Asylum seekers: destination unknown

You’d all be aware by now that the expert group looking into asylum seeker policy led by former defense chief Angus Houston (pictured) has recommended offshore processing in both Nauru and PNG.

I’m sure that most people here, like me, would have hoped that on-shore processing was given the priority. But it hasn’t and its safe to assume, regrettably, that it won’t be on the near horizon. Still, we can always hope.

As a result of the panel’s recommendations the Government will tomorrow introduce legislation into Parliament to allow the resumption of offshore processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. Meanwhile, the Coalition has seized on the Houston panel’s report calling for asylum-seeker processing to resume on Nauru. Opposition immigration Scott Morrison said the expert panel report, released today, vindicated the Coalition’s decade-long policy.

Could a compromise now be reached between the Government and the Coalition? Probably not, as ‘Turn back the boats‘ appears to be the preferred outcome for the Coalition.

We’ll know more once Tony Abbott bulldozes his way into the issue. I suspect that once he does we can expect another Mexican stand-off. I can’t, in my wildest dreams, imagine him wanting to negotiate or co-operate with the Government on the recommendations. It will still be ‘destination unknown’ for the asylum seekers.

Good old has allowed its readers the opportunity to speak on the issue. John Ralph of Sydney opines that:

None of this detracts from the fundamental position that the vast majority of Australians do not want so called asylum seekers under any conditions under agreement. This panel does not represent the people of Australia, nor are they suitably qualified and street wise to understand all of the antics in the complete supply chain of people smuggling. Please take the hard decisions and not act like fools where the whole of Asia is laughing at Australia. A disgrace.

I now give you the opportunity for yours. Proudly, I know that it’ll be devoid of bullshit like that provided by the obvious right-winger, Mr Ralph.

English: Angus Houston, Chief of the Defence F...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)