Don’t Come Here By Sea!

We’ve heard your stories one and all.
Widow, orphan, soldier amputee,
And how you strive to reach landfall
Here beyond the Arafura Sea.

You know that if you come by boat
People smugglers charge a hefty fee;
No guarantee you’ll stay afloat
To journey’s end across the Timor Sea.

If Tony Abbott now held sway
He’d stop your boat. That’s his policy.
He’d turn you round, have you towed away,
Deaf to your cries, back to the cruel sea.

Plans to lessen your suffering
Are coming from the ALP,
Anxious to find a buffering
Between Oz and the surrounding sea.

It’s been proposed by PM Gillard,
Wherever your starting point may be,
Boarding leaky boats will be barred.
You may not risk your life at sea!

There could well be an orderly queue
For you to join, perhaps certainty
That at last we might welcome you.
Though for that, you’ll have to wait and see.

Be patient.  Understand you’re seeking refuge
In a land already sanctuary
To people whose anxiety is huge,
Girt as Australia is by sea.

Things here aren’t what they used to be
When we had endless plains to share
With those who came across the sea.
So forget all that, and – Come by air!

NOTES    Another dreadful boat tragedy, this time in Indonesian waters, but on a boat bound for these shores.   One grimly redeeming feature is that our search and rescue services have gone into action and saved as many souls as possible, bringing them here where they will be hospitalised if necessary and processed as speedily as possible.  More than one hundred people have perished, many more than were lost off  Christmas Island some eighteen months ago.   

As in December, 2010, there is much shocked speechifying by politicians and calls for bipartisan action to prevent another such disaster.  Already, we see Tony Abbott taking his stance.  Bipartisanship is not enough, it seems, we need an effective policy i.e. my policy!  Nauru!  But there is a breaking of Coalition ranks at last with Liberal Mal Washer pleading with his party leader to compromise on this one issue. At the same time, however,  we have Sarah Hanson Young re-affirming the Greens’ commitment to ‘onshore’ processing of asylum seekers.  She has made it clear they are not going to support the proposal for a regional off-shore processing centre being promoted by Rob Oakeshott.  His bill would allow offshore processing to occur under the Bali Process on People Smuggling, and by-pass the problem of Indonesia’s refusal to sign the UN Convention on Refugees.   In spite of the Greens’ intransigence, with initiatives like Oakeshott’s and the calls for action from progressive liberals like Mal Washer we are surely closer to compromise now than ever before.   Public protests in all capital cities calling for action have been been reported widely in the media.

Last year the UN Commissioner for Refugees was supportive of aspects of the government’s proposed Malaysian Solution and welcomed its efforts to reach a compromise with the Coalition, along with an increased intake of refugees from Malaysia.  Sadly in August a High Court ruling dashed hopes for that plan.   Apparently the government has not given up on its plans for a regional processing centre which will this time be High Court challenge proof.   Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s department has continued working with his other regional counterparts.   The framework is there for a regional arrangement to at least be trialled, whether it be that proposed by the government or by Rob Oakeshott is immaterial.   Arguing its pros and cons is no longer an option.  Preventing further tragedies at sea is the priority. 

I wrote this pome in May last year as a comment at The Political Sword in response to Ad Astra’s post about political sloganeering so skilfully used by the Opposition.  Tony Abbott’s “STOP THE BOATS” is the supreme example of that.   It was a day when PM Gillard’s agreement with Malaysia on boat people was all over the media, and looked like it was going to work.   But the public debate was heated and in places unpleasant.  Australia seemed hard hearted.   Perhaps now that will change and soon I’ll be able to write some less cynical verses.

237 comments on “Don’t Come Here By Sea!

  1. So Patricia how may mendicants would you let in to this country and on what basis would you allow entry?
    Further why are you not giving the Greens and independents any criticism for failing to support Gillard? After all they are the ones who give Gillard the treasury benches and they are the ones who deny her the legislation to get her, ah hem “solution” up.

  2. Well said Ian. I am at a loss to understand how the Drongo Carbon Tax (Australian slang: A “no-hoper” or fool. Derives from a racehorse called Drongo in the 1920’s that never one a race out of 37 starts.) is supposed to reflect Gillard’s negotiating skills but Gillard’s failed Border Protection is Abbott’s fault.
    The way the electorate sees it is Gillard bending over for the Greens on the Carbon Tax and Abbott standing his ground for return of the 2007 successful Border Protection policies.
    The Carbon Tax and Border protection are issues that just keep on giving for Abbott as we enter the home strait for the next Federal election.
    The fact that Gillard’s and Labor’s mind numbing incompetence has killed hundreds of people should make all Australians be ashamed of our government.
    Every day Gillard has the choice, to lose face and reinstate Border protection or continue to kill people. Her choice has been made clear again this week.

  3. And Tweed what will be your excuse when boat people die under an Abbott government? Make no mistake you will make excuses for it. When this happened under Howard’s watch the right wingers like you were prominent in either your silence or the strident attacks on those who dared intimate the deaths were Howard’s fault.

    Shoe on other foot and all of a sudden it is the government’s fault. Hypocrites.

    And as much as you keep saying the government is incompetent doesn’t make it so, the facts say otherwise.

    Boats will come under Abbott, he won’t stop them unless he takes up a Malaysia solution or another attack the problem at the sources policy.

    It’s always easy to tell when the RWDBs are on a loser, it’s when they engage in base personal abuse and name calling.

    At this moment there are more refugees on the move around the world than there have ever been, and nothing Abbott does will stop that. He’s all mouth and bluster but runs like a wimp whenever he’s confronted and asked to elucidate anything outside of three word rehearsed slogans.

    Facts are sacred

    The refugee map of the world

    There were 800,000 new refugees in the world in 2011, according to the latest data out this week from the UNHCR. 2011 is a record year for forced displacement, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.
    • Afghanistan still produces more refugees than any other country – 3,054,709 – followed by Iraq and Somalia
    • The US and the UK produced as well as accepted refugees in 2011. US: 3,778 (+24.9%) and UK: 150 (-2.2%)
    • Côte d’Ivoire has seen a 270% increase in just one year, and Libya +89.9%
    • 4.3m people were newly displaced
    • In many countries, the majority of people “of concern” to the UNHCR are children aged under 18 – 72% in Eritrea, for example
    Click the map to explore and use the dropdown menu to see other maps. What can you do with the data?
    • Data: download the full spreadsheet
    • Data does not include Palestinian refugees looked after by UNRWA

  5. When will both mainstream tribes of politicians realise that illegal immigrants arrive at International Airport Terminals – not on boats. Irregular arrivals by boats are much smaller in number than Visa overstayers that fly into the country on 747s and 777s. Every visa overstayer is committing an illegal act, something less than 5% of those that arrive by leaky boat are doing.

    The war on boat people is and has always been obscene and driven by short term political gain.

  6. Well said 2353, but the RWDB argument always is they have papers so that somehow makes them good illegals, whilst asylum seekers who come by boat haven’t papers so are legal and bad.

    No use giving facts Pip and 2353. The rabid right have never been interested in them except to distort and misrepresent.

  7. Oh and three of Abbott’s backbenchers are openly speaking against Abbott’s stance and want a compromise with the government. Two of these backbenchers apparently got Howard to change his asylum seeker policy.

  8. Don’t believe what is in the papers that Malcolm Turnbull will bring up the issue with his party. Turnbull tweeted to Barry Cassidy that the story was wrong. The journalist Sam Maiden had contacted him yesterday and he told her he would make no comment on the issue. I take it that Turnbull is more concerned about keeping in step with Abbott. So concerned that he tweeted live to this morning’s show the Insiders.


    what a shame that the pome is so relevant. On Turnbull, his concern that his party may think he is out of step with the Abbott policy, may give you some more ideas.

  9. Iain, as I said in my notes, I am not arguing the pros and cons of any plan, simply hoping for compromise, common sense, and compassion from politicians. I’m betting that Tony
    Windsor, Mal Washer, Rob Oakeshott and others will make all the difference this time. Even the Greens, if SHY gets sidelined, might shift ground if only a bit, but just enough to get us through this impasse.

  10. patriciawa

    i think both the Greens and Abbott have confirmed their positions- no change.So unless the msm leads a campaign against all politicians nothing will happen this week.

  11. Patricia, brilliant post as always. As most know, the asylum seeker issue has been a bit of a passion of mine and I think that you have excelled yourself in covering the issues in your excellent pome.

    That reminds me..remember when somebody said that you shouldn’t use the word pome. I still love the word pome.

  12. 2353, this is where JWH played his mind games and twisted the entire issue about. Boat people suited Howard’s agenda, it fitted in nicely with the Coalition of the Willing. Therefore, quite some time down the track we are still stuck with Howard’s mind games.

  13. It’s interesting that so many on the blogs have decided it’s fine to politicise the recent asylum seeker tragedy. I’m at a loss to understand how people can be so mean spirited.

    Perhaps someone could explain the difference between saying “another boat, another policy failure” and “stop the boats”. It’s the difference between a 3 word slogan and one that’s 5.

    The fact is that both major parties have used this issue for the most base of political motivations, both have played on xenophobia, and it’s no use pretending that the ALP has better motivations than the Liberals.

    Though barrackers do this.

  14. You’re right, Sue. Wishful thinking from me re the Greens. Whenever SHY takes the floor on this issue I find it hard to believe that anyone can be so rigidly idealistic, and inhumanely indifferent to suffering almost directly caused by their party’s refusal to compromise. Politics is the art of the possible, after all. When will she learn that? She’s paid an adult professional salary to be a politician, not the junior rates of a starry eyed adolescent.

    Even Dr. Washer and Liberals like Turnbull bear some responsibility for having allowed Abbott to continue his Stop The Boats line for so long. For a lighter touch, I thought Talk Turkey over at the Political Sword put it rather well this morning.

    Doctor Washer
    If you’re Kosher
    Cross the bloody Floor!
    If you won’t
    FFS don’t
    Bang on any more!

  15. Tweed & Iain, don’t let the facts get in the way of your RWDB crap. The boat was in INDONESIAN waters. As usual, nice try but no cigar.

    Frankly, I hold no brief for the Greens bloody minded stance on this problem; neither do I endorse the LIars Party bullshit!

    Liealot and his cronies can cry all the crocodile tears they like, but the truth is that they couldn’t give a toss how many people die trying to reach this country; in fact I suspect they’d love to see hundreds more in their graves!

    Malaysia is willing to adopt the Government’s regional solution, which will discourage people smuggling, processing will be done in an orderly fashion and those who have been waiting longest will be first cab off the rank.

    I can only think that Liealot has some corrupt deal with Nauru to justify his stance. He’s NOT in government and doesn’t call the shots.

    Hopefully Dr Washer and Judy Moylan will cross the floor; it can’t hurt them as they’re retiring at the next election and I think both are most likely disgusted at Lielaot’s attitude.

  16. Point taken, ToM, but right now the government have responsibility for getting something done and they have a compromise suggestion ready to roll, as does Robb Oakeshott. With Opposition pollies making public their willingness to put politics aside and make decency a priority we should be insisting that they do exactly that. Psyclaw writing on that same TPS thread as Talk Turkey has made it easy for us all to do that and given us some addresses to write to now.

  17. ToM, this could be a first. I agree with you. It’s high time asylum seekers ceased being a political football for all parties and a decent, sensible compromise should be a priority.

    Unfortunately, too many inflated egos are involved, I fear.

    patricia, SHY is a bit of a twit, I think. And as I wrote above, I find the Greens lack of interest in compromise very irritating. There are times to be the immovable object, but in the case of asylum seekers, it’s time to take off their idealogue blinkers, and acknowledge that being bloody minded and self righteous, weakens their position.

    And to realise that they’re never going to get their way, no matter how much tosh they spruik.

    That goes for all parties. It’s time to imagine what they’d do if it were their loved ones forced to flee their homes and country and seek refuge elsewhere.

  18. The only problem with writing to those politicians is that without the Liberals in the Senate any crossing of the floor in the HOR will stand for nothing, except for more political games.

  19. Nicola Roxon in snippets from an interview I saw a short while ago is saying the government is more than willing to compromise and has openly invited the opposition to meet on the subject.

    She said in their last meeting the government was willing to go a long way towards Abbott’s position but he refused to compromise in any way.

    There is only one reason Abbott will not compromise. The opposition do not want to see any other measure being a success and they will continue to allow boats to come to hold that position. It’s a beating stick for them.

    That their own position doesn’t succeed is of no consequence, they can make all the excuses under the sun and blame everyone and everything else, it’s what they are best at. A compliant media will aid them at every step.

    Abbott in his latest conference, with his words better rehearsed than his last stumbling head shaking effort, has come out with the same unmoving pig headed we are right in everything, and only we have the answer.

    So much for compromise.

  20. patriciawa

    on a more hopeful thought there must be some reaction in the blogoshere as we now have 3 of the other crowd trying to strike down your message.

    so well down patriciawa

  21. Jane, I’m with you against the Greens on this issue re “I find the Greens lack of interest in compromise very irritating.”

    The Greens policy appears to be nothing more than accepting all comers and not a scrap about tackling the people smuggling issue. I’ve even read some opinions which state that people smuggles are “heroes”..they’re not. The smuggler/impoverished fishermen are just as much victims. They are lured on by false promises, mostly that it’s just a few months in an Australian jail and then you will have enough money to buy your children a high school education.

    We also have that until recently Indonesia did not perceive people smuggling as a crime..they have far more important issues to deal with. It was Rudd as FM who now has Indonesia cooperating with the federal police in order to catch the real people smugglers..the ones sitting in their penthouses both in Indonesia and in Australia.

  22. I’ve said before, the only people I object to, are young men from Afghanistan who are old enough to fight the Taliban … while our young men fight and die for their country’s freedom …

  23. Would you think the health and security checks would pick most of them up TB? I know some of them would get through the cracks but surely some would be found not to be genuine suffers of oppression and in danger?

  24. TB, just in case you missed this one..not many troops left in Afghanistan, there has been withdrawal happening now since the beginning of this year.

    Prime minister Julia Gillard today announced the revised timetable for the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan.

    Within 12 to 18 months the majority of Australian military forces will leave Afghanistan, a year earlier than originally planned.

  25. We’re actually not going to have to worry about it for very much longer because according to the Mayan calendar the world ends next Sunday. I have my bags packs and will be awaiting the space ships which will take all we ascended masters into the next dimension. Suffer the rest of you. 😉

  26. Min. Young Afghanistani men have been coming here on refugee boats for much longer than the beginning of this year and were coming here when our troop numbers were at their peak.

    TB has a point.

    In the Navy when we were picking up Vietnamese boat people the only thing that really irked us was not just seeing young men of fighting age amongst the women and children, but them often pushing the woman and children aside. We used to deliberately put these young men to the back of the room and fed them last with the smallest portions.

  27. …….the world ends next Sunday….

    Bugger! I’ve already paid for my tickets to The Mousetrap and booked my return flights to Melbourne!

    And the Fred Williams exhibition at the AGSA doesn’t start until next month.

    Hmmmm! There’s on consolation, though, Min. I won’t have to do the BAS! I’m still dark on little Johnny for that!

  28. Whisperers all. I will keep it brief. Listen to Tony’s position on this latest Border Protection shameful outcome by the Gillard government. Labor have the reins of government. It is their task to make policy that works, They dismantled a policy that was working. Ruddock and Howard did the hard yards, took the flack from the lefties and those with the warm inner glow. Howard and Ruddock controlled arrivals. Whisperers don’t go off into a spin of denial. The Pacific Solution worked until Rudd, supported by Gillard dismantled it. They were warned, told, explained, shown, but in their blind hubris Rudd and Gillard caused many many deaths, wasted billions of taxpayers dollars and made Australia look incompetent in the eyes of Asia.
    Whisperers. It will change, Gillard will be axed and Labor will be sent to the wasteland for God knows how long. This has been a dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb government and will pay the price. Unfortunately they have killed people and squandered our reputation and taxpayers dollars.

  29. Tweed, you are talking through a hole in your head. It was TWO High Court decisions which made JWH’s punitive action against asylum seekers unlawful.

    The Pacific Solution is unlawful due to a decision of the High Court which meant that asylum seekers now have access to the Australian legal system.

    Suggestion: read the decisions of the High Court and then come back with some factual information.

    If you do not understand the difference between jurisdictions, parliament and the High Court, I can help you with this.

  30. ….” according to the Mayan calendar the world ends next Sunday. I have my bags packs and will be awaiting the space ships which will take all we ascended masters into the next dimension.”…. Min, what planet are you on ???? ……….
    ……oh, silly me you havnt left yet so you probably dont know .. 😀
    Hope they dont end it before Geelong thrash Port on Sunday 😆

  31. LOVO, if you want me to make a decision between Geelong and Port..probably it’s best that the world does end….

    Actually we Ascended Masters are travelling into another dimension. I’ll let you know all about it when I get there. Communication of course will have to be telekinetic.

  32. Lol, Min! You are a champion!

    Tweed, I realise you’re a bit slow, but I’ll type this as slowly as I can and use very short words. The boat was in Indonesian waters.

    Is there any part of that you’re incapable of understanding? Does Liealot know the boat wasn’t in Australian waters, or is he just too stupid to understand?

    I agree, this would not have happened if Liealot showed any interest in the safety of asylum seekers and was actually interested in resolving the situation, but he’s got a dodgy deal going in Nauru.

    Seeing you are happy to shoot your mouth off about deaths, you might like to reflect on the following two words-SIEV X.

    I really find it laughable that dingbats are shedding crocodile tears over asylum seekers.

  33. Tweed, your transparency makes you look,….well, dumb ….. hope it didnt take you too long to come up with that bit of translucency, wouldnt want ya waste’n your time with such foolishness……. “spin of denial” hahahaha— * priceless*

  34. Min, “Communication of course will have to be telekinetic” dont s’pose you know if Vodafone has an app. for that ❓

  35. LOVO, I have to defend Migs’ and my honour. Port will beat Geelong just before the world ends. I will go to my whatever with a light heart, knowing that Min has bought me the time to go to The Mousetrap.

    Note to Min: Can you intervene for the cast?

  36. Jane, the only game we play all year and Migs goes on a sabbitical, guess I’ll have to rhubarb you in Migs’ place after we thrash ya.. and before we go to our eternal damnations.. 😀

  37. After reading Abbott on the ABC, I see that he is only interested in the politics. It will take the journalists to challenge Abbott on the “Howard solution” and challenge at every opportunity before there will be any hope of compromise. Stop Abbott having “free” press stunts make him answer questions. If he won’t answer questions televise and or report him “running away” from the issue. Portray him as a coward, not worthy of leadership.

  38. TBQ said ……… the only people I object to, are young men from Afghanistan who are old enough to fight the Taliban … while our young men fight and die for their country’s freedom

    I gave that a lot of thought. Isn’t that a really good reason to flee your country – military conscription where no reasonable process exists for conscientious objection? And our young men, who have not been conscripted but are professional soldiers, face a not terribly huge risk (av.3 p.a.) of death, compared to the normal mortality rate here in Oz for that age group which is surprisingly higher than for any other from accidents, suicide and murder. That’s not to belittle their contribution, but Afghanis not wanting to fight in a never ending war doesn’t seem that reprehensible. It takes a different kind of courage, but it does take courage to decide not to enlist. And yes, I guess there are genuine cowards too. How you tell the difference I wouldn’t have a clue.

  39. Further to self on the ramifications of the High Court decisions..repeated here by Malcolm Farr:

    But this time Tony Abbott also has been caught up by the problem. Much as he might think it is possible, the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution centred on processing on Nauru cannot be re-created.

    It is no longer constitutionally legal, no matter the rosiest legal analysis by Opposition advisers. It will remain illegal unless Labor and the Coalition agree to the appropriate legislation.

    Even if Nauru were available to an an Abbott government, he would face three problems.

    One is that the high number of refugee applicants who eventually went from Nauru to Australia means it is no longer a deterrent.

    Second, the tolerance between 2001 and 2007 of people being held on Nauru for two years or more no longer exist.

    And the third problem is cost. The advice from the Department of Immigration—which implemented the Pacific Solution—is about $1 billion. And it is hard to think that the Nauru government, while welcoming the return of a processing centre, hasn’t realised it is a seller’s market and will ramp up its price for that return.

  40. Did, anyone noticed that last night, Mr. Abbott had lost his grieving look and replaced it with a grin, that he could not hide when talking about asylum seekers.

    Mr. Abbott seems to think he is not a part of the present parliament and he has no responsibilities for his actions.

  41. Comment posted on behalf of Erin:

    For me this picture is more to show that we aren’t being inundated by asylum seekers like some factions would have us believe…. Our ability to house and feed, and the asylum seeker to citizen ratio are other issues altogether (but important as well) 🙂

  42. We have Abbott and Kroger thumbing their noses at the calls for them to come to a bipartisanship deal with the government.

    They are attempting to load the blame off to the Greens. They are saying it is up to the government and Greens, not them.

    Is it that clear cut.

    “The Greens maintain they will not support any offshore processing plan, with Senator Sarah Hanson-Young saying that offshore processing flies in the face of the UNHCR’s refugee convention.”

    Senator Young is warning of a political storm.

    “Offshore processing is an absolute rejection of our obligations under the refugee convention,” she said.

    The Greens have taken a consistent stand on off shore processing. They see the boats, as being a legitimacy tool of people fleeing. There can be arguments that support this belief. People fleeing in boats and drowning, does not only occurs in our region. They separate peoples rights to seek refuge and the methods they used to reach safety.

    I agree with much of their reasoning, but I also believe that we have a duty to put in place mechanism that they do not have to get on those leaky boats.

    A regional solution has to be found, to ensure the safety of people fleeing. I believe that the Malaysian Solution goes a long way for this to occur.

    When it comes to the stance that Mr. Abbott is taking, I find it hard to excuse him for not attempting at a bipartisan answer to the question. I say this, because their is not a great difference between the beliefs of Labor and the Coalition.

    The both believe in offshore processing. What is at dispute, is how this is to occur.

    Mr. Abbott wants to go back to the past, saying it worked then, it will work again. There is much wrong with this stance. The high court has nae rulings, that does not allow Mr. Howard’s scheme to be resurrected. Many other things have changed.

    No one can say with certainty, that Mr. Howard’s scheme would continue to be effective.

    Mr. Howard did not believe this himself. I say that, as he had set in place for millions to be spent on Christmas Island, before he was deposed.

    There was also disquiet in the community because many seen Mr. Howard as abusing people’s human rights and as being unnecessary cruel. Many still hold that view.

    The people such as Mr. Metcalfe and the Department, that created Mr. Howard’s scheme, are now saying it will not work. The same people that put in place the Nauru Solution, have created the Malaysian solution.

    The conditions that exist today, are different from 10 years ago,

    Yes, Mr. Abbott does have a role to play, in ensuring that the refugees are treated well.

    The government has given into all that Mr. Abbott demands, while believing that Nauru and TPV are not the answer. It is time for Mr. Abbott to bend a little. After all he does not have to go far.

    “Last week, Liberal backbencher Mal Washer called on the Coalition to consider all options, including Labor’s Malaysia solution.

    Liberal backbencher Judi Moylan, a long-time refugee advocate, said she was horrified that more people died trying to flee danger and a political solution must be negotiated.”

  43. Cu, I hate it when things are nonsensical. Tony Abbott blaming The Greens is as logical as Gillard blaming the National Party. One takes responsibility for one’s own actions.

    It’s not just that a revised Pacific Solution won’t work, it’s that it can’t work.

    Apparently it is possible that a Malaysian solution could be got past the decisions of the High Court. This is relating to the asylum seekers camps in Malaysia passing the UN test as regards treatment of detainees. One should also bear in mind that the people who are now in Malaysia have been deemed to be genuine refugees, which compares with people coming from Indonesia.

    The idea behind the Malaysia solution was a good one – a regional solution to a regional problem. Yet people screamed out loud that this was “inhumane”..but what about Abbott’s “solution” of turning the boats around.

    There are no easy answers. The punitive one espoused by the opposition will do nothing to deter people smuggling and endangers people’s lives at sea. Did the desert concentration camps under Ruddock’s watch where children were sewing their lips together deter anyone? And is this really the way that we want to see people treated? Perhaps during the War on Terror a government could get away with it..I think most people today would be appalled.

  44. It was with a certain contempt that I watched footage of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott piously declaring that he would hold his forked tongue for twenty four hours while the bodies of drowned asylum seekers were recovered and taken to a makeshift morgue on Christmas Island.

    And I noted the absence of any comment, pious or otherwise, from Shadow Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison. Perhaps they’ve put the muzzle on in case he comes out with observations somebody might construe as racist.

    However, it seems inevitable that all gloves will be off when Parliament resumes today, and we will be subjected to the self-interested politicising of the plight of asylum seekers that began with John Howard and hasn’t stopped since.

  45. Min,I noticed that the boat went down in Indonesian waters. Where is the demand that they be taken back to Indonesia, not Christmas Island.

    I am sure it is because Indonesia does not have to accept them.

    Interesting information on how the High Court can work.

    Here’s one example of Labor and sod’s law. When Greg Combet was ACTU secretary and Nicola Roxon was shadow attorney-general, they helped put together a High Court challenge to the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

    Part of that challenge was based, in broad terms, on the argument the Federal Government did not have a right to impose its workplace laws on states and local government without direct legislation.

    Back in November, 2006 the High Court didn’t think much of that argument. But in June 2012 it considered it was critical and used it to declare constitutionally invalid the funding of school chaplains without specific legislation.

    Mr Combet and Ms Roxon, now both cabinet members, probably are not amused by the operation of sod’s law—which dictates that whatever could go wrong will—in relation to constitutional law.

  46. Cu, thank you for that link to No Place For Sheep. I’ve read them a few’s certainly a blog well worth reading.

  47. But this time Tony Abbott also has been caught up by the problem. Much as he might think it is possible, the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution centred on processing on Nauru cannot be re-created.

    It is no longer constitutionally legal, no matter the rosiest legal analysis by Opposition advisers. It will remain illegal unless Labor and the Coalition agree to the appropriate legislation.

    Even if Nauru were available to an an Abbott government, he would face three problems.

    One is that the high number of refugee applicants who eventually went from Nauru to Australia means it is no longer a deterrent.

    Second, the tolerance between 2001 and 2007 of people being held on Nauru for two years or more no longer exist.

    And the third problem is cost. The advice from the Department of Immigration—which implemented the Pacific Solution—is about $1 billion. And it is hard to think that the Nauru government, while welcoming the return of a processing centre, hasn’t realised it is a seller’s market and will ramp up its price for that return.

  48. Another element of Mr Abbott’s asylum seeker policy, turning back boats, already has been condemned by diplomatic, naval and maritime safety authorities. After the 90 drownings of last week it will be a hard policy to sell politically.

    The other major element is the temporary protection visas, used in the Pacific Solution. The Government has said it would be prepared to hold an inquiry into their reintroduction.

    The visas gave people found to be genuine refugees semi citizenship. They were not entitled to full settlement assistance and the visa could be revoked. The visa created a half world of Australian residency and was designed to make life here difficult.

  49. Cu, that could be a complicated one and to do with border security. I know that Australia gained the cooperation of Indonesia in allowing 2 of our patrol boats into their waters. It could have been that our patrol boats was the closest to the scene. However, that’s only guessing.

  50. Min, what occurred was the right decision. The people’s need and safety was put in front of political stunts.

    I wonder what the PM has to say today. She has spent a few days with the Indonesia leader, and I assume the Malaysian one as well.

    This is the one promise has not been able to put to bed yet. I do hope she can find a way forwarded.

    Those Coalition backbenchers may not change Abbott’s mind, but now they have spoken out, and spoken out with such passion, it is likely they will cross the floor.

    The PM only needs a handful to cancel out the Greens vote.

    I believe there are at least three. How many more, we do not know.

  51. I think that you should all pay heed to what Amanda Vanstone had to say in the Fairfax press today

    When I was minister for immigration in the Howard government, one of the Indonesian ministers visited Australia to discuss border protection, among other things. My job was to reinforce the reasoning for our then strong border protection policies. He had a very sombre approach, but when I said ”Ada gula ada semut” – ”where there is sugar ants will be” – he had a glint in his eye. It is just common sense.

    Tough border protection is not about being anti refugees. This is a ruse run by do-gooders who, in contrast to their sweet self-image, like to peddle hatred by asserting that people who don’t think as they do are racists or uncaring.

    During my time as immigration minister, we increased our intake of refugees, through the United Nations refugee agency, by a massive 50 per cent, while maintaining strong border protection. And we stopped the boats. For the government to now offer to set up an independent inquiry to look at the effectiveness of these policies seems to me no more than an unnecessary stalling tactic.

    The people that use people smugglers fall within a range of categories, some with better credentials to take a refugee place than others. What all the boat arrivals have in common is a desire for Australian permanent residence and, hopefully, citizenship. But the UN Convention does not give a right to choose the country in which one will be protected.

    I think it is fair to say that those who have travelled through three or four other countries before coming to Australia are no longer fleeing persecution but are rather seeking the citizenship of their choice. Who wouldn’t want the golden visa card that Australian permanent residence or citizenship brings? While that is on offer, we are tempting people to get on the boats.

    The government needs to reintroduce both offshore processing and temporary protection visas, or a variation thereof. Something that says: ”If it becomes safe for you, we will assist you to resettle home. In the meantime, phone home and tell them they are not coming.”

    Read more:

    The biggest deterrent is clearly denying permanent resettlement thus we can meet the requirements of the UN convention and not entice people into making such risky voyages.
    Further various people here who have pointed out the cost of offshore processing ignore the fact that once the message gets back to the points of departure that the pest that anyone can hope for is temporary protection these (mostly) illegal immigrants will try elsewhere or try to make their own homelands a better place

  52. The problem is in the Senate CU. Even if the government gets sufficient support in the HOR, they’re dependent on the Greens (or Coalition dissenters) in the Senate to get any legislation passed. They require 8 more votes there…

  53. Bacchus, I know that. I think that most that are disagreeing with Abbott are in the Senate. I believe there maybe four, not enough. Mr. Ruddock is of little use, in the wrong house.

    Still one never knows what is going to happen in politics.

    Iain, I listened to Vanstone tripe last night. You have not wrote one thing that has not been dealt with on this site.

    You put such effort into writing so little new.

  54. I think that you should all pay heed to what Amanda Vanstone had to say in the Fairfax press today

    Why should we pay heed to a known prevaricator and failed minister just because she confirms your very narrow ideological view on the world?

    We could just as easily post tomes of the opposite and say it is you that should pay heed, and you will pay as much heed as we will of the woeful Vanstone, that is none.

  55. The Government put a compromise deal to the Coalition late last year following a separate boat tragedy off Christmas Island.

    It agreed to reopen the Nauru detention centre if the Coalition supported legislation aimed at securing offshore processing in countries such as Malaysia.

    Labor backbencher Nick Champion says the Coalition should be prepared to reconsider the compromise deal, instead of reeling off “crap lines” about strong border protection.

    “These are significant policy concessions for us to offer, and we offer them in goodwill because there are people floating in the water to the north of this country,” he told Sky News.

    “When the facts change, you should change your position.”

    Mr. Abbott does have the option of working with the government. The faults he finds with the Malaysian Solution could have solutions.

  56. “I think both the Malaysian and the Nauru solutions were very crude approaches to this,” she said.

    “I’ve never agreed to the Nauru solution and I think 10 years on, it’s very unlikely that that will work as a policy for a number of reasons

    “[Nauru] cost the Australian public millions of dollars for that, and then ultimately, a very large number of those people – I think it was something in the order of over 90 per cent of them – ended up coming back to Australia.

  57. For off-shore processing to be legal there has to be a change in legislation. Australia doesn’t have a refugee “problem” – see the graph above. When we could have leadership from a Liberal PM and bipartisanship 30 years ago in respect to South East Asisn refugees from the Vietnam War it’s tragic that 30 years later – it’s all too hard.

    This whole issue is petty politics. Abbott, Gillard and Mile should all hang their heads in shame.

  58. 2353, it becomes even more complicated than that. There was a snippet from the High Court which didn’t receive much publicity, that is the High Court affirmed that the Minister is the legal guardian of minors. As everyone knows, if one is a minor’s legal guardian one cannot do anything to the detriment of that minor eg enter into contracts.

    Therefore even IF legislation was passed to allow offshore processing, this cannot include unaccompanied minors. Clearly deporting children “elsewhere” be it to Malaysia or to Nauru would be considered to that child’s detriment. Therefore one could expect to see boatloads of children.

  59. “This whole issue is petty politics. Abbott, Gillard and Mile should all hang their heads in shame.”

    For the PM to do as you say, the only option she has is to put in place what Mr. Abbott’s demands. This is a policy that the experts and her department says will not work.

    Abbott and Pyne are losing it in QT. Not going the way, they believe it should.

    PM refusing to accept that it is the so called carbon tax that is the caused of the aluminiun facing problems. Therefore her answer is that the tax is not the cause of jobs being lost. This is true, the industry is in trouble, regardless of the tax.

  60. Liberal MP Russell Broadbent breaks ranks on boats policy

    by: Ben Packham and Lanai Vasek
    From: The Australian
    June 25, 2012

    A THIRD Liberal moderate has rejected Tony Abbott’s position on asylum-seeker policy, condemning temporary protection visas and offshore processing on Nauru.

    Victorian MP Russell Broadbent likened Labor’s Malaysia Solution to people-smuggling, but also criticised his own side’s plans to address the nation’s border protection crisis.

    He joins colleagues Mal Washer and Judi Moylan in calling for a fresh policy approach, amid a standoff between Labor and the Coalition over border protection and after last week’s deaths of up to 90 asylum-seekers when a boat capsized.

    Mr Broadbent said a fresh solution based on regional cooperation and strong policing was required.

    “There are problems with the Malaysia Solution, especially because we will be trading in people for a policy outcome; the people-smugglers are trading people for a monetary outcome,” he said.

  61. Cu, on the issue of the compromise about Nauru. I would be fairly certain that Julia had been calling Abbott’s bluff. As it was, Abbott did a swift about face and it never happened.

  62. CU

    Iain, I listened to Vanstone tripe last night. You have not wrote one thing that has not been dealt with on this site.

    You put such effort into writing so little new.

    What is it with you lefties and wanting to eternally reinvent the wheel? I’m not offering anything new because an old home truth is entirely adequate and appropriate fro the current situation Its just that you don’t want to admit that we conservatives actaully managed to (largely) solve the problem with some “tough love” further you don’t want to admit there is a distinction between what the often cited UN convention obliges us to do and what is now actually offered to claimants under Labor. So I say lets meet our obligations but not exceed them by giving any asylum seeker anything moire than that. What pray tell is wrong with that and why do you think that its wrong?

    I have noted with some sad bemusement that a few people have cited the idea of a “regional solution” but has anyone here really thought about that? you know just how likely is it to happen? frankly I don’t see any enthusiasm in the countries in our region for this idea at all, what I do see is just a Gillard/Labor thought bubble or piece of fine sounding spin that is of no consequence at all.

  63. Iain, you are ignoring the two High Court cases. Giving due regard to these cases, what then is your solution to the refugee “problem”.

  64. Giving due regard to these cases

    I think the case is that you are giving too much due to his regard there Min 😉

  65. I don’t see any enthusiasm in the countries in our region for this idea at all. says Iain

    It’s not hard to find if you look. So many South East Asian countries have refugee problems with which they would appreciate assistance. Almost all have camped within their borders many thousands who have fled persecution or war in neighbouring countries. Already Australia has come to arrangements with Malaysia to assist with re-settlement of thousands of long term refugees which went ahead in spite of that High Court ruling. Officials from both countries continue their negotiations as constitutional lawyers here seek a way forward. Indonesian authorities would certainly appreciate similar assistance and already their police and coastal surveillance service cooperate with Australian authorities, hence the speedy response to their call for help in the latest disaster in their waters. Indonesia is having to cope with the many illegal hopefuls ‘in transit’ as they imagine, on their way to Australia, and though not yet a signatory to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, they do work with UN High Commissison for Refugees in the region.

    Responsibility for refugee protection is unequally distributed throughout our region. There are tens of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers sqatting on the edges of large towns throughout SE Asian countries. Australia is bothered by comparatively few, i.e. those desperate enough to try to reach here by boat. Most of the countries with the largest refugee populations have limited means to provide protection. Regional cooperation would mean that all countries take their fair share of responsibility for refugee protection and resettlement. Regional cooperation could even make it easier to respond to conditions in countries of origin and address causes of displacement, making it possible for refugees to return home safely. Australia has well-established systems for refugee status determination and a settlement support infrastructure, and so is well-placed to take the lead in building a framework for regional cooperation. Countries like Indonesia and Malaysia are more than willing to cooperate with Australia and NZ through the UNHCR if that means a fairer sharing of the burden of displaced populations landing within their borders.

  66. Patricia, the only reason that those original refugees were settled here is that there was already an agreement with Malaysia which preceded the High Court ruling.

    Indonesian authorities have been a particularly difficult task and it has only been quite recently that Australia has been able to obtain any cooperation from Indonesia. The Federal Police are now working in conjunction with Indonesian authorities, but it’s a hard road indeed. Indonesia is a different culture and the Indonesians simply do not perceive people smuggling as a problem. Therefore, being a very complex culture with myriads of different languages and ethnic groups, what cooperation one might obtain on one part of Indonesia will not necessarily flow on to the rest of the country.

    Malaysia has cooperated with the UNHCR, however Indonesia has been reluctant to do so. This is a nation where bribery or shall we call it bartering is the normal way to conduct business. The true people smugglers as compared with the impoverished fishermen/crew members are likely to be the officials themselves. The Federal Police of course are working closely with Indonesian officials, but it’s a very difficult task and a very difficult situation.

  67. patricia, that’s why the Malaysia solution beats Liealot’s Nauru solution. There are tens of thousands of processed refugees languishing in camps in Malaysia, who would be first cab off the rank and have the opportunity to make a new life here.

    Those attempting to reach our shores by boat would be redirected for processing, making the people smuggling business unprofitable.

    And knowing that they wouldn’t be left to rot in camps, would provide an incentive to eschew people smugglers.

  68. Ian is also ignoring that two leaders fully supported the Malaysian Solution.

    Not that is anything new.

    Both Malaysia and Indonesia had much to gain from it being put in place.

  69. Jane, and it of course was the “orderly queue” that the Libs have been going on about all of this time.

    You have it absolutely. At the moment the people smugglers can con people onto unsafe SIEVs with the promise of permanent residency in Australia. Is this the fault of the asylum seekers, or is this the fault of the people doing the conning?

    Once the word gets out that they would go to the back of the queue in Malaysia, this acts as a deterrent. My only problem with Malaysia is the standard of care in the camps over there, but then that’s nothing that an increase in aid wouldn’t fix, and one sight cheaper than Abbott’s idea of Nauru. I am guessing that many people don’t even know where Nauru is. There is one flight a week as Tony Abbott discovered.

  70. Well said PatriciaWA. At present I support on-shore” processing as the best of a bad range of options. Regional processing would work if managed by a properly funded humanitarian NGO such as UNHCR – and takes away the “if I make it to Australia, I’ll settle there” element. Refugees are a issue around the world and it seems that Australian politics was more enlightened in the 50’s and 60’s when the much smaller country took in lots of refugees displaced as a result of WW2.

    While I wasn’t around in the 50’s (and didn’t care for a considerable part of the 60’s!) I seem to recall that an independent body collated details of the refugees that wanted to be relocated and allocated them to ships that went to places including Australia and Canada. Most of the refugees have lead successful lives where they have contributed in numerous ways to the quality of life here and other placed they were settled. Why the same arrangement can not be implemented again escapes me – only instead of coming from Eastern and Southern Europe, the people come from refugee camps in Indonesia and Malaysia.

    Its also instructive to see that Canada gets more than double the refugees we get (in a country with around twice the population) and can “process” them for security and health checks in something like 3% of the time it takes us – and they have a very conservative government.

    This is why Gillard, Abbott and Milne (spelt correctly this time) should hang their heads in shame. Gillard for the extended period it seems to take to process refugees, Abbott for “stop the boats” and all the racist implications that encompasses, and Milne for not being open to ideas other than “on-shore” processing.

  71. A nice summary via this blog..

    “Stop The Boats” – seems to be just about the only policy that Tony Abbott has, or at least short enough for him to remember.

    The reality is, Tony Abbott and the Drama Queens who sit behind him, don’t really want to ‘stop the boats’, because for them, More Boats = More Votes.

    Tony Abbott just shrugs at the deaths that occur when boats sink, for him it’s small price to pay for him to be Prime Minister, then he gets on television saying “now is not the time for cheap political point scoring” and then tries to score cheap political points.

  72. Min, I suspect that most of these people know the risk they are taking. They have come to the belief and decision, that not getting on that boat is a worse options.

    These people need to be given hope. They need a third option, that is they can get on a guaranteed queue that gives them some guaranteed of having a decent future.

    That is what the regional option is trying to achieve.

    I wonder how many see the danger rising in Afghan, as the western troops leave.

    I believe that the future of the minorities in Iraq became bleaker when the west left.

    It is a problem with very few answers, one that is not going to go away.

    What is true, we have not suffered from taking asylum seekers in,over many decades.

  73. Gee with all of the praise singing for the “Malaysian solution” why do none of you lot ever consider what a bad deal it was for Australia? You know the whole we send them 800 and in return we accept 4000? and on top of that Australia pays for the upkeep of the 800!!! Man oh man for some one with a reputation for her “negotiating skills” Gillard is trying to sell us a pup here, how on earth is that any kind of a good deal?
    That is before you consider that at the current rate the 800 would arrive here in just one week!!!

  74. Cu, it’s very difficult to know. Son has had many dealings with asylum seekers being a LS on the patrol boats. I know that he has said many positive things about the people on board, but is less keen on the crew members..they’re the ones who give our personnel a difficult time.

    To complicate matters, Indonesian fishermen caught poaching in Australian waters are mostly released and sent back to Indonesia, boats confiscated. Therefore the crew members on the SIEVs jump to the conclusion that this will be what happens to them. They then end up in Darwin 5-10yrs imprisonment. So therefore when the Opposition states “soft on” people smuggling, not so.

    Afghanistan is a problem all unto itself. We in 1st world countries have been taught how horrific are the Taliban and this indeed can be the case especially in the treatment of women. However, one thing which the Taliban did do was to ban the growing of opium poppies and insisted that farmers grow food crops. With the arrival of US forces, those areas have now reverted to growing opium poppies. One cannot help but think that $$$$s and mega opium has found it’s way to America as a result. All wars are fought on economic grounds, although most wars do resort to Rallying Cries in order to establish an idealogical basis for that war. What happens to Afghanistan now? History and the future will have to establish that one.

  75. How interesting it is to see so many doing a little reworking of the government press release, summarised for convenience as “Malaysia=Hooray!!, Nauru=BOO!!”

    It’s also nice to note a little bipartisan language – “the business model of people smugglers”

    Remember all the debate just a few years ago when it wasn’t the people smugglers that were the issue, it was all about push factors. Pull had very little to do with it. Some here should check their earlier arguments.

    But speaking of the” business model”, people smugglers are out if business (apparently) if they can’t offer residency. That’s apparently why the” Malaysian Solution” breaks the “business model”. But temporary protection visas don’t?

    It’s all just partisan crap.

  76. Cu, we certainly have not suffered from taking in refugees and from many countries. It’s ok to be proud and nationalistic, but IMO Australia would have to be the most successful multicultural society on the face of this planet. There are glaring exceptions of course, especially the treatment of our own indigenous peoples.

    Next time you visit Dr Nguyan or Dr Phan ask which refugee boat his/her parents arrived.

  77. CU, Patricia, Sue, Min, Jane and everyone since Saturday. I see on the news Gillard is opening a detention centre in WA for 600 Illegal Immigrants. They will need to build and staff one and a half of those detention centres each week to keep up with the flow of Illegal Immigrants arriving by boats. Great use of taxpayers funds.
    Would it be better to build schools, hospitals etc instead of detention centres? Maybe I just don’t get it?

  78. Min. The High Court interprets the laws of Australia in relation to the constitution. Gillard wants Abbott to amend the Malaysia Asylum law so that it does not attract the ire of the High Court. Abbott quite rightly has no confidence in delivering a policy and has declined to support her policy. Nauru is already a signatory to the UNHCR. The reason why Nauru worked so well in stopping Illegal Immigrants is that it is such a remote location. Min. Do you realise Nauru is just 30 nautical miles from being in the Northern Hemisphere? To be precise, 0°31′38″S 166°56′12″E.
    It is in totally the wrong direction from where the illegal immigrants want to go. Getting the picture now Min? Deterrent?
    A thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from some act.

    The light at the end of the tunnel might be that there will be a Detention Centre led recovery that is going to pull the economy out of its current nose dive.
    this government is dumb. No other word Min. Dumb.

    Illegal Immigrants is big business Min. The Indonesians on one side of the ocean and the corrupt legal industry in Australia. Follow the money Min.

  79. “Would it be better to build schools, hospitals etc instead of detention centres? Maybe I just don’t get it?”

    Of course it would. The government went ahead with these facilities, when it was made aware by Mr. Abbott, that onshore processing was the only option.

    Just as Howard began building Christmas Island before he was tossed out.

    Howard knew that the lull in the boats was temporary at the most. Otherwise, why build new facilities, that const hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Mr. Howard was well aware that he could not keep using Nauru because of it’s climate, it’s isolation, cost and lack of facilities such as water.

    Tweed talking to Iain, seems a little funny. Something not quite correct.

  80. “is just 30 nautical miles from being in the Northern Hemisphere? To be precise, 0°31′38″S 166°56′12″E.”

    Thanks for backing up my previous comment. A unhealthy climate that is isolate from the rest of humanity. An island, that is mostly barren and offers humans nothing.

  81. CU. Always good to see you come in with the dumb finale.
    Nauru was EMPTY. The BOATS had Stopped (until the FW Rudd, egged on by Gillard dismantled the Pacific Solution). That is when the Labor worls turned to crap.
    CU. Tell me. How do you thing the Border protection is going to end for Gillard? No rush. Think it through…………….

  82. The man that knows it all. As Mr. Hockey said, one never knows what this government is going to do.

    This PM might just give Mr. Abbott what he wants.

    Now that would be a real circus.

    By the way, boats are a part of the refugee problems across the world.

    We seem to be dealing with the onshore processing and the people who have arrived with few problems.

    It is more a perceived problem, than a real one.

    Please stop talking down to people. It might surprise you, but there is little evidence that you are superior to all those around you.

    We can always rely on you for the insults. Never fails. Is that your role in the partnership.

    Thanks for the compliment.

  83. By the way, our borders are in no danger. We have not been invaded. We know of everyone that comes in. Not too sure if that is true for those who come by plane,

  84. Then Tweed why did Howard continue to staff and fund Nauru and give the Nauru government money for a facility you say was no longer needed? An estimated $1 billion was spent on the Nauru solutions for asylum seekers that ended up in Australia anyway.

    Why did Howard spend so much on a detention facility on Christmas Island that spared not a single cent on the security and solidness of it. It was made to last a very long time, but you are saying it was totally unnecessary as Howard had somehow miraculously stopped the boats.

    Finally how did Howard stop the boats worldwide as at the same time the numbers of boats declined here they also declined just about everywhere else in the world. Another Howard miracle.

    What will be your excuses when the boats keep coming under Abbott? You are probably rehearsing them now. That’s wrong, you need to make excuses for the Liberals so often you have them off by pat so don’t need to rehearse them.

  85. ME, waste of time, they only stick their heads in the sand when one mentions what Howard was doing.

    The truth is that Howard knew he could not get away with using Nauru anymore.

    As an alternative, he began building Christmas Island.

    It was Rudd that went ahead with that enterprise, as it was to late to stop it.

  86. Tweed, this fits in with my beliefs. There is no right answer or solution while wars continue in the countries, the people are fleeing from.

    The only answer is to fis their countries. Now, I do not believe that the PM or anyone else think she can perform miracles or has a magic wand.

    Yes! The deaths of asylum seekers is horrible and the government needs to reduce the ‘incentives’ to get on leaky boats. We know offshore processing reduces the flow. So, Gillard should go to Abbott and offer the following:
    re-establish offshore processing in Nauru;
    at the same time change legislation to allow the Malaysia off-shore processing to go ahead; but
    not re-establish temporary protection visas.
    Is this good policy? No idea. But it will help to stop people dying. It will also put Abbott in a bind. If he agrees, good. If he doesn’t agree then he may find a few of his own party room are willing to cross the floor to support the policy. And having that happen may just save Julia Gillard’s political life!

    I agree with Oakeshott’s view. Lock them all in a room, until they come to agreement.

  87. The Christmas Island detention centre was all but finished at the November 2007 election with the Phosphate Hill facility still going with medical facility, gymnasium, classroom, recreational facilities and commercial kitchen. A lot of effort for asylum seekers that were no longer coming.

  88. ” What will be your excuses when the boats keep coming…”

    Perhaps he’ll say – “It’s all push factors…” I mean that would be fair, because that’s what you always used to say.

  89. I agree with the comments above. It will be a long haul to fix the failures of this government.
    Whisperers/ You might like to peruse the facts.
    Refugee and immigration detention

    From the late 1980s and early 1990s, boats carrying asylum seekers and mainly departing from Indonesia landed on the island. In 2001, Christmas Island was the site of the Tampa controversy, in which the Australian government stopped a Norwegian ship, MV Tampa, from disembarking 438 rescued asylum seekers at Christmas Island. The ensuing standoff and the associated political reactions in Australia were a major issue in the 2001 Australian federal election.[18]
    Another boatload of asylum seekers was taken from Christmas Island to Papua New Guinea for processing, after it was claimed that many of the adult asylum seekers threw their children into the water, apparently in protest at being turned away. This was later found to be false by a Senate select committee. Many of the refugees were subsequently accepted by New Zealand.[citation needed]
    The former Howard Government later secured the passage of legislation through the Australian Parliament which excised Christmas Island from Australia’s migration zone, meaning that asylum seekers arriving on Christmas Island could not automatically apply to the Australian government for refugee status. This allowed the Royal Australian Navy to relocate them to other countries (Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, and Nauru) as part of the so-called Pacific Solution. In 2006 an Immigration Detention Centre, containing approximately 800 beds, was constructed on the island for the Department of Immigration. Originally estimated to cost $210 million, the final cost was over $400 million.[19]
    In 2007, the Rudd Government announced plans to decommission the Manus Island and Nauru centres; processing would then occur on Christmas Island itself.[20]
    In 2010, around 50 asylum seekers died off the coast of the island as the boat they were travelling on crashed into the rocks off Flying Fish Cove.[21][22]

  90. Tweed. it is true, that refugees fleeing often meet death. It is not a choice most make. The drown in boats regularly, all around the world.

    Most today, move into nearby countries that are poorer than those they are fleeing from.

    The generous people in this country appear to be of the belief that is where they should stay, not be moving on.

    That mindset is not fair to the nearby countries, that do not have the resources to feed their own. It is not fair to the refugees.

    The attitude is more stupid, when we can take all that has come in, and the country has benefited.

  91. “Malaysia=Hooray!!, Nauru=BOO!!”

    You’re starting to sound like the UNHCR yomm 😉

    This week, the UNHCR made its position clear on the past Nauru policy, as it has many times before: ”The Pacific Solution, including the use of Nauru, was a deeply problematic policy, both as a matter of principle and for those refugees and asylum seekers affected by it.”

    Read more:

    yet for the Malaysian deal

    But the UNHCR’s regional office, in response to questions from a Greens- and opposition-led inquiry, has offered its strongest support yet for the Malaysia swap proceeding
    ”In the context of the Malaysian arrangements, the assurances of legal stay and community-based reception for all transferees can be seen as a more positive protection environment that protracted – and in some cases indefinite – detention that many face here in Australia, provided the assurances are carefully monitored,” Mr Towle wrote.

    Read more:

    They are just not comparable, no matter how much you want them to be.

  92. Not much point in going over old ground and blaming this or that policy. The situation has changed in the last few years because of the High Court ruling and the increasing numbers of people moving around the region from one trouble spot or another to find safety, and often just seeking a better life. The push/pull factors are so clear. Poverty, war and repressive regimes pushing people to seek security, freedom and prosperity. Where else to make for but Australia or even New Zealand. With communications in this modern age it is no secret that this is the best place in the world to live! And we are multi-cultural and multi-racial too! What a magnet that makes us. Only our island status saves us from being flooded with economic migrants, let alone asylum seekers.

    We have to work with other countries in the region, and we have to find a formula that is acceptable to all political parties which we can take to regional forums which gives Oz a consistent border protection policy no matter which party is in power. Rob Oakeshott has something we can start to work on and a hung parliament offers a unique opportunity for compromise.

  93. ”They are just not comparable, no matter how much you want them to be.

    In typical form, Tom R misrepresentsinterprets the position of others.

    I seem to recall you also preferred to vociferously argue that the asylum seekers arrivals were all about “push” factors. Seasonal too.

    But do try to keep up, I’m not in favour of off shore processing, to Nauru or Malaysia.

  94. ”They are just not comparable, no matter how much you want them to be.

    In typical form, Tom R misrepresentsinterprets the position of others.

    I seem to recall you also preferred to vociferously argue that the asylum seekers arrivals were all about “push” factors. Seasonal too.

    But do try to keep up, I’m not in favour of off shore processing, to Nauru or Malaysia.

    (amazing what a / does)

  95. Tom R misrepresentsinterprets the position of others

    Yea, with links and all 😉

    Speaking of which, do you have the links for the ‘push factors’ I apparently argued?

  96. Yeah right, you’ve always been so out of step with the earlier ALP policy on asylum seekers.

  97. Tweed @6.42pm, you sure don’t get it , or should I say don’t WANT to get it, do you? The people arriving by boat are asylum seekers, not illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants arrive in this country by plane with documentation and stay on illegally in this country.

    They stay in their tens of thousands every year.

    You know all that, but prefer to perpetuate Liars Party lies, innuendo and propaganda to make political capital out of other people’s misery, just like Liealot. Your comments would be better suited to Dolt’s site or passed on to the revolting Anal Jones.

    Perhaps you should consider those alternatives.

  98. Lol Tom R – you’re dealing with some of those RWDB “projection” issues again I see 😉

  99. Gillard has been wedged on this and exactly what I predicted the opposition would do, they have done.

    Morrison has refused to state if they would compromise because even though he’s certain their proven policy would stop the boats the government has no credibility and has stuffed up every policy they have implemented, so can’t be trusted to oversee their asylum seeker policy.

    The opposition is on a win/win for even if the government compromises and the opposition’s policy fails, as it must, then they can still blame the government because it’s not them in power overseeing the policy. When they do get into power and it fails, as it must, then they have already rehearsed their excuses and blame shifting. The failure to stop the boats will never be theirs. It’s how the conservatives and their rabid supporters work.

    For the Liberals they can never win by being open and honest with the people so they always resort to being deceptive and dishonest whilst projecting their shortcomings onto others.

  100. A National Party backbencher has stated he agonised on voting with the Coalition on blocking the Malaysia Solution and can’t help but feel responsible for the deaths of asylum seekers because of siding with the Party.

    A growing number of Coalition backbenchers are starting to openly speak out against their Party’s flawed position and refusal to compromise purely for political reasons. The death and suffering of asylum seekers has never been a concern for the Liberals and especially not for Morrison, who is one of the greatest heartless arseholes we have seen in this country. It’s always been about getting power over and above everything else purely for the sake of that power, and the money and prestige that comes with it. What is good for the nation and its people never enters into their thinking.

    We are seeing this in action at the moment.

  101. Mobius, I’ve been hoping for this to happen for quite some time. Can you imagine being a member of the Opposition at this point in time, no opinions, nothing except harping negativity.

    In spite of what we may think of politicians in general, there are not too many elected members there just for the “thrill” of sitting on a bench with nothing whatsoever to add to any debate.

    With Tony Abbott apparently a shoo-in, hopefully we will see and hear more dissenting voices.

  102. Jane @11.21pm. How odd..all this time later and we’re still trying to get basic factual information across. Shall I do it one more time..just for old time’s sake.

    The vessel is a SIEV – a suspected illegal entry vessel. This is a Navy term for any unidentified shipping movement. People on those particular SIEVs who are aslyum seekers are not “illegals” because as you say it is not illegal to seek asylum.

    Following due process, those who are found not to be genuine refugees are deported. Just from memory, those arriving by boat are running about 80+% genuine refugees whereas those who arrive by plane are only around 30%. A majority of people arriving by plane with Visas have their claims for refugee status rejected.

  103. It really is an abysmal mess isn’t it ME.

    You are right about Labor being completely ‘wedged’ (if that is the correct term in this case?)

    Which is why I think Labor have absolutely nothing to lose by abandoning everything, giving in to the opposition completely, and then see what arises.

    If (when), as all the experts agree, nothing, then they really have the argument to implement their solution. The downside would be it working (or there being a temporary fall in arrivals) as it is a truly abhorrent solution. I simply cannot see it as being the case though.

    As long as Labor are clear that they are doing this against their best wishes, and would prefer to work with an arrangement that the UNHCR is more comfortable with.

    I used to agree with the Greens stance, but, the ‘debate’ has moved on so far from that now, that we now do have to accept that any loss of life at see has become our responsibility. It doesn’t matter if this is true or not, it has been pushed so much in this debate, it has simply become so. You cannot bell the cat so many times without eventually being left with the bell in your hand.

  104. you’re dealing with some of those RWDB “projection” issues again I see

    Sad isn’t it Bacchus. Guess it is not far from time to drag out the old comprehension for dummies book for the more vociferous ones 😦

  105. Will Tony Abbott be dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table is the question. Doubtful. Sad thing that in spite of the loss of life Abbott thinks of nothing other than political gain.

    The best that Gillard can hope for is that more people come forward such as Tony Crook now has. But then of course the government won’t be able to get the legislation through the Senate anyway. However, I think that as long as Gillard can get it through the House of Reps then it will become a political interest to Tony once it’s with the Senate.

  106. Will Tony Abbott be dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table

    It doesn’t look like it Min

    His opposition counterpart, Scott Morrison, stunned colleagues by effectively ruling out any deal, even if the government caved in to the opposition by abandoning Malaysia and adopting the Pacific solution.

    He said he did not trust the government to implement the Pacific solution.

    In fact, from that statement, it appears that even if Labor go completely insane and implement my idea (give the libs everything they want, with no strings to Malaysia), they wouldn’t vote for it

    Hence, I’m not sure ‘wedge’ is the correct term. We have entered the Twilight Zone of oz politics. Or is it just oz politics Breaking Bad?

  107. Tom, same as always. The Abbott opposition cannot possibly give the government even one small concession, or else they lose their message of Julia being the devil incarnate. That negativity has to remain firmly ingrained in order for them to avoid questioning their own motives.

  108. Tom this is not the first time the opposition and especially Abbott have ruled against their own policy or policy ideas, purely to be negative and not allow the government any headroom.

    This is by far he worst opposition this country has ever had. They don’t have any original ideas and only have policies that are rehashes of the Howard ones, and even them they will oppose if it’s this government that is willing to implement them.

    I would really hate to see this mob in government as we will get almost daily excuses and blame shifting as it all crumbles around them and like their State counterparts they have failure after failure.

  109. Wonder what would happen if the PM came into Parliament today and introduced the Howard legislation in it’s entirety, with the addition of Malaysian Solution Both Abbott and Morrison have already said they would not support it, as it is the PM that is the problem.

    Of course she is, she will not fall over, so he can have the job.

    Abbott does not appear to realise that the public are saying fix it. His back benchers, including Crook have joined the cross benches to tell him so as well.

    Abbott has a real problem. This government is not making many problems in it’s administration of putting it’s legislation in place. If anything even looks like going off the rails, the PM jumps in quickly to put things back on the rails.

    He needs to be asked to name one policy that the PM has mucked up.

    Every allegation he has made up to now, when investigated, has found he had made the accusation, generally based on documents that do not stand up.

  110. Mo, do you really think Abbott has the PM wedged on this? I’d think she has him cornered. Audience reaction to Brandis on Q&A reflects pretty much media and public opinion generally, I’d say. They could see that Brandis wasn’t interested in compromise or trying to solve the problem. The Libs at last have had to say ‘we aren’t intererested in anything except Gillard giving us the reins. Let us take over and go back to running this country as John Howard ran it!’

  111. Wishful thinking here.

    I recall that there were several who said that Abbott’s opposition to the Malaysian deal had played into Gillard’s hands, as she really didn’t want off shore processing, and Abbott had given her the alibility to walk away from it.

    Anyone still hold that view – it was only expressed a few months ago.

    Here are the iterations of ALP policy as expressed by barrackers-
    • “Another boat, another policy failure”
    • “You’d turn the boats back”
    • Off shore processing is inhumane.
    • It’s all push factors, and seasonal
    • UNHCR countries!
    • Nauru= 😦 Malaysia= 😀
    • We think Nauru might be ok.
    • Abbott’s wedged.

  112. ToM, it was a decision of the High Court. Don’t you think that far more pertinent is how this decision of the High Court will effect Tony Abbott’s polices. After all Tony is supposed to be a shoo-in, therefore there is no point in looking at the past..we should be looking to the future.

    As a font of all knowledge, then enlighten us..what is the solution. This is giving due regard to the two recent decisions of the High Court.

  113. Patricia I’ve been following some tweets and by some very astute political commentators/bloggers and they seem to believe Abbott is on a win/win, and one of the reasons they agreed with me on is the (false) accusation but now public perception of the government being incompetent and failing in every policy implemented.

    Even if the government took up the opposition’s policy in full without any compromise, the moment the first boat came in under that policy the opposition would blame it as a government management failing. It doesn’t matter what the government does the opposition will successfully paint it as a government failing. The thing that really scares the opposition, and a thing they are willing to allow refugees to die to stop, is a regional framework solution and processing in foreign countries like Malaysia. Yet I will not be surprised if a Coalition government takes up this policy as their Pacific and visa solution fails, as it must.

    There is one thing being overlooked here, especially by the RWDB posters who blame Rudd’s change of Howard’s policy, a change he had to make because of the Court, is that it was the opposition at the time who was enticing the boat smugglers and refugees to come here, and that point was raised then, and some refugees who were interviewed said it was opposition comments on Australia now being open that made the decision for them to risk the journey.

    This is a message the opposition continues to this day and as loudly and widely as possible. The opposition want the boat people to keep coming under this government, and if that means them suffering and dying then all the better.

  114. Nauru= 😦 Malaysia= 😀

    Didn’t I just go through why this is quite a reasonable view to be had, simply because they are very different proposals?

    Do I need to get that comprehension book out for ya’

    Everything just appears to be you whinging that a site has some different opinions expressed (assuming your comments are accurate). Weird that?

  115. the opposition would blame it as a government management failing

    the media would blame it as a government management failing

    Fixed it for ya ME 😉

    btw, was there an apology in the terror today for yesterdays false page one headline? And all of the associated papers that ran with it?

  116. What a dingbat

    Here’s a tip chris, why won’t tabot just let them??

  117. Tom, one needs to drop the IQ level somewhat in order to read Chris Kenny. Shizzer hey, the punters want the government to trite is that. There is a thing called government, there is a thing called process. Chris Kenny is clearly talking to the Toddlers & Tiaras set.

  118. I know Min that you enjoy the diversion, but you simply cannot blame the High Court for the mishmash of policy positions that the ALP has adopted during recent times.

    Oddly though there are several here who have supported each change, even when it’s been diametrically opposed to an earlier policy they vociferously supported.

    By the way Min, did the High Court block temporary protection visas?

  119. Are there times when one sits there somewhat glassy eyed wondering WTF the person’s one.. Anyone care to provide an interpretation as to what Latika means…

  120. Why should Abbott help this pathetic excuse for a government? They have the numbers in both houses if they want to pursue the trading of people as if they’re cattle!

    Keep playing the blame game but the reality is that the only people that should be blamed are the ones jumping on the boats. They alone have put themselves in the position to risk drowning. But personal responsibility is not a concept that the bleeding hearts of the chattering class can grasp. It’s always someone elses fault.

  121. Scaper, what a load of old nonsense. The people jumping on the boats would be sitting in their own homes if we hadn’t jackbooted into their country. Most of the asylum seekers are from Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries we helped the US to invade illegally and which are still in turmoil.

    Personal responsibility is certainly not a concept that barrackers espouse, it seems, or they’d have the decency to acknowledge that if you invade someone’s country you have to accept responsibility for the resulting displacement of its citizens who seek refuge elsewhere.

    It would be a reasonable assumption by the refugees that if we’re the ones who created the mess in their country, we should at the very least offer them refuge while we clean up the mess we’ve made.

  122. I know Min that you enjoy the diversion

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    says the guy who keeps posting this shit

    Nauru= 😦 Malaysia= 😀

    Yet doesn’t want to address the fact that they are different things

  123. Oh dear, we invaded their countries so it’s our fault…pathetic! Tell that to the Kurds and the relatives of the women that were slaughtered by the Taliban for their crimes of being…women.

    I take it by your last paragraph that you support TPVs, just return them when the supposedly mess is cleaned up? Another who looks at these people as cattle.

  124. ToM re By the way Min, did the High Court block temporary protection visas?

    Have now made meatball minestrone..omg, it’s a spicy meatball!! Now have a few moments to answer.

    Remember the reasoning behind’s because the War on Terror by the Coalition of the Willing is going to be won any tick of the clock and so all these little brown people could be safely return to the land of love and peace which American forces had been able to create.

    No, to my knowledge the High Court did not address the issue of TPVs, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

  125. TPVs were a failure. Boat arrivals dramatically increased after their introduction for one thing and the other thing it did was increase the amount of woman and children sent on boats whilst the men remained behind.

    So TPVs are crueler as they will ensure a tragedy under them will see a boat full of women and children drown.

  126. Mobius, to add. TPVs also meant a huge strain on charity organisations such as the Salvos who had to provide care and sustenance to these people.

  127. Why are TPVs a failure? Surely they break the so called “business model” that Bowen and others keep harping on about. They don’t require men, women, children, the aged , the infirm to be shipped off to a place that doesn’t think it appropriate to sign up to the UNHCR.

    That’s inhumane, and those advocating this “solution” should understand that they’ve now advocated about every possible position there is relating to asylum seekers.

    But despite the multitude of positions advocated, they vociferously support their latest position without any retraction of all their previous ones. That’s really odd.

  128. Most of the asylum seekers are from Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries we helped the US to invade illegally and which are still in turmoil.

    Illegally invaded? Jane?

  129. Bacchus, shall I have another try..what the heck, patience they say is a virtue. TPVs were a failure because WHEN are you planning to return the people to their country of origin? Sorry..that’s as far as I can manage at the moment..garlic and honey prawns await me. 😀

  130. 😳 That was aimed at ToM Min 😉

    As usual, he frames what he wants others arguments to be, then proceeds to argue against that. No specifics – a bit like Neil’s “you lot.” Someone said something or other in the dim distant past, therefore all of you here MUST be of the same opinion which you’ve never changed in your life as arguments for various positons are put and debated 🙄

  131. Clutches at walking lot, you ‘member waaayy back in ’06 that you lot said..

    I actually do remember the push/pull argument, but I’m not going to admit to it. 😉

  132. Liberal and National backbenchers have are meeting (or have met) with Labor backbenchers to pressure Abbott in changing his stance. Didn’t catch all of the 7 News piece so if someone could expand it would be appreciated.

    The action in Afghanistan was perfectly legal but I think it has been ascertained that the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

  133. Patricia,

    He claimed someone here “threatened” him. I have no idea what that was about. He hasn’t been around too many other places either – possibly can’t get anyone to bite at the same talking points he’s been pushing for about a decade 😆

  134. Tell me Bacchus, do you have a position on this issue? Certainly several here have advocated a variety of positions, including ones they’d previously shunned.

  135. And they’re not allowed to listen to the arguments put and change their opinion over time based on that? Intransigence sounds like a very conservative trait to me.. 😉

    Personally, I think it’s a matter of push rather than pull factors involved AND that’s not a problem in itself. We get such a tiny portion of asylum seekers out of the numbers out there that this is all just a political beat-up by BOTH major parties.

    On the people smugglers – I’m not sure what the answer is. I certainly don’t think the Pacific solution “worked” as the right whingers keep asserting, but just what will work, I don’t know. I’ll continue listening, considering the positions advocated and take this all on-board. I suspect any long-term solution will need to be on a regional basis – stop the people trade at its source…

  136. You can’t discount the pull factors of the opposition shouting we have no control of our borders and the government openly welcomes all and sundtry giving them freebies when the get here.

  137. The action in Afghanistan was perfectly legal but I think it has been ascertained that the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

    Yes … ME … scooped up in my “copy n paste” … (apologies, Jane)

    I will reiterate my objection to men of “military age” (17 to 40**) from Afghanistan being asylum seekers to Oz … let ’em fighttheir own wars and give their womenfolk a chance … ’cause if they don’t care there – they won’t care here!

    Why should our young men and women fight for freedom in another country for other young men and women! (In Vietnam this didn’t happen and one of the reasons why the refugees were welcomed!)

    (**For the faint of heart the Taliban, a formidable foe BTW, has recruits aged from 12 to well into their sixties)

    Ross Kemp in Afghanistan is highly recommended …

  138. Sure ME – there’s probably a small pull factor, especially when you’re talking of the people smugglers’ business, but the overall numbers involved reflect worldwide trends – I think you made this very point earlier in the thread?

  139. Bacchus, to me it’s a lot to do with harm minimisation. There is a problem which Australia can do very little about, and for various reasons including political situations in other countries.

    It’s a complex problem, there are no simple solutions no matter how Tony Abbott wishes that it might be so.

  140. Wherever we have Refugee/Asylum “Accommodation” the outcomes will be the same … surely its easier and quicker to process them onshore … although I sometimes wonder at the “efficiency/effectivness” of ASIO …

    Personally, I find the “Malaysian Solution” abhorrent … but equally the Nauru Solution …

    And we all seem to have forgotten:

    THE inquiry into the arrest of Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef on terrorism charges has found he should not have been charged and the cancellation of his visa and his deportation should have been deferred.

    The report of the inquiry has cleared the former Howard government of any political motivation in ordering the detention and later deportation of the Indian doctor, who worked at the Gold Coast Hospital, in July last year.

    I love the hypocrisy of these two paragraphs … someone stuffed up but no-one is responsible …

    And the naivity of the incoming Labor Government is stamped all over this … just like Kevin Rudd choosing to retain all the Howard Government appointed Department heads … how naive or arrogant … take your pick … anyone with any sense would have topped the lot of ’em!

    No good turn goes unpunished …

  141. Agree Min. It’s all very well saying “stop the boats” but that just leaves the problem with Indonesia & Malaysia. We’re really great global citizens aren’t we 🙄

  142. And who can forget J. Bishop’s last foray into Foreign Affairs..mind you she doesn’t attempt it all that often. Next moment, concerned statements from Indonesia saying No, we are not going to accept the boats which you turn around.

  143. ”to me it’s a lot to do with harm minimisation

    I remember the good old days when Bolt was called a racist for running that line.

    …and I agree with this – ”Personally, I find the “Malaysian Solution” abhorrent … but equally the Nauru Solution

  144. CU

    And the coalition was whingeing about Dreyfus’ comments outside parliament, Mike Kelly on Capital Hill said that Dreyfus was only quoting from a newspaper report. and there you have the link, Peter van Onselen, can’t get much more liberal than him

  145. Now we know that Mr. Abbott was a minister in the Howard government.

    That what Departments was he minister of, can anyone recall.

    I do recall that he did break an serious election promise within days of being reelected.

    Then I suppose he can be congratulated for the great fight he put up against the morning after pill being introduced, He was not to supported of stem cell research,if I recall.

    What comes to mind, is his last action as Health Minister. Buying that hospital it Tasmania. To this day, I have no ides what he was going to so with it. I believe he did not either. it was another of his great off the top of the head stunt. The result was another mess for Labor to sort out.

    I am sure that this site is going to be flooded with people citing stories of what a great minister he was and examples of his great successes.

  146. CU, I think his most amazing achievment is being Labors best weapon going into the next erection, … umm,.. election. HE HAS LIED and from July 1st that will become more apparent….. ( isnt it funny that Liberal Phony Abort has a use by date that fits in with the end of the financial yar)…. only a merchant banker could possibly take advantage of that.. 😀 …. buy Tony…umm, BYE Tony… have a nice directorship or Ambassadorship or woteva waste of space fundamentalist hoohar that you ‘will’ do….

  147. Cu, thank you for that picture! Did you photo-shop it? However you came by it, no matter, it is certainly worth the proverbial thousands words.

    Thinking back on that man’s career and the things he has got away with I am astonished that he is within a heartbeat of becoming our Prime Minister. Remember what he did to Pauline Hanson? His ‘Australians for Honest Politics’ trust fund? Hanson always maintained that she had been ‘set up’ on the charge of electoral fraud by Abbott aided by elements of the media.

    Reading about it all again in Wiki one wonders at the parallels of that scandal and court drama with this conspiracy around Peter Slipper which is like a carbon copy of of what happened to Hanson. It has Abbott’s dirty fingers all over the script. Remember how even Peter Costello had misgivings about his use of the courts instead of the ballot box to win a political battle?

  148. I took it from that site. I seen the same look twice Monday. Once in question time. The look he gave the PM was one of pure hate. By her reaction, I believe the PM did too. At one stage I could not decide which face emitted the most hate between the three monkeys in a row. That is Pyne Bishop or Abbott.

    The second time, was when he walks through the line of reporters, stony faced and no talkies.

    I noticed yesterday the Bishop has refined her cat pawing. She takes the index finger, and makes her cat ,movements, just below the left eye.

  149. Calling it as it is, EVIL.

    But, having paid close or not-so-close attention to federal politics since the early 1980s, I can’t do anything but conclude that the Coalition’s current stance on asylum seekers is the clearest example of outright evil that I’ve ever seen from a political party at the federal level.


    Not merely does the Coalition not want to address the current tragic situation, it actively advocates policies that evidence shows will exacerbate it. If Labor did embrace the Coalition’s position entirely — Nauru, temporary protection visas, turning boats around where possible — it would be doing so knowing full well none of those policies will deter boat arrivals, and indeed in the case of TPVs the evidence shows they would encourage boat arrivals. Labor cannot in good conscience do that and they should be savagely condemned if they did.

    Nonetheless, this has led to some weird questioning from the media of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen about why the government won’t simply do that, as if the matter of whether a policy will save lives or lead to more deaths is just another example of Canberra he-said-she-said, as if Labor was simply being stubborn and there was no difference between government and opposition policies. It’s either the most sickeningly cynical stuff we’ve seen from the Press Gallery in a long time, or an example of profound ignorance of the issue, or perhaps both.

    There is no “impasse” here. There is simple bloodymindedness in the face of offers of compromise. The government has bent over backwards to accommodate the opposition’s policies while retaining the one policy that may work, offshore processing with no guarantee of being resettled in Australia, coupled with an increase in our humanitarian intake and support for the UNHCR. It has offered to reopen Nauru as a billion-dollar staging post for asylum seekers on their way to being settled in Australia, as it was last time except for the asylum seekers we could gull into returning to Afghanistan or palm off onto the Kiwis or the Norwegians. That would waste vast amounts of money, but it’s only money, not lives.


    At least Christine Milne this morning proposed a way forward based on a multi-party committee, her favoured tool for resolving gridlock. Yes, it’s yet another committee undertaking yet another inquiry but there is some potential there — Milne’s view is that such committees, which involve extensive input from experts, can provide a forum for politicians to abandon rigid positions without losing face.

    But it depends on good faith from the Coalition. Of that, there is none to be had.

  150. I didn’t know this but apparently Possum has an article up on the stats of it somewhere I haven’t been able to find. The source for the quote didn’t have a link to Possum.

    “The reason 2002 is an outlier (and also a dodgy stat that we’ll get to in a tick) comes from it being the starting point of the Pacific Solution – the year when 1 billion dollars worth of forward expenditure began to be implemented. It did reduce numbers – by redefining parts of Australia as not actually being Australia. Any boat people that happened to land were conveniently excluded from the statistics by an act of definition.”

    Howard being tricky with words and definitions again, which is what he always did.

    It seems that the stats were reset for the start of the Pacific Solution and the billion dollars in forward expenditure for it and the much touted 2002 figure is an outlier.

    It will be interesting to see this explained away. A large majority of those who ask for asylum in Australia don’t come by boat. The boat people make up a tiny proportion of those who ask for asylum here. The statistic that is very relevant is that when there is an increases in boats there is also a corresponding increase in people asking for asylum other than boat people.

    Found the link: Push vs. Pull – Asylum Seeker Numbers and Statistics

  151. And another rejoinder to the erroneous statement that TPVs were a deterrent.

    Sue Hoffman, who interviewed people smugglers and refugees in Indonesia ( ), wrote in the Australian ( )

    Her research indicates mandatory detention from 1999 had no effect on the choice of Australia as a destination, but Temporary Protection Visas, which got applicants out of detention centers but denied them any right to settle in or stay long term, did influence their choice to try their luck with Australia as as an incentive, not as a deterrent.

    TPVs offered no opportunity to become a member of society, you couldn’t get help with language training or job placement, and your visa was only for three years. Not much good for economic migration so only appealing if you’re genuinely seeking refuge and the TPV is a chance to survive.

    So the three things Abbott and Morrison say will stop the boat people, turn back the boats, Nauru and TPVs will not work and never worked.

  152. Mobius, the whole idea with TPVs is that the person had to go reassessment as to whether or not they were a genuine refugee, every 3 years. The reasoning at the time was that JWH was trying to convince everyone that he was about to claim victory on the War on Terror, and any tick of the clock. Therefore it only followed that people from Iraq and Afghanistan would be able to be safely returned to their homelands.

    Also running at the time was the fact that asylum seekers did not have access to the Australian court system, and of course this included people on TPVs. That has now all changed.

    Although there is still a certain element who still persist in the demonisation of refugees, I don’t think that the will of the Australian people is nearly as “angry” as existed during JWH’s reign.

  153. patriciawa

    What a surprise, something I thought would never happen, Michelle Grattan on RN this morning with Fran Kelly actually said

    “Well the government has compromised it is tony abbott that refuses to change”.
    She then went on to explain how the government had included Abbott’s insistence on Nauru, in with their Malaysia deal.

  154. From this morning’s opinion piece

    “George Brandis put it on Q&A on Monday. ”You say they were inhumane, but nobody drowned during those years, and he effectively solved the problem through three measures.” When Tony Jones suggested Brandis might have been mistaken, he was unbowed: ”There were hardly any significant incidents of the kind we saw the other day.”

    What about the SIEV X tragedy, Jones interjected, when more than 350 people perished when their overcrowded boat sank? Brandis obfuscated. ”That was before those policy changes were announced, Tony, so I think my proposition is right.”

    No it isn’t, George. The SIEV X sank late in October 2001, almost two months after Howard implemented the Pacific Solution, where those who tried to come by boat were sent to camps on the Pacific Island states of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

    The disaster came exactly two years after Howard introduced the policy of temporary protection visas (TPVs)

    Read more:

  155. 1. So if it’s “push” not “pull” why argue that there’s a value in deterrent?
    2. Add language training and support to TPVs, the lack of them is not built into the system you know.
    3. So sending people to Malaysia “offers people a chance to become members of society”?
    4. “the whole idea with TPVs is that the person had to go reassessment as to whether or not they were a genuine refugee, every 3 years.”… just tell me, is all this set in stone? Is it part of the High Court decision, or are these arrangements capable of being changed by regulation (ie not even legislation)?
    5. Why are temporary protection visas more burdensome on asylum seekers than sending them to a country with a shocking human rights record, which cannot bring itself to sign the UNHRC?

  156. ToM, Malaysia is part of the Bali process and the people there have already been accessed by UNHCR as being genuine refugees. As long as Malaysia agreed to have it’s processes overseen by the UNHCR and would agree to the recommendations, then Malaysia is still a possibility.

    Mind you, none of our camps during the Howard years and this includes Nauru passed UNHCR approval.

  157. ToM, the two adjudications of the High Court changed things considerably. I should imagine that IF any legislation got through the Senate..which it won’t due to the Greens, then I am certain that David Manne would launch yet another High Court challenge. The whole thing would be caught up in the High Court for a very very long time.

  158. I wonder what the Malaysians think of this people trading scheme?

    From the hate media.

    “Tian Chua, an MP and vice-president of the People’s Justice Party headed by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, said yesterday: “The Malaysia-Australia refugees exchange agreement is not acceptable to the Malaysian public. Asylum-seekers deserve to be treated with dignity, and cannot be sent to and held in places against their will.”

  159. Yes indeed, that’s what the opposition in Malaysia believe. Not the government, the opposition. From the link to the oo..

    “The thinking that is widespread in this region is simple _ that these ‘refugees’ are simply people seeking the comforts of living off the Australian system, that they are comparatively wealthy people who can afford to pay people-smugglers _ but know that they would probably fail Australian Immigration’s tests for permanent residence,” Mr Sahathevan said.

    Mr Sahathevan, “a regional security expert” that is, he is a public servant clearly doesn’t know much about Australia.

  160. Maybe you should have done a little bit of research on the person first. Ganesh lives in Sydney for starters which might qualify him to know a bit about Australia. Holds degrees from Monash, Sydney, NSW and New England universities.

    Hardly a public servant.

    I like this, from soon to be the Sydney Gina Herald.

    Takes a hell of a lot to get Greg’s shackles up…maybe fill the water feature at Parliament House up with mud and have an all in brawl, there is no tax payer benefit from QT these days.

  161. 1. Why does yomm continue to put up talking points when refusing to address points previously made? Gish Galluping away?
    2. Why does yomm seem so obsessed in a system that has been specifically denigrated by the UNHRC (TPV’s), then shed crocodile tears about a system hosted in a country who is not a signatory to the UNHRC, yet will house a detention centre (still hate them I do) that is supported by the UNHRC?

  162. Yes, Sue, omygod indeed! We’re a bit behind you over here! Later risers, dog walkers, brekkie eaters – all of that has to be processed before we finally we get to have coffee with the news! Obviously you’ve noticed it’s not just on asylum seekers we’re being given the real story. The Slipper saga is coming out in all its gory details. Somepeople are clearly kacking their pants in high places, in editorial offices and in board rooms. I wonder how much that will be reflected in the LOTO and mates being more circumspect in Parliament today?

  163. Tom R, the ALP used asylum seekers as a political issue, it sought to claim the moral high ground.

    It’s dredging the scum at the bottom of the pond with the Liberals now.

    Perhaps the ALP needs to issue a “we were wrong”, it might then get some traction with the Liberals on the issue.

  164. I’ve no doubt Tom R that I could find ample comments from you and a range of others here from Blogocracy , condemning off shore processing. But I can’t be bothered.

    The fact is that the government isn’t using all the mechanisms available to it.

    I note too that Min speaks with a degree of confidence about the situation in Java, about humble fishing people not understanding the likelihood of being gaoled for people smuggling. But apparently the asylum seekers in exactly the same location will be fully informed about the deterrent value of the “Malaysian Solution”.

    I’ve been to Java in the past year, and I tend to think a few million dollars would provide plenty of information about the consequences of people smuggling.

  165. I’m not asking you to quote me, I know what I think already. I’m not so certain about you. You only appear to know what to paste from lib HQ

    I want to know how you rationalise your constant denigration of people who are against Nauru, yet can accept the Malaysian solution, yet you appear to not accept for yourself that they are different things completely. You ignored the explanation of the difference completely, and then posted your standard refrain again as if nothing had happened.

    The fact is, the Government is restricting itself to using all the mechanisms available to it that they are comfortable with using

    This seems to rule out ‘mechanisms’ which have been ‘vociferously’ denigrated by the UNHCR

  166. ToM, Blogocracy..times do change, situations change. For those who don’t know, a number of us here are from Tim Dunlop’s old blog “Blogocracy”. Tim quit in ’07.

  167. This current Border Protection debate has the potential to topple Gillard.
    Watch this space.
    Dumb policy has a long long long tail.

  168. Lookout! Tweed’s got his cracked crystal ball out again 🙄 I assume it will be about as accurate as last time he gave it a run 😉

  169. *Topple Gillard*..the last time that the girl was toppled was on a slippery path outside Parliament House. She came up smiling.

  170. ” ..times do change, situations change

    Then perhaps you should have the good grace to admit you were wrong. Gillard should also admit she got the policy settings wrong, that’s if she’s serious about building any possibility of bipartisanship on the issue.

    ” yet you appear to not accept for yourself that they are different things completely

    You’re right, I don’t accept that they are completely different. I consider it loathsome to send people to a country that can’t bring itself to sign the UNHCR, which has a shocking record of treatment of asylum seekers. I don’t seek to send them to Nauru either. So cut the crap.

    I don’t think there is any real program in Java to remind humble fishermen of the penalties for people smuggling. But apparently the asylum seekers in exactly the same location will understand the “Malaysian Solution”. Perhaps you could explain that.

  171. The wonderful Nauru solution.

    There are 54 asylum seekers on the island of Nauru. While some are managing, many exist on a diet of sleeping pills and anxiety. Michael Gordon, the first journalist to be given complete access to the camp, listened to their stories.

    Mohammad Ali Rehmati and family
    Ilham Rehmati,14, pictured near left, is the only teenage girl in a camp that is overwhelmingly comprised of young men. She goes everywhere with her parents and says she is very depressed and lonely. “It’s very hard for me. I cannot go outside (unaccompanied). I cannot go to the dining room. I cannot go shopping or swimming. I (only) go with my family.”

    When the family’s most recent application for refugee status was rejected, Ilham’s younger brother, Abbas Ali, was ill for 10 days, vomiting and complaining of headaches. His cousin, Hassan Ali, 21, says: “When his father took him to the doctor, he said, ‘Your son is very lonely. There is no treatment.”‘

    Hassan forces his younger brother, Hussain Ali, to go to the Nauru school, but says he has lost the will to learn.

    “I feel very distressed every time I think about my life, about my family, especially about my younger brother. We accept that we came here illegal way, but request to John Howard Government . . . please accept us and give us shelter. It was not our fault that we came here illegal way.”

    Mohammed Zahir Dulat Shahi

    “Mr Michael, I am wondering why you come now?” It was a reasonable enough question and the answer, that it has taken this long to receive a visa from the Nauru Government, seemed inadequate.

    Zahir has been in offshore detention for more than three years and says he does not know whether his wife and five children are alive or dead.

    His problem was not so much with the Taliban, as with the fundamentalists in his region who denied him the choice of how to live his life. “I wanted to do good. I am human, like you and others. I have a problem with those who make hell in my country for me.”

    Zahir says he has provided proof of his identity, but has heard nothing and now fears he will die on Nauru. When I leave the camp, he hands me a letter that includes the line: “If there is justice, earth is home for all of us

  172. It much be a new experience for Mr. Abbott to enter the house, actually do some work.

    I believe that Mr. Hockey might have been genuine.

  173. What has happened today, is that nothing will change. It will still be onshore processing tomorrow as it was yesterday.

    What has occurred, is the groundwork being laid for a more reasonable debate.

    There has been a structure for the debate to proceed. It will not be good enough to keep saying Howard did it.

    It is time to talk about what is needed now.

  174. Cu, that is something which during the Howard years was avoided like the plague. The human face of asylum seekers.

    I know that I’ve said about son being on the Patrol Boats, he’s a Leading Seaman, 10yr man and was the small arms expert on HMAS Tobruk. Two tours to the Gulf and two tours with the Federal Police to East Timor. He was also Victorian judo champion, one does not mess with my son.

    He sees the human faces. I respect his opinion because he isn’t dealing with imagined scenarios, he deals with the real thing.

  175. I don’t seek to send them to Nauru either. So cut the crap.

    I never said you did. Comprehension time I guess.

    As I said, just because you don’t want to differentiate Nauru and Malaysia solely because of a signature on a treaty, does not mean that there is not still a huge gulf seperating them as policies. You have never been big on nuance, and the nuance in this is, the UNHCR was dead against the Pacific solution, yet were willing to work with the Malaysian solution. This is why people can make a clear distinction between the two, and why your refrain is not only hollow, but shallow and deceptive.

    And the fact that it has taken this much time and effort to get you to address your own inability to accept these nuances has in itself been quite illuminating.

  176. ” And the fact that it has taken this much time and effort to get you to address your own inability to accept these nuances has in itself been quite illuminating.

    Just more self serving, blah, blah, blah… cut the crap. You now support what you previously rallied against.

  177. Tom of Melbourne and (his bold)..his lettering that is..

    I don’t think there is any real program in Java to remind humble fishermen of the penalties for people smuggling. But apparently the asylum seekers in exactly the same location will understand the “Malaysian Solution”. Perhaps you could explain that.

    So you read my topic?

  178. ToM, and..

    Just more self serving, blah, blah, blah… cut the crap. You now support what you previously rallied against.

    Care to provide some specifics.

  179. Min, according to the Four Corners programme most of the boat people make arrangements through families and friends that are already in this country.

    The people are given papers by the smugglers and assistance to fly to Malaysia by the smugglers.

    The travel papers supplied are what they get rid of when they alight from the planes. They can always be sent back to where they come from.

    There were many families in the Christmas disaster that begged their families not to come.

    The asylum seekers will quickly get the message.

    I suspect that those trapped in Indonesia and Malaysia for years, no longer have the money to get on those boats.

    These are not puppets or brainless people we are talking about.

    They are desperate people, who react as desperate people do.

  180. Care to provide some specifics.

    not with any nuances involved Min. yomm doesn’t see them (when it suits)

    I only dream in black and white, I only dream cause I’m alive 😉

  181. Care to provide some specifics.

    LOL Min – that’ll be the day 😉 ToM only EVER deals in generalities – the more general, the better 😆

  182. Cu, those are great pics. Thank you. Especially the one you put up at 8.35pm. Pictures say a lot when words fail.

  183. Tom R is aware that he’s made a range of comments in the past about me that he’s been completely unable to substantiate. Hence he should cut the crap.

    This is crap, which I have already addressed – ” you rationalise your constant denigration of people who are against Nauru, yet can accept the Malaysian solution

    I see it as inhumane to send people, who arrive here seeking our protection, to either Nauru or Malaysia. I really don’t see any difference, and I doubt whether the poor souls that are sent to Malaysia will really comprehend Tom R’s “nuance” crap.

  184. ToM, which past are you talking about. Around ’06 or was it ’08..

    On thinking about it, was probably around early ’07.

    ToM, I can assure you that in the past 2 years of this blog that your name has not been mentioned more than maybe TWICE. Get over it darl’…

    Care to join us in the year 2012?

  185. I doubt whether the poor souls that are sent to Malaysia will really comprehend Tom R’s “nuance” crap.

    Perhaps not, but the ones that are sent over in their place most probably do

    I really don’t see any difference

    As I said, the fact that you don’t see it does not change the fact that there is. The UNHCR could spot it. I wonder why you can’t?

    he’s been completely unable to substantiate

    Oh, it was well substantiated yomm, to all but ‘zealots’ 😆

    yomm hasn’t left the year some union thug stole his lunch money Min. And, I have it on good authority, she had red hair 🙂

  186. Tom, I do believe that I remember the sad story of the lunch money. A female, a unionist, red hair..and no lunch for yomm. It takes a while to get over these things…

  187. You requested an explanation Min, I provided it. His comment was crap, and ignored the points I’d previously made. He’s inclined to do that. Misrepresentation and defending the indefensible are specialities.

    Sending people off shore, shunning them, after they’ve requested our protection is poor policy, and Min you would have vehemently opposed this policy if it was introduced by a government of a different political complexion.
    Tom R should put together an asylum seeker information pack, that can be used to explain his “nuance” to people as they’re being hoisted against their will to a country that doesn’t think it appropriate to sign the UNHRC.
    I’m sure they’ll all understand then. The nuance is the new vibe.
    Meanwhile, no one bothers to explain how the asylum seekers comprehend the message/deterrent about being shunted to Malaysia, but the people who live next door (the fishermen) don’t understand the deterrent of being locked up for a couple of decades.

    Anyone got an explanation for the deterrent value?

  188. His comment was crap, and ignored the points I’d previously made.

    You’re going to have to direct me to those points then yomm. All I saw was you repeating the same spiel, and ignoring the points I had raised.

  189. Whatever the ‘nuance’ is yomm, it appeared to work when it started up last time.

    that doesn’t think it appropriate to sign the UNHRC

    Yet is willing to allow a camp to be run under the auspices of the same UNHCR within their country. (just to add in a bit of ‘nuance’)

  190. How about you exercise that mind of yours and explain why the asylum seekers aren’t deterred by hundreds of horrible deaths, but they will by the “Malaysian Solution”.

    How about an explanation of why the asylum seekers will take get the nuance about going to Malaysia, and not get on a boat, but the fishermen, don’t get the message that they’ll spend a couple of decades away from their families, in an Australian prison

    How about someone explain exactly why off shore processing was so horrible under Howard, but fine under this government, Oh yeah – that’s the nuance that allows people to be hypocrites.

  191. TomM. I suggest instead of annoying us, you go and do some Googling. It will remind you of what got tens of thousands out into the streets and the deserts.

    I would be very surprise if those, who took the effort to rally, would accept the re-introduction of such a cruel regime.

    The other point is, that much of it cannot be bough back. People will have access to the legal system. They have to be given their rights.

    Nauru is a small, barren island sitting on the Equator. Where do the pole go from there. Mr. Morrison cannot answer that question.

    It will be interesting to hear what the Indonesian leader will have to say when he visits. next week. I believe it will be along the what was said today. They cannot stop the boats. It is up to Australia to put the regional solution into play.

  192. How about someone explain exactly why off shore processing was so horrible under Howard, but fine under this government,

    For yomm, again

    (although ‘fine’ is not the word I would use)

    You do understand though yomm, that me having to repost this, again, really doesn’t convince me that you have taken in any of this ‘nuance’ stuff, don’t you? And yet you reckon I ignore your (dot) points 😯

  193. But UNHCR regional representative, Richard Towle, says Malaysia has agreed to abide by key parts of the convention.

    “We need to look at the details of how people will be treated and the various rights and entitlements and conditions for them when they go back there,” he said.

    “But most of the world’s refugees are today living in countries that haven’t signed the Refugee Convention so the fact that you haven’t signed the convention doesn’t mean that you’re not treated properly.

    Enough repetiveness for one night, I’m of to bed. I look forward to seeing those ‘points’ in the morning yomm

  194. Abbott’s solution


    The Coalition refuses to budge, saying it is their policy or nothing.They say it works as a deterrence, even though the Immigration Department advised the government and the Coalition last year that Nauru and the rest of the old Pacific solution had worked once but would not do so again.

    It said that Nauru was considered no more a deterrent than Christmas Island

  195. Pingback: “We’ll risk death – but not if door is closed’, asylum-seekers say” well I say close the door then. | Iain Hall's SANDPIT

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