What is the role of political blogsites?

Political blogsites proliferate almost by the week. Many reside in the Fifth Estate. While a few declare their political orientation overtly, most do not. It is possible though to ascertain this by reading the pieces they post. While some purport to be ‘balanced’, ready to criticize any or all political parties, or politicians of any complexion, these seem to be in a minority. Some sites attempt balance by using a variety of authors who hold different views. Individual authors though usually have an established position; it is uncommon to find an author who critiques and criticizes all parties and politicians with equal vigour. Most blogs seem to lean to one side or the other, and some, sponsored by the parties themselves, or closely associated bodies, such as the Institute of Public Affairs, lean exclusively to one party, and condemn almost everything the opposing parties propose or do.

In a comment on the piece Political hatred: its genesis and its toll, Doug Evans, after conceding that the thought of the election of an Abbott government appalled him, went onto say: “I do not understand the unwillingness of intelligent articulate wordsmiths to critically address the shortcomings and missteps of the Gillard government alongside its (admittedly) largely unsung strengths.” His comment prompted me to question the role and orientation of this blogsite: The Political Sword.

Readers have only to read through a few pieces to ascertain that this site is supportive of PM Gillard and her Government. As the owner of the site, I believe that the Rudd/Gillard Government has been an active, reforming government, tackling some of the urgent issues facing this nation: global warming; a failing and inequitable education system; a health system, which although world class, is failing to meet fully the needs of the people, particularly the ageing population, the disabled, and those with mental illness and dental problems; an industrial relations system that was tilted too much to favour the employer; infrastructure deficits in road, rail and ports all over the country; a tax system that needed overhaul to correct anomalies and address the structural deficits in the tax system created by the Howard/Costello Government; a superannuation system that was not providing adequate security for workers; an inadequate communications network that needed upgrading to very fast broadband to keep pace within the developed world; a troubled asylum-seeker policy; and indigenous disadvantage that constituted a national disgrace.

The Government has tackled these and many other issues with purpose and vigour in the last three years, in the face of unremitting Coalition hostility in a minority parliament. Over five hundred pieces of legislation have been passed in this term, without a failure. And in the process, it has sustained the economy in a state better than in any other developed country, even despite the global financial crisis, a crisis that still exists and wreaks havoc in many countries. I applaud what the Rudd/Gillard Government has achieved under very difficult circumstances. For any who doubt the extent of these achievements, do read the comprehensive list in Judging Gillard and the Labor Government by John Lord in The Australian Independent Media Network.

I admire the strength of PM Julia Gillard and her persistence in the face of all the vitriolic hatred directed at her by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Coalition members, and the Fourth Estate, notably the Murdoch media. Is there any politician in recent times who has suffered such venomous abuse and denigration, such persistent personal castigation and demonization day after day, week after week, month after month? Is there any other politician that could have withstood it with such equanimity?

Moreover, the PM has shown herself to be highly intelligent and competent, a leader who has an astonishing grasp of every portfolio within her Government, who can answer any question she is asked, and despite the malevolent efforts of journalists, never seems wrong-footed. She does not walk away when the questions get tough. She has demonstrated her courage and persistence in the face of penetrating and sometimes personal questioning on many occasions, some of them marathons.

And I like her. Although we have never met, from all I have seen on TV of her interaction with the public at formal events, at community meetings, or on less formal occasions, and from reports posted here from our visitors, she seems to be genuine, personable, good humoured and charming. She relates comfortably to a wide variety of people, and enjoys especially her interactions with children, who genuinely seem to like her. I find it impossible to feel antagonistic to her, as many seem to feel, and deplore the hatred and loathing that the Coalition and much of the media directs at her continuously.

It is for all of these reasons that this blogsite is an enthusiastic supporter of the PM and her Government.

In stark contrast, from the very beginning her opponent Tony Abbott and his Coalition embarked on a campaign of negativity, obstruction, and vitriolic personal abuse. Progressively, they have announced a destructive plan should they win government, a plan to smash virtually every reform the Government has initiated. Whatever else Abbott says he has in his DNA, he has an abundance of vengeance.

Is there a downside for the Gillard Government? Like all governments before, the Rudd/Gillard Government has made mistakes. There have been matters they might have handled better. But their faults are nowhere near the magnitude that the Coalition and the complicit media paint. They have been deliberately and maliciously magnified. Reflect on how the Murdoch media amplified the difficulties encountered in the rollout of the HIP and the BER, both successful and socially beneficial programs, but painted as unmitigated disasters. Mendacious reporting, skewed analysis, distortions, misrepresentations, and at times blatant lies, were disseminated in place of accurate reporting and analysis.

Although it is not perfect, I support the Gillard Government because of its ideals of equity, fairness and opportunity, its vision, its narrative, and its policies and plans. I have held this position for years, and nothing I have seen has ever given me any encouragement to abandon PM Gillard and Labor and support Opposition Leader Abbott and the Coalition. I reject the ideology, the policies, and the plans of the alternative government, which are anathema to me.

Expect more of the same attitude and approach on The Political Sword.


I will certainly not behave as some Labor backbenchers are at present. The sniggering Joel Fitzgibbon and the spluttering Doug Cameron both mocking the ‘talking points’ given them by the media office was not just unedifying, but corrosive of party cohesion. Making public the packing up of their parliamentary offices by Daryl Melham and Alan Griffin as a sign they would lose their seats, was damaging to the Labor cause. Whatever these four backbenchers felt personally, such a public display of disdain and defeatism was both disloyal and stupid. They could have kept their feelings to themselves, as team players would have done. Surreptitious backgrounding of journalists with stories of dismay at the polling, and despair about the election, is another example of disloyalty; those who do this must know that their corridor whispers will end up being splashed throughout the media. These Nervous Nellies are unsuitable for politics, which always involves contests, and winners and losers. They lack loyalty and guts. They should learn about guts from their leader. So for those looking for criticism, here is a one of contemporary Labor: there are too many parliamentarians who are not pulling together in the interests of the Labor Party and the Labor movement; there are too many creating dissent.

With Labor parliamentarians behaving in this destructive way, should a site as supportive of Labor as The Political Sword embark upon criticism of Labor policies or plans or actions in pursuit of this elusive attribute called ‘balance’? Doug Evans hints that perhaps it ought.

There are two reasons why this seldom occurs here.

First, there are so many blogsites that criticize the Gillard Government incessantly, so many media outlets that do this unremittingly, scarcely ever giving the smallest commendation, that in the interests of fair play, it seems to be unreasonable for a supportive site to join the cacophony of censure, disapproval, and condemnation. Sites supportive of the Coalition do not waste words pointing out its defects, its mistakes. Never. They refrain from critiquing their own side at least in part because they know that their criticisms will end up on opponents’ blogsites as evidence that there is dissent in their ranks.

So, instead of adding to the cacophony, in my view a more productive approach for The Political Sword is to make positive and practical suggestions about how Gillard Government policy and its implementation could be improved. As the next section will show, this is easier said than done. This is especially the case where the problem is beset with complexity, is politically sensitive or threatening, and has the potential to influence election outcomes.

Here is a second reason why The Political Sword has hesitated to engage in critical comment. Some of the policies that Labor has implemented deal with exceedingly complex issues, issues that are prime targets for criticism by those who think they know better, issues that create hostility in a substantial part of the electorate. These critics offer criticisms of bits and pieces of a policy, but never offer a comprehensive alternative. It’s easy to pick holes in a policy and how it is being implemented, but much more challenging to put together an alternative. The asylum-seeker issue is a case in point.

To illustrate my point, I invite you to engage in an exercise with me. Let’s see how adept we are at devising an asylum-seeker policy, an area more contentious than almost any other.

I invite you to present your asylum-seeker policy in ‘dot point’ format because that will make it easier to read and assimilate. I also ask you to preface your dot points with a list of what you wish to achieve with your policy. In other words, aims first, then policy structure in some detail.

Let me give an example of how aims might read. In devising a policy, my aim would be the following:

. To establish a humane and welcoming approach to those escaping from fear of persecution and harm who seek asylum here.

. To arrange a method of arrival that did not include dangerous sea voyages on unsafe boats that risked drowning at sea.

. To ensure rapid appraisal of the legitimacy of claims for asylum of all arrivals, and prompt completion of necessary health and identity checks, with short stays in onshore detention while this is being carried out.

. Once the checks have been satisfactorily completed, to arrange re-settlement in the community, with access to jobs, services, schools, and opportunities for integration.

. To establish community reception amenities and staff, especially in areas that need workforce support, to welcome new arrivals and assist them to integrate into the community.

. To return arrivals that are not genuine asylum seekers according to UN criteria to their home country, provided it is safe to do so.

. To disrupt human trafficking and the business of those who are involved in people smuggling by boat.

. With UNHCR support, to establish processing centres in countries which asylum seekers traverse, and in countries of origin where possible, to provide rapid checks of identity, health and legitimacy of asylum claims, with air transport to Australia for community settlement once accepted. This would be an ‘approved’ way of entering Australia.

. To institute disincentives to dissuade those who might seek to engage people smugglers. This might involve the application of a ‘no-advantage’ arrangement whereby those who sought to bypass an ‘approved’ process, did not gain an advantage. Offshore processing with lengthy delays as a disincentive, ought to be a last resort.

. Recognizing that no one country could accommodate the millions of genuine refugees around the world, to establish community consensus about what constitutes an appropriate intake into Australia.

. Recognizing that asylum-seeker policy is a contentious and divisive issue, and for some in the electorate an explosive one, to establish a national program to inform citizens of our UNHCR responsibilities and to promote the concept of Australia as a decent nation willing to welcome a fair share of the world’s refugees, commensurate with its wealth and its capacity to do so. Such a program would have, as a major aim, the neutralizing of the issue politically.

. To attempt to achieve bipartisan agreement on asylum-seeker policy.

This list of aims is offered, not for your approval or endorsement, but simply to illustrate how aims might be formulated.

In formulating your policy, list first your aims as ‘dot points’, then list ‘dot points’ that flesh out how your policy would work in practice. I have not gone this far as I don’t want to preempt your offerings.

I know that should you respond you won’t insult our intelligence by simply regurgitating anything resembling the simplistic Abbott asylum policy: his three-headed plan to “Stop the boats” by ‘turning boats around when safe to do so’, ‘offshore processing’ and ‘temporary protection visas’. You may wish to include some of these, but please flesh them out more than Abbott ever attempts to do. He treats us all like mugs. We have had enough of this.

While other political blogsites will have their own concept of their role, in attempting to define the role of this particular site, and in response to the suggestion that The Political Sword ought to address deficiencies in the Gillard Government as well as its strong points, I believe that instead of joining with Labor’s opponents in strident condemnation, it is more appropriate for this site, which is supportive of the Gillard Government, to suggest ways that policy could be improved or implemented better. As an example, asylum seeker policy is proposed as the one that causes perhaps the most angst, the one that attracts the most criticism, the one where countless critics tell us by their words of criticism that it should be done differently, and much better. This piece offers the opportunity for these critics to tell us how they would fashion asylum-seeker policy, what aims it would have, and how it ought to be implemented, taking into account the multiple factors that operate in this vexed area of policy. The challenge, simply stated, is that instead of giving us your piecemeal criticism, you tell us what your aims would be and how you would achieve them, in some detail.

It’s especially an invitation to the scathing critics of Labor’s asylum-seeker policy that comment here from time to time, and who may return to comment on the unfolding tragedy near Christmas Island. Instead of another acerbic criticism of this or that aspect of the current policy, tell us in detail what your asylum-seeker aims are, and what your policy would be were you in government. Here’s your chance to put up or shut up.

Your thinking and your response to this challenge will be welcomed.

If you wish to ‘Disseminate this post’, it will be sent to the following parliamentarians: Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Anthony Albanese, Adam Bandt, Julie Bishop, George Brandis, Doug Cameron, Jason Clare, Greg Combet, Mark Dreyfus, Craig Emerson, Joel Fitzgibbon, Alan Griffin, Sarah Hanson-Young, Joe Hockey, Barnaby Joyce, Andrew Leigh, Jenny Macklin, Richard Marles, Daryl Melham, Scott Morrison, Robert Oakeshott, Brendan O'Connor, Christopher Pyne, Kevin Rudd, Bill Shorten, Stephen Smith, Wayne Swan, Warren Truss, Tony Windsor, Penny Wong and Nick Xenophon.

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Ad astra

9/06/2013Folks This piece has been written in response to Doug Evans’ query about whether [i]The Political Sword[/i] should “[i]…critically address the shortcomings and missteps of the Gillard government alongside its (admittedly) largely unsung strengths.”[/i] It is a good question, which has exercised my mind since. This piece is the result. Amongst other things, it poses a specific challenge to readers to offer their [b]own[/b] policy on one contentious issue, namely ‘asylum-seeker policy’. I look forward to your responses.

Catching up

9/06/2013Agree with what is written. Now is not the time for the PM to throw the towel in. Why do they assume, if the PM came to the conclusion , that for the good of the party, she would hand over to Rudd. How would this unite her party, as this would be the only grounds for her doing so. It would have to be to someone willing to take the poison chalice as she did. Someone very tough indeed. Maybe a few words of encouragement, to her email address would not go astray.

KHTAGH

9/06/2013Another great piece Ad as was your last. G'Day everyone else too. Very thought provoking, It is the hardest of all policies to tackle, as someone who has actually been on a Navy vessel that has picked up refuges it is a truly difficult experience for all concerned. Believe me it is something that in those days was rare but something the Navy didn't like getting involved with(they are a defense force)but if your out at sea you don't just sail past someone in distress. If Abbott thinks he can order captains to break intentional law he is in for one big surprise. As far as a solution I don't know what the answer is, I wish we had seen if the Malaysian aspect could have been the answer if given a chance. Unfortunately the PM is right when she said Mr Abbott voted for more boats. He knew it would slow the boats down & that was the last thing that he wanted. Sorry for my absence of late, I'm re-netting my orchard, (too many possum incursions, been putting it off for 2 yrs) can only be done in winter. Only got short days though.

Sir Ian Crisp

9/06/2013[quote][b]I know that should you respond you won’t insult our intelligence by simply regurgitating anything resembling the simplistic Abbott asylum policy: his three-headed plan to “Stop the boats” by ‘turning boats around when safe to do so’, ‘offshore processing’ and ‘temporary protection visas’. Ad Astra [/b][/quote] Yes, let’s not go for shallow slogans and three word policies. Let’s go for something that transcends the grubbiness of the Lib-NP camorra. Let’s gaze in awe at the bird of paradox and dwell on her simple but effective plan to deal with the vexing issue Ad Astra highlights in his highly acclaimed piece ‘What is the role of political blogsites? What was it she said? Ah yes, she has a plan to “smash the people smugglers’ model”. It will kick in any day now.

Bilko

9/06/2013AA Another good piece lots of thoughtful points raised. Regarding the asylum-seeker issue, my own view is that there is NO simple answer. Personally I would prefer all refugees/asylum-seekers to be serviced on the Australian mainland whether they flew in,landed on Christmas Island or rescued at sea. The majority somehow make it to Indonesia and that is where we should start. Forget the Pacific island solution unless it is to ship them direct from Indonesia and speed up whatever process is required. These Island sites should be under direct supervision of the locals plus heavy assistance from the Pacific solution signature country's. It would relieve the RAN of some of their problems. I posted the following elsewhere to BB'site the PUB Just after Kevin kicked the rodent out I made a comment on Possum that labor would face a hostile media you responded "You better believe it" unquote. Well here we are 6 years down the track and to their shame the abc (not worth capitals) slithered into the enemy camp joining Fairfax leaving only the fifth estate to show an unbiased perspective not all but most. The polls imho are being manipulated and as you have intimated if they were such a shoe in, why has the rhetoric reached historical high levels. The aim is to scare labor into some action neither the media nor the noalition will bring Julia down, the only danger is the labor nervous nellies in caucus who think they have a better chance with Kevin. NO WAY the media and the Noalition will go ape shit, a government that can't lead itself can not lead the country/ disunity is death etc etc. We have heard all sides spout this and even watched it play out. I pray each week that the Australian General Public wake up, even Bob Ellis is starting to make sense and that should scare us all. The only way forward for Australia, "is all the way with WWJ" (WonderWomanJulia).

el gordo

9/06/2013'The Rudd/Gillard Government has been an active, reforming government, tackling some of the urgent issues facing this nation: global warming;.... CO2 doesn't cause global warming, so that was a waste of time and money.

Truth Seeker

9/06/2013Ad, another fine piece, and agree entirely with your assessment of the situation with JGPM and I believe that she will go down in history as one of Australia's great PMs. As far as the asylum seeker question goes, Like KHTAGH, I don't know what the answer is, but I do believe that it has to start with a regional solution as per the Huston report, at least in the short term. Abbott did vote for more boats and as a consequence more deaths, for purely political reasons, and IMHO the greens are also culpable for their ideological stand of no compromise. I know that I have said it before, but we ARE an island, which makes on shore processing dependent upon those asylum seekers getting ON SHORE. And that means that there will always be people desperate enough to try by boat, and those unscrupulous enough to provide a boat, for a fee. The only part of the Malaysian Solution that I would change, is that I wouldn't put a number on it but rely on the asylum seekers realising that if they try it they will end up back where they started, and increase the intake further to accommodate genuine refugees who have been fully assessed and are ready for resettlement. Sorry I couldn't comply with you dot points Ad, but I do think that the Huston report needs to be implemented in full, at least for a trial period, and then assessed and adjustments made as required in consultation with all parties involved. Cheers :-)

denese

9/06/2013I also wish the Malaysian solution could of been tried, the lnp never put anything forward that is intelligent and well thought about, only turn back the boats. reading sen. carr piece in the Guardian makes one understand where this would lead .abbott would know he cannot turn back boats he is playing to people who don't think through policy, for their vote. ad astra I tried to think it through, my first thought was have a processing area (horrible word}in Indonesia but then the Indonesians would not like that , as more people would arrive on their shores. I would like the Indonesian gov, to be more strict on smugglers , could we not have law enforcement recruited from our state police not the afp. to track down and arrest people smugglers so then I thought the processing areas could be in Malaysia, Indonesia, areas more to the north of asia where people travel from, not a detention centre but processing, in a way that is done by people who simply apply from Europe for example. my next hurdle is how can one send back people to nothing or war zones. sigh and how does one decide who is who as they have been forced to leave behind their ID. sorry I would be hopeless at working out a policy but if it where possible to do so, then fly in the poor souls that qualify, which is done now anyway. but there are so many, all this would take years to go through applications I think I know why you have ask for this exercise to show what an enormous undertaking it would be. I doubt the Lnp or abbott would have the motivation to even try to work any thing through.

Doug Evans

9/06/2013I’ll take a little longer to consider the actual article AA has placed on his blog and comment if it seems appropriate or worthwhile when I’ve thought about it a bit. However as we had been warned that the challenge was coming I had already done a bit of work on it and I’ll post my offering for the consideration of any who can be bothered reading it and perhaps responding. An asylum seeker policy in point form, short enough to be comprehensible in a blog comments stream is a tricky ask but I’ll give it a go. Let me start by stating that I know nothing about asylum seeker policy beyond what my online research tells me. However we’ve been challenged (although I’m not sure why) and as the challenge seems to have been prompted by material I dumped in the comments column a while ago (?) I feel obliged to say what I can about how I think an Australian government should handle this problem. 1. ONSHORE PROCESSING • I think all processing of refugee/asylum applications should be carried out onshore. 80 or 90% of Australia’s asylum seekers arrive by plane with valid papers, usually a tourist visa and simply overstay before applying for asylum. They are processed onshore why not the rest? Australia is the only industrialized country in the world (out of some 44 countries) to have offshore detention centres. Why is that? • Onshore processing is cheaper. The way we do it now is very expensive. The cost of re-establishing offshore processing on Nauru alone has been estimated at $2billion over 4 years. Budget papers reveal the cost of Australia's immigration detention system was estimated at $800 million in 2011-12. With approximately 7,000 people in detention, it cost Australians $110,000 per asylum seeker in detention in 2011-12, and in 2012 the overall cost rose suddenly some 500 million. • Onshore processing would be a large step towards ensuring that Australia (currently a member of the UN Security Council) meets its UN obligations in respect of refugees and asylum seekers. Although offshore processing is not in itself a contravention of these obligations we are obliged to provide adequate safeguards including the provision of humane living conditions and an effective regime for the prompt processing of refugee claims. It has been argued that neither of these exists on Nauru and Manus Island. 2. DETENTION Australia's system of mandatory detention of asylum seekers without time limits has been found on numerous occasions to breach Australia's international obligations not to subject anyone to arbitrary detention. • I think all asylum seekers should be detained for processing at a centrally located processing centre or centres in Canberra or wherever the relevant Federal bureaucracy is located. This/these facilities need to be secure but not behind barbed wire. There are many less intimidating and stigmatizing options to barbed wire fences. A central location and high profile is important for both symbolic and practical reasons of access. • I think they should be held there for no longer than two weeks; just long enough to complete the initial application and to have any health or support needs assessed. After that time they should be moved to regional refugee centres centrally located in one or more of the State Capitals where they will have assigned caseworkers to whom they should report regularly while awaiting a decision on whether their application for asylum is to be granted or not. • I think that if an applicant has family or close friends in Australia they should be able to choose to live with them while their application is being processed. • I think that if it is assessed that an asylum seeker's application will take more than four months to determine, the applicant should be entitled to work. • I think they should be offered free housing, but should provide for them selves if they have enough money. Emergency medical and dental procedures and prescriptions should be provided for minimal cost. All asylum seeker children should receive the same medical coverage as Australian children. • I think that the Regional refugee centres should provide accommodation for the asylum seekers along with childcare, recreation facilities and a central reception office. • I think that asylum seekers should be required to visit the reception office regularly to receive their allowance, news on their application and for need and risk assessment. • I think that their caseworkers should make these assessments and refer clients for medical care, counselling and other services. • I think that in the regional reception centres residents should be free to come and go as they please. • I think that all asylum seekers awaiting a decision should be encouraged to participate in some form of organized activity such as English lessons if they are not working. • I think although there may be special cases, in general it should be for an applicant to decide whether or not to speak to the press. How am I doing so far? Does it sound like a lot of impractical hippy rubbish that only a Greens supporter with no idea of what it takes to govern, could dream up? I’m afraid there’s quite a bit more in similar vein about the categorization of asylum seekers, treatment of those whose applications have been rejected and their rights to appeal negative assessments, but I’ve already used too much space. Luckily I don’t have to write it all down. You can all look for yourself. What I’ve described so far is the way they do this in Sweden. Apparently they were so naïve as to just go ahead and try to do the right thing rather than waiting for the focus groups and party strategists to tell them what they could get away with without losing votes in the marginals. It’s all written in a paper that you can find here http://www.fabian.org.au/940.asp along with the footnotes and the author’s credentials. Of course Sweden is not Australia and as is well known they have their own problems with xenophobia, racism and the rise of fascism not unrelated to immigration and refugee intake at the moment. Grant Mitchell, the very well qualified author of the paper I’ve been plagiarizing has some very interesting things to say about the differences and similarities between the two countries. But I have a few comparative figures of my own. In 2010 Sweden received about 30,000 asylum seekers. In 2010 Sweden’s population was 9.18 million. That is one asylum seeker for every 306 Swedish citizens. In 2010 Australia’s population was 20.85 million and it received in total 8250 applications for asylum. About half of these were the boat arrivals that get our politicians so hot and bothered. Looking at total numbers only we find that is one asylum seeker for every 2527 Australian citizens. The number of Swedish asylum seekers in 2010 was about 8.5 times greater per capita than in Australia. However in 2010 Sweden held most applicants for asylum in mandatory detention for no longer than 14 days. In 2010 Australia held them for an average of 224 days. In the same year France, approx 49,000 asylum seekers (one for every 1260 French citizens) held them for an average of 10.7 days and Canada, roughly 22,000 asylum seekers (roughly one for every 1500 Canadian citizens) held them for an average of 8 days. The numbers, both total and boat arrivals have shifted since 2010. 2012 saw 17,202 Australian arrivals by sea. This year's figure looks set to be even higher. However numbers are increasing elsewhere also and the comparisons remain valid although totals and ratios have shifted. Why is it that in Sweden, indeed nearly everywhere else in the developed world the numbers of arrivals are much larger but the problem seems to be smaller? In 2007 Labor had the real possibility of separating itself from the coalition on this issue and doing what is right. Instead it chose to engage in a pissing contest with them to see which party could convince a severely misled electorate that they could be the meanest to a tiny group of the world’s most vulnerable people. I support the commonly expressed view that since little Johnny the Rat pulled his Tampa number on Kim Beasley and caused him to lose the ‘unloseable’ election, the ALP has lacked the courage to confront the ever-present undercurrent of racism that flows in so many Australians. Could it be that the Gillard government has got itself into this appalling mess because it didn’t have the courage to confront a relatively small number of shock jock fuelled racists primarily in Sydney’s western suburbs by telling them a few simple truths? Like for example: • Persecuting asylum seekers who arrive (perfectly legally) by boat will make no difference to the number of burkas and brown and black faces that alarm you by living and working in your neighbourhood. Irregular boat arrivals are a small percentage of Australia’s total asylum seeker applications and nearly all of them are genuine refugees fleeing persecution as opposed to the large majority of arrivals by air where nearly all of them are found to be not genuine. • Numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Australia are tiny both in total and on a per capita basis. Australia ranks in the mid forties in the rank ordering of favoured destinations for asylum seekers. And so on. You all know the script. Now it is clear that the MSM has complicated the dissemination of this message with its constant negative messaging so the blame for the woefully low level of awareness of asylum seeker realities is not entirely with the government. Overall I think the Rudd/Gillard governments have done a passably good job in difficult circumstances and I agree with Paul Strangio that history will probably judge them (particularly Gillard) better than their current critics on the other side of the ‘House’ and in the MSM. However the mess they have created around the issue that AA nominates, asylum seekers, is all their own doing. The virtually indistinguishable policies of both the major parties on this issue are a stain on Australia’s history. It did not have to be so. I hope the above demonstrates this. What causes good and intelligent people, some of whom even aspire to make Australia a fairer, more just place, to conceive and enact such discriminatory, cruel legislation? Now there is a question worthy to be diced and dissected by a frank and fearless Political Sword. This question is not the same as ‘what do you think we should do that would make things better?’ A final note. The failure of the Gillard government to put in place a principled and workable asylum seeker policy is worthy of discussion but it is rather the unexamined tacit acceptance of this and other substantial policy glitches by this Labor government on this site that I have been bellyaching about over the last few weeks. In difficult times critical examination of the entire political landscape is necessary pre-requisite to understanding what is happening to us. Consistently overlooking the not insubstantial failings of one of the three major features in our political landscape (Labor, Coalition, MSM) is not helpful to promoting understanding and perhaps appropriate action. I’ll have another go at setting my critique out in a separate post, time and energy permitting.

Doug Evans

9/06/2013Oops sorry Aims. The aims of this policy are to humanely and expeditiously comply with our international obligations in respect of refugees and asylum seekers.

jane

9/06/2013el gordo, save the bullshit for some idiot who believes you. Ad astra, you have set a very hard task wrt asylum seeker policy and its implementation. Ever since the dog whistling commenced by the Rodent government, there has been a dearth of sensible intelligent discussion with a view to arriving at an equitable, humane solution for asylum seekers arriving by boat and those rotting in camps in Malaysia and Indonesia. The opposition has offered absolutely nothing but lies, bile, spite, racism of the worst sort and inane slogans. Their only policy seems to consist of 4 words "Turn back the boats". No suggestion of how this would be achieved without causing serious damage to our reputation internationally. After reading your aims, I don't know that I could add anything more; it is so comprehensive and reflects my aspirations wrt asylum seekers so completely. Your point about educating the public about our UNHCR responsibilities and the concept of the fair go on which we pride ourselves, but has been so absent from the negative spin and rhetoric offered by the Liars and their barrackers. I really don't think there WILL be a bipartisan approach to this vexing problem as long as the Liars can use it for political capital. If only there were some adults in that party, we may have had a resolution long ago.

Ad astra

9/06/2013Catching up, KHTAGH, Bilko, Truth Seeker, denese, jane Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful comments and suggestions. I can see already that the extraordinary complexity of the asylum-seeker issue is being acknowledged. It was telling that on [i]Insiders[/i] this morning the panelists too were aware of the complexity, and willing to say so, an admission I haven’t heard much in the past. None of them attempted to suggest a solution, but conceded that Abbott and Morrison had set themselves a formidable target, one that was unlikely to be reached. I’m still waiting to read or hear a comprehensive, plausible policy statement from politicians or commentators, and frankly, I doubt if I ever will.

Ad astra

9/06/2013Doug Evans Thank you for taking the time and effort to respond to the challenge I set, set to illustrate how difficult policy making is in this contentious and inflammatory area, complicated profoundly by a host of community and electoral factors, as Laurie Ferguson intimated in a recent interview, who said that for his constituency it a was a constant and vexing issue. Much of what you have suggested as a basis for asylum-seeker policy seems sound. I suspect many readers would agree with many of your points. You say: “[i]In difficult times critical examination of the entire political landscape is necessary pre-requisite to understanding what is happening to us.”[/i]. Indeed it is, especially in this matter. Because it is the Gillard Government that is responsible for implementing asylum-seeker policy, while the Coalition and the Greens are on the sidelines, unable to act, the focus and the criticism has been directed at the Government. In my view, it would be more fruitful to discuss the issue generically and develop optimal policy that could be implemented by whoever was in government. Is that what you imply with your words: “…critical examination of the entire political landscape…”? I look forward to your next critique.

Ad astra

9/06/2013Folks I'm calling it a day.

Capstan

9/06/2013In relation to the issue of illegal boat arrivals - every single lefty tosser on this pathetic blog site cheered when the Rudd / Gillard dismantling of John Howard's Pacific Solution occurred back on 8 Feb 2008. My I remind you bunch of blinkered, tragic incompetents - only about 450 illegals arrived [b]over 7 years[/b], from the time the Pacific Solution was introduced in 2001 until the Krudster scrapped it on 8 Feb 2008. [b]450 in [u]seven [/u]years.[/b] These illegal boat arrivals are now flooding in at the rate of about [b]600 [u]per week[/u][/b]. 90% of illegal boat arrivals have no identification documents - despite the fact they travelled from Iran / Afghanistan / Pakistan / Iraq by plane, which required a passport. That is, they deliberately toss their identification documents overboard before they are "rescued". This is usually call FRAUD. You bunch of numpties do know all of this, don't you? Despite all of you concluding that stopping all of this is horribly complicated and devilishly difficult to halt - you are wrong. It is easy to bring this ALP-induced cancer to a grinding halt very quickly. Here's how you do it. 1. Introduce legislation that will disqualify anyone who is determined, on the balance of probabilities, to have deliberately disposed of their identity documents from ever being granted Australian citizenship. 2. Re-introduce temporary protection visas for those who are determined as being refugees, so that, when things are peaceful back in their own country, they can be moved back there. 3. Instantly remove refugee status from any refugee who subsequently travels to visit the country from which they have allegedly fled (these types of journeys by "refugees" happen all the time - what a con). 4. For anyone on a temporary protection visa, prohibit them absolutely from the right to bring any relatives into Australia. 5. Cut down the benefits they receive so that life for them here will be difficult financially (which is what your drongo government appears to have done - thank heavens for small and inadequate blessings). If you cut off what these illegal scumbags want (citizenship, generous benefits and the right to bring family into the country) - the boats will stop pretty well instantly. It's not difficult at all. And people will stop drowning at sea. By my reckoning, Gillard, Rudd and everybody who cheered when Rudd's changes were introduced back in Feb 2008 have the blood of well over 1,000 people on their hands - this is how many have drowned because of the laws [b]you [/b]wanted and [b]you [/b]introduced. The epitaph every one of you pathetic plonkers should carve into your tomb stones is "But we meant well".

lyn

10/06/2013Today’s Links That's the Way It Wasn't by @MrDenmore why there is such disenchantment with so muchtraditional 'mainstream media' political and economic reporting. It stems from a refusal or at least a reluctance by the traditional press to at least reflect on the fact that they are part of the apparatus that they report on. And that it is this standpoint that colours their view of the http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/ Labor Bashing by @Vic_Rollison How have we come to this point in our nation where we would prefer to shrink back into a bigoted, mean, selfish, stop the boats, cancel the Carbon Price, kill the NBN, scrap Gonski’s education funding, boost Gina Rinehart’s fortune, prop up Murdoch’s out of date business model instead of being brave, bold and committed to a better future for our children http://victoriarollison.com/2013/06/08/labor-bashing/ Why We Fight… by @BushfireBill Hundreds of columns, op-eds and poll commentary pieces have been written, leading the wise old men (and they are mostly men) of the elite political media to predict imminent doom for Gillard… and not one has been correct.According to a tweet reproduced above they’re still at it. This is clearly obsessive behaviour http://pbxmastragics.com/2013/06/09/why-we-fight/ Ruling in, ruling out by @awelder "Gillard-haters"* like Drag0nista and Leigh Sales are clearly upset. They'd be fine if Rudd was undermining Gillard; they'd be fine if Rudd went to ground, and rendered himself politically inert. Both fit the Abbott's-inevitable-Gillard's-doomed Narrative. Because he's done neither, they play word games with him: do you rule out ... http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/ The case for keeping Julia Gillard by @MacklinRobert, Journalist and author The Murdoch press, and the miners, have vilified Labor for their own vested interests. Sadly, their campaign has set the tone for other media outlets. But that could only be effective in a political landscape where something fundamental has changed in the communication business. http://citynews.com.au/2013/the-case-for-keeping-julia/ RESULTS FROM A WORKING GOVERNMENT by @TABV2013 list of this governments achievements over the past two and a half years and all with the support of the conservative opposition; despite the fact that it has gone forward to vilify the government and its policies with its 'public voice'. http://tabvpolitics.weebly.com/results-from-a-working-government.html Gillard, Whitlam and Murdoch by @ngungun Julia’s decision was reckless for Labor. It has given a virulent opposition and a vicious and uncontrollable media seven whole months in which to hurl slings and arrows of outrageous accusations — some true but most exaggerated beyond all reason. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/gillard-whitlam-and-murdoch/ Newman’s State, Abbott’s nation by @CraigEmersonMP Abbott was strangely silent when Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced the State Budget was being hit by revenue write-downs. What happened to his argument that revenue was doing fine. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0ctB3LVda7hRjBvN2NQa29qdXc/edit?pli=1 A rock and a hard place by @btckr Ms Gillard has been through a lot since taking over the parliamentary party, leading the party to a 50/50 election result, putting up with some disgusting politicking from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, watching the polls go up and down like a yo-yo and pretty much ignoring a hostile news media. http://thesnipertakesaim.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/a-rock-and-a-hard-place/ I’m Liberal and I won’t vote for Tony by @TheHoopla Where is the Liberal Party’s sense of decency and humanity? Demonising individuals and families who are desperate enough to take to the high seas, whilst quietly ignoring those who enter by other means, getting hung up and confusing religious beliefs on homosexuality with the right to have relationships legally recognised http://thehoopla.com.au/liberal-vote-tony/ Today’s ReachTel by Bob Ellis They did not say though if Labor would win with Rudd as PM, surely an important question. Why did they not ask it? Because they are crooks, that’s why, and there is other evidence for this. http://www.ellistabletalk.com/ Bring Kevin Back say Australia’s over 60s by @Startsatsixty At the time of writing this article, “Bring Kevin Back” was the most popular choice of over 60s online. http://www.startsatsixty.com.au/bring-kevin-back-say-australias-over-60s/ Independents the answer to political cartels by @Jarrapin How many more times do you think you can bear hearing “Stop the Boats” before being driven to commit axe murder on your neighbour? It feels like we’re drowning in party politics: party slogans, party rhetoric, party policy, party doctrine. As political scientist, Dean Jaensch, describes it — it’s all-pervasive: http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/independents-the-answer-to-political-cartels/ The Shame of this Nation - the Killing of a PM by @Thefinnigans https://twitter.com/Thefinnigans/status/343192877440045056/photo/1 Abbott and Asbestos by @no_filter_Yamba Telstra tried to fast-track compensation arrangements for its employees exposed to asbestos but was rebuffed by Tony Abbott's own department back in 2001. With the opposition on Monday leading a parliamentary attack on the government over its alleged lack of urgency in addressing asbestos discovered in Telstra junction pits being handed http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/abbott-and-asbestos.html Economy yet to make transition to post-boom world by @1RossGittins Public sector spending grew 1.1 per cent, but this followed a much bigger fall the previous quarter and with all the pressure on state and federal governments to balance their budgets, we shouldn't expect much help from the public sector. According to the opposition, the Gillard government's been doing far too much to help. http://www.rossgittins.com/2013/06/economy-yet-to-make-transition-to-post.html “Julia Gillard Has Guts” But You Already Knew That, Didn’t You- by Patricia wa Barry Cassidy has even fronted our national evening news bulletin to give a grave faced report on his own opinion and that of other senior Canberra journalists that she will soon be gone, http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/ "God's Millionaires" By Adele Ferguson Many of these ministers have made themselves multi-millionaires. They are no more than business magnates who benefit from the tax-free status of corporations that they lead. They are not 'pastors' but business managers who have cashed in on a loophole in the Western governmental tax system." http://www.trinityfi.org/press/GodsMillionaires.html Australia’s political heartland: hate, fear, prejudice by @theantibogan The great Australian shame is that not only are there votes to be had in hate, fear and prejudice, but that this is the heartland in which our political game is lost and won, writes Jonathan Green. http://theantibogan.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/australias-political-heartland-hate-fear-prejudice/ Multiculturalism and Racism by @CitizenCara I felt compelled to write a post after the ABC QandA episode "Racism, Hypocrisy and Hot Air". I felt that the lady who asked why was Islam being taught in Australian schools curriculum but Christianity wasn't, is that she was feeling "marginalised http://runawaitha.blogspot.com.au/ Time To End The Lies About Refugees by Polliter True refugees wait in desperate, awful, barbaric camps in Pakistan, Iran and throughout Africa, where hundreds of thousands live in absolute misery and destitution – waiting, hoping, after making the long walks through war torn lands, losing everything save the clothes on their backs, they wait, hope for a chance in a new land http://polliter.com/2013/05/28/time-to-end-the-lies-about-refugees/ Today’s Front Pages Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 10 June 2013 http://www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm News headlines http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/

Mal Kukura

10/06/2013Here is a not so brief “Foreword” for a more comprehensive future policy response that will eventually comply with Ad Astra’s formatting guidelines. Following the psychopath natspaC here is no bed of roses way to start the day but that is how things seem to have panned out. I want to say how refreshing it is that Doug Evans did the heavy lifting and made an effort to put together a starting point for policy in accordance with Ad Astra’s requests. You are an inspiration DE. In case anyone would like to study it in detail as I am going to do before coming up with a comprehensive policy response that complies fully with Ad Astra’s requested format - the Report of the Houston Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers is available here: http://expertpanelonasylumseekers.dpmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/report/expert_panel_on_asylum_seekers_full_report.pdf I do not see why it should not be acknowledged as the foundation of future policy. Discarding it and starting from scratch shows contempt for the eminent panel and is re-inventing the wheel. If it is to be discarded then the first thing to do is to appoint a better qualified panel and I am not qualified so I begin with reviewing it and recommend the same to any sincere contributor. My general first impression of it was that the panel made an honest and decent attempt to deal with the matter and devised what they felt would be a pragmatic and realistic approach under the actually existing circumstances - not the least of which are toxic malignant effects of the financially magnified voices and exaggerated influence of the greedy plutocrats who own the puppet Tony Abbott and the LNP including the micro-rodent mercenary agitprop agent natscaP. One issue the panel did not adequately consider which to me is crucial to implementation of a viable policy is that the real issue is a psycho-analytic/therapeutic one – using reality to dispel the deep seated fear that is mendaciously manipulated by the LNP and Murdoch propagandists and which dominates the public consciousness regarding the nightmare fantasies of invasion by overwhelming northern barbarian hordes. I can see no alternative but comprehensive therapeutic education by mass media focusing on both the internet and the ABC. We are lighting the spark of that curative regenerating fire here on TPS. Let the healing begin. Perhaps the Australian people need to organize and occupy the ABC as a first step to ensuring that the network fulfils its mission especially in regard of counteracting the hypnotic psychic manipulative pressures applied by the special interests of the super wealthy owners of the LNP who seek to forcefully dominate policy and to destroy democracy and the legislative function of the house of reps by buying themselves a prime minister and cabinet with the “advertising” we are now immersed in = an investment in future parasitic profits to be extracted from the Australian people. What they envision is installation of a system like the one in the USA where a very large impoverished underclass of low paid workers enrich the plutocrats who exploitively feast on the low paid productive work of the underclass on temporary work permits and no work permits. Like their vile puppet John Howard, they want to decide who comes to Australia and they want to extract maximum profits from them and us by paying the lowest possible wages. Murdoch Rinehart and Alan Joyce are on record complaining about Australian incomes being far too high to be competitive. That is of course the modest incomes of the majority who live on less than $100Kpa family income not the incomes of the super-rich who take home tens of millions per annum. The Houston panel report may not be perfect but should serve as an appropriate beginning. Although it is a complex and time consuming task as earlier contributors have pointed out it is not the processes for handling the people who want to come to Australia that are the most difficult to devise and implement. By far the more difficult problem is devising and implementing actions that will successfully develop pragmatic procedures and make them acceptable to the general public even though they will never be acceptable to insatiably greedy plutocrats who today control both major political parties. That is a matter of dispelling illusions – the symptoms of mental illness. Media based therapy for the general public. The wealthy plutocrats and their human shields and agents are bordering on incorrigible and are probably beyond therapy. Procedures must be developed to deal with them too. The marauding psychopaths who visit TPS might be useful patients for testing experimental therapies. You can easily see natspaC’s transparent parody of a policy response for what is – counterfeited mimicry of a policy response format that is used as an instrument for the hanging up the same sorts of eruptions of infectious toxic filth from the unconscious that poured forth in previous psychotic posts. Indonesia, South East Asia, Indo China, India, China, Japan together are home to maybe five thousand millions of human souls and we here are 23 million. They outnumber us more than two hundred to one. Are you afraid? Can we all get along? Sane people know what all corporations claim in their mission statements – our people are our most valued and precious resource-asset. Our Australia/New Zealand hybrid Eurasian/Oceania culture has already demonstrated vigour in the rapid growth of material prosperity an our cultural creative achievements in the arts, literature, science and entertainament. We are heirs to the knowledge handed down from Athens and the ancient Greek philosophers. Independently the Indian genius Siddartha Gautama and the Chines sage Lauzi made the same discovery at the same time – that is – that true reality and real knowledge comes from observing things for ourselves not from obedient compliance with the control freaks who seek to dominate and subjugate human prey. This common core of European scientific philosophic culture, Buddhism and Dauism holds the secrets to how we can overcome our fear of Asia and fulfil the destiny of this down under sanctuary of Eurasian enlightenment at the end of the world where we live. We are all heirs to the same awesome legacy. It is our privilege to be well disposed materially to share this news with our neighbours. The new spirituality that emerges from the convergence of these three independent cultural trajectories and wisdom traditions is the last best hope for waking up and transcending our fear of invading hordes. We of Aus/NZ have an opportunity to light the fire of spiritual revolution in the hearts of all Asia from here.

lawriejay

10/06/2013The great leveller in whatever criticism that is to be directed at JULIA GILLARD'S Government would be if they took a simple bit of advice from the LADY herself, at a press conference in recent times she was asked what she expected from the press (something along that line?) JULIA'S response was something like this : "JUST PRINT THE FACTS - CAN'T BE TOO HARD - CAN IT" Apply that to both sides of the political debate and see what the polls produce then ??

Capstan

10/06/2013Thank you for your barely comprehensible, extended gibberish, Mal K. You are one of those morons who demanded the scrapping of Howard's Pacific Solution and cheered as loudly and enthusiastically as everyone else on this sad little Petri Dish of lefty time warp when the Krudster did so on 8 Feb 2008. Tell me why [b]you [/b]are not responsible for the subsequent deaths of over 1,000 people at sea - and for the deaths that are yet to come. You got what [b]you [/b]demanded - the Pacific Solution was scrapped by your idiotic government of bleeding-heart incompetents - and people predictably started drowning at sea. [b]You [/b]are responsible for their deaths, mate. And so is everybody else on this crap-filled site who now employ every measure of sophistry to avoid the truth: your individual and collective policy decisions (demanded by [b]you [/b]personally and implemented by the government [b]you [/b]chose) have killed over a thousand people, for which all of [b]you [/b]are directly responsible, both individually and collectively.

Ad astra

10/06/2013LYN’S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Ad astra

10/06/2013Folks Lyn is moving house this coming Friday. She will not be posting links on Friday 14 June and the following few days. She will resume posting her links on Tuesday 18 June. For the time being, on the days that she will still be posting them this week, she will post fewer - around ten to twelve links per day. I'm sure you will join me in wishing her a happy and successful move.

Patriciawa

10/06/2013Thank you Lyn! It's not just your linking of significant blog postings for us that's so useful. It's your ability to feature in a few lines the core message in these articles. That guides the reader to the essence of a blog posting and gives a sense of public opinion across this country beyond the manipulations of main stream media. Australians and others out in the wider world are being told in no uncertain terms how we feel about this media orchestrated attack on our government. We don't like it and we will resist. You are helping us to reach out to our elected representatives in Canberra and encourage them, government ministers and our brave Prime Minister to stand firm. If we continue to communicate vigorously with them and each other there should be no repetition of November llth, 1975. A good government will not be overturned without the informed consent of its people.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Capstan Thank you for responding in detail to my request. Your policy ideas explain your way of thinking, which I suspect many might share in the electorate. It exposes a dimension of the asylum-seeker issue that constitutes a major factor in devising a policy to manage it. How does a policy satisfy those who think as you do, who categorize asylum seekers as ‘illegal scumbags’, and yet satisfy those who want a humane and accepting approach to those seeking asylum? Your contribution would be more acceptable if you refrained from offering personal denigration of individuals who post here and the [i]TPS[/i] group, which you seem to hold in such contempt. You would find responses to your writing more accepting if you offered us all common courtesy, which I’m sure respondents would reciprocate.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Mal Kukura Thank you for your comprehensive and thoughtful comment, and your response to my request. I was particularly taken with a couple of your paragraphs: “[i]One issue the [Houston] panel did not adequately consider which to me is crucial to implementation of a viable policy is that the real issue is a psycho-analytic/therapeutic one – using reality to dispel the deep seated fear that is mendaciously manipulated by the LNP and Murdoch propagandists and which dominates the public consciousness regarding the nightmare fantasies of invasion by overwhelming northern barbarian hordes. I can see no alternative but comprehensive therapeutic education by mass media focusing on both the internet and the ABC. We are lighting the spark of that curative regenerating fire here on TPS. Let the healing begin.”[/i] I agree. This paragraph too seemed to touch on a sensitive issue: “[i]What they [the LNP] envision is installation of a system like the one in the USA where a very large impoverished underclass of low paid workers enrich the plutocrats who exploitively feast on the low paid productive work of the underclass on temporary work permits and no work permits.”[/i] That is frightening prospect should we be given an Abbott government. I’m sure others will appreciate the merit of what you have written.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Patriciawa Thank you for your comment and your lovely tribute to what Lyn does for us day after day. You are so right when you say: “[i]You are helping us to reach out to our elected representatives in Canberra and encourage them, government ministers and our brave Prime Minister to stand firm.”[/i]

Ad astra

10/06/2013lawriejay How right you are!

Patriciawa

10/06/2013Good luck with the move, Lyn. Every now and then everyday life intrudes on our passions, doesn't it? Quite apart from all the details of packing and movers you need to be across, there are all those calls that have to be made about power and water and keys etc. How you still manage to think straight and focus on your work for us all here at TPS is amazing. I'm finding straight thinking a challenge at the moment myself. Tacker has somehow caught kennel cough and is whooping his little heart out. Off to the vet if this keeps up. I wonder how the PM manages? Will she still be here in Fremantle on Wednesday? I

TalkTurkey

10/06/2013Grow Orchids or Feed Elephants Go Fishing or Raise Quolls Play Bridge or learn to Belly~Dance But PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLLS! :)

Sir Ian Crisp

10/06/2013[quote][b]el gordo, save the [u]bullshit[/u] for some idiot who believes you. [...] jane [/b][/quote] Jane, you're an alleged lady so it's quite a shock to see you use language like that. Remember your manners dear 'lady'.

Sir Ian Crisp

10/06/2013Truth Tweaker, I'm still waiting for my answer. Your name suggests you're the agent for truth so let's hear from you.

Ken

10/06/2013I see the policy objective as a humane policy accepting geuine refugees (noting that most boat arrivals are accepted as genuine refugees. I am not addressing issues that have already largely been covered.` There are off-shore and on-shore factors to consider. It is the "push" factors off-shore that are the more important but probably little we can do about them - i.e. wars and natural disasters - but stop getting involved in US wars may help. A key question here is why people from Afghanistan and Iraq end up in Indonesia. I would have thought there must be UNHCR camps closer than that: why aren't people being processed there? Or why are they choosing not to be processed closer to home? Answers to these questions would help shape policy. The other key off-shore factor is the "passage" countries. Most people would not try to come by boat if they knew they would be officially processed in a reasonable time in the passage countries. In Australia's case, Indonesia is the prime passage country. I think Australia needs to continue to encourage Indonesia to sign up to the refugee convention. At least that way official refugee camps could be established under UNHCR auspices in Indonesia, and Australia could also send Immigration officials to such centres to select refugees for our intake (as Fraser sent such officials to the camps housing Vietnamese refugees). If we can talk Indonesia into signing the convention, instead of spending our money on Nauru, PNG, even Christmas Island, we could provide aid to Indonesia to support the refugee centres. Even before Indonesia signs (or if it does not sign) the refugee convention, there is still a case to negotiate an agreement with Indonesia allowing Australian officials to examine refugee claims on-site rather than waiting for them to arrive at Christmas Island. There have also been some boats coming direct from Sri Lanka. That situation is somewhat more difficult because the government says (correctly) that the civil war is over and that there are now no genuine refugees, but the issue is whether Tamils may still face persecution or discrimination - diplomatically there is no answer to this. On-shore There may still be a need for one or two on-shore processing centres, mainly ID, health and security clearances and the provision of support services when refugees go into the community. The other big on-shore issue is that giving rise to this issue in the first place - the public reaction. As I posted in the previous thread,refugees/migrants are a major issue in the western suburbs of Sydney. As I said then, I don't see this necessarily as racism but arises from the day to day reality of seeing different values operating in your own suburb. An academic I knew who had studied apartheid in South Africa once told me that Australian "racism" was based on ignorance rather than a "conscious" racism and was, therefore, easier to counter. The difference is that Australians will generally accept someone once they get to know them, whereas the conscious racism of South Africa meant that a "black" was always discriminated against no matter what. The government should aim to support community forums that bring refugees and new migrants together with other locals to discuss community issues. This would need to start at a "community leaders" level and broaden participation as the leaders brought their communities with them. The broader meetings would focus on particular community issues. It is a chance to allow people to actually have contact and break down stereotypes. Could write an entire two or three page blog on this but had better stop now.

Doug Evans

10/06/2013Mal K Going to write this quickly without checking relying on my fading memory so there might be slips. As I remember it the problem with the Select Panel Findings as a point of departure lies in its terms of Reference. Specifically in the things it was not allowed to consider. It was designed first to get the government out of a deep hole that it had dug for itself and only second to address the humanitarian needs of the asylum seekers. Bernard Keane from Crikey did a review of progress on its recommendations seven months after it had made them and found that nearly all of them had been implemented or commenced. The cruncher is that the recommendations of the Select Panel have made no difference. The boats keep coming, people keep drowning and asylum seekers are locked up, virtually in concentration camp conditions indefinitely as far away from the marginals seats as it is possible to get them. The Malaysia solution, irrespective of the reservations some (The Greens for example) had of the likely treatment of asylum seekers in Malaysia was wide open to a High Court challenge in the humble opinion of spectacularly successful refugee advocate David Mann. Irrespective, if implemented it would not have achieved anything more than a reprieve for a relatively small number of asylum seekers at considerable cost to Australia and would quickly have been exhausted. The only 'solution' to this problem starts with telling the truth to Australians which his Labor government did not have the bottle to do. Relatively small numbers of asylum seekers, both in total and arrivals by boat. Nearly all of them genuine refugees fleeing for their lives. Our obligation under international law to treat them humanely etc etc. There was a model of a far more efficient and humane way of doing this available. Sweden was doing this a decade or so before it became an issue in Australia and as I have shown the pressure is far greater there than it is here. This should lead us to question WHY the government would not follow a similar path. As I recall they began with a policy rather more humane than that which they try to use as a fig leaf today. They discovered however that they were unable to counter Abbott's slogans and unable to convince the swinging voters in the key marginals that this was the right way to go and step by step were drawn towards the steaming pile of costly, inhumane, illogical crap that they are stuck with today. It is impossible to rationally conclude therefore that they have adopted this position for reasons other than gross political expediency. It is a gross version of Richo's 'whatever it takes'. Do you really not think the government should be castigated severely for this failing? Holding thousands of vulnerable, traumatized people the vast majority of whom are legitimate refugees, in indefinite detention thereby causing them severe mental harm for reasons of political expediency. That OK with anyone here? Inappropriate to criticize this? Give me a break. The UNHCR certainly thinks their policy is reprehensible. The High Court has knocked it back at least once (more?) The ultimate irony is that the whole strategy has failed miserably politically also. When Lawrie Ferguson stood to ask the PM to come and explain it to the people of Sydney's west - otherwise Labor is dead he confiemed this completely.

Tom of Melbourne

10/06/2013Gillard deserves the most trenchant criticism over asylum seekers. It’s proof that she is mean spirited and motivated by political duplicity rather than humanity and ethics. Gillard’s political approach was to retreat to the worst option in the first instance. As I noted exactly a year ago, there are a range of policy options available to provide deterrence, without relying on punishment of the innocent. I’m sure Ad Astra and others here will recall my comments a year ago, because so many called it called “trolling” and Ad Astra implored everyone to ignore me.

Sir Ian Crisp

10/06/2013[quote][b] [...] An academic I knew who had studied apartheid in South Africa once told me that Australian "racism" was based on ignorance rather than a "conscious" racism and was, therefore, easier to counter. The difference is that Australians will generally accept someone once they get to know them, whereas the conscious racism of South Africa meant that a "black" was always discriminated against no matter what. The government should aim to support community forums that bring refugees and new migrants together with other locals to discuss community issues. This would need to start at a "community leaders" level and broaden participation as the leaders brought their communities with them. The broader meetings would focus on particular community issues. It is a chance to allow people to actually have contact and break down stereotypes. Could write an entire two or three page blog on this but had better stop now. Ken [/b][/quote] Australians are ranked as one of the least racist countries in the world. If there is a hint of racism in Australian we will never get rid of it as long as we import Indians, who are ranked up near the top as being racist. [quote] Australia is one of the least racist countries on Earth, according to a survey of global social attitudes. The World Values Survey of 80 countries found Australia ranked alongside New Zealand, Canada, the US, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Latvia and parts of Latin America as more racially tolerant than anywhere else in the world. The least racially tolerant countries were Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Jordan and India, reported the Washington Post, which compiled a data map of the figures. The survey, organised by Sweden-based World Values Survey Association and carried out by social scientists around the world, asked respondents to identify groups of people they would not want as neighbours, listing "people of a different race" as one of the options. In Australia five percent or less of respondents said they would not want to live next to somebody of another race. The study found the most intolerant nation was Hong Kong with 71.8 percent, followed closely by Bangladesh with 71.7 percent, Jordan with 51.4 percent and India with 43.5 percent. [...] http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/2013/05/17/14/37/survey-reveals-most-racist-countries [/quote] The reason we are seen as being racist is because we import racist from different parts of the world. The influx of Sri Lankans - or are they Tamils?- only ensures we won't lose the racist tag because Sri Lankans and Tamils have just concluded a war based on ETHNIC DIFFERENCE; that's race to most people.

el gordo

10/06/2013 'el gordo, save the bullshit for some idiot who believes you.' Where's the fun in that.

lyn

10/06/2013Good Morning Ad, Thankyou for your new article you are our Hero no matter the subject. Also Ad, thankyou so much for your good wishes they mean a lot to me. Moving day is looming, I think the last 2 days are the worst with packing last minute items and the cleaning . Patricia thankyou for your tireless support and your appreciation. I am very sad to hear Tacker is not well. You seem to be doing very well considering the traumatic accident you suffered. Your article is a winner, http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/ has received a huge response on Twitter more than 17 re-tweets so far. Forget Murdoch it seems our ABC is leading the charge this morning, Barry Cassidy takes the lead he has developed an incredible skill of reading peoples minds. lucky ‏@lol So Barry Cassidy has good sources?? What are they? Tomato? BBQ & honey mustard? #abcnews24

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]The Malaysia solution, irrespective of the reservations some (The Greens for example) had of the likely treatment of asylum seekers in Malaysia was wide open to a High Court challenge in the humble opinion of spectacularly successful refugee advocate David Mann. Irrespective, if implemented it would not have achieved anything more than a reprieve for a relatively small number of asylum seekers at considerable cost to Australia and would quickly have been exhausted. The only 'solution' to this problem starts with telling the truth to Australians which his Labor government did not have the bottle to do. Relatively small numbers of asylum seekers, both in total and arrivals by boat. Nearly all of them genuine refugees fleeing for their lives. Our obligation under international law to treat them humanely etc etc.[/b] GOOD POINTS DOUG. ABBOTT WOULD GET HIS ARSE KICKED IN COURT TOO. HE MIGHT HAVE FRIENDS LIKE KIRBY GIVING ADVICE...BUT THE REALITY IS THE CONSERVATIVES ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THIS ISSUE...IN MANY WAYS. COMPENSATION COULD COST BILLIONS. WAKE UP AUSTRALIA. FIND YER LIGHT!!! N'

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]The government should aim to support community forums that bring refugees and new migrants together with other locals to discuss community issues. This would need to start at a "community leaders" level and broaden participation as the leaders brought their communities with them. The broader meetings would focus on particular community issues. It is a chance to allow people to actually have contact and break down stereotypes.[/b] KEN, GOOD IDEA. YOU MAKE USEFUL POINTS ABOVE TOO. ABOUT LOCATION AND PROCESSING. N'

DMW

10/06/2013Doug Evans @ 10:40 PM, an excellent contribution, I dips me lid to you. I will pick you up on point though - [i]I support the commonly expressed view that since little Johnny the Rat pulled his Tampa number on Kim Beasley and caused him to lose the ‘unloseable’ election, the ALP has lacked the courage to confront the ever-present undercurrent of racism that flows in so many Australians.[/i] This commonly held mythconception needs to erradicated from the thinking of all good (and bad) progressives. It is a typical example of learning the wrong lessons from history and it is a major reason that we are where we are on Asylum Seeker/Refugee policy. Had 9/11 not come along Howard would likely have suffered badly for the decision to send the troops to board the Tampa. Howard cleverly used 9/11 to retrospectively justify his actions on the Tampa and tie together border security with irregular maritime arrivals and lump in terrorists for good measure. Had Labor followed the principled lead of the late Peter Andren things would have been very different. (See [b]Opposing John Howard on asylum seekers, and winning | Inside Story[/b] http://goo.gl/5CrJm ) Oh well while we can replay history and hopefully discover new learnings we can't rewrite history though some seem to get away with clever misrepresentations of history.

DMW

10/06/2013There have been some extraordinary and valuable contributions to this discussion so much so that my feeble writings keep getting superceded and/or blown out of the water. It is a great credit to you all. Thank you. I have to go out and attend to (an alleged) real life and will attempt a response later today.

Ken

10/06/2013Doug You talk about discussing the shortcomings in Labor policy but in discussing refugee policy (and I widen that to include other migrants) you ignore the public reaction. Yes, Howard stoked the flames but he did not create it, just fed it. People deal with their communities in a number of ways. It is physically impossible to personally know everybody in an urban community so for people one does not know, one assumes they will behave in certain ways, in accord with the norms of society, and there are stereotypes for groups of "others" which allows one to place them in some sort of category in the community without "knowing" them. That is normal behaviour as long is one is open to accepting individuals that one gets to know. (It becomes racism when that openness to accepting individuals is removed.) For the Anglo-Celts of the western suburbs of Sydney, and even for former migrants who are now integrated into the community, the arrival of groups of refugees/migrants who have different values upsets the equilibrium. It is more difficult to accept them into the community if one can't be sure how they will behave in certain situations because they bring a different set of norms to the situation. They will be stereotyped as "outsiders" because of this. And as I have said previously, the current Islamic jihads and involvement in terrorism only adds to the uncertainty and distrust of the different values. (Won't go into the reasons for the jihads, nor the historic Western role in creating them, but just the fact that they do exist.) Unless we accept that there is disquiet in many communities, we are not addressing the problem. Address that issue and the "boat people" problem is no longer a problem.

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]You got what you demanded - the Pacific Solution was scrapped by your idiotic government of bleeding-heart incompetents - and people predictably started drowning at sea. You are responsible for their deaths, mate. And so is everybody else on this crap-filled site who now employ every measure of sophistry to avoid the truth: your individual and collective policy decisions (demanded by you personally and implemented by the government you chose) have killed over a thousand people, for which all of you are directly responsible, both individually and collectively.[/b] ONE OF THE MOST IGNORANT COMMENTS I'VE EVER READ ON A BLOG... [b]THE REALITY IS WAR, CONFLICT, PERSECUTION, INSECURITY AND THE SEARCH FOR A BETTER LIFE...A BETTER WAY...MOTIVATE ASYLUM SEEKERS...REFUGEES...TO TAKE HUGE RISKS TO GET TO A NEW LAND.[/b] THE BOATS WERE COMING. [b]THE MOVEMENT OF REFUGEES HUGE...SQUEEZING THEM TOGETHER LIKE HERDS LED TO PRESSURE THAT WAS BOUND TO SEE THEM PUSH OUTWARDS FOR FREEDOM... HOWARD AND CO. OBVIOUSLY DID SOME GROTESQUE DEALS WITH THE INDONESIAN GOVT...ALL WILL BE REVEALED IN TIME... BUT THE IDEA THAT A COALITION GOVT WOULD HAVE SEEN NO BOATS COMING FROM 2008 ONWARDS IS LAUGHABLE... THE GFC...SRI LANKAN CONFLICT...BOATS REBUILT IN INDONESIA...THE MASS DISPLACEMENT OF PEOPLE FROM THE ARAB SPRING CONFLICTS AND ONGOING WARS...FLEEING DRONES...THE BUILD UP OF REFUGEES IN CAMPS...THE THREAT OF IRAN BEING BOMBED...THE LIST GOES ON... OF COURSE THEY WOULD HAVE COME.[/b] THINKING OTHERWISE IS [b]DELUSIONAL[/b]. AUSSIES WILL REGRET THESE DAYS THEY HAVE FALLEN PREY, YET AGAIN, TO XENOPHOBIA...PERMITTED THEIR HEARTS TO WILT...ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BECOME A FRIGHTENED HERD OF BED-WETTERS... AND SO CALLED PRAGMATISTS...THOSE MAKE EXCUSES FOR PARTIES THAT HAVE LITTLE INTEGRITY LEFT... [b]OPPORTUNISTIC CLAPTRAP...[/b] KNOWING FULL WELL [b]THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING BUT FLUID, EVOLVING ANSWERS TO THIS PROBLEM BASED ON DISPLACED PEOPLE MOVEMENT NUMBERS... BASED ON INVOLVEMENT OF PROCESSING AND REFUGEE CAMP COUNTRIES (THE GOALS OF THEIR GOVTS...THE DEALS DONE)... TYPES OF VISAS... WORK NEEDS OF COUNTRIES... END OF CONFLICT IN ORIGIN COUNTRIES... USE OF TRANSPORT...ASSISTANCE OF HUMANITARIAN GROUPS... INFLUENCE OF CHARACTERS IN UN... WHICH JUDGES ARE IN SUPREME COURTS... BRILLIANCE AND TACTICS OF LAWYERS... COST OF COMPENSATION... NATURAL DISASTERS... DETERMINATION OF SOME REFUGEE FAMILIES, INDIVIDUALS... THE COURAGE OF INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE TO STAND TALL AND DRIVE OUT THE PUBLIC FEAR...THE MORAL PANIC...HELP ALL TO FIND THEIR MORE RATIONAL, BETTER SELVES... REDISCOVER EMPATHY.[/b] TO BLAME A CHANGE IN POLICY AWAY FROM NAARU ABUSE...GROTESQUE CONFINEMENT...MENTAL TORTURE...FOR BOAT DEATHS IS JUST PLAIN DISINGENUOUS. YOU CAN'T STOP AN IDEA...WHEN BILLIONS BELIEVE IN IT... THE IDEA...OF GETTING A BETTER LIFE...BY FINDING FRESH AIR...MORE HARMONY...MORE OPPORTUNITIES...MORE SECURITY FOR CHILDREN...IN AUSTRALIA...AND GETTING THERE ANY WAY POSSIBLE. NOW, [b]WILL AUSTRALIA THO LIVE UP TO THE MYTHS[/b]? [b]THE EXPECTATIONS?[/b] N'

Ad astra

10/06/2013Hi Lyn What a splendid collection today. Mr Denmore, as usual, is right on the money. I was taken with these paragraphs: “[i]Objectivity, in this preferred definition, is not a passive concept, but an active one. It becomes an ideal, albeit an impossible one, that journalists work towards. In the meantime, they can focus on the attainable and practical goals of honesty, fairness, accuracy, completeness and complexity. It is not about just "reporting the facts", but ensuring one does not leave out relevant facts. It is also about journalists recognising and accepting the tensions and compromises between their need to impart the reality of a story and their need to stand apart from it.”[/i] And “[i]My own view is that traditional journalism, as it is practised in much of the Anglosphere, leans too much toward traditional objectivity. Journalists fail when they are blind to the influence of the cultural and ideological milieu from which they position their reporting. In a sense, the more they see themselves as standing outside it all, the more they are likely to be comfortably embedded, inside the machine, without being aware of it.”[/i] Which is just what we see, day after day. Victoria Rollison’s piece was hard-hitting, and her conclusion sobering: “[i]If this country wants Murdoch, Rinehart and Abbott’s 1% to decide their futures, they deserve everything they get.”[/i] Andrew Elder is once more telling it the way it is: “[i]"Gillard-haters" like Drag0nista and Leigh Sales are clearly upset. They'd be fine if Rudd was undermining Gillard; they'd be fine if Rudd went to ground, and rendered himself politically inert. Both fit the Abbott's-inevitable-Gillard's-doomed Narrative. Because he's done neither, they play word games with him: do you rule out ... are you leaving the door open for ... Rudd knew in 2007 that playing along with such bullshit is worth nothing in terms of votes. Abbott knows it now, and plays journos like trout on the rare occasions that a) they actually confront him and b) he doesn't walk away. The only thing to do when confronted with that is to shirtfront the interviewer for asking pissant questions, which is what Rudd did this week and what the Prime Minister should do more often.”[/i] Bushfire Bill is always great reading. Robert Macklin puts his finger on it: “[i]The Murdoch press, and the miners, have vilified Labor for their own vested interests. Sadly, their campaign has set the tone for other media outlets. But that could only be effective in a political landscape where something fundamental has changed in the communication business. That’s summed up this week in a memorable phrase from “New York Times” columnist Frank Bruni: [b]“The sideshow swallows the substance”.[/b] (My emphasis) Policies are ignored. Instead, the “news” is all about fripperies, trivia and the seven-second grab. If you doubt it, aside from the gold-plated parental leave scheme – and slashing at least 12,000 public servant jobs – try to think of a single Abbott plan for Australia. Oh, that’s right: “Stop the boats”.”[/i] Oh dear, where has our MSM gone – to the circus to report on the sideshow? The Finnigans’ list is an awful catalogue of hatred. Patriciawa has given us a stirring piece, prefaced by a pome. She concludes: “[i]Because I am in Western Australia I shall soon be privy to the thinking of some of our main stream media commentators as newspapers roll off the press for early morning distribution. I wonder if any of them will be out there ‘telling the truth today?’ Right now when the latest tragedies on the high seas off our coast really needs our government’s fullest attention let’s hope it is not of distracted by more media manipulations looking for a sensationalist headline and a political coup to satisfy their proprietor.”[/i] And so say all of us! Lyn, you have the brilliant ability to pick the eyes out of a piece and present it in your summary. That is of huge value to us all. Thank you.

Miglo

10/06/2013Another great piece, Ad. Is it any wonder that so many of us in the Fifth Estate look up to you?

Ad astra

10/06/2013Hi Lyn Thank you for your kind comment. I hope the move goes well. Judging from your organizing ability and thoroughness, I feel sure it will.

Tom of Melbourne

10/06/2013Ad Astra - [i]” It is for all of these reasons that this blogsite is an enthusiastic supporter of the PM and her Government.[/i]” Then stop pretending otherwise with your tagline. You don’t put [i]“politicians and commentators to the verbal sword”[/i], you do this very selectively, and exclusively to non ALP politicians and commentators. You implore your followers to ignore even non aligned commentators. In the corporate world your tag line would need to be accompanied by a disclaimer - *conditions apply. But not you, you go on pretending. Though in this respect, you’re not alone, as your endorsements indicate.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Folks Thanks to all of you for your comments. Ken, I found myself in strong agreement with you penultimate paragraph: “[i]The government should aim to support community forums that bring refugees and new migrants together with other locals to discuss community issues. This would need to start at a "community leaders" level and broaden participation as the leaders brought their communities with them. The broader meetings would focus on particular community issues. It is a chance to allow people to actually have contact and break down stereotypes.”[/i] I believe that would make a big difference – indeed where it occurred, as in Albany WA, it was a great success. Doug Evans You have given us a comprehensive criticism of the Gillard Government’s approach to asylum-seeker policy. It is in government, and so you have targeted it. I would have preferred, as I indicated in an earlier comment, that we take a generic approach to the issue. Perhaps you would like to counterbalance that critique with a critique of the Coalition policy, and the Greens policy too, as far as we know them.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Miglo Thank you for your generous comment. The feeling is mutual.

nasking

10/06/2013 DOUG EVANS @ June 9. 2013 10:40 PM GOOD WORK. BTW, I WAS READING THIS POST LAST NIGHT: [b]Alternative ways of dealing with asylum seekers By Brian on July 13, 2010[/b] [quote]Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. That, from Emma Lazarus, is unfortunately not the way it is these days in any country on earth that I know of. Don McMaster in his book Asylum seekers: Australia’s response to refugees finds that unplanned immigration and sudden influxes of asylum seekers arouse fear and anxiety in all advanced industrial societies. In this post we roughly charted Australia’s increasingly harsh response to asylum seekers until some limited softening by the Rudd government. McMaster has a whole chapter on international comparisons. I have found two cases of particular interest – Canada and Sweden. In the former I have drawn from McMaster. The material on Sweden comes mostly from Grant Mitchell who is currently Director of the Secretariat of the International Detention Coalition. In both cases the information available to me is about a decade old and there may have been changes since then. However, the models described are worth considering because they represent an embodiment of humanitarian values that is light years away from what we have in Australia[/quote]... MUCH MORE HERE: http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2010/07/alternative-ways-of-dealing-with-asylum-seekers/ N'

Frank

10/06/2013Read David Marr's Political Animal on some Coalition views on boat arrivals. P.73 a "key Liberal party strategist popped into the US embassy in Canberra to say how pleased the party was that refugee boats were, once again, making their way to Christmas Island. "The issue was 'fantastic,'" he said. "And 'the more boats that come the better.'" P.75 'One Liberal MP told the Courier Mail:'"It works incredibly well for us in outer metropolitan electorates."

Jason

10/06/2013ToM (of conditions apply) who posts from the Melbourne ISP address or the one who posts from the Brisbane ISP address? Or is it the one from Indonesia. Bit rich don't you think lecturing others about tag lines?

Capstan

10/06/2013Ad Astra - don't come the raw prawn with me, mate, about my "personal denigration" of the ideological oddities who frequent this curious, strange whirlpool of rusted-on lefty intransigence. The reason I give you lot stick - with great relish - is because of the unbelievably foul and offensive comments you all so readily and effortlessly chuck about with neither embarrassment nor restraint. If you cannot see how unacceptable are the comments made by the likes of 'Nasking, Talk Turkey, Jason et al - well, you need to go and get a new and stronger set of specs for those poor old tired eyes of yours. And you yourself aren’t backwards in coming forth with your own hatred and venom – you silly old hypocrite. And until you lot actually apply the civility and common courtesy you demand of others - it will be my pleasure as well as my duty to arrive here at irregular intervals of my choosing to give you all the caning you so richly deserve. It's your job to police the content of this site, Ad Astra - until you start to crack down on your foul and vulgar regular lefty contributors - do not expect me to lighten up in the slightest. You will get from me precisely that which you allow from others. On to the burning subject at hand - illegal boat arrivals. The vast majority of boat arrivals are [b]not [/b]refugees - they are economic opportunists who are taking advantage of your stupid, bleeding-heart policies that allow them to successfully migrate from a filthy, pestilential Islamic crap-hole such as Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and/or Afghanistan to a wealthy and successful Western nation where they can happily and contentedly suck with gusto and relish off the public teat for as long as they are allowed to get away with it - ON OUR MONEY! EXAMPLE: 95% of Afghans who arrive here are still unemployed and receiving taxpayer-funded benefits five years after arriving here. I know from personal experience how foul Islamic crap-holes can be - as you know, I served in Afghanistan for seven months. I have complete contempt of, and loathing for, the stinking medieval cesspools of corruption that most Islamic nations have always been and will always be – not least because of the inherent nature and values contained within their religion. I have also served in East Timor and have seen the brutality that was shown by muslim Indonesians to the Catholic East Timorese over 25 years. [b]First point:[/b] these tens of thousands of muslims who are flooding into this country because of your policies and decisions have little interest in becoming Australian. What they want is the opportunity to continue their tribal Islamic lifestyle in a country that will fund them beyond what they could even dream of receiving back home - on the public purse. And why wouldn’t they? [b]Second point: [/b]some of these muslims - or some of their children - will obey all the commands in the Koran and associated Islamic texts exhorting and commanding them to attack all those who do not share their islamic beliefs. That, of course, includes other muslims who follow a different Islamic variant - and we see today Sunnis and Shiites attacking each other in Sydney over the Syrian conflict. So we are GUARANTEED to see future attacks on Australian citizens from some of the people you bunch of stupid dipsticks have let into this country. Just like all the deaths at sea for which all of you are personally and directly responsible - so also will you all be personally and directly responsible [b]when [/b]those murders are committed. [b]Third point:[/b] I am absolutely in favour of helping genuine refugees. However, the last lot of genuine refugees who came here were the Vietnamese. Those people fled after the war had ended and the brutal Communist government immediately began to persecute anyone associated with the previous South Vietnamese government. They went to sea in their tens of thousands - they died at sea in their thousands and thousands - and they would have stopped [u]anywhere [/u]in [u]any [/u] country in order to seek refuge. But most Asian nations vigorously and violently prevented them from landing, so some Vietnamese bumped their way southwards until they ended up in Australia. Without a doubt - these people were genuine refugees, and all sympathy to them. Anyone who flees from the tyranny of Communism – the ideology that has murdered more people than any other ideology (and which is fondly regarded by more than a few scumbags on this site) - is a genuine refugee. [b]Fourth point: [/b] But this mainly Islamic rushing of the Australian front gate is completely different. What these people do is fly from Kabul or Pakistan or Iran to a middle-eastern country such as Bahrain, Qatar or the UAE (NOTE: they need passports to do this) before catching a second flight to Malaysia or Indonesia. There they make their way to the main Indonesian people-smuggling ports where they await their turn on a boat. Then it’s off to Christmas Island or other illegal boat arrival destination. Just before they are picked up – they chuck all their passports, identity documents, mobile phones and GPSs overboard in weighted bags which promptly disappear forever into the inky-black depths below. They then parrot their rehearsed lines in order to claim refuge from threats which do not exist. For ten years now we have had liars and spivs barging their way into this country. Pakistanis claiming to be Afghans – Afghans born and bred in Pakistan claiming to be fleeing from the Taliban – Iranians claiming to be at risk – Sri Lankans doing the same – it’s all complete and utter bullshit. They lie and lie and lie – and you lot of soft headed, hand-wringing gullible bleeding hearts swallow it hook line and sinker! People who are genuinely fleeing for their lives do not fly to this country, then to that country, before taking a boat to a selected destination. That is not the behaviour of a refugee – that is the behaviour of a migrant who has made a specific decision about the country to which he would like to move. The Sri Lankans, for example: if Tamils really feared for their lives – wouldn’t it be much easier to take a simple, quick and convenient 35 km boat trip from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu in India to escape that threat? There are about 71 million people in Tamil Nadu – and the majority of them are Tamils. Why would a Tamil sail 3,300 km to Australia when they can much more easily travel just 35 km over the water to Tamil Nadu? ANS: because of the rare opportunity they have of migrating into a better country with much more generous benefits – by pretending to be refugees. They want to migrate to Australia and this is their one big chance. Get this through your thick heads – all these illegal boat arrivals are here to grab the opportunity of “back door” migration while it exists – NOT because they are actually at any risk back home. And they know that “back door” opportunity will end as soon as Gillard is sacked and Abbott is elected – which is why the numbers each week are becoming huge. Refugees are people who are in genuine fear of their lives who flee carrying what little they can and who are happy to settle down in the first country that takes sympathy on them and provides them sanctuary. People who fly to a first country, then to a second country, then take a bus into a third country in order to sail to a specifically-selected fourth country where they claim asylum – are frauds. The refugee provisions, treaties and conventions that were settled after WW2 were never meant for this sort of bullshit. Which is why all this fraudulent arrival of “refugees” must be resisted and fought. Refugees my eye – they are fraudsters, liars, con artists and spivs who have taken you lot of idiots along for a complete ride ever since the Krudster was stupid enough to dismantle sensible laws that worked brilliantly. Which is what we Conservatives will do – successfully – when Abbott is elected PM. Yet again, we Conservatives will clean up the stinking mess you stupid, incompetent lefties have left behind.

Michael

10/06/2013I posted the following piece on this blog a year or so back when we were also discussing asylum seekers making their way to Australia. In the light of Ad Astra's lead-off piece, 'what do I think?' is what I thought when I first wrote this piece in the dark days of Howard and Ruddock, who set the template, spat out the vocabulary, and shaped the mealymouthed escape-clauses for Abbott and Morrison. What does it take? To face fear, to defy desperation, To leave a home of hundreds of years and more, To cross wasteland and sea, To trust as far as money can buy the untrustworthy, The calculating, the callous; To gather family and loved ones And leave family and loved ones, To pass the watermarks and landmarks of a whole life For the last time, never to see again The familiar, the known, the certain, To set out completely blind and unhinged From everything that held you in place, In knowledge, however fearful and desperate, That you were somewhere you knew where you were? You have to get out, but every fibre of you Is in this place and is this place; But this place is no longer home, It is prison, it is torture cell, It is a site of victims' wails, And you are a breath, a whisper, a pointed finger From death or worse, and all your loved ones with you - What does it take? What does it take To fabricate fear, to deny desperation, To malign and to decry, to spurn And watch the doubly-unhinged burn? What does it take to stand up in the public places And call the bravely terrified, the terrifiedly brave "liars" and "cheats", "malingerers" and "spongers", "fakers" and "false", "connivers" and "criminals"? What does it take to separate families With barbed wire and even crueler ordinances, To strut before the cameras and spout a doublespeak So doubled over and turned in on and around Itself that the language screams "blood", "horror" - Because of its blandness, its callow reasonableness. Such language can only be the soft sell of harshness; The screams undeniable encased within official denial Louder and louder as denying officials deny softer and softer, Who call on language so denatured by its official use It has become useless for anything but official use Used officially to make truth a casualty as wounded As only truth can be when lies are smoothed to shape As truth's official stand-in on those public podiums Where our guardians stand and protect only themselves - What does it take? What does it take From a country once renowned as the home of fellowship The wide brown land of wide open arms And disarming smiles, the land of broad welcome And long into the night talk and laughter and cheer, The land that looked outwards to find itself And saw that where it was and who it was was fine, And good, a place to live, a place to thrive, A place to stand in as our own people from wherever we came, A place shaped by arrivals, successive and enriching, From 60,000 years on till the latest plane and boat Arriving, and within them, new arrivals, bringing Hope and love and courage and desire and skill and will And family and history and promise and future and bright Bright expectations to rise, to exceed, to find a place As placed as they had been in the places they had been, A new place, a fresh place, a place to set down soft roots Torn from the hard ground of older places now denied them Or left behind with sorrow, but left behind because the leaving, The leaving is a making, a making... What does it take, What does it take from us, if we deny, If we band behind the deniers, denying that we are, But denying all the same? Inside, the denial shrivels and shrinks us through and through, Squeezes out our open-heartedness, and we die as we deny, We fade as we deny, we are left alive with spite alone to drive us Further into denial, until we become anyone's fools, And the professional deniers have made us their instruments Of pettiness and self-interest, that has nothing to do with us Except that they can point, the famous men and women, When the biographers come, to a greater will they did no more Than serve. If we do no more, the lie thrives, it blossoms, Its fetid blooms intoxicate and befuddle us, till we, Inhabiting a land of freedom and openness and care and concern Have been made a camp of jailers and torturers, Our names embossed as Citizen This, Citizen That, Sponsoring each tearing barb, each slicing edge of wire, Each tossing thrust of water cannon, Every clip around an ear, laugh in the face, spurning of aid, Queue kept waiting, door kept closed, gate made electrified. That is not us, and that is not this land, Unless we let ourselves be made this way, trooping deniers, Unblinded eyes turned away, ears pummelled to insensitivity By denial, plausible and righteous, easy and comforting. What does it take? Do you live here? Has your family always lived here? Do you know this place? Have you any idea what lies out your door? Of course you do. You've lived here long enough. You know this place of all the places you've ever been, Been around the world and never happier than come home. That is this land, that was this land, a place of making And remaking and renewal and unexpected coinings of the familiar, Where change has come and made us all changed and broader And new and bright with expectation of the next 'new', The brighter tomorrow, the times to come of love And courage and hope and the everyday expectations, The breath of every day, family and friends and loved ones And new of all of them, the expected unexpected Across colour, culture, gender, belief, the thousand differences That are all the same because difference is the engine That makes the unfamiliar familiar, Makes frightening novel and then, as regular As pizza and felafel and kung fu and bocce and strudel... And you know exactly what I mean, and how it is, And how it was, and never really was because was is always, Always becoming the new is, that is the is that will become Was, and then is, and doesn't stop, because we are all Human's being, and the being is us and the being makes us And the being is enriched by the new us being around And being new to us and familiar to us and then, us; And we are all what we are because of what we are, And the are we are is made by all those who join us To become, 'sun bronzed we', 'wide brown land we', 'Sweeping plains we', 'tall towering cities we', The we we all know and know as us and recognise In every unknown face becoming we by joining us. Then we are What we were and will be, welcoming we - "join us, Settle in although at first it will all be unfamiliar, Frightening, there will be desperate days, unhinging times, Times when even the horror and fear and imminent shock Of left-behind home will seem preferable to what you have found: We've all been there, the great wide land of people we are". We, us, we must remember how it was and can be, So that when those new faces, frightened, desperate, appear, We see ourselves, our selves in a thousand unknown faces, And in them and in us find the same things, Love, courage, hope, belief, and desperate trust That we have all come home. What little this much takes of us.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Michael Thank you for your heartfelt contribution - a magnificent piece of writing. I empathize with you concluding lines: [i]"We've all been there, the great wide land of people we are.
 We, us, we must remember how it was and can be,
 So that when those new faces, frightened, desperate, appear,
 We see ourselves, our selves in a thousand unknown faces,
 And in them and in us find the same things,
 Love, courage, hope, belief, and desperate trust
 That we have all come home."[/i] What a contrast your feelings are to those of Capstan, who begins his latest tirade with angry condemnation of we who comment here, whom he regards as ‘lefty’ morons, and his even more vitriolic denunciation of asylum-seekers in general. His attitude is the reality among many in the electorate. Is it any wonder that implementing a humane policy is such an intractable problem? His contribution give us a useful insight into the way many people regard our current set of asylum seekers.

Ad astra

10/06/2013nasking I did enjoy the verse you quoted: “[i]Give me your tired, your poor,

 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

 I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”[/i] Beware though that this will confirm in Capstan’s mind that we here really are just as he describes us: ‘stupid incompetent lefties’.

nasking

10/06/2013 FRANK, INTERESTING STUFF FROM MARR. MY VIEW: WHEN VOTERS PERMIT THEMSELVES TO BE DISTRACTED BY FEAR-MONGERING OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS THEY FIND THEMSELVES LOOKING AWAY FROM THE SLY THEFT OF THEIR WAGES, CONDITIONS...THEY MISS THE PLAN TO RAISE AND BROADEN THE GST...THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIVATE PRISONS AND AN INTRUSIVE SECURITY APPARATUS...THE UNDERMINING OF AGED AND DISABILITY PENSIONS. THEY MISS THE REAL DARKNESS COMING. I BELIEVE MANY WILL EVENTUALLY OPEN THEIR EYES. DO THE RIGHT THING...WHICH IS NOT HOWARD, ABBOTT RIGHT. N'

Capstan

10/06/2013Ad astra - try to actually resemble the wise old man you portray yourself as being. I support genuine refugees. The Vietnamese were genuine refugees. Fraudsters who catch a variety of planes to a variety of countries before specifically sailing to Australian territory - and who deliberately destroy their identification documents just before they are "rescued" - are not refugees. They are liars. And it is only you stupid, pathetic, predictable lefty bleeding hearts who are effortlessly sucked in every time. There is no fool like an old fool - you got that, Ad astra? Never mind - we Conservatives will sort it out when Tony is elected PM. PS - here's an email I just received: [i]"I've had a fairly reliable that by this time tomorrow, Julia will be gone.................."[/i]

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]migrate from a filthy, pestilential Islamic crap-hole such as Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and/or Afghanistan to a wealthy and successful Western nation where they can happily and contentedly suck with gusto and relish off the public teat for as long as they are allowed to get away with it - ON OUR MONEY![/b] CAPSTAN, YET AGAIN YOU HAVE PROVED YOURSELF TO BE A NASTY CHARACTER. IF YOU DID FIGHT OVER THERE...YOU DIDN'T DO IT IN MY NAME...NOR MANY OTHER AUSSIES I SUSPECT. YOUR ATTITUDE IS WHAT LEADS TO OTHER COUNTRIES LOSING TRUST IN THE SO CALLED WEST...AND AS BEEN ESPOUSED BY EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE MASSACRED INNOCENTS DURING THESE DISGUSTING WARS...INVASIONS. FRANKLY, IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF CHARACTER OUR MILITARY LETS IN AND SUPPORTS I QUESTION THEIR INTEGRITY...AND VETTING PROCESS. HOWEVER, I PREFER TO DOUBT YOUR INTEGRITY. IT'S POSSIBLE YER A LIBERAL PARTY OR MURDOCH SPINNER. THE HATRED YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED TELLS ME A GREAT DEAL ABOUT SOME OF THOSE BACKING TONY ABBOTT. THE WELFARE I WORRY ABOUT EVERY DAY IS THAT GOING TO FOSSIL FUEL CORPORATIONS...AND THE TAX DODGING OF THOSE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION WHO HAVE COME TO SUCK THE LIFEBLOOD OUT OF THIS COUNTRY...AS THEY HAVE MANY OTHERS... MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS WHO USE OUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES AS PUPPETS...AND UTILISE THEIR CORPORATE MEDIA AND SAID POLITICIANS TO CREATE AND MANUFACTURE VILE XENOPHOBIC AND RACIST CAMPAIGNS... TO KEEP THE VOTERS LOOKING THE OTHER WAY...AS THE RAPE, PILLAGE AND PLUNDER... TRY TO GET THEM TO VOTE...THE WRONG WAY...AS THEY LAUGH ALL THE WAY TO THEIR BANKS. CAPSTAN, YOU REMIND ME OF THOSE FANATICS WHO RAN THE SPANISH INQUISITION. N'

Catching up

10/06/2013Does anyone really believe that the boats would not resume under Howard. Howard did not believe this, himself, otherwise why commit hundreds of millions of dollars, building the complex on Christmas Island. I believe, that Rudd erred in cutting this programme back. The reality is, regardless of the actions of Rudd, responding to the public demand, has little to do with the resumption of the boats trade. Well that is what those in the know and the experts in the filed say. The flow of refugees wanes and waxes for many different reasons of the time. There was a world wide reduction in the days of Howard. Still, what occurred then, has noting to do with what is occurring now. Yes, we have back in place, a harsher and crueler form of the Pacific Solution. It is not working. How can bringing in temporary visas over bridging visas make much different. In fact the bridging visa, with none being assessed for permanent visa is indeed crueler. Offers no hope. Does not allow them to work, or bringing other family members. Leaves all in Limbo for up to an decade at least. Is cruel and expensive, both in money and peoples lives. Turning back the boats is impossible. Even Howard came to that conclusion, and quickly dropped the action. What we now have, is many of the Sri Lankans being quickly returned by plane. Those Sri Lankans are still coming, in spite of their government doing everything in their power to stop the boats. Carr, said yesterday, we have a new fact of many coming from Iran, that are not claiming to be tortured. Did not say how we are dealing with these people, but I suspect, they will also find themselves on plane home, or will quickly make that decision, when the prospect of being on bridging visas sink in. The people are still coming, in spite of the number of boats that have sunk, and the many that have died. We even have examples, of some sent back, after being on the sinking boats, coming back against. How do you stop people, who desperation makes them acts. We now have eleven thousands, that have come this years, that are not being assessed for permanent visas. How would temporary visas be any harsher. It is time for the parties to go back to the table, and start addressing the matter in a bipartisan manner. Time to sit around the table with the expert panel, and others invoked. Time to stop the politics. If people drowning, does not stop them coming, what will. We need the mechanism to assess them in the countries, they are leaving in tjhose boats from. Abbott's pan to cut the numbers by six thousand from those shores will only add to the problem. Yes, amybe, we have to take more. Maybe we also need a safe mechanism, to send many more back to their countries, if safe. I would go further, to ensure they are safe. How many more will take that treacherous route, when one looks at our troops moving out, and events, in Afghan today. Many, that we owe a debt too. Who have placed themselves at risk, supporting out troops. Yes, the numbers are more likely top grow, than decrease, when one looks at the events of the middle east. Yes, we all should be ashame, of how we treat refugees today. Noe have anything to be proud of. Yes, it is time for the PM to give it one more go. I am buggered if I know what more she can do, unless Abbott puts politics aside and comes to the table. The PM has already gone much too far, Abbott's way, only to have made things worse. Abbott need to put the slogans aside, and listen to the experts, and what is happening today. What they did ten years ago, is immaterial. Yes, this is Labor's biggest failure. Not because they kept their election promise for a fairer system, but because circumstances have changed.

Capstan

10/06/2013I just noticed this. Ad astra says: [i]"Is it any wonder that implementing a humane policy is such an intractable problem?"[/i] Mate, if you had any intellectual honesty and decency, you would admit with profound humility, remorse and shame that the ALP "humans policy" that has been in force since the Krudster dumped Howard's Pacific Solution on 8 Feb 2008 has: (a) directly led to the deaths of over 1,000 people at sea since that date, and (b) led to over 40,000 mainly muslims barge their way into this country - the vast majority of whom would never be allowed in because of a variety of reasons, including lack of skills and potential employability. There is nothing humane in policies that cause death, misery and long-term social disruption. That is stupidity - not humanity. But then again - the ALP has always excelled in policy stupidity of staggering proportions. How many houses caught fire from ALP-supplied insulation? And how many workers died installing it? Just one example from the Great ALP Book of Policy Stupidity.

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]Does anyone really believe that the boats would not resume under Howard. Howard did not believe this, himself, otherwise why commit hundreds of millions of dollars, building the complex on Christmas Island. [/b] CU, EXACTLY. I HAVE OFTEN POINTED THIS OUT. IT DEMONSTRATES THE HOWARD GOVT WAS LYING...YOU DON'T BUILD AND EXPAND LIKE THAT WITHOUT REASON. UNLESS OF COURSE JOHN HOWARD WAS HOPING TO IMPRISON THE POLITICAL,OPPOSITION, THOSE WHO OPPOSED HIS VIEWS? I DOUBT IT. MORE LIKE HIS GOVT WAS EXPECTING MORE ASYLUM SEEKERS. OF COURSE, HONEST JOHN WILL TELL US OTHERWISE... JUST LIKE 'CHILDREN OVERBOARD' REITH... AND GST IS WONDERFUL COSTELLO WHO LOST BILLIONS IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS... AND MR ROLLED GOLD PROMISE ABBOTT WHOSE WE WORD WE CAN'T TRUST UNLESS IT'S WRITTEN DOWN...AND REVISED. :D N'

nasking

10/06/2013 sorry, having big trouble with eyes today. N'

nasking

10/06/2013 YES CAPSTAN...THIS LAD PERMITTED HIMSELF TO BE IMPRISONED AND ABUSED...FOR THE MONEY: [b]In 2006 the federal government made a $400,000 compensation payout to an 11-year-old Iranian boy for the psychological harm he suffered while being detained in Woomera and Villawood detention centres between 2000 and 2002[/b] WIKIPEDIA BUT OF COURSE IT'S YOUR NEO-CON...AND I MEAN [b]'CON[/b]' MOB WHO NOW WANT TO RESCUE THE CHILDREN OF IRAN FROM THEIR OPPRESSORS. HMMM... N'

Ken

10/06/2013Catstain oops castpan Cpastan oh well, close enough! Wrong facts as usual. Statistical analysis showed there were actually less house fires overall when the insulation program was rolled out. No doubt because people who had faulty or old wiring had that discovered during the insulation process. If you want to be moronic at least do so with decent facts.

Catching up

10/06/2013We need to address the problem, not as some are trying to divert us from. It is a fact of life, one, that cannot be walked away from, it is the continuous waves of refugees since the second great war, that has made this country, the wonderful place it is. It is time we stopped seeing these people as being a danger to us. They have as much to offer us, as we do to them. These are not uneducated swill from the dregs of theeing society. Many are well educated, middle class, with many of the skills this country lacks. It is time for all of us to grow up. PS There will be few bad eggs, as there are in all groups of human beings. I am sure, as in the past, we will have little problem dealing with them. I have this theory, that the bad eggs would receive less scrutiny if thy came by plane. Could not imagine many of them, wanting to be trapped behind wire, with genuine refugees. Woulds suspect, that would not be a safe place for them to be.

Capstan

10/06/2013'Nasking and CU - did you blokes each have a double helping of stupid pills this morning? Or are you both simply delusional? Here is the graph that says it all: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/07/BoatArrivals.gif Look at where the graph goes flat: just after John Howard introduced the Pacific Solution – a solution that actually worked. Look at where it takes off like a rocket again: as soon as terminal knucklehead Krudster got rid of the Pacific Solution (using Chief Architect Gillard’s plan, of course). It takes really, really committed delusion to come up with a conclusion that the boat arrivals were going to happen again anyway – as you are suggesting. Or perhaps it was all just a strange coincidence? A conspiracy, perhaps? That’s it! It was a Conservative conspiracy! We Conservatives are responsible for the tsunami of boat arrivals – and we did it deliberately to undermine Joolia’s credibility. You’ll believe that one too, won’t you?

Catching up

10/06/2013If one had some means and ability to by pass those first camps with millions abed long waiting list, would not one move on with your family. Even knowing, when you reached Malaysia and Indonesia, you would not be welcome. Knowing you had to get on that leaky BOAT. Not much of a choice, I would say. Decades in a refugee camp, or the dangerous journey in a boats. I am sure most already here friends and rellies trapped both in the nearest camp, and our near neighbours. They keep coming, knowing the dangers, and ignoring the warnigs of relations already here. The reality to this problem, is making their own countries safe, We all know how hard that is, but it is the only way, refugees will stop coming. We all know how likely that is too happen, but we must not give up trying. Seeing the economic miracle going on in the Asian region, does give us some hope. Maybe down the track, we might see some respite from the emergence of the Arab spring. One can only hope, while concentrating on the people caught up in the horror at this time. There is no simple answer. There is no permanent answer. PS. There is also no votes in this human misery for either party.

nasking

10/06/2013 LET'S DEAL WITH CAPSTAN'S COMMENT: [b]For ten years now we have had liars and spivs barging their way into this country. Pakistanis claiming to be Afghans – Afghans born and bred in Pakistan claiming to be fleeing from the Taliban[/b] NOTE...DURING THE HOWARD YEARS: Most of the asylum seekers came from Afghanistan ([b]largely of the Hazara ethnic group)[/b] WIKIPEDIA THE LAST FEW YEARS: As a consequence of the attacks, and the alleged impunity by wich they are perpetrated, there has been a recent exodus of Hazaras trying to flee the violence. They are headed mainly to Australia, where thousands of them have successfully relocated after obtaining refugee status. To get there, they complete an illegal and treacherous journey across Southeast Asia through air, land and sea that has already left hundreds of them dead.[/b] [b]In recent years, the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta has left at least 800 dead and more than 1500 wounded. the victims include high-profile community members, laborers, women and children One third of the victims are children. No one has yet been arrested for these murders[/b] The major attacks included assassinations of Hussain Ali Yousafi, Olympia Abrar Hussain, bombing of a Hazara mosque, Ashura massacre, Quds Day bombing, Play ground massacre, Mastung massacre and Akhtarabad massacre. [b]The Al-Qaeda affiliated Pakistani Sunni Muslim extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks. Other theories suggest the involvement of Taliban's Quetta Shura,[20] and Pakistani military establishment, as most of the terrorist organizations in Pakistan are allegedly supported by the country's military. It is also suggested that the country's security establishment might be trying to provoke the Hazara against other ethnic groups in the province.[/b] In response to these killings, worldwide demonstrations were held to condemn the persecution of Hazaras in Quetta. [b]The Hazara diaspora all over the world, namely in Australia, Western Europe, North America as well as the Hazara in Afghanistan, have protested against these killings and against the silence of international community. [/b] Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, the political leader of the Hazara in Afghanistan, has also expressed solidarity with the Hazara community in Quetta. [b]The persecutions have been documented by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. [/b] EU parliamentarian Rita Borsellino has urged the international community to address the plight of Hazara people in Quetta. The members of British Parliament, Alistair Burt, Mark Lancaster, Alan Johnson, and Iain Stewart asked the government to pressure Pakistani authorities concerning the absence of justice for Hazara community in Pakistan. WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Hazara_people YEA CAPSTAN...THEY'RE JUST COMING FOR THE MONEY. I'D LIKE TO HEAR THE VIEWS OF SOME IN THE MILITARY WHO ACTUALLY HELPED AND BEFRIENDED THESE PEOPLE. N'

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]Persecution of Hazara people[/b] [b]The Al-Qaeda affiliated Pakistani Sunni Muslim extremist militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.[/b] I THOUGHT PREVENTING TERRORISM BY AL-QAEDA AND AFFILIATES WAS WHAT THIS WAR ON TERROR WAS MUCH ABOUT? YET THE LIKES OF CAPSTAN VILIFY THEIR VICTIMS. TELLS ME A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE OPPORTUNISTIC BLOODY-MINDEDNESS OF THE ABBOTT SUPPORTERS. ANYTHING GOES EH? STAB ANYONE IN THE BACK...EVEN THOSE YOU PURPORT TO BE SAVING. NUTTY RELIGIOUS CRUSADERS AND CORPORATE NEO-CON SCHEMERS AND CON-ARTISTS...WAVING EXTREME NATIONALIST FLAGS...AND DOG WHISTLING DESPERATELY...TO TRY AND COVER THE FACT THEY HAVE A CRAP CANDIDATE IN ABBOTT... AND DISTRACT FROM THEIR DESIRE TO TURN US ALL INTO OBEDIENT HIGHLY INDEBTED SERFS. -------- WE ARE...NO LONGER EYES WIDE SHUT. N'

Catching up

10/06/2013Capstan, began to read your comment, but quickly realised, it is only the same spiel, word for word that I ave been hearing since the influx of refugees that came after WWW 11 and in waves ever since. History, over time, has found it all to be wrong. These people quickly disappear into the fabric of our society, adding to it's rich texture on the way. I have a theory, that humans have an innate desire to be part of the community they reside in. No one likes standing out. No one likes to be seen as different. Well when one looks at how quickly each wave disappears from sight, something must be going on. Racism, I cannot understand. We are all humans, with the same basic needs and beliefs. That is to love our kids, and be a success within out lives. We all eat, sleep and love to have fun. Most live and let live. I say most, as racist seem to want it all their own way, as if they are superior. Diversion in food, clothes and culture, makes for a more exciting community.

Patriciawa

10/06/2013Michael, like Ad Astra I was moved by the compassion and empathy in your submission compared with the meanness of spirit shown by Capstan. Thank you. You remind me of thoughts I had recently walking past the maritime museum here in Fremantle. It's housed in one of original old limestone buildings on the beach, just at the end of the High street here! On the grass outside were several huge black iron anchors, relics of shipwrecks on our shores, reminders of the many who lost their lives coming here in the past. I thought then of the courage of people who in the past took to the sea and travelled around the world in crowded and unsafe ships for want of choice of employment or in search of a better life. Are those first arrivals who made it safely to these shores likely to have worried about the color of skin or the religion of other survivors who eventually became their neighbours? It seems it's only when they get safely settled and securely housed that people develop a siege mentality and want to repel newcomers. I think those very first settlers would have understood what we now need to [i]....... remember how it was and can be,
 So that when those new faces, frightened, desperate, appear,
 We see ourselves, our selves in a thousand unknown faces,
 And in them and in us find the same things,
 Love, courage, hope, belief, and desperate trust
 That we have all come home." [/i]

Catching up

10/06/2013Nasking, we must be succeeding in getting our point across. I see we are getting the abuse that always comes, when one is successful. It appears it is our lack of intelligence, or worse we are on the slops. At least we are not putting forwarded lies to back our views. Keep up the good work.

Catching up

10/06/2013Capstan, what are you on. No one has said, that there was a fall in the number of boats during Howard's time. All that has been said, maybe he was just plain lucky. We know that Howard expected the boats trade to resume. Why build Christmas Island, if this was not his belief. What we are saying where is the proof, if Howard was not thrown out, the boats would once again come. By the way, one of the reason he was thrown out, was because of the Pacific Solution. Court decisions since, would have disbanded what Howard did. Howard's scheme was to prevent people from having access to legal advice. Many find big problems with this. Capstan were is your proof, that the boat trade would not have resumed, no matter who was in power. Saying that, it is immaterial, as todays circumstan By the way, all experts in the fie;d said that bringing back the Pacific Solution, was ot the way to go. All we have done, is waste 12 months, put lives at risk, and spent millions of dollars unnecessarily. The likes of Capstan and the Opposition still want to keep their heads in the sand, ignoring the reality about them. I firmly believe that Abbott and Morrison are happy to see those boats that keep coming, the more that sink, the better.

nasking

10/06/2013 AS FOR THE PACIFIC SOLUTION DEFINITELY STOPPING THE BOATS...I THINK WE NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT: - SECRET DEALS DONE WITH INDONESIAN GOVT - 2002 & 2005 BALI AND 2004 JAKARTA BOMBINGS...WHAT WAS OFFERED TO THE INDONESIAN GOVT? - 2004 ASIAN TSUNAMI...WIPING OUT SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF BOATS OFF INDONESIAN AND SRI LANKAN COASTS... - SRI LANKAN GOVT ATTEMPT TO WIPE OUT TAMILS...TAKING OVER KEY LANDS...PUSHING MANY TO FLEE 2006 - 2009 - PERSECUTIONS IN PAKISTAN AND FEAR INCREASING WITH DRONE ATTACKS...MORE FLEEING... NOT AS SIMPLE AS THE COALITION MAKE IT LOOK. INTERESTING THAT SOME WHO APPARENTLY MOTIVATED THE BALI, JAKARTA BOMBERS ARE STILL WALKING AROUND LIKE HEROES.. WHILST WAR CRIMES PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA WHO LIVED IN AMERICA LETS BOAT AFTER BOAT COME. N'

nasking

10/06/2013 [b]Keep up the good work.[/b] CU, YOU TOO. WE'VE BEEN DOWN THIS UGLY ROAD BEFORE EH? USED TO IT. N'

Austin 3:16

10/06/2013Hey Catching Up, Since Chinese immigrants first arrived at the gold-fields there's always been somebody to vilify them. It's a problem that's not going away more's the pity.

nasking

10/06/2013 CAPSTAN WROTE: (a) [b]directly led to the deaths of over 1,000 people at sea since that date[/b] FLEEING PERSECUTION CAN LEAD PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH CORRUPT PEOPLE. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW MANY BILLIONS WERE SPENT ON JOHN HOWARD & GW BUSH'S UGLY...PEOPLE DISPLACING...WARS? KNOW THIS...JUST FROM THE IRAQ WAR: [b]Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,455,590"[/b] [b]Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,801[/b] [b]Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 3,333[/b] GAWD KNOW HOW MANY THOUSANDS UPON THOUSAND OF WOUNDED...SUICIDES...POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERED...DEPRESSED??? YES,,SADLY ASYLUM SEEKERS PERISH... [b]RUNNING OFT AS DISPLACED PEOPLE FROM THE TERROR BROUGHT TO US BY [/b] [b]WAR ON TERROR INC[/b] N'

Catching up

10/06/2013Nasking, I seem to be going down this road since the 1970's . Would like to add I raised my kids in Guildford, live and worked in the Villawood area from the 1960's and spent a couple of years, in Cabramatta, in the 1990's. Yes, and worked from the 1980's in the Liverpool area, in a office made up mostly of those from overseas. In fact I worked in DOC's. Not many clients from those who cam as refugees. Mostly white Australians. I am afraid. As a child, in the late 1940-50's, due to family illness, spent much time in the city of Sydney, often staying at Matraville, I seen first hand the racism handed out to the refugee from war torn Europe, in fact, I am ashamed to say, joined in. Was a very young child then. It was the generosity of refugees that assisted my mother, and moved into eh flatettes she had in Annandale area, plus a very wise maternal grandpa , whose father was born in France, that bough me to my senses. Of course, another tenanted, that let off a stink bomb, nearly killed the new baby did help. A baby, these traumatized parents had to celebrate the arrival in this new country. Yes, I have seen and lived the both sides of this debate. Lyndal Curtis, is putting the same argument, as we have. Circumstance are different. Yes, Capstan spiel is nothing new., Has been used against every wave of newcomers, we have seen since the 1940's.

Catching up

10/06/2013Austin, yes, the same vilification, but history shows, it only seems to last, until the next wave comes. Who would vilify aGreek, Italian or Maltese now?

el gordo

10/06/2013'I reject the ideology, the policies, and the plans of the alternative government, which are anathema to me.' Fair enough, but would Labor still get your vote if Kevin gets back the big seat before the election? I'm doing a straw poll.

Catching up

10/06/2013No Capstan, he would not. It would be as vote for Murdoch, not Labor. We are not the fools you see us to be. We know who we are voting for. I wonder if one casts a vote for the Coalition, if that is true. Does one really expect Abbott to be around for long.

Catching up

10/06/2013Sadly this is true. "............Politics is nothing if not a mirror of the society it serves … that it, in every sense, represents. We provide the clay they work with. If there wasn’t a vote in hate, fear and prejudice then there would be no gain in pandering to any of them. The great Australian shame is that not only are there votes to be had here, but that this is the heartland in which our political game is lost and won... http://theantibogan.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/australias-political-heartland-hate-fear-prejudice/

Ad astra

10/06/2013nasking, Catching up, Patriciawa, Ken Thank you for taking the time to rebut the young Capstan, not-long-ago-a-soldier, who, referring to me, says: “[i]There is no fool like an old fool”[/i]. Perhaps the reverse is true here: [i]There is no fool like a young fool[/i]. Having read that he approved of Vietnam refugees, I careful worded my comment: “[i]His contribution gives us a useful insight into the way many people regard our [b]current set of asylum seekers[/b]. [/i] In his haste he must have missed that. Never mind, none of us are perfect.

Jason

10/06/2013Fair enough, but would Labor still get your vote if Kevin gets back the big seat before the election? I'm doing a straw poll. el gordo No! and I'd resign from the ALP as well!

Capstan

10/06/2013Catching Up - you are the fools who demanded the scrapping of Howard's Pacific Solution - you are the fools who cheered when the Rudd / Gillard replacement plan was introduced. [b]You are responsible for the deaths of over a thousand people at sea [/b]- and you have the f#cking hide to ignore that very real fact.

Catching up

10/06/2013Funny, I will always go for justice and fairness over self serving desires. Capstan, prove the boats would not have resumed, if Howard remained in power. You ignore the facts, that circumstance has changed since a decade ago. Same goes for the global economy as well, along with the new world order. All facts, that the other side of the fence ignore. We have a PM that talks about the future, the other that wants to takes us back to the dark ages. It takes much more, that we did it before.

Catching up

10/06/2013NO, I believe it is the war in their own country that is the cause. Not too sure if oiur intervention has not made things worse.

Catching up

10/06/2013I seem to remember,locking up Australian citizens in the camps and even deporting one or two Australian citizens, , did not help their cause. Attacking Doctor Haneef, was poor form as well.

Ken

10/06/2013Catching Up Just on your comment that each wave of migration has led to problems. That is partly the point of a couple of my ealier posts. While I was explaining that I understand the social reasons for people being uncomfortable with new arrivals, because they bring different values, it is, as you say, also true that within a generation or two that changes. Both sides adapt to the new circumstances - as I mentioned in the previous thread, goat meat became available in local shops to overcome the problem of the, then, new migrants slaughtering goats in their units. AS you say, Australia has been immensely enriched by the various waves of immigrants (often refugees) and each wave has experienced a period of turmoil. As a social anthropologist, I see nothing wrong with that - it is a normal social development. If only governments could take a longer term view. And I definitely blame Howard for creating the current situation. If the government had used a "low profile" approach, processed people, and released them into the community and provided support to the communities (not just the refugees), it could have let normal social evolution take its course - but no, he had to make a major political issue out of it and we are still living with the consequences. Abbott has continued the process, not allowing time for the normal social processes to take root.

Catching up

10/06/2013Howard had a very simple approach to politics. Divide and rule. One does this by using fear. Was the basis of all his actions. Sadly, it works, but divides the community, and leads to as nasty, self centered society. All he had to do, was stick the what occurred previously, under Fraser. Not good enough for Howard, the innate bully, like Abbott. Do not forget, Abbott was his chief head kicker, and proud of it. Most of those waves, were indeed refugees. All fleeing from corrupt regimes, many propped up by the USA and the west. Most where colonies of the west. Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

el gordo

10/06/2013 Thanx Jason, anyone else care to comment?

Doug Evans

10/06/2013Ken "Unless we accept that there is disquiet in many communities, we are not addressing the problem. Address that issue and the "boat people" problem is no longer a problem." Couldn't agree more. Where was the leadership required from the Gillard government on this issue? The community meetings? The letterboxing campaigns etc? Governments can choose to lead on issues when it seems important. In the past public sentiment around difficult issues has often been changed by clear leadership from a government. To fix this problem the government needs to do the right thing by the asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants whatever you wish to call them simultaneously with leading the public in the direction they actually know they should be heading. Instead of mimicking John Howard by stroking the xenophobic sentiments of misinformed citizens with a series of 'I understand your concerns' Julia Gillard clearly should have (in the nicest possible way) confronted them. 'I understand your concerns BUT here is why they are misplaced, THIS is what is really happening and THIS is what we are doing.' Where was the necessary leadership on the issue? Instead of running ten steps behind the misconceptions and/or deceit that is deployed against people who are not like us the government should have been standing in front of the crowd pointing the way. Also on reflection it may be that I have used the 'r' word too carelessly. Probably the 'x' word xenophobia is more widespread and typical. To me racism implies hatred of the 'other' but xenophobia implies fear which like all phobias can be addressed, ameliorated and even eradicated. Ad Astra I'm really not competent to do what you ask. I think targeting the Gillard government is justifiable for at least two obvious reasons. 1. They are the government. They put the laws in place. The responsibility is theirs. When Howard was in government he quite rightly copped the flak. If Abbott had been in government he would deserve the same level of scrutiny and criticism as is directed against the Gillard government. 2. The Labor brand depends to a large extent on claims to be the party of social justice and fairness. When, as in this case they fail so comprehensively to live up to this fundamental aspect of their party's ethos. It is incumbent on commentators to draw attention to it. On the other hand I understand the LNP as the Parties of entrenched privilege, wealth and power. I EXPECT this sort of discrimination from them. Openly pandering to the lowest common denominator in our collective psyche they have delivered this before and are promising to deliver it again. On the necessity for a corresponding critique of coalition and Greens policies: There is a slightly uncomfortable feel about the request as if a verdict of no worse than the other parties might justify (partially excuse) inadequacies in the government's response. Nevertheless: The coalition policy, despite possible variations in detail, is to me so similar to the Labor policy that I would have thought it would be widely understood that the same criticisms should be applied. The Greens. I could not say much about on this issue without spending a good deal of time re-constructing the sequence of events over the last three years. However for what it is worth. This is what I found when I googled up the Greens policies on this topic. So this may be a new experience for many. Actually reading a Greens policy rather than guessing at their probable content. Greens Principles on Immigration and Refugees The Australian Greens believe that: Australia’s cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity should be celebrated for greatly enriching our society and economy, and this diversity is enhanced by the immigration of people to Australia. Immigration must be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background. Australia must enact its humanitarian and legal obligations to asylum seekers and refugees and reunite families under the international customary law and the Refugee Convention 1951 and its Protocol. Seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue rather than an issue of border security or defence, and people seeking asylum must be treated with compassion and dignity. As signatory to the Refugee Convention Australia must assess the applications of all asylum seekers who arrive in Australian territory, including territorial waters, irrespective of their mode of arrival. Australia has additional responsibilities to refugees from countries where Australian defence personnel have been deployed in conflict situations. Aims The Australian Greens want: A permanent migration program for Australia that prioritises family reunion and facilitates migration or resettlement to Australia within a reasonable time. The development of networks, materials and programs that increase community understanding of the causes and benefits of migration. Sufficient funding for public and community sector agencies providing migrant-specific services to deliver adequate, effective and timely support. Skilled migration programs that do not substitute for training or undermine wages and conditions in Australia. Consistent, timely and fair processes to assess the qualifications of skilled migrants permanently settling in Australia. Recognition that unaccompanied children have special needs that require a separate approach to the adult system. No family unit to be forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes. Greater incentives for rural and regional distribution of refugees and immigrants using successful models for settlement. Incorporation of relevant international conventions in immigration law to ensure that there is an avenue for complaint when these rights are breached. Any appointment to tribunals to be independently made in accordance with a predefined formula of civil society representation and legal expertise. Services for new migrants and refugees that include appropriate English language classes, social security, health, legal and interpreter services, and post-trauma counselling where needed. Greatly enhanced regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific to provide safer pathways for asylum seekers, with long-term planning to accommodate people displaced by on-going conflicts and climate change. Australia to adopt a definition of environmental refugee in its assessment criteria and to work in the UN system for inclusion of a definition in the Refugee Convention. Australia to show leadership in our region by fostering international cooperation on protecting asylum seekers and refugees, founded on shared responsibility according to capacity, and by encouraging all nations to sign and ratify the Refugee Convention. Australia to adequately contribute to the funding of and work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other agencies assisting in the movement of asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people. An increase in the humanitarian quota, and offshore quotas fulfilled without reference or linkage to any onshore arrivals or other programs. Restoration of the Australian migration zone to match Australia's territory and acceptance of responsibility for assessing all asylum claims of people who seek Australia's protection within the migration zone. Asylum seekers to be fully informed of their rights on arrival and given immediate access to legal assistance. The current system of humanitarian visas (granted only by ministerial discretion) to be replaced with an open, accountable humanitarian visa assessment. Assessment of applications for asylum completed in a timely and transparent manner. The elimination of mandatory and/or indefinite detention and the abolition of offshore processing (where an asylum seeker or refugee is returned from Australian territory to another nation to be assessed) and other forms of punitive or discriminatory treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Once initial health, security and identity checks are completed within a maximum of 30 days, asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa to be accommodated in the community, unless otherwise ordered by a court, with periodic judicial review thereafter. All people categorised as refugees, but given negative security assessments by ASIO, to be given reasons for such assessment and the opportunity to challenge this in the appropriate forum. Asylum seekers to have work rights, and access to social security, legal representation, interpreters, health services, case management, and appropriate education for the duration of their assessment. Where an asylum seeker is not found to be owed protection, provision of fair and appropriate accommodation until they can be repatriated. Where a person is stateless, provision of accommodation in the community until they are issued with a visa or another durable solution is found. NASKING THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP. BRIAN'S POST ON LARVATUS PRODEO WAS SPOT ON I THOUGHT. GRANT MITCHELL, WHOSE EXPERTISE HE MAKES USE OF WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE PAPER I REFERRED TO. IT IS A PROBLEM THAT THE MATERIAL IS OVER A DECADE OLD. I TRIED TO DISCOVER WHETHER THERE HAD BEEN CHANGES IN THE SWEDISH SYSTEM SINCE BUT COULD NOT FIND ANY INDICATION THAT WHAT MITCHELL'S PAPER DESCRIBES IS NOT STILL PRETTY MUCH THE SITUATION THAT APPLIES IN SWEDEN.

Ken

10/06/2013Doug I think we basically agree but also see my post @ 6:31 to Catching Up. I blame Howard, and Abbott for continuing the current problems, by fanning what is fairly normal community disquiet in a slow process of social evolution. Unless there is a bipartisan approach along the lines you suggest it is (regrettably) politically impossible for the government to go it "alone". [Love the recaptcha "the itablot" - almost a new name for Abbott.]

Tom of Melbourne

10/06/2013This is typical of the partisan stupidity that characterises this issue – [i]” 
I blame Howard, and Abbott for continuing the current problems, by fanning what is fairly normal community disquiet in a slow process of social evolution.[/i] Gillard – [b]”Another boat, another policy failure”[/b] Rudd – [b]”You’d turn them (the boats) back”[/b] It is disgraceful that the best the barrackers can come up with is “blame Abbott and Howard” It is small minded and dumb.

Ken

10/06/2013ToM Wouldn't normally bother but you obviously have a reading and comprehension problem. If you are dyslectic, I apologise.

Sir Ian Crisp

10/06/2013[quote][b] [...] No! and I'd resign from the ALP as well! Jason [/b][/quote] NO JGuy, don't do it. I fear for our future if you hand in your membership. Please reassure us you'll think on it.

Ad astra

10/06/2013Doug Evans Thank you for your last post. The Greens policy is comprehensive and laudable in principle. Do they have a 'quota' that they believe is acceptable? Or are they happy to take all comers? If so, is there [b]any limit[/b], as clearly one country could not accommodate all the asylum-seekers there are in this world?

Catching up

10/06/2013Trouble for any PM, politics is still the art of the possible. Very rarely does any PM have the power, to passed any legislation, on their own. More so in a minority government. Yes, one cannot lay all the blame at the feet of the Abbott Opposition. The greens also have much to answer for. They could have gave way a little. The PM did move in the direction of compromise. There was none from the Greens or Opposition. Both stubbornly held there ground. This PM has done much, but still not god with the power to make miracles.

TalkTurkey

10/06/2013Twitter~VERSE (<140 Characters!) Grow Orchids or Feed Elephants Go Fishing or Raise Quolls Play Bridge or Learn to Belly~Dance But PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLLS! Can't be [i]that[/i] hard!

Tom of Melbourne

10/06/2013[i]” The PM did move in the direction of compromise.[/i] The PM moved in the direction of cruelty and punishment. The PM has a history of dog whistling on asylum seekers. The PM chooses expedience over ethics. The PM is comfortable to participate in a race into the political slime

nasking

10/06/2013 TIME TO GET THIS OVER WITH...NO MORE TIME TO WASTE. THNX FOR A BRAVE JOB AND SOME TOP NEGOTIATING JULIA...BUT PLEASE MOVE ASIDE. [b]RUDD/SHORTEN 13[/b]...SHORTEN TREASURER...DEPUTY EITHER PENNY WONG OR TANYA PLIBERSEK...OR MELISSA PARKE (WE REALLY DIG HER). [b]TIME TO KICK ABBOTT'S ASS.[/b] N'

Doug Evans

10/06/2013Ad Astra That is question for Sara Hanson Young. Why don't you email her office? I have found Greens generally to be extremely accommodating and helpful I guess SHY would be also.

Doug Evans

10/06/2013I note Catching Up believes the Greens have much to answer for in respect of this issue. Ad Astra has questions about details of their policy. If anyone is interested in knowing wnat the Greens really do stand for in respect of this issue you can download their submission to the expert panel here. It may answer your questions. http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/australian-greens-submission-expert-panel-asylum-seekers

bob macalba

10/06/2013The trolls have been fed fact after fact, yet still they want to lie and distract....starve the buggers.

bob macalba

10/06/2013Ad...great post and really enjoying the comments and thoughts going with it cheers

Doug Evans

10/06/2013AA Just sitting contemplating what I might be able to usefully say about TPS as a political blog. Finding it difficult so I re-read your piece and the thought came to me. What would/will change for you when/if Shorten turns the lights out and Julia Gillard resigns to be replaced by KRudd. As we now know this might well happen shortly. Will this affect your opinion of the government or Labor do you think? Are the polls the Rudd supporters are touting reliable or just another clever destabilizing manoeuvre? Is Rod Cameron fair dinkum or just a very naughty boy? Have they 'played' Barrie Cassidy by feeding him some cleverly disguised chook food? If it is all on the level what does it tell us about the state of the electorate that changing the party leader and nothing else could cause such movement? So as a partisan supporter of this government and this PM how will you feel about the government and the Labor Party should this come to pass?

TalkTurkey

10/06/2013Greetings Comrades. Let me say from the top I'm pretty bemused. Not just about Asylum Seekers. I've been saying for months, expect some new Government initiatives on that front, but that's only part of what must be dealt with now. I'm bemused about disunity. And dis[i]loyalty[/i]. In the face of challenge, fragmentation. Where it should be [i]coalition[/i]. (Those bastards on the Right don't own that word.) Well I tell you what Comrades, (I am counting on my Eye of Insight here), I reckon you can expect *J*U*L*I*A* to do something [i]amazing[/i] in the next few days. I'm not telling you what, I don't even know exactly what for sure, but I'm pretty well betting my Eye of Insight on this. Remember her Parable of the Roadblock? Remember her personal wins in enlisting the IndependAnts, fighting off Rudd,(twice so far), co-opting Slipper, inducing Carr - all catching everyone off balance? Remember the dazzling reforms she has overseen in social legislation, the careful wise shrewd policies that have led to Australia's 3xAAA economic performance? Remember that against unremitting maniacal opposition, unfair criticism, vicious slurs, with a razor-thin edge in Parliament, she has done everything that could possibly have been achieved, with her only slip being when her heel got caught in a stone step. Remember my saying that this woman plays People~Chess? Remember the notion of Sacrifice in that game! Remember too [i]the Queen is not the Game.[/i] We have yet to see the true mettle of our Prime Minister. And, [i]hear me[/i], the latent[i] [b]love[/b] [/i]for her in this country will make its presence known through whatever it is she chooses to do. I predict that in the next few days she will make a move to astonish us all. And that it will impact hugely on the Government's popularity. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I've just started watching Q&A.

DMW

10/06/2013[b]The Next Big Sorry[/b] Ministry of Mateship & Fair Dinkum Values Want a long-range heads-up? The question we should be asking Abbott and Gillard and all of their various immigration spokespeople right now is this: [i]How do you feel about the inevitability that – possibly in your lifetime – a future Prime Minister of Australia will stand up in Parliament to make a heartfelt apology on behalf of the Australian people; an apology for you, for what you did, for who you were and for what you stood for? Possibly in your lifetime. Certainly in the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren, your nieces and nephews and their children, so that they can share your shame and hate you for the shame you spill on them. Many others, and their children and grandchildren, will share the stain of complicity, or of not speaking up against you and your hideous policies.[/i] http://valuesaustralia.com/blog/next-big-sorry/ Some very gut-wrenching and sobering reading in this. Read and try not to weep.

Catching up

10/06/2013Doug, I agree with much of the Greens policy, Not all of course. The Greens action, they they have taken, first with Rudd's ETS and last years Heuston's plan , has meant the nothing was achieved. They hand it to the Coalition on both occasions. Sometimes, it is better to have something you want, which can always be built of. Politics is always the art of the possible. No one gets everything they want. No one party has all the answers. The Greens had the choice to negotiate, hoping for something they could live with, or to reject completely. Yes, they did not like Malaysia, but they could have come to the party, insisting that many more safe guards be built in. That is much better than we have now. The situation is, that it will be all Abbott or nothing. There is little the PM can do about this.

Catching up

10/06/2013Lateline. Attack still on.

Capstan

10/06/2013Ad astra at 5.54 pm prattles on about ... I dunno - can't quite work out what he's on about in relation to his oblique, obscure comment re: present "refugees" and refugees from Vietnam. But I can tell you one crucial difference between Vietnamese refugees and Afghan "refugees", which is this: No Vietnamese fled Vietnam until the battle was lost and the war was over. They stayed there and fought until the scumbag North Vietnamese broke the terms of the Paris Peace Accord (you remember - the peace accord that in 1973 got both Henry Kissinger of the USA and North Vietnamese Politburo Member Le Duc Tho the Nobel Peace Prize). It was only AFTER the had been militarily defeated that the South Vietnamese began to flee their country as GENUINE refugees. The scumbag Afghans, on the other hand, have been bolting to Australia for years - even while the conflict in their country is far from resolved. My wife, indeed, said that, had I been killed in Afghanistan when I was there, at the same time young Afghan males of military age were bullshitting and lying their way into Australia as "refugees", she would have been ropable to a murderous extent. Let me make it as crystal clear as I can, Ad astra me poor old doddering halfwit, in relation to our [i]"current set of asylum seekers"[/i]: they are all frauds and charlatans, and are not a patch on the Vietnamese boat people who were genuine, commendable refugees. The afghans / iraqis / iranians et all who so badly clog our reception centres are all liars, rogues, spivs and rancid opportunists. Anyone who supports them is a half-witted, soft-brained sentimentalist incapable of distinguishing wheat from chaff - you are a "useful idiot" as Lenin once observed. That's YOU I'm talking about, ad astra - you silly, foolish old bugger.

Casablanca

11/06/2013TT Interesting that a Fairfax online poll which attracted an unusually high response of 41,561 votes had Gillard and Rudd neck-a-neck. The question was: ' Should the Prime Minister Julia Gillard step aside now for Kevin Rudd. 48% said Yes, 47% said No and 5% were unsure. Hardly the overwhelming endorsement of Rudd that we read about every day from the MSM. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/fickle-fate-labor-keeping-an-eye-out-for-goddess-fortuna-20130609-2ny82.html#poll

denese

11/06/2013Casablanca out and about, I mentioned rudd this week, no no not him I heard back. I try to contact about 5 people every time I go out not often these days now retired, I can truly say I ve only met 4 people who dislike the pm. so I think the media are driven because they don't want the pm she is stronger than abbott and will over come. did you all see the post that was on alan kohlers site from the pm secretary Andrew leigh,, I would find it but to late out of bed

jane

11/06/2013CU, afaic a vote for the Liars is a vote for Murdoch & the IPA who are pulling the Liars strings. bob macalba, the trolls aren't interested in facts or they wouldn't be pushing the Liars barrow. Crapstain, Afghans have been fleeing since the Russians, the Taliban and then the US & Australia jackbooted their way into the country. Iraquis have been fleeing since Saddam Hussein seized power, then when the Coalition of the Dills illegally invaded their country. Iranians started fleeing the Shah & his secret police & then fleeing the reign of the Ayatollahs. When you actually know what you're gibbering on about, feel free to add your 2 bob's worth. As always with Liars barrackers, long on bullshit & very short on facts & the truth.

lyn

11/06/2013Today’s Links Election 2013: A tale told by an idiot by @crazyjane13 you’re expected to believe that somehow the Coalition – the so-called ‘party of the free market’ – can force power companies to drop their prices, simply by removing the carbon price. You’re also supposed to believe that refugee boats will stop coming – or, if they do come, that there’ll be no ‘convicted Egyptian jihadist terrorists’ roaming free http://consciencevote.com.au/2013/06/10/election-2013-a-tale-told-by-an-idiot/ Whatever happened to the Asylum Seeker debate- by @Piping_Shrike the intervention of the Indonesian Ambassador is extraordinary. First, because it is such a blunt intervention into a sensitive internal political issue. Secondly, because the way it was done has effectively made fools of the Coalition and especially Abbott who keeps implying that he has been in talks with the Indonesian http://www.pipingshrike.com/2013/06/whatever-happened-to-the-asylum-seeker-debate.html Murdoch and the Internet by rossleighbrisbane @MigloMT people pirating the products of Fox Studios undercuts his profits, and he has a legitimate concern with stopping the illegal reproduction of films and other media for which he owns the copyright. I can see that, and I’m sure that any reasonable government will see that. http://theaimn.com/2013/06/10/murdoch-and-the-internet/ Fraudband is an NBN fail, even for punters by @NoFibs In the current political landscape of fear, miss-information, lies and general bullshit (from everyone) why on earth was I thinking an intelligent argument would get through? Arguing over better, strong, faster (queue the 70s Steve Austin) where the #Fraudband was born, against the Terminator NBN (aka the future) is pointless http://nofibs.com.au/fraudband-is-an-nbn-fail-even-for-punters/ What the Rudd rumours really tell us by Rob Burgess The Canberra press pack is whipping itself into a frenzy at the slightest sniff of Labor’s blood in the water. While that might provide thrills for the daily news cycle – ‘Labor MPs already packing up offices!’, ‘Wounded Ruddite’s happy to slag off government!’, ‘Mark Butler melts down in Senate estimates meeting!’ – it does nothing to advance the voters’ knowledge about policies that will likely change their lives in 2014. http://goo.gl/tkZZo Subtle world of Machiavelli Rudd By @MacklinRobert The really sad thing about all this is that the only one who seems to have her heart in the right place is Gillard. And she, I must reluctantly concede, is electoral poison. Go figure. http://citynews.com.au/2013/the-world-of-machiavelli-rudd/ Corroding power of Pyne’s gossip by Michael Moore The leadership questions were simply Pyne scuttlebutt. However, they took on a life of their own with radio, television and print media all running the possibility. The social media was also full of speculation on the possibility. http://citynews.com.au/2013/corroding-power-of-pynes-gossip/ Alternatives to an Election on 14 September by @AntonyGreenABC If Kevin Rudd did become Prime Minister, the election date would come down to whether he wanted a quick rush to the polls on 3 August, or wished to spend time re-establishing his authority and sticking to the current election timetables for 14 September. http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/ Australians are waking up to why coal matters - US environmentalist by Bill McKibben It’s been made clear to me that Australians are waking up to the important understanding that while the carbon price is very important, it’s even more important that the coal stays in the ground.”“There’s no despondency. People are fired up and ready to go in Australia. I’m glad to see it.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/10/fossil-fuels-climate-change-australian-election Not signing up to Gonski amounts to nothing short of abuse by Jane Caro and Lyndsay Connors there are those who are trying to frustrate this progress. To gain their own crass political ends, some have tried to bully the O’Farrell government for signing up to the Gonski deal in good faith. Others are using the technical complexities of funding and indexation formulae to hijack public discourse .http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/gonski-school-reform-australia Multiports may make NBN asbestos repairs unnecessary by AFR Telstra and NBN Co are in talks to change a key piece of equipment for the national broadband network that could reduce the need to replace or fix millions of asbestos-laden underground pits that have plagued the rollout of the $37.4 billion project. http://www.afr.com/p/technology/multiports_may_make_nbn_asbestos_OTCzT0kkwTdKGkdaQsV8IK Today’s Front Pages Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 11 June 2013 http://www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm News headlines http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/

Doug Evans

11/06/2013Catching Up You need to ..... catch up. Re Rudd's CPRS a topic on which I am confident that I know what I am speaking about. It was an elaborate recipe for failure absolutely friendless among those who understand the intricacies of this sort of stuff. I've been through this many times before both on this site and elsewhere. I really can't be bothered re-hashing it again. Do some research that stretches beyond the self serving slogans of the bone lazy MSM and disappointed Labor politicians. You might start with Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute and perhaps move onto Ross Garnaut to get the ball rolling. What we have now courtesy of: The Greens' refusal to sign up to a scheme that was guaranteed environmentally useless. and The Greens' tenacity in the negotiation of the second package in which they extracted from the government among other things the $10 billion CEFC fund in exchange for agreeing to a start up price for the ETS too low to drive any meaningful change. is a suite of policies that actually have begun to make some difference to our emissions. Re asylum seekers: Here I am less confident without checking that I don't have the time or inclination to do. However my memory tells me that at the time the Malaysia solution was a desperate thought bubble of an idea from a panicked government. The very successful refugee advocate David Manne among others was confident it would fall over at the first Court challenge (like so many of the Government's other bright ideas on asylum seekers). Like I say Catch Up you need to .....

Ad astra

11/06/2013LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Doug Evans

11/06/2013AA I enjoy the care with which you construct your pieces and the generally constructive discussion that follows them. For reasons that I have stated before I disagree with your consistent strategy of avoiding discussion of the failings of this flawed government, its policies and its key figures. The grounds that, it would only be adding to the cacophony from the MSM and that anyway you like the PM, seem a little thin to me. I have a couple of examples that might help clarify my concerns. I had nearly thirty years as a studio leader in an architecture school. Assessment in design studios is normally based around public defence of the work by its author (the design student) and critique by studio leaders and invited guest critics. Design work is always quite personal and it is necessary to set the tone and nature of the discussion carefully but I learned that: 1. Enjoyable as it may be no-one learns from praise. 2. One can learn from discussion of the ways in which work could be improved. 3. Criticism did not have to be destructive or even particularly painful. I think the analogy to what is being discussed here is clear. About a year ago there was quite bit of discussion among climate change activists and communicators about the effectiveness of what came to be known as ‘bright siding’ – a communications strategy aimed at engendering action. Briefly bright siding in respect of climate change is a strategy of presenting a heavily edited and unrealistically positive version of the evolving facts on climate change and climate change policy. This is grounded in the belief that although public awareness and action on the issue is vital, the unvarnished facts are likely to generate despair and despair is disempowering and likely to hinder rather than promote action. An example of bright siding that some here might remember was the ‘Just Say Yes’ campaigns run nationally by Get Up with Simon Sheikh at the head of the campaign, and various NGOs around 18 months ago. I won’t drag you through the details of why but ‘bright siding’ has been shown to be an ineffective communications tool. People need to have the whole story the good and the bad so they can make informed decisions but this needs to be coupled to positive suggestions of actions that can be undertaken as a means to counteract despair. I think you are engaging in a form of ‘bright siding’ and again, I think the analogy to what is being discussed here is quite clear. The best discussion of ‘bright siding’ in the context of climate change that I know of can be downloaded here on David Spratt’s blog http://www.climatecodered.org/ I also discussed it quite a bit at the time on Earthsign. If you are interested just go to Earthsign and search for the term. I’m sure you will get something. However, that said, every blogger has the complete right to put exactly what they wish exactly how they wish on their sites. Anyone who doesn’t like the way it is done on a given site has the option to go elsewhere or write their own blog or given sufficient tolerance from bloggers to bellyache about it in the comments columns. It is to your credit that you tolerate such irritating dissent from at least a few of your readers. OK I’ve said my piece. Now I will shut up about this matter.

el gordo

11/06/2013 On asylum seekers I think a very large concentration camp at Ord River is the only way to solve the problem. They will be treated as illegal guest workers and released into the community as soon as they can fend for themselves.

Ad astra

11/06/2013Doug Evans Thank you for your posts about the Greens policy on asylum-seekers, and on the role of this blog. I have no recollection of the Greens stating that there would be an ultimate limit under their policy, although they have recommended an increase into the number of immigrants admitted on humanitarian grounds to, as I remember it, to 20,000. But do they have a limit where they would say: “We can take no more”, and if they did, how would they enforce the limit? I’ll email Sarah Hanson-Young. I take your points about the orientation of [i]The Political Sword[/i], and as you will have observed, I have said that my preference in critiquing Government policy is to address ways it might be improved. I will not add to the hypercritical attacks on our PM or her Government. There are plenty of assassins out there already doing that in a concerted effort to annihilate her politically. The rational discussion you recommend would be suitable if politics was operating rationally now. It’s not – the parties are in hand-to-hand combat in a fight to the death. You only have to read the radical policy positions and the venomous personal abuse of some who comment here to realize that. We have to decide whose side we are on, and fight for it. I made that decision long ago.

denese

11/06/2013well abbott has so much as said this morning he cannot turn the boats back so folks if you are voting for him for that reason only forget it you hero this morning conceded that so if you vote 1 abbott you gain nothing and lose everything

bob macalba

11/06/2013Ad well said, if i wanted to read a labor bashing i would read the crap the trolls put out there cheers and 'VENCEREMOS'

denese

11/06/2013ad astra so agree with you, I vote for my children , ny grandchildren their education, and future, abbott has not future just past look at his past ripped millions out of health, trained less gp`s, bought his religion to the point of what should be on the pbs,, I believe he will do that again, and I am catholic he is, but not a Christian I would say he is an orthodox catholic so what ever the pope says he goes along with, that should be enough to not vote for him.] people no matter your thoughts on what ever just remember that democracy is only one pen signature away from oblivion. democracy should not be taken for granted read his books on guided democracy.

Truth Seeker

11/06/2013Doug, you can espouse the supposed virtues of the greens and their "Policies", but the truth is that they had an opportunity to work constructively for better outcomes, but chose rather to stick to their ideologies and vote with the LNP therefore choosing 100% of nothing rather than 10% of something as a foundation for further reform. Now I have heard Greens supporters trying to defend the indefensible, but they are the facts, and to hear SHY and Milne rubbish this government for their policies and stating that when Abbott wins, they will take over as the ones to hold him to account is truly laughable. He will never work with the greens, and Milne will take them down the same road as the Democrats under Meg Lees, as Abbott works towards a DD ASAP. The best thing that the greens can hope for and work towards is another ALP win, as they have proven that they are the only major party prepared to negotiate for better outcomes. And if Milne and the greens think they have a chance with Abbott then they are at best politically naive and at worst, working towards political irrelevancy. (which IMHO they are already well on the way to achieving.) Cheers :-)

Doug Evans

11/06/2013Truth seeker Such certainty! A lot of bold statements and big predictions based on ....???? However should the results go as seems likely you better hope that the Greens balance of power in the upper house holds otherwise there is nothing between us and armageddon. Of course Abbott might well take us to a DD as he promises and you apparently believe. That might deliver him his desired majority I certainly don't know. My only comment on that is that should it happen one very experienced commentator whose opinion I respect has told me that one probable outcome is an increased Greens vote and probably more Greens in the Upper House. But you are the one who seems to have the hotline to God so I should probably defer to your expertise.

Mal Kukura

11/06/2013Ad Astra using precious and endangered freedom of speech does it again and by example shows the way: We have to decide whose side we are on, and fight for it. I made that decision long ago. In 1959 CP Snow summed up the cold war planetary zeitgeist in terms of "two cultures". In 1992 former Nixon strategist Pat Buchanan encouraged his untermenschen "brigades" to wage cultural war against the ubermenschen mutant culture of sustainability that grew out of the peace love and freedom global new deal civil rights movement that combined in the non-violent world cultural revolution of 1968. In 1965 a twenty four year old Bob Dylan released the album Highway 61 Revisited - saying the same as Ad Astra in a protest song called Desolation Row. everybody’s shouting Which Side Are You On http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/desolation-row#ixzz2Vrkl1lwr In 1858 Abraham Lincoln then a candidate for president in the upcoming 1860 election gave the famous house divided speech. He said: In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/house.htm Then it was the southern half of the continent of North America. Today the same applies to the globalizing planet as a whole. Australia is being enslaved as we speak. it is simple really. A civilizing culture and a barbarizing culture. We see as Ad Astra has commented, ample evidence of the barbarian mentality used here on TPS to cultivate fear and discourage free expression. It takes courage to exercise freedom of speech. In the age of nuclear weapons there is no alternative to non-violence. These are momentous times and we of Oz/NZ must make the effort to free ourselves from the illusion that we live on an isolated island continent planet at the ends of the Earth. Globalization is real and we have not quite adjusted. Club of Rome founder Aurelio Peccei once said: the future will either be the inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future. I know which side I am on and I know it is the same one Ad Astra champions with TPS. I know that cultural revival means psycho-spiritual/cognitive revolution for individuals – spiritual awakening – enlightenment - just another name for recovery from mental illness – sanity. And only the strong are survivors. Doug - I hope the Greens pick up more seats in September as they did on 2010 = it was interpreted then as clear evidence the electorate had repudiated Rudd and the ALP for reneging on climate change action although Rudd at the time wisely decided to avoid being seduced into a double dissolution - the declared goal when Abbott was elected LNP leader by one vote in late 2009 = it was Slipper's vote.

Ad astra reply

11/06/2013Folks We are getting on the road now back to the south coast. Back this evening.

Truth Seeker

11/06/2013Doug, it's nothing to do with a hotline to God, it's based on talking to, and reading comments from, greens supporters who have said that they lost faith in the greens because of their ideological stand in voting with Abbott against doing something, and consewquently stating that they will no longer support them. That also includes some who were resigning from the greens out of sheer disgust. Make of that what you will, Time will tell? Cheers :-)

Doug Evans

11/06/2013Truth Seeker Just as its probably unwise to trust the opinions of the bone lazy MSM on our current political situation it's never a good policy to base your opinions on hearsay from the disaffected. Always better to go to the source itself and make up your own mind on the strength of what you know to be the true story. I had some doubts myself about the position taken by the Greens over asylum seekers but have not followed it closely enough to be confident that I am across the detail. So I've not been willing to offer an opinion here and I am not willing to spend the time doing the research to fill in the gaps. Not everyone allows not being confident that they know what they are talking about to discourage them from offering a trenchant opinion. Are you confident your friends are really across what transpired? As far as I remember the criticism of the Greens around asylum seekers was focused on the Malaysia people swap. Instead of listening to your friends and acquaintances you might like to read exactly what the Greens actually said about that initiative in their submission to the Expert Panel. The whole submission is available at the link I gave above. However here it is straight from the horse's mouth. "PROPOSALS THAT WILL NOT SAVE LIVES In the political debate of recent years there have been a number of ‘solutions’ put to the parliament and the concerned Australian public. Each of the proposals below relies on people continuing to board boats before they are intercepted by Australian authorities and thus trigger the 'solution'. These proposals are punitive, unsustainable, in breach of our international obligations and have not been shown to work effectively. The Greens’ proposals outlined above establish safer pathways and provide strong disincentives to boarding boats at all. The Australian Greens strongly recommend that the following proposals should not be pursued for reasons identified at each point. The Malaysia People-Swap The Malaysia people-swap proposed by the government will not save lives. It is a purely punitive proposal that involves sending people back to a country that is not a party to the Refugee Convention. It will not save lives or assist anyone to find protection, but rather would see Australia shrugging off its responsibilities onto our neighboring nations which are significantly less equipped to provide adequate legal protections to asylum seekers and refugees. The High Court ruled that this proposal is unlawful in 2011 because, under Australia’s Migration Act, we cannot refoule people who have already reached Australia to a nation that does not have laws in place that recognize and protect refugees from persecution. The arrangement between Australia and Malaysia was expressly non-binding, and Malaysia currently does not recognize the status of refugees in its domestic laws. The UNHCR made it clear in its 2011 statement on the Malaysia proposal that it was not fully supportive of the arrangement, even if the highly contingent and wholly unguaranteed human rights protections for the people returned to Malaysia were able to be achieved. The UNHCR’s statement stated clearly, “The UNHCR’s preference has always been an arrangement which would enable all asylum-seekers arriving by boat into Australian territory to be processed in Australia. This would be consistent with general practice”. Given the lack of legally binding protections in Malaysia even under the government’s proposed arrangement, strong reliance must be placed on reports from human rights NGOs. Amnesty International's report released in 2011 which documented serious human rights abuses against refugees in Malaysia, including approximately 6000 ‘judicial canings’ of refugees each year, high levels of harassment against unaccompanied women and girls, and high levels of arbitrary detention. The ‘Oakeshott Bill’, which was adopted by the government in the last sitting period, sought to strip out the very section of Australia’s Migration Act that imports into domestic law our obligations arising under the Refugee Convention and Protocol. Additionally, it proposed that the Immigration Minister would be able to declare any country party to the Bali Process to be suitable for transfer for asylum seekers, including refugee producing nations such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and China." Now you can make up your own mind whether they were justified or not in refusing to sanction this initiative. I suggest that unless you think they are lying in their submission it is hard to criticize them for not supporting this idea. On a related but slightly different matter. Did you hear 'Background Briefing' today on the diabolical problems created by the stinking mess the ALP calls their asylum seeker refugee policy. Listen online and weep. It's not pretty.

Tom of Melbourne

11/06/2013The people swap deal was a disgrace, sending minors to a country with an appalling record on human rights. 800 people, about a weeks worth at the current rate. The entire episode illustrates Gillard's willingness to lurch around, buffeted by daily events, without a moral or philosophical compass. A Prime Minister without a plan.

Truth Seeker

11/06/2013Doug, I was aware of their reasoning, but IMHO and the opinion of many politically aware, their "opinion" that it would not work, was based more on their ideological stand point than any thing else, and as the "Expert" Panel recommended it as part of their plan, I, and many others believe that it should have at least been given a go. Don't get me wrong, in a perfect scenario, on shore processing would be great, but as I have said many times, we are an ISLAND, and to be processed on shore, first they have to get "On Shore", and there are just so many that we can take, and even if we lifted our intake to 100,000 a year, there would still be many willing to try the boats because they are desperate. I have no problems with genuine refugees, I do have a problem with families dying at sea as a result of a head in the sand denial of common sense, or for political expediency in Abbott's case. Good politics is about negotiation and compromise to achieve the best outcomes possible in any given set of circumstances, with a long term view to improving upon a legislated foundation. Most people don't get everything they wan't, there is usually compromise (I wanted a BMW but could only afford a Renault, hopefully the BMW will come later :-) ) Abbott opted for what was in HIS political interests, and the greens stuck to their Ideology and missed the boat (pardon the pun) altogether. I thank Ad for the opportunity to have this discussion, as it is a discussion that needs to be had, but there are no easy fixes, and for the sake of saving lives.compromises IMHO will have to be made. Cheers :grin:

Casablanca

11/06/2013Denese @ June 11. 2013 12:27 AM I saw the article by Andrew Leigh in the SMH. Interesting that you saw it on Alan Kohler's site. It is also on Andrew's own site: http://www.andrewleigh.com/blog/?p=4332

nasking

11/06/2013 JUST POSTED THIS @ THE PUB: Sadly, I’m seeing a lot of NSW, Victorian, WA, ACT and SA contributors on here that I highly respect but who have their head in the sand. You remind me of us QLDers who tried to convince ourselves Anna Bligh could come back last election (but our rational minds told us otherwise)…so we many kept on compulsively fighting…making hollow predictions that the polls were distorted…hoping Anna’s broken promises and privatisation agenda hadn’t broken QLD ALP’s back (tho, I did warn Anna…many did)…add the nurse pay problem, rising electricity and water prices…the amalgamation of councils…you could feel the hostility out there…but we kept on hoping…hoping…hoping. Sure, the reality is PM Julia has negotiated thru some bloody important legislation…has plenty of good policies…and this is a much younger govt than the QLD federal one. But…it’s also the govt led by a leader who is perceived to have assassinated a sitting QLD PM…and trust me…up here…they don’t forget. Nor are many happy about the asylum seeker situation…and having migrants, visa holders competing for their jobs. It’s xenophobia large indeed…but you know QLDers…we brought you the sweet as battery acid Pauline Hanson (well, not me…I demonstrated against her)…you need to realise that a similar game is being played here by the Coalition as in those days using many of the same characters…add a Santamaria aspect…and the push to create sneaky Libertarian, Tea Party, UKIP, John Singleton’s old stuff via a number of senate races…including Palmer, some in Katter’s party, Palmer, Joyce, Assange…and you’ve got a potential disaster on yer hands as we saw in the USA and recent local elections in UK. AND DOESN’T UNCLE RUPERT KNOW IT…TEXTOR/CROSBY AND OTHERS TOO…BEING BIG TRAVELLERS AND ADVISING BLOODY EVERYWHERE. Suffice to say, I worked alongside others, some on here, with Rudd to outwit many of the same characters we’re up against now. WE NEED RUDD…and his experience. Continuing down the road yer on now will be DISASTROUS. BB…you know me well from RTS…I have been studying global politics and media since Nixon The extreme polls are indeed outliers…typical for the Murdoch Newspoll to try and manipulate voter perception at times…we know them well…but the other fairly consistent polls and word of mouth do tell us there is a problem…and Julia is part of it…unfortunately. I was hoping at the end of last year we were helping change that perception…but at a recent party of many swing voters I was told they don’t like Abbott…but some even threatened to punch Gillard in the mouth they hated her voice so much…and they are not over the Rudd stabbing…nor the other stuff I mentioned. I was shocked…yes, these were aggressive comments towards Julia…coming from one person who had even been laid off by Newman….but it showed me how the so called QLD ‘battlers’ feel. Tragic. With Julia there we are losing a big opportunity here in QLD…and elsewhere in the suburbs I reckon. RUDD can bring in more religious, family values folk…GIVE HIM THE CHANCE…before it’s too late. Don’t just become a lefty Labor blog, social media feedback loop. Think wider. N’

Truth Seeker

11/06/2013Nas, sadly mate on this one I have to disagree. I honestly believe that returning to Rudd would be playing right into Murdoch's and Abbott's hands, and would ensure the demise of the party. We just have to hold our nerve and and fight for what's right, and if we lose, and I don't think we will, well at least we didn't capitulate, which as far as I'm concerned is not an option. I never thought that Bligh could win, my main hope was that Newman would not win his seat, and leave the LNP with no leader, but the future of our nation and our children is at stake here, and as far as I'm concerned we MUST and we WILL prevail. There's still a long way to go, and when the fat lady (Gina) sings, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that it will be a requiem to the demise of Abbott and Murdoch :-) Mate, don't lose heart :-) Cheers :-) :-)

MarkatPort

11/06/2013Hi nasking, I read your piece at The Pub and came back here to see if it was really you. Do you really think Rudd could win the election for us ? The MSM ( mostly Murdick) seem really keen to see him back . Why would that be ? My 2c for what's worth, is they were making mincemeat of him and would do it again.. My vote stays with the Redhead, not the Dickhead (Abbort) . Actually my vote goes to an Independent who has done more for this electorate in 7 years ,both as a state MP and now as a federal MP than all the lying LNP reps combined ! My vote goes to Rob. I