Barnaby And The October Election That May Now…

Monday, 21st June. You'd think Ben-Roberts-Smith-VC-Kerry-Stokes-Employee's admission that he drank out of a…

Vaccine Failings: The European Commission and AstraZeneca

In the messy, underhanded world of global health responses to COVID-19 it…

Pants on fire

By 2353NM It’s not only Crikey subscribers that have read the list of Prime Minster…

Who do you trust?

At the end of my last post I suggested I needed more words to…

The Conviction and Sentencing of Witness K

After tormenting the man for years, it became clear that the Australian…

What About The Other Secret Trial?

A few weeks ago, various Australian MPs were expressing their outrage at…

Wither Encryption: What Operation Trojan Shield Reveals

My, were they delighted. Politicians across several international jurisdictions beamed with pride…

Education and Political Interference in the Death of…

By Dr Stewart Hase In Ray Bradbury’s 1953 book Farenheit 451, Captain Beatty…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: offshore detention

Regaining goodwill

Joe Hockey said “We are going to give economic reform a red hot go in 2015.”

He went on to say “The taxation discussion with the Australian people next year will not be about increasing the revenue take for the Commonwealth, it needs to be how we can have a taxation system that makes us a more efficient and productive nation, and is fairer for all Australians.”

If we want to make revenue collection fairer, and we want to cut wasteful spending, then I have a few suggestions of where to start.

Corporate tax avoidance

Tackling corporate tax avoidance is an urgent priority; Australia does not have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem and it must be fixed.

Up to $80 billion was foregone by the taxman between 2004 and 2013.

Superannuation tax concessions

Superannuation tax concessions will cost the budget around $35 billion in 2013-14 projected to rise at a staggering 12 per cent annually to be $50.7 billion in 2016-17.

Capital Gains Tax and Negative gearing

Generous government tax breaks for property investors see them benefit from a 50% discount on capital gains tax (at a cost to the government’s budget of $4.4 billion per year) and negative gearing (costing $2.4 billion a year).

Fossil fuel subsidies

The Government will spend almost $14 billion in the next four years on fossil fuel subsidies to the big mining corporations.

Fighter jets

Tony Abbott said Australia will acquire another 58 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of around $90 million per plane; $24 billion has been budgeted to purchase and operate the aircraft until 2024.

Submarines

A decision to spend more than $20 billion on up to 10 Japanese submarines will be announced before the end of the year (maybe?)

Offshore detention

The Commission of Audit’s report shows that in the past four years, the Australian government has increased spending on the detention and processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat by 129 per cent each year. Costs have skyrocketed from $118.4 million in 2009–10 to $3.3 billion in 2013–14.

This is the fastest growing government program and projected costs over the forward estimates amount to more than $10 billion.

(It costs $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker in offshore detention, $239,000 to hold them in detention in Australia, and less than $100,000 for an asylum seeker to live in community detention. In contrast, it is around $40,000 for an asylum seeker to live in the community on a bridging visa while their claim is processed.)

Transfield

The Abbott government has given Transfield Services a $1.22 billion government contract to run immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

(Tony Shepherd, who was the chairman of Transfield until he resigned in October to Head the Commission of Audit, left with more than 200,000 Transfield shares, allocated to his family superannuation fund, on top of his final salary of $380,000. Shares in Transfield soared 20.8 per cent on the news, lifting the company’s market capitalisation by about $80 million. He now heads the WestConnex Delivery Authority where money from the East-West link may be redirected)

Employment Service Providers

The Coalition Government has released its exposure draft of the purchasing arrangements for a new employment services model – a $5.1 billion investment over three years from July 1, 2015 – which includes the new Work for the Dole scheme.

Emissions Reduction Fund

Under the ERF the government will spend $2.55 billion to purchase emissions reductions through auctions.

Public Service redundancies

The federal government is on track to fork out $1 billion in redundancy payouts to public servants even before entitlements such as leave are paid.

School chaplains

School chaplaincy will be continued for another five years at a cost of $245.3 million. Under the program, 3700 schools are eligible for up to $72,000 funding to employ chaplains.

Marriage guidance vouchers

NEWLYWEDS across Australia will be given a $200 voucher for marriage counselling from July 1, as part of a $20 million trial to strengthen relationships and avoid family breakdowns.

Tim Wilson

TONY Abbott’s hand-picked human rights adviser has been given a $56,000 expenses package to top up his six-figure salary. Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson now has a total salary of $389,000 plus vehicle and telephone expenses following a recent decision by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Hope that gets you started Joe, or whoever is now doing the budget. (Cormann? Frydenberg? Thawley? Credlin? Rinehart?)

PS: In light of the above potential savings, you may want to read my plan to get half a million people employed at a cost of $8.8 billion

PPS: In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. May you use it to contemplate wisely.

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.

Scroll Up