as SIEV 4) did settle in Australia (while Mr Howard was still Prime Minister). Not one of them has ever received an apology by any of the above people for being so publicly, repeatedly and grievously slurred by our nation’s leaders.

    I know who I would rather be sharing my country with.

    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I have a view that if you say something publicly to or about a person that they have good reason to find offensive, you apologise – particularly if the basis of your comment turns out to be false.

    There are so many words one could use to describe this continuing absence of apology – the very faintest criticism one could use would be describe it as ‘bad manners’. But even suggesting a simple apology is in order would probably still be attacked as ‘political correctness’ or an assault on ‘free speech’…………..”



    I have just listened to Virginia interviewing Mr. Abbott on ABC24 early show. For once she asked questions and queried his answers. His slogans did not come over that well.

    Virginia pushed Mr. Abbott on why Nauru would succeed, saying things are not the same as they were five years ago. Mr. Abbott mumbled something but was unable to answer. He went on with one slogan after anothr. Boring.

    I believe the PM was excellent on ABC 702 at 8.30. She answered the question put to her in a forthright manner. The PM took pains to point out that the fate of the asylum seekers and stopping the boats are two separate issues.

    It angers me to hear the government has suffered a humiliating back down, and that the PM should have known better.

    i am quite sure the PM knew exactly what the likely outcome would be. I am also sure that the PM believed it was worth while making the attempt.

    Whether Mr. Abbott likes it or not, he has a role in getting solutions to the problem.

    Mr. Abbott is wrong, the PM has not lost control of her party. We are not in danger of being invaded, our borders are safe. The PM has not lost control of the parliament. The PM cannot get the legislation she wants because of situation beyond her control. Mr. Abbott also cannot get what he wants.

    The final result, which has not sunk into Mr. Abbott’s head is that the final result will go down well with a great many people from all sides of th political fence.

  16. CU, of course..the government knew exactly what the result of the amendment to the Migration Act would be..even blind Freddie could have worked that one out.

    As per the topic, even IF it had got through the House of Reps then it would NEVER have got through the Senate. And then even if a miracle had occured and it got through both Houses, then it would have been defeated via a High Court challenge.

    All the rest is Blah and political points scoring…

  17. CU you are being a bit too generous with “…particularly if the basis of your comment turns out to be false.”
    They knew they were lying at the time they said those words. To say they were later proved wrong on the basis of additional information is compounding the lie.

  18. The PM made a point to day, when told that it was not up to Mr. Abbott to allow things through parliaments.

    The PM’s answer was that we are all elected to do what is good for the people and nation.

    Maybe this is true. I cannot remember a time that an opposition opposed everything. There were times when both sides were proud to put their names to some legislation.

    Migration up to Mr. Howard was considered to be bi-partisan.

    It was fun watching Mr. Hewson commenting on the PM’s so called inability to sell policy. I believe he had great trouble in the past, doing that himself. Mr. Keating won the unwinnable election because of his lack of skills.

  19. Catching Up,

    This government has not had a humiliating backdown but what else did we expect because there is no other way that the MSM would have called it. When will we read about how the opposition has suffered a cruel blow to it’s offshore processing policy. The answer is, we won’t.

  20. LUNA, i am not so generous. That comment came from Mr. Bartlett’s article.

    It does amaze me that one alleged and proven not to be lie by this PM warrants all the hate she gets. The alleged lie, even if it was Alie, does not amount to much. The worse that could be said, the lady assessed the situation and changed her mind.
    The lies of the Howard government’s reign were of a different nature. They also maligned people. They have never been apologise for.

  21. I would like to point out, the numbers of boat people arriving at out borders have been declining. Less than half has come this year, compared with last year. There have been fewer, not more as one would expect in the last few weeks.

    Maybe the Christmas Island tragedy has something to do with this, as I am sure the Siev X did.

    I wonder if at the same time, the numbers entering Indonesia and Malaysia have also declined. If this is so, no matter what the government does or not do, we will have fewer boats.

  22. By the way, the government has not been doing nothing in the last few months. They have quietly in an ordered manner moved over two thousand into the community.

    I will now expect the media and the Opposition to come up with stories of how disastrous this has been, with the aim of stirring up trouble in the areas these people have been settled.

    By the way, doing this is 92% cheaper than keeping them in detention behind wire.

    There also has been upgrade of the efforts being made in Indonesia to stop the boats before they leave. There have been many arrests. it is now a crime in that country to be involved in the trade.

    As have said before, this PM is a doer, not a talker.

  23. CU, I should add that the cost of offshore processing is money far better spent in tackling the people smuggling trade in Indonesia.

    I should add, there are a number of people on the Left suggesting that there should be an end to mandatory detention and if anyone cares to question me on this one I am happy to provide the reason..from a legal point of view plus my own opinion.

  24. I am a little puzzle by what the Ombudsman was about. It is claimed he had spoken to the government but they refuse to give an answer. It appears he believes he is short of money.

    It was my understanding tat when one goes before a Senate Committee, one first makes a statement before being questioned by senators.

    Why did he not raise his concerns in his statement. Why did he make arrangements for a Green senator to ask questions he framed on his behalf.

    I can only believe he was playing politics with the aim of hurting the Gillard government.

  25. “the Left suggesting that there should be an end to mandatory detention ..”

    I do not like mandatory detention but there might be an argument for it when people first arrive.

    This detention should be brief. No more than say a month. Every other country manages to cope without indefinite detention.

    I would like someone to ask Mr. Keating what he hoped to see when he first introduced mandatory detention.

    I would like to know if Mr. Keating condones how mandatory detention has been used over the last decade.

  26. CU..and I’m certain that I’m not telling you that which you don’t already know…mandatory detention must be for ‘as long as it takes’. Boat arrivals come here minus a visa, minus ID and so it must be established exactly who they are.

    It takes some time to get back to Afghanistan.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere you cannot just release people who arrive minus any ID into the community…a complete can of worms.

    For example, an imaginary scenario: A 21yr old girl arrives by boat..who is she, who sent her here and under what conditions. Has she been coerced to come to Australia, has she been paid to come to Australia? Or is she a genuine refugee. Until a person can have their IDs checked an verified then no one should be released into the community.

  27. Yes Min, but as we found out yesterday, that detention does not have to be behind barb wire. What they are doing now, is allowing them into the community in what they are labelling community detention.

    It was said by Micheal Rapier this morning that those who lose their case for asylum accept it better than those behind the wire. I suspect it is because they are not in a community of angry people, waitingfor their own decisions to back them up. It is hard to defy when you are one alone.

    This is the way we treat those who come by plane.

    I just do not know how the department manages to make any assessments, when the camps are so far away from civilisation.

    The cost must be huge and unneccessary.

    We are not a big population and it would be hard for anyone to hide, unless you are say, Irish from Liverpool. Even they get caught in the end.

  28. The PM effectively told Mr. Abbott yesterday, the choice is onshore processing or Malaysia.

    Mr. Abbott was told that Nauru was not on the table and was not an option.

    It is not an option, as the experts do not believe it is viable.

    The PM has stated clearly that her preferred option is Malaysia and she will continue working toward that end.

    The PM has also clearly stated that they will continue to work with those in the region to bring and end to the boat trade.

    The PM pointed out that the asylum seekers and the boat trade were separate issues.

    The PM said that we are mainly dealing with genuine refugees.

    In other words, they are not as they have been portrayed in the past, criminals and terrorist. They are people fleeing terror.

    In other words you do not use asylum seekers as a tool to end the boat trade. That has what being occurring for over a decade.

  29. Geoff, the only one who has succumbed to his own stupidity and hypocrisy is Sir Liealot. But never mind, we’ll see what they dig up on the Mamdouh Habib scandal. (Link found by NormanK at TPS.)


    MS and Min. I also thought the Malaysia solution was a good one. Processed refugees would have taken precedence. Under Liealot’s Nauru scheme, it would be just out of sight out of their minds!

    Pip @11.37am, that’s the trouble with lying hypocritical wankers, they’ve got very poor memories.

    CU @12.56pm, i suppose it’s comforting that the Liars Party leopard hasn’t changed its spots. They’re still a bunch of mendacious, malevolent scumbags.

    Mr. Abbott is wrong, the PM has not lost control of her party. We are not in danger of being invaded, our borders are safe. The PM has not lost control of the parliament. The PM cannot get the legislation she wants because of situation beyond her control. Mr. Abbott also cannot get what he wants.

    The final result, which has not sunk into Mr. Abbott’s head is that the final result will go down well with a great many people from all sides of th political fence.

    Too right, CU. I think the PM is well in control and that it’s Liealot who’ll soon be in trouble. The only things he can do with any degree of competence are lying (PhD Hons for that), trashing Parliament and personal abuse. Not much of a CV if you want the job as PM, is it?

    Min @1.14pm, agree completely. She had to go for it, although she knew that even if it got through the Lower House, the Green in the senate would have knocked it back. She is one very gutsy lady and as CU so succinctly puts it, “she’s a doer, not a talker”.

    Mandatory detention should be for the purpose of health checks and identity checks etc. I’m in favour of 3 months so that the detainees are given some sort of orientation on life in Australian society and some basic English lessons etc.

  30. Some one on another post said that maybe the PM has her a cake and eaten it to. I agree.

    There is a poll that is seen as a rogue poll but I do not know. The tone of the posts on many sites are changing. There is admiration for the PM guts.

    Good news on poll. Maybe a one off but it is a change. It is a small sample.

    As another site says, this is a bad Opposition, that has achieved nothing. When the poll numbers go, Mr.Abbott has nothing. It would be lovely to see that come true.

    I also believe we will then hear no more calls for an election.


  31. CU thanks for the link to the Morgan poll. It was interesting reading, especially the comments.
    Of interest was that the poll was a face-to-face poll. Morgan also does telephone polling like newspoll, galaxy but apparently ‘telephone’ polls are more favorable to the L – NP.

    I have had my suspicions on the australian and its newspoll, now this may help explain. How to manipulate the readers, and the ABC news.

  32. Jane, another one is that the Nauru solution apart from it being just as unlawful as Malaysia or Manus Island is that Nauru does nothing to address the people smuggling trade. We would be in an identical situation as we have been..the boats make it to Australian territorial waters where they are picked up by the patrol boats. The patrol boats cannot take a vessel thousands of kms to Nauru so no doubt the people would be taken to Christmas Island – and from Christmas Island transported to Nauru.

    Once at Nauru presumably the people would be processed and most would arrive back in Australia as refugees. All of course at great expense – time and money.

  33. Min
    don’t forget, as the libs always do, while on nauru the asylum seekers can now get legal advice, thanks to another high court ruling. as if the libs ever acknowledged, howard, originally banned legal assistance, this has been overturned. it would be helpful if the msm were to ask abbott/morrisson how much would it cost australia in legal aide, ie fly-in, fly-out legal aide.
    msm ask relevant questions, i must be dreaming.

  34. Sue, and not just legal advice but access to the Australian court system. Also the ruling has an impact on unaccompanied minors, that is the Minister as their legal guardian cannot do anything which would be to the detriment of that minor. This basically rules out any offshore processing whatsoever for unaccompanied minors.

    Therefore IF Nauru had gone ahead and even Malaysia for that matter an obvious consequence would be boatloads of children.

  35. Sue, I should add that I don’t think that many people realize exactly where Nauru is…over 4,000km and a 5hr flight on the one plane that visits the island once a week.

  36. Min, Liealot’s pigheadedness on Nauru is just another attempt to trash the government. As you say, there is no real advantage in Nauru.

    They can’t keep asylum seekers locked up there out of sight and going out of their minds, because they have access to the legal system, which means flying lawyers to and fro and asylum seekers to and fro for court appearances-a very costly business

    And the Liars are all for cutting costs or so they say.

    At least with the Malaysia solution, they could be processed there and Malaysia has relaxed its rules wrt employment while refugees are processed. And a dangerous sea voyage is avoided.

    Having said all that, onshore processing is the go for the time being and no doubt arrivals will be allowed to live in the community while their claims are being processed as has been quietly happening for the last 18 months or so.

    This is one of the things that leads me to believe that the PM isn’t too broken hearted about being knocked back.

    I also wonder if Australia could process claims by refugees currently in Malaysia? I believe there are 4,000 people who have had their claims processed and will be brought here.

  37. Jane, I’m certain that this won’t suprise you one little bit but this is how big Abbott’s lie is.

    One of the main points of the High Court ruling is:

    The Court also held that the Minister has no other power under the Migration Act to remove from Australia asylum seekers whose claims for protection have not been determined.

    Therefore the High Court ruling means exactly as the High Court has stated, that no asylum seekers can be removed from Australia. You therefore couldn’t take them to Christmas Island and then transport them to Nauru or anywhere else. At least that’s how I’m reading the High Court ruling…

  38. As an aside, is anybody aware of any further work being done with Malaysia by the Government.

    From what I have read, Malaysia have been co-operating very well with the Australian Government, and it would be a pity if this work was stopped all because of internal politics.

    I note that Australia has held up its end of the bargain to accept the processed refugees, which is a good thing. I just wonder if there was any news of more talk on the regional processing, which shouldn’t be abandoned now just because of the High Court decision. The issue is much larger than just Australia’s own internal laws imo. (Laws which I readily accept btw)

  39. Given the chance to stop the boats
    Abbott preferred to stop the votes
    That Gillard might have got
    With that very clever long shot
    Of hers inviting him to pass a law
    Keeping processing off-shore.

    So which of them has got it right?
    Gillard, in keeping up the fight,
    Which many voters admired as strong
    Though some Labor lefties might think wrong?
    Or Abbott who can’t legitimise Nauru
    Whatever now he tries to do.

    Surely Gillard wins. She has her cake and eats it too!

  40. Tom, I haven’t heard any word about Malaysia at all. I do know that Australia has had zilch success with trying to get Indonesia to address the people smuggling situation. Indonesia simply does not perceive people smuggling as a particularly serious crime and therefore has no will to address the issue.

    Indonesia previously made promises to Australia that they would cooperate with Australia and have to a certain extent however we will not hear about it as the operations have to be covert. I should imagine that this is one reason why the boat arrivals leaving from Indonesia have dropped substantially this year. 132 boats in 2010 and 42 this year..I think that this year’s number is to the end of July.

  41. Tom R
    I did read during the week that Malaysia was still keen to work with Australia on a regional outcome and there was indication that other measures were being looked at. But nothing specific was mentioned.

  42. I think the Malaysian swop was only one part of the on-going discussions within the region about asylum seekers and people smuggling. As the wealthiest but least populated country in the region as well as the most sought after by refugees, many of whom are simply camping in their thousands in countries not well able to absorb them or afford their upkeep, Australia has huge responsibilities. Our willingness to accept those responsibilities is what will ensure cooperation in policing people smuggling. Drug trafficking detection and information exchange is all part of that and seems to me incredibly well advanced compared with the seventies when I first travelled in the region.

  43. I also agree with the sentiment, we just have to gather all the shock jocks in one room and remind them of their responsibility to the world.

    Grow Australia, we have the capacity and space, keep it orderly and productive.

  44. I’ve been doing some thinking. 😯

    As much as I’m in favor of onshore processing I couldn’t bear to put up with the opposition demonizing every boat that comes to our shores and blaming Labor for encouraging them. If they were processed in Malaysia there’d be less ammunition for the opposition.

    I’m totally over the ‘stop the boats’ rant and I feel sick each time I hear it.

    In the perfect world we’d have onshore processing and an opposition that’d drop it as an issue.

    But that ain’t gonna happen. Not with heartless, redneck Abbott at the helm.

  45. “In the perfect world we’d have onshore processing and an opposition that’d drop it as an issue. ”

    This means then that our 14,000 places will go to people who have money to pay a smuggler.

    The Pacific Solution was much better.

    Since both major parties are against onshore processing I can only assume that they have been given strong advice by the Public Service not to do this.

  46. Migs @9.02pm I am or was in favor of the Malaysia solution because it would have meant taking processed refugees first and non-processed asylum seekers would then have to wait their turn. It’s the famous ‘queue’ that the Libs went on and on about.

    The proviso and this was expressed as a concern by many at the Café would have been the humane treatment of the people in Malaysia..reports of canings etc which would have been completely unacceptable. However with Australia’s track record of locking women and children up in desert prisons, we cannot exactly claim the high moral ground in this regard.

  47. Neil, at least to my way of thinking whether or not people have money to pay people smugglers is not the issue – the issue is whether or not people are genuine refugees and of course the answer is yes in the vast majority they are.

    The issue of people smuggling coming via Indonesia remains a concern but I cannot help but think that the $$s which would have been spent on off-shore processing is better spent working with the Indonesians to address this problem. And this is precisely what has been happening with several of the ‘big players’ having been taken into custody this past 12 months.

  48. “Neil, at least to my way of thinking whether or not people have money to pay people smugglers is not the issue ”

    It is with me. It is unfair on refugees who have no money.

    Howards Pacific Solution was much fairer.

  49. Neil, that is a bit hard to ascertain..for example it is well known that people who are ‘in the queue’ and arrive in Australia via our normal intake are at the front of the queue due to their ability to be able to bribe local officials.

  50. Well you appear to have a point.

    It would have been better if Labor did not dismantle the Pacific Solution and we would not be having all these problems.

    I find it ironic that we now have more people in detention than ever and more children in detention than ever and this occurring in a govt which Bob Brown is a member.

    Bob Brown holds the record for the most people in detention while in govt.

  51. Yay!! It only took about 3 years 😀

    The nail was in the coffin of the Pacific Solution when the High Court ruled that asylum seekers should have access to the Australian court system. Howard in enacting the Pacific Solution was attempting another Gitmo..to deny people the right of appeal to the courts. The High Court ruled this unlawful..and this means for any government, Liberal or Labor.

    The situation changes all of the time, for example last year there are a large number of Tamils but this year hardly any.

  52. “to deny people the right of appeal to the courts.”

    I guess this is one of the reasons that some people do not want onshore processing.

    If someone is found not to be a refugee by the authorities he will then take his case to court and clog up our legal system.

  53. Neil, the High Court ruling meant whether onshore or offshore that ALL people would have access to the Australian courts.

    The High Court ruling meant that as soon as any people were in Australian custody that whether in Nauru or Manus Island or anywhere that they were still in Australian custody and thus would have access to our courts.

  54. The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Vivienne Thom, who is heading the inquiry, also acknowledged she is investigating officers from the department of the former attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, about Mr Habib’s treatment.

    The inquiry, ordered by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, late last year, was initially to investigate what Australian agencies – including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ASIO – knew about Mr Habib’s rendition in 2001 and subsequent torture.


  55. Interesting.. We at the Café were speculating about why didn’t Rudd do something about the complete and utter stuff ups under the Howard government, and certainly the rendition of Habib must rate highly.

    Well, it seems that just maybe he did….

  56. It really is sad that public servants have to be investigated because of the actions of a government, but that’s the way Howard operated. He politicized the public service and as we saw in the ‘wheat money’ affair, Downer was able to blame the department.

    Fortunately that governmental behavior is all in the past.

  57. Migs, but the good thing is that Ruddock is no longer the Minister therefore good and dedicated public servants should be able to state exactly where the directives came from.

  58. Min
    PS talk, right, like they were able to talk about the wheat. How were the orders enacted, we are talking about ASIO and FA&T quite a few security levels in that lot, so how much will we the public find out, possibly a bit in 50 years.

  59. “Fortunately that governmental behavior is all in the past.”

    I think labor has politicised the PS. They wheel out Ken Henry whenever it suits.

    It is more like you do not care that Labor has politicised the PS.

    No Conservative trusts Treasury anymore

  60. I am a little annoyed that the leaks of how the government came to its migration action are being portrayed.

    It is being alleged that some in the government wanted Nauru as an option. I read nothing that leads this to be true.

    There were, if the leaks are correct, two options taken to caucus.

    One was that the legislation would seek the right for off shore processing with no countries named.

    The second was that permission be sought; naming Nauru, Malaysia and I think NG.

    There were pros and cons for both options.

    Nauru was put in to tempt Mr. Abbott and make it harder for him to refuse.

    At no time was there any support for Nauru, as is now being portrayed in the media.

    It was also clear that onshore processing, with no increase in detention centres was now the reality.

    It was also true that the government intends to continue to seek a regional solution.

    It is also a fact that this year the numbers coming have halved. Nothing that has happened has stopped this decrease.

    I suspect there is not going to be an increase. I suspect we are not getting the full facts about what is occurring.
    I suspect there is not as many reaching Indonesia or Malaysia. I suspect that the numbers who have the money to get on the boats are fewer.
    I expect that Malaysia and Indonesia governments are having more success in preventing the boats from leaving.
    A former refugee said last night, if you want to stop the boats you stop the war. It was also said that the choice the refugee made was death in his or her own country or life in Australia. It was also clear that after years, many refugees still have anger against politicians. Who would blame them?
    I was in favour of the Malaysian solution. This was when there was not a viable option, due to the political environment. That is now not the case. Onshore processing has become an option, actually the only viable option at this time.
    As I have been saying and the PM emphasised in her announcement, there are two issues. There is how we treat asylums seekers. There is the boat trade. They should not be dealt with together.
    Refugees should not be used as tool to stop the boat trade.
    The Malaysian Solution should not be seen as dead. We can revisit how Mr. Fraser dealt with a similar situation, which by the way, I believe Mr. Howard opposed.

    We can look at still finding a way to get refugees to head to regional centres in the countries they are in now, instead of risking their lives in boats. It worked for Mr. Fraser, without denying access to Australia.
    What is not an option is Nauru, turning the boats around or temporary visas.
    Challenges to the courts have proved at the best, these were built on sand. The aim of Nauru was to keep people in isolation, away from the courts and those who could assist them. In other words, deny them their rights.
    The media was also kept at length, was an added bonus. It made it much easier to demonise these people.
    Indonesia will not take the boats back. The refugees in desperation now sink them, as they see this as their only choice.
    Temporary visas where at the best a temporary solution. They encouraged more women and children to get on the boats. Everyone eventually got a permanent visa.
    PS Mr. Rudd’s biggest mistake was not cleaning out the Public Service. He should have gone one-step further and done away with short contracts for Public Servants. This makes them a tool of the government, not the public.
    We should now call them government servants, public servants, if the present situation is allowed to continue.

  61. By invitation……

    Where you are wrong, Min, is that the High Court decision does not mean in and of itself that offshore processing is dead, but that Malaysia does not meet the standards required by s198A. Brennan’s opinion as represented by the quoted paragraph doesn’t say that no country meets the criteria, but that it is not just for a Minister to declare subjectively that a country meets the criteria, but that it needs to be objectively shown before a Minister can make such a declaration. For instance, the law would not be offended if we were to process our refugees in New Zealand.

    The change to the law sought was to make that assessment a subjective assessment of the Minister. That would mean that so long as a Minister declared it to be so, Somalia could be a destination for offshore processing.

  62. So there, Min; an absolutely subjective assessment, free from the surrounding body of domestic law and international treaty and protocol, means unlimited power; and not a relative subjectivity still based in some notion of reasonableness, and with reference to such immaterial matters and compliances therewith; questions that a responsible Minister may ask of himself, or a Court may still ask of him, and have answered in fact, etc.

  63. And now here is a report on leaks and the “cabinet” disagreement about “nauru’ proposal. If any person (msm journos) actually thought there was truth in the leaks, then they are in for a disappointment because according to the leaks ( go for it journos) Rudd backs Gillard.

    “According to multiple sources, Ms Gillard argued against the idea, as did Kevin Rudd, Greg Combet and Craig Emerson.

    Mr Rudd argued that Mr Abbott would never accept the offer because he opposed Malaysia. He would continue to string the government along while it continued to lose support among the Left.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/boat-deal-not-enough-to-tempt-abbott-20111016-1lri8.html#ixzz1az9Vxs00

    ‘Nauru isn’t the only ingredient of our policy,” he said.

    ”There’s temporary protection visas and there’s the option of turning boats around when it’s safe to do so. So unless the government is prepared to do all of that, which worked before, I don’t think they can expect to stop the boats again.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/boat-deal-not-enough-to-tempt-abbott-20111016-1lri8.html#ixzz1azA3FjJV

  64. Sue, this surprises me not one single bit. How nice (plus somewhat surprising) that Abbott finally tells the truth that it wasn’t ‘just about’ Nauru but that Abbott wouldn’t accept less than turning the boats around.

  65. Sue and Min, it doesn’t surprise me at all, and had Labor agreed to all of Abbott’s demands he would then dream up another !

  66. Pip, spot on I think. In spite of the fact that Labor had supposedly taken a hit on this issue, I cannot help but think that Julia isn’t silly..Abbott is now completely readable, he will say No to everything. Such negativity should be ‘usable’…

  67. At least the news is reporting this somewhat correctly, that times have changed since Howard’s day and that Indonesia will no longer accept any boats turned around. But where are the headlines saying Tony Abbott is wrong.

  68. AnthonyG
    but where are the headlines saying Abbott is wrong

    That’s a good question which I suspect, won’t be answered any time soon.

  69. AntonyG
    if you believe in miracles then Murdoch will be opposed and deposed at the AGM on friday
    the australian’s ‘real’ distribution figures will mean the paper is closed
    the tele will headline with facts (sorry i have moved into the realm of fantasy)

    so you better just stick to the blogs where the truth will shout TONY ABBOTT IS WRONG

  70. Abbott’s triplethink on a Christmas Island tragedy, the merits of turning the boats around, and displacement of the tragicomedy of boats razed to the waterline, as his contribution to the prescriptive safeties of/for unaccompanied minors, is entirely sensible: because it worked before.

  71. Abbott won’t like this, so he will just dismiss the advice as per usual. What is unusual is that the Oz has this headline. Must be because the Oz is more worried that onshore processing will become the norm.

    “Reopening Nauru won’t deter boatpeople, says immigration chief Andrew Metcalfe

    Mr Metcalfe told a Senate estimates committee hearing the Immigration Department believed the use of Nauru and temporary protection visas would not deter people-smugglers in the same way they had when implemented in late 2001.

    “That’s a view that we’ve held for some time,” Mr Metcalfe said.

    But he told the hearing policy shortcomings meant the Howard government approach would fail if implemented now.

    “We now know that in 2005 the majority of people on TPVs were resettled in Australia,” Mr Metcalfe said.

    “We also know that Nauru filled up very quickly. The government needed to assemble new facilities at (Papua New Guinea’s) Manus Island because people kept coming.”

  72. This is something that I feel that I would like to have a say on..

    An Indonesian prosecutor says an Australian teenager accused of buying marijuana in Bali will be transferred to Kerobokan jail for processing.

    The 14-year-old from Morisset Park, north of Newcastle, was arrested in Bali earlier this month and has been held at the police narcotics headquarters in Denpasar.


    And why have I put this under the topic of asylum seekers?

    There is considerable community outrage about a teenager being caught in Bali and who is now facing a jail term. I would like people to consider the number of teenage Indonesians who are now in Australian prisons on people smuggling charges – these boys doing nothing more than being a crew on one of the boats.

    And you wonder why Indonesia doesn’t treat Australia seriously…

  73. Pingback: Tweets – Friday 14 October 2011 « CDU Law and Business Online

  74. Pingback: Tweets – Friday 14 October 2011 « CDU Law and Business Online

  75. A must read for this morning

    It’s time for the truth to allay, or confirm, our fears about SIEV X

    in the 2004 election, Labor had in its policy platform a promise to hold a royal commission on SIEV X. This policy was quietly dropped in the revisions Kim Beazley brought about after Labor’s electoral rout. I would argue that, while the political expedience of an inquiry may have changed, the moral imperative has not.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/its-time-for-the-truth-to-allay-or-confirm-our-fears-about-siev-x-20111018-1lyml.html#ixzz1bAcy5nTf

  76. At last some factual information coming from Navy sources..

    THE new chief of the navy has highlighted the dangers to defence personnel and asylum-seekers of turning back boats at sea, as promised by Tony Abbott under his border protection plans.

    Admiral Ray Griggs, who as a young frigate captain in 2001 was one of the few Australian commanders to be ordered to turn boats away, last night warned about the risk of fires, sabotage and desperate passengers leaping into the ocean.


  77. Min
    And the people at risk, navy and customs personnel, refugees and the fisherman that man the boats but Morrison still insists that it will be the responsibility of an Abbott government.
    An easy thing to say from the comfort of an office in Canberra or an electorate office in Miranda. The electorate put on the map through the riots at Cronulla.

  78. Sue, the first rule is Preservation of Life at Sea. Therefore what happens if an Abbott government decides to turn back a boat for political reasons and the Navy captain deems the vessel unseaworthy?

    John Howard had no qualms whatsoever in using enlisted personnel for political reasons and I certainly cannot see Tony Abbott being any different to his mentor.

  79. “I would argue that, while the political expedience of an inquiry may have changed, the moral imperative has not.”

    Me too. Lets have one on SIEVX and see if your allegations are correct.

    Also need to find out also how many lives have been lost at sea because Labor and its supporters now encourage people to come here by boat.

  80. Min- Labor was warned by the Dept of Immigration that dismantling the Pacific Solution would give the go ahead to the people smugglers.

  81. Neil, but the Pacific Solution has been deemed unlawful..not by the Labor government but by the High Court. See the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

  82. It hasn’t been deemed unlawful and anyway it was lawful in 2008 when Rudd dismantle the scheme and got the smugglers back in business.

    And furthermore laws can be changed by Parliament.

  83. Neil, yes laws can be changed by Parliament but Tony Abbott refused to support these and instead sided with The Greens.

    Also by the time that Rudd decided to dismantle the Pacific Solution there were 7 asylum seekers from Burma plus 75 of the 83 from Sri Lanka were determined to be genuine refugees and granted the right to settle in Australia. John Howard had already started to dismantle the Pacific Solution before Rudd even came into power.

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