Tuesday 29 August 2017
1 A Government that deserts its duty of care for humans in its charge is one that is devoid of a moral compass that includes basic decency. That an Australian Government could possibly do what it now proposes is really beyond any acceptable standard of Australian governance. Shame, Turnbull shame. Shame, Dutton shame.
Yesterday your Government evicted 100 Australia-based asylum seekers onto the street. In doing so it told these individuals who have been receiving $100 a week to support themselves that they, in future, will receive nothing from the Government.
These are people who for one reason or another have needed medical treatment in Australia. Had the figure been 300 then the public would have been none the wiser. That being so and the boats have not restarted then, by inference, doesn’t it prove that it is possible to resettle people in Australia with little fuss?
They will have three weeks to move out of government supported accommodation and find a place to live and support themselves. This may include a pregnant woman transferred to Australia from offshore detention for medical reasons.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will issue dozens of asylum seekers with a new visa known as the “final departure Bridging E Visa”.
“You will be expected to support yourself in the community until departing Australia,”
There it is in a leaked Immigration Department’s letter:
“From Monday 28 August you will need to find money each week for your own accommodation costs. From this date, you will also be responsible for all your other living costs like food, clothing and transport. You are expected to sign the Code of Behaviour when you are released into the Australian community. The Code of Behaviour outlines how you are to behave in the community.”
Their cruelty is beyond description and leaves little doubt as to their intentions. They want these asylum seekers back on Nauru or Manus, or better still back to their land of birth. They are prepared to place a burden of depraved inhumanity on them to get their way. Remember, these asylum seekers have committed no crime yet have been sentenced to a lifetime of incarceration.
Opposition Shadow spoksperson Richard Myles was on News 24 last Sunday reinforcing the principle that they must be prevented from settling in Australia at any cost. The Government must find 3rd country settlements, he said. He also knows that in Government Labor would be hard pressed find other countries to take them. It’s a shared problem.
They have been trying to do that for over four years – at a high cost and no takers. Both parties know that if the US doesn’t do what it said it would, then they will have to go somewhere. Whatever happens there will be a large number of people without a home who will have to be housed.
“These people should be eligible for settlement in the United States or other countries in our region – so they have a permanent home. This act has nothing to do with strong borders or stopping people smugglers. It’s a weak Prime Minister trying to look tough. That’s it.”
Two points: 1) He too knows the difficulty of resettlement, and 2) he is correct to say that Malcolm Turnbull is trying to look tough. Who would have, before he became Prime Minister, considered that he was capable of such inhumanity to his fellow humans. Power does indeed do strange things to people. The facade of Christian grace has worn thin.
Crystal logic would tell you that there are three options: 1) they are returned to Australia in total, 2) America takes some and the balance are returned to Australia, or 3) they are left to rot on Nauru for the remainder of their lives at great expense and shame.
Let’s face it, if after four years another country has not offered to take them it’s hardly likely to happen soon.
The callous Immigration Minister Dutton wants to put these poor people through the most excruciating experiences in order to get them out of the country. He wants them to return to the danger from whence they fled.
“The sensible and compassionate thing to do would be to let them stay. Instead, Dutton is trying to starve them out,” said Daniel Webb, a lawyer at Human Rights Law Centre.
Dutton, in an interview with Alan Jones described lawyers acting pro bono for the asylum seekers as “un Australian”. I would have thought the reverse applied. That Dutton himself was about as “un Australian” as any Australian could possibly be.
Asylum seekers subject to the new visa conditions will be reminded that they are free to leave Australia at any time to return either to their home country or the offshore processing centres on Nauru or Manus Island.
A friend on Facebook, Madeleine Ogilvie had this to say:
”What an appalling, incorrect and downright rude statement. As a lawyer who represented asylum seekers I categorically reject Mr Duttons nonsense. He does not get to tell us that caring for people is unaustralian. Many of these lawyers are acting pro-bono and good on them! While I’m at it – the people of Australia are completely capable of working out the difference between border protection issues and humanitarian issues. Conflating these two things was the start of the big picture challenges we’ve got now. The detention islands are a deep embarrassment to all of us. It just can’t go on any longer.”
The hand is extended
To those who are but poor
The hand is outstretched
To those who have no more
The hand seeks the ill
Without the means to pay
It is its obligation
When society has a say
The hand is extended
To those unloved anymore
The hand reaches out
Prosperity belongs to all
The hand reaches out
To the hungry one and all
The hand it will feed them
In this we all should share
The hand is stretches out
So the homeless shall not fall
The hand offers a place of sleep
No matter what the cost
The hand is extended
To those who greave and mourn
The hand offers mercy
Mercy it will not ignore
The hand is freely given
To the righteous falsely accused
The hand it offers more than hope
It offers labour too
The hand it should be taken
When through the net they fall
When society sees a need
That was not their fault at all
The hand is the government
For everyone to grasp
Not just for those who have
But for those who have nothing at all
“Be as humane as you can possibly be.”
2 After years of denying it, the former Prime Minister, in a sobering moment, confessed to the fact that he was drunk and incapacitated on the job. His confession reaffirms the fact that he is without doubt the biggest liar to have ever trodden the plush carpets of Parliament House. As is usual in doing so he sought to compare his excesses with others. Believe it or not, he blamed welfare recipients for blowing taxpayers’ money on booze:
“Because certainly in lots of places, that money is being blown on booze and that’s not a good thing for anyone.”
You might recall that his expenses were extraordinarily high when he was Opposition Leader (higher than PM Gillard’s) and higher when he became Prime Minister.
He went on to say that his drinking binge paled in comparison to Labor’s profligate spending. What that had to do with his intoxicated state is anyone’s guess. Getting rid of Abbott must surely equate to 90% of reclaiming our democracy.
Meanwhile, former Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan, who was forced, at the time, to withdraw his suggestion in Parliament that Mr Abbott had been drunk, said the then-Liberal frontbencher “slept through votes which were to save Australia from recession”.
“His priority was himself not the Australian people or their jobs,” Swan said.
Turnbull told radio 3AW that Mr Abbott was drunk but “there was nothing we could do”.
He said the MPs known as whips — who organise their colleagues to be ready for votes — just could not wake Mr Abbott as he slept on the couch.
“The whips tried to rouse him to get him down into the chamber to vote but they were unable to move him so he missed out on his vote,” Mr Turnbull said.
“It was a pretty important vote too — that was Rudd’s big cash splash after the GFC, I was arguing we did not need to spend that much money that quickly’’
“I was disappointed, I can’t remember anyone else missing a vote because they were too drunk to get into the chamber, but the fact is that Tony has ‘fessed up to it, he knows it was an error or whatever’’
“He has acknowledged it, and that is good.
“It is clearly not acceptable or admirable in any way.”
3 Just to add to my piece last week on Mathias Cormann and his attack on socialism … He was at it again Monday morning and I began to wonder just what he knew of Australian history. For example, does he know that during WWII, ‘Socialist’ Labor leaders banned strikes among their members and consolidated industry for the war effort. And that in 1949, Australians defeated Menzies’ Referendum to outlaw the Communist Party.
The ‘Reds under the beds’ – communist hordes from the north – scare argument has been practiced by the Right long before Mathias Cormann became a citizen of this country.
Given that this LNP Government is allowing the wholesale selling of Australian industry, land, housing, farms and mines to the Communist Chinese their fear campaign seems rather strange, even hilarious.
4 Let me finish with a note of caution on the citizenship debacle. The Prime Minister’s statement that the “the High Court will so hold” is just an opinion. He believes the court will affirm the legitimacy of Joyce and others.
My opinion is the opposite. I believe, given all the evidence, that the court will take a hard-line view of the Constitution. If they do then Joyce is gone and Turnbull will be faced with a constitutional crisis.
At the moment independent Cathy McGowan and Xenophon Team member Rebekha Sharkie are the only two crossbenchers guaranteeing supply and confidence, but that may change as the plot thickens.
Now you may remember that Speaker Tony Smith is already on the record as promising not to use his casting vote if the House was tied at 74-74.
Still some water to flow under the bridge yet.
My thought for the day
“For a Ministry with diplomas from the greatest learning institutions in the world its difficult to imagine how so many brainless buffoons could gather around the same table at the same time and cause so much havoc.”