Promising the Impossible: Blinken’s Out of Tune Performance…

Things are looking dire for the Ukrainian war effort. Promises of victory…

Opposition Budget in Reply: Peter Dutton has no…

Solutions for Climate Australia Media Release National advocacy group Solutions for Climate Australia…

Understanding the risk

It's often claimed the major supermarkets would prefer to see tonnes of…

A Brutal Punishment: The Sentencing of David McBride

Sometimes, it’s best not to leave the issue of justice to the…

Climate pollution and petrol bills coming down as…

Climate Council Media Release AUSTRALIA IS OFF AND RACING on the road to…


It’s time we reckoned with what it means to become a corporatocracy.…

Plan B

By James Moore Every time there is a release of a New York…

Australian federal budget falls flat in tackling inequality:…

In response to the 2024 federal budget, Oxfam Australia Interim Director of…


Day to Day Politics: Hanson’s act of hate – Broadbent’s act of kindness.

Sunday 20 August 2017

In the hurley burley of last week’s decadent politics the only window that opened to a breeze of decency was when George Brandis put down the queen of bigotry, Senator Pauline Hanson. But another act of moral propriety went almost unnoticed.

“It’s time to act,” said Liberal MP Russell Broadbent. He was calling for Australia to take refugees from Manus and Nauru. Broadbent said an impassioned article by the Guardian’s David Marr has inspired him to call for refugees to be brought to the mainland.

Broadbent is one of only a few moderates left in the Liberal Party. I recall a few years ago when he and a handful of moderates confronted Howard about his Government’s treatment of asylum seekers. Howard was unmoved and made them feel uncomfortable with only a couple of chairs in the room.

The Victorian moderate says he had a change of heart on the future of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru after he read an article by David Marr for The Guardian in which he said:

If only Christians fought like this for refugees. Imagine if the Coalition’s big men of faith threatened to tear down their own government unless it brings home the wretches we’ve imprisoned in the Pacific. Surely there couldn’t be a greater service for Christ?

Broadbent told parliament:

David Marr can be pretty hard when he writes. It comes out of his life experience, and I accept that.

He has called for “genuine refugees” in offshore detention to be settled permanently on the Australian mainland once the US resettlement deal has run its course.

Broadbent signalled his intention to break ranks with government policy in a short speech to parliament just before question time last Wednesday, saying it was “time for this parliament to act to resolve the situation on Manus and Nauru”.

The Liberal MP said he could not ignore the challenge he laid down:

I couldn’t walk past it. Eventually you come to a place in your time – as a former member once said – there’s a rubbish bin there, and it smells, and you can’t walk past it.

The speech was greeted with a round of applause by MPs in the chamber. Asked after the speech what he meant by parliamentary action to resolve the situation on Nauru and Manus, Broadbent told Guardian Australia:

It means the Australian parliament should act to resolve the situation of people in long-term offshore detention”

Those who are genuine refugees should be brought home to Australia …Those who aren’t genuine refugees – we need to work hard to find another place for them.

I can’t imagine the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton being too happy with his colleague’s sincere act of kindness. After all, the Coalition’s punitive policy forbids boat arrivals ever being settled on the Australian mainland. Its opponents say people now in offshore immigration centres are subject to indefinite detention. Full stop.

Russell Broadbent in a former life, I believe, was a wedding singer. Who knows, perhaps there may be others with the same voice as Broadbent who might be able to sing with the same sympathy. Let’s hope so.

My thought for the day

“When you think you have no more to give and someone cries out to you. Find the strength to help.”


Login here Register here
  1. Terry2

    The only positive thing to come from the indefinite detention policy, so enthusiastically adhered to by Peter Dutton, is that the class action on behalf of 1905 men held illegally on Manus, tortured and neglected, has delivered a settlement in their favour of $70million in addition to which Australian taxpayers will have to pay around $20million in plaintiff’s costs.

    Dutton had to settle out of court as there was no supportable defence to the charges and he didn’t want the matter to proceed to trial as the loss would have exposed the government and Australia to international scrutiny and condemnation. So, Dutton, on our behalf and using our money, agreed to the damages payment which should deliver around $35,000 to each of the plaintiffs although the actual formula for distribution of the funds has not been revealed.

    As these men are currently being evicted from the detention centre, getting this money to the individual plaintiffs in a safe and secure manner is absolutely critical. Hopefully this process will be overseen by the UNHCR or another responsible body as sadly we cannot trust the Australian government or the “responsible” minister. With this money these refugees will at least have a foothold in a new life even though they have been abandoned by their Australian captors and in most cases they are stateless and frequently damaged physically and mentally. Unless this money is carefully secured on their behalf they will also be targets for criminal attack and exploitation.

    This period of Australia’s recent history will go down as an example of massive policy failure by government and both major parties, aggravated by the malignant oversight of a spiteful Minister lacking in intelligence, imagination, ability and compassion.

  2. Kaye Lee

    The excuse always used is that , if we stop torturing these people, the “boats” will start again, For starters, the boats never stopped, they just went elsewhere or were intercepted by our “ring of steel”.

    From November last year….

    “Australia’s “largest maritime operation” in peacetime history will involve up to a dozen patrol boats and a supporting naval warship, as well as an offshore patrol vessel from the Australian Border Force (ABF), to create a so-called “ring of steel” to block future people-smuggling ventures. The Royal Australian Air Force is also contributing to the huge operation with surveillance assets such as P3-Orions…..other government agencies, including the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, are involved in the effort.”,-abf-ships-sent-off-to-block-people-smugglers/8023636

    That is a huge commitment of our resources. This government is a master at painting itself into a corner over problems that could be so easily dealt with.

  3. wam

    Sadly, asylum seekers and refugees are words used indiscriminately whereas broadbent:
    ‘Those who are genuine refugees should be brought home to Australia …Those who aren’t genuine refugees – we need to work hard to find another place for them.’
    He recognises that men who seek asylum whilst leaving the women and children home are not likely to be genuine but he probably is unaware of the definition of a refugee. For the laymen it is those forced from their home not men who chose to migrate and bring their families later.

    ps brandis defends bigotry one minute and then is given a standing ovation for condemning an act of bigotry. Who in parliament or on this page, is guilty of ‘intolerance of to people who hold a different opinion from oneself’?
    Who rationalises their bigotry by using the issue lack of ‘intelligence, research or prejudice’?

    Aspects to hanson in a burqa:

    1 unlike ignorant auto-cue readers like liz hayes and her colleagues at abc, sbs 7, 8, 9 and 10 she was actually displaying a burqa.

    2 in keeping with the ignorance of politicians, journalists and muslim spokeswomen who avoid the fact that this was a mode of dress imposed on women by men who control a culture.

    3 Despite the best effort of christian cultures to make it so, these coverings of women are not religious garments.
    Saudi Arabian men impose a niqab, amongst other sanctions, on women. Until ivanka western women displayed their hair in front of saudi men
    In areas of Afghanistan and pakistan men force women to wear a burqa
    In Iran a chador. (Many countries in African force women to wear similar outer coverings.)

    4 In malaysia/indonesia Muslim women wear hijabs and these, like the christian headscarves of the past(present for the queen), have been associated with the respect women must display to a male god as decided by men.

    5 It seems all covering of women can be traced to men’s sexual demands controlling women titillating sex spots – hair, nipples, napes, shapes

  4. Jagger

    A pity Broadbent took 4 years to find his voice, after sitting around knowing these people were being mentally and physically damaged he now what’s to bring them to Australia, sorry John, too little too late.

  5. John Lord

    Jagger. In fairness he has been a lone voice in the party on the issue of asylum seekers.

  6. Harquebus

    Prostesting against free speech is very short sighted and is another example of social engineering gone bad.

  7. helvityni

    I have been praying of something positive to happen in Oz politics…finally something; Broadbent standing up for asylum seekers and Brandis condemning Pauline’s insensitive stunt..

    I just watched the Insiders, Uhlmann was better than Cassidy, not impressed with Sinodinos….

  8. Johno

    Harquebus.. Wouid that mean you are not happy with 18c then.

  9. Vikingduk

    Harquebus, when one side exercises their right to spread hate and there happens to be another side with dissenting opinions, in your world the hate group is exercising free speech whilst the opposing group represents social engineering gone bad. How does that work?

  10. havanaliedown

    I hope the anti-hate-speech rally had only nice things to say about President Trump.

  11. Harquebus

    That is correct. Without 18c, bigots would be a lot easier to identify and denounce.

    Actually, from what I have read so far, that particular protest was in support of free speech and nothing to do with hate. Don’t quote me as I have yet to read more about it.

    With free speech, I have the right to argue against hate speech. I believe that the vast majority can tell the difference and would choose the right side of the argument.
    Banning hate speech does not make it go away. It sends it underground where arguing against it is much harder.

    As for social engineering gone bad, it is one step toward banning speech of all sorts which, will inevitably include criticisms of governments.
    The haters of hate speech will not be able to speak freely on other matters.

    There is no such thing as partially free speech.

  12. diannaart

    I had thought all the moderates had left with Petro Georgiou.

    Unfortunately Russell Broadbent’s speech was not heard by those who really needed to listen… he was speaking to a mostly empty room.

  13. Vikingduk

    An explanation, Harquebus, on why free speech involving hate and White supremacy is ok yet free speech that is against hate and division is social engineering gone bad. How is dissenting opinions a step toward banning speech of all sorts?
    “The haters of hate speech will not be able to speak freely on other matters? Why? How have you come to this conclusion?

  14. Harquebus

    There is nothing wrong with protesting against hate and division. What I am critical of is protesting against free speech.
    How have I come to this conclusion? History. It’s all been done before.

    A couple from today’s reading list.

    “But if a nation truly wants free speech, then even those we abhor must be allowed to speak their mind. There is no need to pass laws protecting polite speech. It is the very thoughts and words of those we vociferously disagree with that must be protected. Otherwise, there is no freedom at all.”
    “While Rubio may rail against Castro, his views toward free speech are identical. He may rail against Adolph Hitter, but his views on free speech are no different.”
    “Evil men desire power for themselves more than they desire freedom for all. And they will say and do whatever it takes to gain such power.”

    “The hypocrisy is stunning. For 16 years the armed services chiefs, the New York Times and the rest of the presstitute media, both political parties and the liberal/progressive/left have participated actively or passively in massive crimes against humanity. There are millions of dead, maimed, and displaced people. Yet one death in Charlottesville has produced a greater outpouring of protest.”
    “Any objective reading of the situation has to conclude that the hate with which Trump and the “deplorables” who elected him are being covered far exceeds in amount the hate expressed by the white nationalists. ”
    “The Supreme Court ruled that protest is not limited by the fact that some people will be offended or by the chance that there will be violent reactions. Otherwise, whatever faction happens to be in charge can suppress dissent by everyone else.”

    A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

  15. Vikingduk

    So, your assumptions tell you that the dissenting voices were atempting to stop the right of haters to have free speech, while my perspective says that offering opposing views and opinions is a right to free speech as well and not social engineering gone wrong. You are increasingly sounding like one of the lnp sheep, they continually trot out a similar criticism as yours, I.e., that my opinion is right, unarguable and just right and if you don’t agree you are attacking my right to free speech.

    In the words of Kinky Friedman, dude you in need of a checkup from the neckup…

  16. Harquebus

    It’s right there on the telly. No assumptions needed.

    “you are attacking my right to free speech”
    You are putting words in my mouth. A common tactic around here. To say that I would attack your right to free speech tells me that, you read what I say but, do not comprehend. Instead, you put your own predetermined conceptions in lieu of what I actually say.

  17. @RosemaryJ36

    I grew up in a culture which discouraged hurting others unnecessarily. So if you wanted to criticise someone, you tried to word it in the least hurtful way. That is not political correctness – it is demonstrating empathy, compassion and humanity – qualities which are currently in much too short supply.

  18. ceridwen66

    Maybe it’s because I loathe politicians – yes, most of them, but particularly those of the blue tie variety here in Australia – that I don’t believe a single word that came out of Brandis’s mealy mouth the other day in his ‘slap-down’ of the uber ignorant, piggish, uncultivated and cretinous Hanson.

    For me, his conciliatory act of cultural/religious empathy came far too late, and was a little too rehearsed and overacted for my taste. He made no formal censure motion even though the piss poor performance of the redheaded mongrel warranted it. Through close scrutiny and myriad research, I know enough about this corrupt piece of shit to ever believe he holds any level of concern for any individual other than himself and his closest circle. Same goes for Broadbent, he has had multiple opportunities to speak up and out about the horrific human toll these border protection/immigration policies are exacting. This epiphany of his is akin to an irrelevant afterthought or a mild case of gastric reflux. Harsh? Sure. I loathe them all equally and detest what they have done and continue to do to my country.

    The sooner the guillotines are assembled and this sad excuse of a parliament are loaded into the carts the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page