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Let’s fix this mess

In 2012–13 a total of 50 444 people lodged applications for asylum under the offshore component of the Humanitarian Programme. The Labor government increased the intake to 20,000 and granted a total of 20 019 visas, of which 12 515 visas were granted under the offshore component and 7504 visas were granted under the onshore component.

Even though there are estimated to be over 40 million refugees worldwide, when the Coalition formed government they reduced the humanitarian intake to 13,750.

As at 31 October 2013 there were 22,873 asylum seekers who had arrived by boat (including 1,811 children) who had been permitted to live in the community on Bridging Visas while waiting for their claims for protection to be processed.

The Coalition government* has now decided that anyone who arrived after 13 August 2012 will not be allowed to work so these people are now in limbo, facing uncertainty and financial distress.

[*Correction: As pointed out by Marilyn, this policy was introduced by Labor under Julia Gillard as part of their “No advantage” policy. Both major parties are complicit in this infamy.]

As at 31 October 2013 there were:

6,401 people in immigration detention facilities, and 3,290 people in community detention in Australia. This included 1,045 children in immigration detention facilities and 1,770 children in community detention.

Location: 4,072 people detained on the mainland (+ 3,290 in community detention) and 2,329 people detained on Christmas Island.

Length of detention in immigration detention facilities:

•2,432 people has been in detention for 0-3 months

•2,812 people had been in detention for 3-6 months

•864 people had been in detention for 6-12 months

•170 people had been in detention for 12-18 months

•23 people had been in detention for 18 months to 2 years

•100 people had been in detention for over 2 years.

Due to Kevin Rudd’s “PNG solution”, anyone who arrived by boat after 19 July 2013 was transported to offshore detention camps. There are more than 1,700 asylum seekers being held in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island with capacity for many more.

Since they reopened in 2012, only one application has been processed on Nauru and none from Manus Island.

In December 2013 the Coalition announced the removal of the 4000 Migration Programme places allocated to Illegal Maritime Arrival sponsored Family.

They also announced that they would not be renewing the Salvation Army’s contract to provide “emotional support, humanitarian assistance and general education and recreation programs” to asylum seekers in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island beyond February. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the Government has been forced to make contract changes, because of the way the system was being administered by the former Labor government.

Several eyewitness accounts of the recent riots on Manus Island suggest they happened because the government refused to listen to questions from refugee representatives about their future and the conditions at the camp. Instead they inflamed the situation by telling them “You’re never getting out of this camp, it’s indefinite detention”. The deadly clashes on Manus Island allegedly flared after asylum seekers realised the Australian government had been ‘lying to them’ about plans to resettle them, and some asylum seekers decided to protest.

‘G4S were aware of tensions on compounds and intelligence reports indicated potential unrest for the period 16-18 Feb. DIBP [Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection ] were advised NOT to hold briefing and meeting with compound representatives [allegedly to advise them that they would not be resettled]. Despite several protests from centre managers on the day, the decision to hold said meeting was dictated from Canberra and was the catalyst for the violence.’

Reza Berati came to us seeking safe haven. He was murdered while under our care. Scores of his fellow asylum seekers have been grievously wounded, others have committed suicide, others are driven to self-harm, all under our care.

We have been told we must stop the boats to save people’s lives. One thousand deaths at sea is certainly a tragedy. The greater tragedy is that we ignore this cry for help and punish the people who are desperate enough to risk their lives seeking our protection.

I don’t presume to be the suppository of all wisdom but you have to admit guys, what you are doing is not working. Stopping the boats and locking people up does not help one single refugee but it costs us a fortune, threatens our relationship with our neighbours, and draws international condemnation.

When you remove hope you remove life so, in order to save the lives of the over 30,000 asylum seekers who are currently under our protection, I would like to offer the following observations and suggestions.

Department of Immigration figures project that in the year ending 31 March 2014, 63,700 people arrived in Australia with working holiday visas. A further 48,300 arrived on 457 visas. These are not citizens of our country and do not aspire to be. They are here to earn a buck and then go home.

Why can’t we give some of these 112,000 temporary visas to asylum seekers who have passed health and security checks while they are awaiting processing? Instead of paying for them to be incarcerated or on below-poverty welfare payments, why not let them work and pay taxes? Even if the jobs are not ideal, they have to be better than being locked up with nothing to do and no chance to become a productive member of our society. Children should be in school, not locked up on a Pacific Island wondering why their mother can’t stop crying, and if they will live in a tent forever.

We do not have to increase total immigration to do this. We could give all the asylum seekers temporary working visas and still have over 80,000 available. More should also be done to see if Australian citizens could fill these jobs even if they are temporary in nature.

Instead of making our unemployed, disabled and single parents work in our Green Army, offer that work to asylum seekers or working holiday makers, and give our unemployed the opportunity to apply for the jobs in hospitality, agriculture and services that backpackers often fill.

Instead of importing labour on 457 visas, see if asylum seekers and our unemployed have the necessary skills to fill the positions. Train people where there are skills shortages. Only issue 457 visas where we truly cannot find anyone with the necessary skills.

In the last year we issued 101,300 permanent visas but only 16,500 of these were on humanitarian grounds and this number is predicted to fall to 11,000.

Increase the humanitarian intake from 13,750 to at least 30,000. Send representatives to all transit countries to start taking applications and begin processing them. They must give applicants a realistic time frame for processing and resettlement options.

Increase foreign aid and participate in condemning, and sanctions against, human rights abuses around the world.

Let’s fix this mess.

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33 comments

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  1. clarelhdm

    some interesting ideas…but as an aside I think ‘ Illegal Maritime Arrival sponsored Family’ is actually Irregular maritime Arrival sponsored Family. I doubt the new regime’s language decrees have actually become formal categories yet.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Unfortunately clare, the terminology comes from the government DIBS site. 🙁

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/65onshore-processing-illegal-maritime-arrivals.htm

    That quote is on page 4 of the following document

    “This publication takes into account policies announced as at late January 2014. These include the removal of the 4000 Migration Programme places allocated to Illegal Maritime Arrival sponsored family, announced in December 2013.”

    https://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/immigration-update/nom-dec-2013.pdf

  3. Michael

    Step 1. Sack Morrison

  4. Kaye Lee

    Blaming Morrison and Campbell is like locking up the dealers. The spin doctors, advertising gurus, image consultants and poll trolls who tell our current government how to be popular are the ones to sack.

    “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

    Max Lucado

  5. Marilyn

    It was Gillard in August 2012 who decided refugees on bridging visa cannot work and have to wait 5 years so they are not better off than the people starving to death in Yarmouk.

    I truly find it sickening that Gillard is constantly let off the hook.

  6. Dissenter

    Kaye Lee: YEs and Yes again.
    We the people through force of opinion can FIX this and ensure that the backlog of poor refugees UNDER our care never happens again.
    We owe it to ourselves to ENSURE that it never happens again. Australia IS always going to be considered a popular destination.
    If we INCREASE our quota IN LINE with the increase in numbers worldwide DUE to wars and other conflicts AND process people IN A TIMELY AND DEFINED TIME WAY Efficiently and allow them to live in DETENTION on shore for no longer than 12 months WHILE that is EXPEDITED then AUstralia will be BETTER for the humanitarian EFFORT and enriched by a wave of new future Australians.

    in my view all 457 Visas should BE STOPPED.
    All asylum seekers coming to Australia should relinquish their passports (if they have one) and right of return to their country of origin ONCE Accepted and be forced to be Australians and work.
    IT is not acceptable NOT TO WORK. Able bodied men once integrated in the community should be working EVERY day and take the roles of 457 Visas workers according to their skills.

    48,000 457 Visa worker jobs could keep a lot of asylum seekers busy and less of a weight on welfare UNLESS they are ill.
    As far as I can see there were 1200 MEN on Manus Island many of whom are ( OR WERE ) fit and able to work. SO WHY ARE They not working for Australia?

    THE VISA application Process Should be speeded Up by EMPLOYING more personnel to process the people and FASTTRACK them INSTEAD OF SLOW TRACKING Or not processing at all.

    EVERYTHING about NOT PROCESSING refugees IS REPUGNANT!
    IT IS NOT RELEVANT how many UNEMPLOYED there are in AUstralia IF THERE are 48,000 457 Visa workers here over a 12 month period.
    That is 48,000 jobs.
    SOme of the asylum seekers are highly skilled. If I am correct here people like REZA BARATI who had completed ? his architecture degree could be employed in the building industry applicable to his skills.
    More highly skilled and academic refugees may be treated in a different way according to their knowledge and skills BUT IT IS A START.

    IT IS TIME THAT DECISIONS WHICH REFLECT Capacity for MORAL courage are demonstrated by our politicians.
    THe capacity for HUMANITARIANISM is the greatest indicator of leadership and moral courage OF THE CALIBRE of that LEADER.

    TIME TO understand that the ASYLUM SEEKER CRISIS IS HERE TO STAY and must be ADDRESSED with new EYES and new processes in place which REFLECT international standards and requirements and also reflect COMPASSIONATE understanding and are underpinned BY AUSTRALIAN common decency.

    IF ABBOTT is not up to the TASK then it is the WRITING on his EPITAPH that he was a BIGOT and racist who failed to comprehend THE BIGGER PICTURE. THat he was a SMALL minded Prime minister who failed to MAINTAIN Australia’s international standing and reputation to his detriment.

  7. Kaye Lee

    You are correct Marilyn. Labor is complicit in this infamy and should not be excused.

    “The policy, introduced by the former Labor government under “No Advantage” and continued by the Coalition, affects asylum seekers who arrived by boat after 13 August, 2012 who were released into the community on bridging visas while their refugee status was being determined.

    “The Government justified this policy by claiming it would act as a deterrent measure to discourage
    asylum seekers arriving by boat to seek refugee protection,”

    http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/n/mr/140224_Workrights.pdf

    I have included a correction in the article. Thanks.

  8. Rob

    Just a great article Kaye…Thanks.

  9. allenmcmahon

    Kaye, This post has some inaccuracies.

    ‘The Coalition government has now decided that anyone who arrived after 13 August 2012 will not be allowed to work so these people are now in limbo, facing uncertainty and financial distress.’

    This decision was made by Labor when they reintroduced offshore processing on 13 August 2012. On that date they stopped processing asylum claims, stopped issuing visa’s and told all asylum seekers who arrived after that date and who were sent to mainland detention facilities that as soon as space became available on Manus Island and Nauru they would be sent there for processing and would in all likelihood spend a minimum of five years in these camps.

    Within three months increased boat arrivals saw the onshore detention facilities full and Labor then had to begin issuing bridging visa E’s of six months duration. These had no work rights, payments were reduced from the Centerlink benefit to only 89% of the minimum benefit, Medicare coverage was stopped as were transport concessions in all states apart from Victoria. Basic Medicare was eventually reinstated. Asylum seekers continued to be told that processing would not occur onshore and that eventually they would be sent to the offshore camps for processing.

    ‘The Coalition government has now decided that anyone who arrived after 13 August 2012 will not be allowed to work so these people are now in limbo, facing uncertainty and financial distress.’

    As stated earlier this occurred under Labor. Morrison attempted to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visa’s in early December 2013 and all asylum seekers who had not had their claims precessed, even if they arrived before 13 August, were going to be transferred to three year visa’s and these would have included work rights. The Greens moved a motion to disallow and with Labor support stopped the introduction of TPV’s. Morrison then refused to issue or renew any visas and suspended permanent protection claims for pre 13 August arrivals. While Greens/Labor scored political points it was a disaster for asylum seekers. People who were on temporary visas with work rights lost their jobs and Medicare when their visas expired. People in detention that were due to be released on visas were left in detention and TPV’s mark 2 have only been issued since last week. At this stage only a few hundred people have been released.

    Labor also introduced ‘enhanced processing’ in 2013. Instead of being provided with a migration agent or lawyer to make a permanent protection claim asylum seekers can have their claim rejected on the basis of a 10 minute interview with an Immigration officer. To meet the UNHCR requirements of access to legal representation they are given an Australian telephone directory without explanation or access to a phone. This has been used to screen out Sri Lankan and Vietnamese asylum seekers because their government s are the only ones to accepted forced returns. While it only affects a handful of Vietnamese over 1,400 Sri Lankans, mainly Tamils, have been sent back. They have been taken off the boats, held in a secure area on Christmas Island where lawyers cannot contact them. Within 48 hours they are on a plane home and the road to the airport is closed to stop an intervention.

    The boat journey from Sri Lanka takes between three and four weeks, most of the boats are open and provided little shelter from the sun. Generally the people have one small meal a day and often the food and water to run out. It is not unusual for the asylum seekers to lose one third of their body weight but less that a hand full of people have remained on Christmas Island for medical reasons.

    Labor did increase the refugee intake numbers to 20,000 but this was a meaningless gesture because it is our net intake from all sources and we were already on target to exceed that figure just from boat arrivals.

    Support services once asylum seekers move into the community are completely inadequate. In the financial year 2112-13 Labor budgeted for 4,500 asylum seekers despite Immigration forecasting 10,000 which was less than half the actual number. Homelessness, living in unfurnished houses or units

    Since forming government the he LNP gone all out to make life more difficult for asylum seekers and they have exceeded Labor in the race to the bottom.

    is stop all legal support for asylum seekers and this affects many people who are entitled to make permanent protection claims plus the thousands who want to contest negative assessments under ‘enhanced’ processing.

    The code of conduct that asylum seekers have to sign is a disgrace. An asylum seeker can be returned to detention for spitting, swearing or annoying their neighbours (whatever that means). Whilst this is believed to be unenforceable under Australian law most asylum seekers will not have the money to contest a decision.

    Under the LNP we have had people returned to detention for really trivial offenses like using a concession ticket on public transport or not paying a parking or littering fine. Some of these people have been sent offshore. After rent a single asylum seeker is living on $3 to $4 per day even an unaccounted minor expense is beyond their means.

    At the Darwin Lodge a family detention camp, which is basically a motel with a fence around it, two asylum seekers were sent to Christmas Island for talking to an ABC reporter on through the fence.

    I could go on but what is the point, whenever we reach the point and I think it can get no worse Morrison proves me wrong. If it was not bad enough to murder a young Iranian man last week G4S staff cleaned the body and removed what forensic evidence there was. His body sits in a freezer because the PNG Coroners Office has yet to issue an order for an autopsy.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Thank you so much for your insight Allen.

    I did include a correction about Gillard’s No Advantage policy…an important oversight Marilyn pointed out to me.

    I saw the interview with the people at Darwin Lodge and was horrified when they were then transported offshore.

    The autopsy is a question mark…conflicting reports, none of them satisfactory

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-28/manus-island-death-asylum-seeker-autopsy/5290450

    And we cannot afford for people like you to say “what’s the point”. Give people the information so they will pass it on. I love the Buddhist philosophy of small acts creating ripples around the world.

  11. Stephen Tardrew

    Thank you all for your input. I learned heaps.

    I did not think it possible to feel more shame but there you are.

    Unbelievable that these people call themselves human beings. They are feelingless ideological automatons incapable of true empathy and compassion.

    Suffer the downtrodden.

    Suffer my Country.

  12. mars08

    I suspect…

    I would not be surprised if the next “comic book” propaganda publication produced by the Customs and Border Protection Service includes some graphic content about being stomped to death in a jungle by angry PNG natives. Quite a deterrent, right?

  13. allenmcmahon

    Kaye,

    Just being somewhat depressed after finding out that many of the local G4S staff responsible for the violence on Manus have been retained by Transfield who have taken over from G4S. I can imagine how the people on Manus and even though extra Australian security staff have been hired to watch the locals this will not increase safety. G4S was transferring control of the camp to Transfield so there were an extra 100 Australian security staff in the camp during the latest violence and they withdrew from Mike compound, where most of the violence occurred, into a more secure part of the camp.

    Despite having my bad days I have been a refugee advocate for the last forty years and will continue to keep fighting for these people for as long as I have the breath to do so.

    Few people are aware of the war going on over forced deportations, that began under Labor and has much gotten worse under the LNP. When people seeking asylum are given a ‘negative’ assessment by Immigration and are due to be deported if we can get a lawyer on the case their status is changed to ‘positive’ because the government does not want to go to court as they would lose and would then have to cease all forced deportations.

    Sri Lanka has the most returns because they, unlike most other countries, accept forced returns. Last year the High Court in the UK found credible evidence of torture and other human rights abuses in 75 cases of Tamils who had been deported and the UK has had to stop all returns. This creates a precedent and our government knows that our High Court would make the same ruling as the UK.

    In the cases where we get warning of a negative assessment we can get an immediate injunction to stop the deportation. The government responds by changing the assessment to positive which makes it impossible for us to get a court ruling and stop it from ever happening again. At least these people are now safe. Thankfully there are brave people in Immigration and working in the various detention facilities that inform us of who is risk knowing they risk their jobs and possible legal prosecution.

    I am heartened by the many people in our legal system who are providing pro bono support. There is a ‘hot line’ manned 24/7 and we rarely have a person unrepresented including the cases where Senior Councils to appear in the High Court.

    The increasing illegality of what our government is doing is disturbing. When we advised people who were being forcible repatriated to create a ruckus, vocal not physical, because the pilots would refuse to take them the government has responded by now doping them.

    The latest move by Morrison with regard to countries like Iraq and Iran who will not accept forced returns is to lodge false documents saying the return in voluntary. Of course by the time the people reach their destination its to late to do anything about it. With Iran, late last year, Bishop asked Iran to accept forced returns which they refused and this yet another country added to the growing list of those we have alienated.

  14. Kaye Lee

    There are so many sad stories of people we have let down.

    http://www.safecom.org.au/well-founded-fear.htm

    Apparently our “protection” is getting to be worse than what they face at home.

    “JUST days after Iranian man Reza Berati was killed in the Manus Island detention centre, 11 other Iranian asylum-seekers have opted to go home.

    Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison said the 11 Iranians were among 17 asylum-seekers who volunteered to return to their home countries in the week up to 9am yesterday. They included three people who went back to Iraq, and three to India.

    Mr Morrison said one detainee was sent home involuntarily to Sri Lanka. In his weekly update on Operation Sovereign Borders, Mr Morrison said 171 asylum-seekers had gone home voluntarily since the Coalition won government in September. He said no people-smuggling boats had made it to Australia in the past 71 days.”

    The statistic he always fails to mention is how many people have we helped. It seems completely irrelevant to him in his robotic “stop the boats” mission.

  15. clarelhdm

    wow…re language changes. That was quick. And depressing

  16. Ward Murphy

    Regardless of blame and counterblame the situation needs to be resolved.It leaves many Australians repugnant of the realities of what is happening..I cannot believe the lack of empathy,the constant search for someone else to blame appears paramount in government thinking.It happened under your stewardship ,you are the elected government,it behoves you to act humanely.It requires leadership.If you can’t provide it,call a double dissolution and the Australian people will hopefully sort this out.

  17. Fed up

    Marilyn, how has Gillard has been let off the hook. She has departed the scene. Not voluntary if I recall.

    Do you want to see her hung up in the town square.

    At the end of the day, what has occurred in the past, under Howard, Rudd, Giullard and Rudd again is irrelevant.

    The only thing one can deal with, is what is occurring today.

    As Abbott won the election, it is his responsibility and duty to act. It is Abbott who is now PM. Not Rudd and Gillard.

  18. Stephen Tardrew

    Cheers allannmcmahon:

    Admire what you are doing Allan.

    Keep up the good work mate.

    The more I hear the more shocked I am.

    I did not realize things were that bad.

    Good luck and kind regards.

    Stephen.

  19. Dissenter

    MORRISON is a lying TOERAG.
    HE knows it is MONSOON season and that there are not many boats in MONSOON season.
    He knows that the navy personnel will be WORKING overtime soon when the boats start up again.

    THE ENTIRE GAME HAS TO BE STOPPED.
    A BETTER more compassionate way has to be found.

  20. Kaye Lee

    The Ministry of Truth

    “The Immigration Department employs a 66-strong team of spin doctors, dwarfing the 39 media and communications staff employed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the ministers on his frontbench.

    Last August, immigration employed 72 media staff, but the 66 officers who now work in the department’s media unit are supported by a further 33 personnel who work on media operations and events in the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

    In 2011, the Immigration Department reportedly employed just 13 spin doctors.

    Since taking the reins in September, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for repeatedly refusing to inform the public about how Australia repels asylum seekers at sea.

    Last weekend, Mr Morrison admitted he had misled the public about what took place during the Manus Island riot, which left one man dead and scores injured, when he was forced to retract earlier assertions that most of the violence took place outside the centre after asylum seekers broke down the fence.

    Fairfax Media asked the Immigration Department to comment on staffing levels, but was referred to Mr Morrison’s media team who did not respond to questions.

    Details of staffing levels were quietly tabled by the department last week in response to questions posed by Labor senator Joe Ludwig during budget estimates hearings in November.

    The staffing figures were correct as at November 19.
    The documents show Mr Morrison’s office spent $29,788 on media monitoring between September 7 and November 19.

    The department spent a further $11,476 on media monitoring in that period, including $9056 for transcripts of Mr Morrison’s weekly Operation Sovereign Borders briefings (which he has since abandoned).

    Senator Ludwig said: ”Scott Morrison’s army of spin doctors must have gone AWOL.

    ”For a minister that refuses to answer even the most basic questions put to him by the media and the public, this is simply outrageous.”

    The media officers work on liaison, strategic communication, promotion and annual reports.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/scott-morrison-has-66-spin-doctors-20140301-33sqv.html

  21. Hotspringer

    Labor bad, LNP worse. Much, much worse.

  22. mars08

    Fed up:

    At the end of the day, what has occurred in the past, under Howard, Rudd, Giullard and Rudd again is irrelevant.

    The only thing one can deal with, is what is occurring today.

    As Abbott won the election, it is his responsibility and duty to act….

    Sorry I just cannot see how the words and actions of “under Howard, Rudd, Giullard and Rudd” are irrelevant!

    What is what is occurring today under Abbott is a direct result of the policies of those who governed before him. THEY set the standard. THEY set the tone. THEY sought to gather some easy votes by pandering to the fools and racists. THEY demonised the asylum seekers instead of encouraging rational debate. THEY took the tough approach and dismissed compassion as a weakness. THEY engaged in an auction of cruelty. THEY determined that a few wooden boats were and existential threat to Australia.

    Fed up, I probably agree with all your posts on this site. But in this case you are missing the point… Any attempt to “fix this mess” MUST tackle the political foundations of this debacle.

  23. Fed up

    How rehashing history, over and over, help solve the problem today. History that most are aware of.

    Yes, saying that, there is a little of the Gillard history which is relevant today. It concerns the high court decision that prevents Gillard from sending people to Malaysia. Yes the court negated the move, as Australia could not guarantee these people’s safety.

    Incidents over the last couple of weeks, has proven Australia cannot guarantee their safety. That law still stands.
    The law still stands because Abbott refused to support Gillard’s legalization to remove it.

    Abbott was warned at the time, his action could come back to bite him.

    It is now extremely unlikely that Morrison will be able to send more to Manus Island. The high court will not allow it.

    He will need the support of Labor, to continue with the program.

    Now I am aware that Labor might do this,. If one disapproves now is the time to work on Shorten.

    Abbott on Bolt Report, giving Russia a lecture.

  24. Kaye Lee

    I agree mars08

    In fact the Labor party have an even greater responsibility to bear. Tony has to “stop the boats”. it’s like his PPL scheme. He has too much invested in it to give it up. So Labor and the Greens and Independents have to collectively come up with a solution that does NOT involve offshore detention. That is why I tried to come up with suggestions that don’t affect immigration numbers or employment and that will save us billions whilst being humane. I am yet to hear one reason why this can’t be done.

    Stop the boats isn’t about saving lives, it’s about turning refugees away. They employ 99 spin doctors to try to convince us that we are “stopping the boats” to be humane. Sorry guys, it ain’t working.

  25. Fed up

    Will someone advise Bolt, that the unions did not strike three years ago at Qanrtas. Joyce locked them out.

    Abbott is working to change the Qantas Sale act. Then of course onto carbon tax.

    Another reversal by Abbott.

    Abbott, you say if you give assistant to one, you have to do so for all.

    Abbott is you give $75.000 to one mother, you have to give all the same.

  26. Fed up

    Yes, I agree that the main problem that these policies are accepted is racism and hatred of many. I fail to see how one can lay the blame for this at the feet of Labor.

    Yes, I do believe that Labor might have panicked, but politics at the end of the Eday, is the art of the possible. I do not believe that as bad as the Labor decisions were, they would be going down the path this government had, not even Rudd.

    It is not Labor that is towed back to boats. It is not Labor, that has not bothered to bed down the PNG solution,

    It is not Labor that has insulted our neighbors in the region, leading to all communications being suspended.

    I believe that Labor would not have taken to turning back boats, but to work with other in the region, to find a more humane solution/.
    I am sure that labor would have continued to take around 30,000 refugees a year, allowing them to take more from the region.

    This government has cut numbers back to 13,750. Why did they do that.

    Abbott was asked if he felt sick and a shame. No, he was concerned, and deaths regrettable. Did not have any doubts. If they deal in riotous display, they need yo be dealt with humanely. Yes, Abbott on the Bolt Report.

    At least Bolt is correct, when he said being beaten up is not acting humanely and fairly.

    Nothing is going to srop Abbott. Well that is what he is saying..

  27. mars08

    How rehashing history, over and over, help solve the problem today. History that most are aware of.

    I strongly suspect the it’s NOT something that most are aware of

    MOST are not outraged by the current policies. MOST accept that asylums seekers are a serious threat to Australia. MOST want even harsher treatment of those arriving by boat. And all this is directly related to the lies and hysteria presented by previous governments.

    Make not mistake… nothing will change as long as MOST continue to believe the propaganda they have been fed. And they WILL keep believing it unless the political opportunism and manipulation of previous governments is made perfectly clear.

  28. abbienoiraude

    Wow what a lot of information to take in and rationalise.
    Thank you Kaye for keeping us informed of facts. It is the only way to stand up to those who are hell bent on demonising the seekers of asylum.

    Watching “Insiders” (ABC) this morning, is where I heard from David Marr about the number of ‘spin doctors’ being used by LNP ( including Customs). I used to work for Customs for a time. I never remember this type of attitude ever. In ‘my day’ it was illegal stills, drug trafficking and duty/excise evasion. The big ‘push’ was to help Quarantine to maintain Australia’s pristine agriculture environment. Our job with Immigration was to make sure no one was coming through the Barrier were suspect drug carriers, wanted by Interpol, or coming in for illegal purposes ( including money laundering).

    Now look at where we have gotten to. More money and concern spent on vilifying and denying desperate people safety and support.

    Shameful and disgusting.
    I do not believe the “Malaysian Solution” would have been helpful at all. There can be no guarantee that people outside Australia’s borders will ever be treated ‘humanely’ or as I believe ‘as we would treat them’. (How sad is that!)

    Seeing the old footage of Hockey in 2012 standing in Parliament getting emotional about how people should be treated under our watch and how he swore that “our” asylum seekers could only be cared for with Australian workers, and that medical and education services must be provided. How shamed he must feel now at what is happening.

    Come on Joe…stand up and show us that man again!!

  29. mars08

    Come on Joe…stand up and show us that man again!!

    Oh good grief! That man NEVER EXISTED!! And neither did the “Jovial Joe Hockey” so loved by the morning shows… or the jolly bloke prancing around with a tiara and pink tutu on some game show. THAT IS NOT the man the electorate voted for. It was a fabrication, an illusion, a sham. So sad than nobody had the courage to say it at the time!

  30. Fed up

    Hockey was not the only one at that time that spoke in like manner. There was speech after speech, in both houses with members from the Coalition in tears. Many deserved an Oscar.

    We now have the same situation on Manus Island. Yes, this government cannot guarantee their safety. I would imagine the High Court will once again disallow any more to go there.

    Abbott was warned that when he did support the Gillard amendment, it would come back and bite him.

  31. abbienoiraude

    @mars08
    I know…I agree.
    I was just trying to encourage them, you know how you do to a 2 year old so that they know what the right thing to do is?
    *Sigh
    At this point I will grasp at straws to feel that ‘they’ are listening. One of them must care, mustn’t they? Being the good ‘Xtian’s’ that they are???
    (Excuse this atheist as she directs those members of our Govt who profess their faith on a Sunday to this list of quotes from their Bible, from their god:
    http://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality.
    Surely amongst this list may be one quote to bring them to their conscience?)

  32. Dissenter

    Everyone IT does not matter WHO is to blame for ANYTHING except for the current atrocities under investigation.
    ALL THAT matters is that EVERY ACTION is taken to FIX the mistakes of the PAST and KEEP our REFUGEES under OUR CARE SAFE and PROCESS them EFFICIENTLY.

    THE CONCEPT that refugees ARE NOT GOING TO BE PROCESSED is ILLEGAL and therefore FLAWED.
    Under international UNHCR we have to PROCESS EVERYONE so GET ON WITH IT IN A TIMELY and the MOST efficient way possible.

    I agree with ALAN Mcmahon that a refugee WHO has poor ENGLISH is safer with a refugee advocate by his/her side to ASSIST and the idea that they cannot have one is REPUGNANT and also illegal.
    CHILDREN should not be in concentration camps so ALL families with children should be housed in the community.

    IT IS UGLY that refugees are banned from working for 5 years. HOW CAN THEY LIVE?
    THis has to be changed.

    SOMEONE HAS TO STAND UP, MAN UP AND MAKE THE CHANGES that make our PROCESSES LEGAL AND SAFE AND compassionate.

    IT is for the people of AUSTRALIA that this has to be FIXED. ENOUGH IS enough.

  33. Ben

    I suggested a few years back to stop all this mess and reject all who come, then to take from overseas. So I was abused and called racist from some loonie green. Now all three parties wish to stop the boats, and take from overseas.

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