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Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”

After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!

In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”

Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!

Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.

To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used … If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.

The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:

Ten Things More Reckless than Funding Gonski:

1. Not Giving a Gonski

Education changes people’s lives.  The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education.  It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.

The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.

2. The Job Seekers can Starve for Six Months Policy

This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.) 

3. Trashing Labor’s FTTP NBN 

I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwatQqj3Hvs&w=560&h=315]

4. The Trade Union Royal Commission

Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of  very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og-GzJwprbw&w=560&h=315]

5. Attacking the Most Sick and Vulnerable in Our Society

The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die.  This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country.  No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.    

6. Being a Fake Friend

Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work.  How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it.  Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN65QxIzbtY&w=560&h=315]

7. Attacks on low paid workers and their families

The push from the Abbott-Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.

8. The Government’s policy of Secrets and Lies

The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging.  The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.

9. Income Management – Basic and Healthy Welfare Cards

The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.

10. Not allowing a free vote in Parliament on Marriage Equality

One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion.  I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday.  The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.

Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?

Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.

Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.

By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress.  As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.

It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.

Conclusion

If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months.  Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks.  To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.

 

Previously published on Polyfeministix

104 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    Let’s see…we could spend $37.3 billion over the next decade funding education or we could spend $17 billion and counting on fighter jets that don’t work

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/02/05/f35-still-dogged-with-deficiencies-pentagon-report.html

    or “$250 billion on the table over the next 30 to 40 years on naval ships”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-10/submarine-kevin-andrews-takes-backwards-step/6082254

    or just give it all to Transfield to persecute asylum seekers offshore

  2. Rossleigh

    Excellent list, Trish.
    And a worthwhile addition to it, Kay Lee.
    As I wrote a few days ago, I thought Labor’s line that they see education as an investment, not a cost was apt and should be repeated as often as they can.
    This current government have strange ideas about how to save money like the axing of the CSIRO scientists on the grounds that climate change is now proven. Perhaps someone should tell that to their backbench!

  3. Trish Corry

    Thanks Rossleigh. I had a rather large list. It took me one week to decide which ones to put in as the ten to include in the Blog. I have written up, then deleted and replaced with something else a number of times.. Researching this really hit home to how much damage they have done. It really is disgraceful.

  4. Neil of Sydney

    Spending $12B under Rudd/Gillard plus several billion more since 2013 housing asylum seekers on a problem that had been solved and then restarted by Labor. Removing the Pacific Solution has cost this nation almost $20B because of the moral vanity of Labor supporters.

    We stop the boats and take our asylum seekers from UNHCR camps. In a complex world it is so far the beat way i have seen.

  5. Rossleigh

    I notice that Neil still bags the Labor Party instead of trying the impossible task of defending the Abbott government which was so bad that even the Liberals real used he has to be removed!

  6. paul walter

    Kaye Lee beat me to it. Defence procurements, not just because of the expense but the willful purchase of second rate equipment for that huge sum of money. Partially covered in #6 is another absolute howler, the TPP.

  7. guest

    Neil of Sydney, just a point about off-shore processing. The drowning of people in boats on the way to Oz was accidental; the immoral torture of refugees on Manus and Nauru by the Coalition as a deterrent is deliberate.

  8. Matters Not

    The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future

    While I am a strong supporter of the Gonski recommendations, there exists the real danger that the actual ‘outcomes’ will not match the current rhetoric; much of which is coming from the educational sector which should know better. The greatest predictor of educational ‘outcomes’ (generally speaking) is the socio-economic (SES) location of the parents. Gonski won’t change that.

    Some may remember the work of James Coleman and his subsequent Coleman Report:

    It was one of the largest studies in history, with more than 650,000 students in the sample. The result was a massive report of over 700 pages. The 1966 report … fuelled debate about “school effects” that is still relevant today. …

    it was found that student background and socioeconomic status are more important in determining educational outcomes of a student.

    Certainly there are some who disagree with those findings, Kevin Donnelly being a ‘notable’ example (LOL), but the vast majority of researchers in the field still stand by the findings.

    But let’s imagine that Gonski does little to improve ‘test scores’ of children from low SES backgrounds. What more funds will certainly do, will improve the quality of school life for those children. Children with high SES backgrounds tend to go to schools that have great facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, athletics tracks, basketball stadiums and the like. Such facilities do not correlate with improved ‘test scores’ but they do improve the quality of school life and life in general.

    For that reason alone, we should give a Gonski. Schooling is more than ‘test scores’. Let’s remember the wider considerations. They matter and should not be forgotten.

    As for intergenerational mobility via education, Thomas Piketty bust a few myths as well.

  9. Kaye Lee

    By shutting off the route to Australia we have not stopped the boats…we have diverted them to other destinations or closed off the option of leaving a war zone at all. The miniscule trickle of refugees that came here are nothing compared to the flood of refugees elsewhere in the world. The deaths crossing the Mediterranean far outweigh the drownings coming here. There is no justification at all for persecuting those who thought they had made it to safety by seeking our help.

    Neil, what do you suggest should happen to the people who are currently incarcerated?

  10. Matthew Oborne

    I believe you forgot one, perhaps you forgot it because of the wonderful mebournians who stood up to it and said not in my city.
    The federal government were no where to be found on the day the ABF goose stepped into Melbourne. The government a year previously got soldiers out on grand final day, this ABF outing was to show racist australia a public viewing, so they could snigger as those who dont look white enough or sound funny were going to get stopped and harrassed.

    Had Melbourne not reacted the Planned event would have happened because no one was around to stop it.

    Clearly no one could be reached in hope that it went ahead, in hope that someone was arrested.
    Had they made an arrest that would have signalled that it is OK for the ABF to go to major centres and ask for papers from passersby.

    We dodged a bullet by a very narrow margin and yet because it is problem solved we dont much mention it.

    It needs a full inquiry firstly because it was the day bprder force decided they could detain people going about their business.

    Lets make it quite clear it is unlawful to arbitrarily stop a person from going about their lawful business in this country yet that is what could be the norm if it weren’t for Melbourne.

    The media never delved deep enough into this, Dutton’s explanation was simply unacceptable.

    We have the government telling shipping companies to hire overseas workers at a time of high unemployment,

    We had the Howard government telling Businesses to get it made overseas.

    and Neil, history would need a big rewrite for what you said to be true.
    at that leftist breeding ground called university we are obliged to apply critical thinking to issues, perhaps that is why uni’s are considered lefty breeding grounds because they encourage thinking, and even more dangerously critical thinking, which means we don’t parrot the bogan slogans, because they all fail when critical thinking is applied.

    Do yourself a favour Neil and discover for yourself who has stood in the way of every major right and equality measure this country has chased, and it is the conservatives.

    Perhaps it would give you context having a little more knowledge, perhaps you may even see a pattern with conservative behavior, then you could appear smart to your friends by being able to predict liberal party reactions to issues.

    That is what it really is about isnt it, you want to feel smarter. and you want people to notice.

  11. Neil of Sydney

    The drowning of people in boats on the way to Oz was accidental; the immoral torture of refugees on Manus and Nauru by the Coalition as a deterrent is deliberate.

    Not sure why the Coalition was mentioned. It was the ALP who locked these people up. The Coalition was handed the problem

    The miniscule trickle of refugees that came here

    It was not miniscule. We got 4,000 boat people in July 2013 just before Labor lost office. That equates to 50,000/year. And it was increasing. Those numbers are a significant proportion of our immigration program. Also i suspect that most of these people come here for a better life. The USA is getting thousands of people/month from South America and the Europeans are getting huge numbers as well.

    Neil, what do you suggest should happen to the people who are currently incarcerated?

    I don’t know

    But we have spent almost $20B on a problem which had been solved under Howard but restarted by Labor.

  12. Matthew Oborne

    there are over 200 drownings in Australia each year, would you propose we detain Australians swimming, fishing, boating, skiing?

  13. Neil of Sydney

    there are over 200 drownings in Australia each year, would you propose we detain Australians swimming, fishing, boating, skiing?

    No, the Coalition policy of stopping the boats and taking our refugees from UNHCR camps is a cheaper and fairer system. Under Labor you could buy your way into Australia. Too bad if you don’t have $10,000 to pay a smuggler. And as if the Sudanese refugees we took under Howard have that sort of money and could somehow make to some regional center you people keep talking about.

    One policy change by Labor resulted in the waste of almost $20B

  14. Matthew Oborne

    Like Harry potters cloak of invisibility your cloak of humanity is no more real.

  15. diannaart

    The self proclaimed ‘money-managers’ (LNP) don’t really get the idea of future investment.

  16. guest

    Neil, the reason the Coalition is mentioned is because the Coalition are in government and have been there for 2.5 years. They are the ones who are presently torturing people on Manus and Nauru.

    As for the problem being solved by Howard, no it wasn’t. Large numbers came to Oz and other places through the Pacific Solution. That is why Rudd said that if there is complaint that refugee had come to Oz after all, let us ban people from coming altogether. Abbott seized that idea with glee. And the boats have not altogether stopped; just not reached Oz.

    Your arithmetic about arrivals in July, 2013 is a bit shonky in that we would expect people to cross the seas at that time before the monsoons. The number 4000 is not a valid average. Anyway, I have always asked why would-be refugees were not met in Indonesia with sufficient personnel to process arrivals in Indonesia. One reason might be that some Indonesians were working with the people smugglers. Refugees knew where to find people smugglers, but no one else did? As well, Indonesia did not want refugees to be stopping in Indonesia.

    It is disappointing that you think torturing people as a deterrent to others is the only way to treat them. Can’t think of any other way to deal with them?

    The idea of applying such cruelty to all migrants in Europe only magnifies the magnitude of the problem. In Europe, Stop the Boats where?

    The real problem is the forces driving migration: problems with government, inequality, and climate change. We can see such problems in miniature in Oz. Neglect of sections of the community, unemployment, homelessness, violence, migration to the big cities, drought and declining water, degradation of the environment…

    And yes, we have great difficulty dealing with these problems here, so also in the global scene writ large. But cruelly punishing innocent people with no hope of release but to go back to where they came from is not the answer.

    Some posters speak of a ‘utilitarian’ solution that works – the end justifies the means. This C19th century Self Help, Utilitarian approach is exposed in the writings of Charles Dickens as being too inhumane. The real heroes are the Good Samaritans, those who help those in need. That is the Christian ideal.

    So it is interesting to see churches defying legal threats by talking about sanctuary, and two state governments talking about taking in the children. Given all the talk about the importance of family, does that also mean offering places for the parents?

    No easy answers here, Neil, but many questions. Three word mantras don’t do it.

  17. Kaye Lee

    “Not sure why the Coalition was mentioned.”

    Did it ever occur to you its because they are in government and the only ones with the power to do soemthing about the situation? I would have thought that was bilindingly obvious.

    “It was not miniscule….That equates to 50,000/year. And it was increasing.”

    The worst year was 2013 when 20 587 asylum seekers arrived by boat.

    In the first 8 months of 2015, 350,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea compared with 219,000 during the whole of 2014, itself a record year. Greece alone saw 234,000 people land on its shores, Germany expects at least 800,000 asylum-seekers [in 2015] compared with 173,000 in 2014.

    In 2014 3,500 people died or were reported missing in the Mediterranean Sea.

    “I don’t know”

    Well let’s start with releasing the people who are currently in detention and increasing the humanitarian intake back to the 20,000 that Labor allowed for? Then we can use those billions wasted on offshore detention to reinstate foreign aid funding. And then we could stop spending billions on wars and war toys and actually start helping people.

  18. townsvilleblog

    Well presented Trish. However I think we have enough Muslims already.

  19. Wally

    diannaart

    “The self proclaimed ‘money-managers’ (LNP) don’t really get the idea of future investment.”

    Sorry you are wrong but the LNP have a totally different opinion on what an investment in the future comprises of. We consider better education, decent healthcare and finding solutions to stop violence, in particular domestic violence to be investments into the future but the LNP main objective when investing in the future is to make the rich richer.

    Removing penalty rates, screwing workers to reduce labour costs, moving the tax burden form those who can afford to pay tax onto those who cannot and supplying natural resources royalty free are the main methods adopted. But anything that assists those who donate election funds to the LNP will be catered for Let face facts, if the LNP didn’t pamper to the rich how would they fund an election campaign?

  20. diannaart

    Wally

    What the neo-conservative believes is ‘future investment’ is quite simply, unsustainable. A good investment makes allowances for change, is flexible and can adjust – conservatism does none of this.

    False economy.

  21. Michael Taylor

    I think Neil is the government’s policy writer. Everything is summed up with “it’s Labor’s fault”.

  22. Wally

    diannaart

    “What the neo-conservative believes is ‘future investment’ is quite simply, unsustainable.”

    This is blatantly obvious why don’t the Neil’s of Sydney get it? Australia’s predicament is their fault for continuing to vote for the very people who are screwing us, them and the country. Selling our assets off to anyone who wants to make a quick buck or hold consumers to ransom.

    NoS trusts Tony Abbott, the bloke who still has not come forward with evidence that he no longer holds dual citizenship. How do you overcome blind faith mixed with an incomprehensible level of stupidity? I have an associate very similar to NoS, he always blames the bludgers and druggies for him having to pay tax but now finds himself on the dole. Circumstances are unavoidable and not his fault but now he claims the dole is too low, not enough to live on and of course it is Labors fault for not doing something about the bludgers and druggies!

  23. Backyard Bob

    […]from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister[…]

    Hmmm, seems to be a Labor Party blogger theme emerging on this point; pity it’s a stupid one. I do wish Labor Party bloggers would leave it alone as it detracts from an otherwise sound depiction of Government policy failures – except point 8, which rings awfully hollow for me.

  24. diannaart

    Wally

    What to do with the NoS’s of this world?

    Basic common sense does not get through – even appealing to their own selfish interest doesn’t work, for example, a more equitable society is better for everyone – they continue on believing obvious fools like Abbott, that the magic pudding will continue feeding – well not everyone, only those for whom the great god Capitalism cares for.

    These neo-cons ‘make their own luck’, they never have anything go wrong or if they do, it is someone else’s fault – like Labor’s.

    The mantra for the FRWN – if things go well it’s because they are brilliant, have worked harder than anyone else, if things go pear-shaped blame someone.

  25. Backyard Bob

    Matthew Oborne,

    Perhaps it would give you context having a little more knowledge, perhaps you may even see a pattern with conservative behavior, then you could appear smart to your friends by being able to predict liberal party reactions to issues.

    I hope you’re including the conservatives in the Labor Party.

  26. Backyard Bob

    Kaye Lee,

    Did it ever occur to you its because they are in government and the only ones with the power to do soemthing about the situation?

    Say what? I think you’re letting Labor off the hook there. You see no role from them in asylum seeker policy in the life of this Government?

  27. Katrina Logan

    Backward Bob
    “Hmmm, seems to be a Labor Party blogger theme emerging on this point; pity it’s a stupid one. I do wish Labor Party bloggers would leave it alone….”
    Why are only looney Greens allowed?
    Trish Corry makes sense.
    I’m sure there is a lesson in that for you

  28. Katrina Logan

    Backward Bob
    ” I think you’re letting Labor off the hook there. You see no role from them in asylum seeker policy in the life of this Government?”
    I will have the lesson if you like
    How do you make policy from Opposition?

  29. Backyard Bob

    Katrina,

    You don’t make policy from Opposition, but you sure as hell can vote for it and thereby support it. That’s the role Labor has played in the life of this Government’s asylum seeker policy, not to mention their own glaring moral failures whilst in government.

    Oh, and I vote Labor and always have done, so your “looney Greens” jab does nothing but reveal something about yourself, as does your hopelessly sophomoric wordplay with people’s usernames.

  30. Wally

    Backyard Bob

    Would the country have benefitted if Labor continued Abbotts ridiculous NO to everything stance? Much of what Labor has done regards asylum seekers is questionable at best but some of their attempts to control the situation while in government had the potential to solve the problems without off shore detention but the LNP did everything they could to undermine Labor’s plan.

    Personally I am pleased Labor has not stooped to Abbotts level of politics.

  31. Backyard Bob

    Wally,

    Would the country have benefitted if Labor continued Abbotts ridiculous NO to everything stance?

    I am, of course, discussing AS policy and only that. The current Government’s approach to asylum seekers is almost entirely supported by Labor. Labor’s humanitarian rhetoric appears to be little more than just that – rhetoric – ostensibly designed to appease their progressive voter base. Their voting habits belie that rhetoric, as did their own asylum seeker policy direction under Gillard and then Rudd. The Coalition’s behaviour could very easily be argued to be little more than a natural progression from where Labor left-off.

    Of course, it will almost always be the case that in practice a conservative government will be harsher in its humanitarian persuasions than a Labor government. Or is that perhaps one of those urban political myths akin to conservative governments always being better fiscal managers? Labor’s White Australia still rings in one’s ears….

    Frankly, Wally, when it comes to asylum seeker policy I do wish Labor had adopted a nay-saying Abbott approach. But that was never going to happen given the direction Labor had already taken.

  32. Matthew Oborne

    Bob it depends on how you look at it, to get this far right nightmare out of here I am prepared to cut labor some slack I wouldnt otherwise, so no it is conditional. There is a difference between that and a nodding donkey.

  33. stoo70

    Katrina Logan
    Labor may not be able to make policy from Opposition, but they can support policies of the government and in regard to asylum seeker, and national security policy, this is exactly what Labor have done.
    I think Backyard Bob’s criticism is relevant in this case.

  34. guest

    Backyard Bob and Wally, you are right to point out Labor’s involvement in off-shore processing. The most important point is that Labor is not in government now. The Coalition has been in power for the past two and a half years, yet as in every other policy they dither and delay.

    Howard had his Pacific Solution but still boat people were let into Oz. So Rudd said why not ban any boat people entering Oz, and Abbott adopted it as policy. Labor supported the amendments which made the present policy bullet-proofed against challenge. Labor is bowing to popular opinion which has been beaten up by aspects of the media, both professional and social. Labor has been wedged and has wedged itself.

    To its credit, Labor sought a regional solution which failed for various reasons. It also had court judgements against it. The coalition, however, instigated a unilateral policy. It is a policy roundly criticised internationally, but unbelievably there are those who are thinking of applying it in Europe

    So we say, who cares what anyone thinks, we will decide who comes and how. And we will use the people we have in capture as deterrents against people smugglers and other boat people. And there is the rub. We have all this talk about violence against children and women, but not for people who come by boat.

    But people are rebelling against such a policy and its hiding behind secrecy and its threats of imprisonment for speaking out. Remember all the talk about freedom of speech? Yes, freedom for some but not for others. Something about ‘sovereign matters’.

    Why it is taking so long for the Coalition to do something about their immoral, inhumane policy and why it has taken so long for people to speak out against it goes to the heart of what Oz has become.

  35. Backyard Bob

    Matthew Oborne,

    As a progressive who has always voted Labor – ok, ok, I did vote Green in the Senate once – I know a great deal about cutting Labor slack. I think it should be noted that, the Whitlam era aside, Labor is not and has never been a progressive party, as such. Certainly, it has some significant and genuinely progressive themes running through its political and social policy tapestry, but it is an incredibly complex political and social entity. The Labor heartland is populated by just as many bogan, boozing, migrant sledging, single mother dissing types as it is actual leftist progressives. It makes for an interesting Xmas.

    Asylum seekers is a troublesome and profound policy area. It’s tempting to say Labor lost its way during the Gillard/Rudd years, but I’m not so sure it’s necessarily accurate to characterise things that way. Bob Hawke was guilty of demonising refugees and was quite fond of the “queue jumper” epithet. It’s always been a difficult policy area for Labor, not just because of the problems inherent in the issue but also because of the disparate views taken by Labor’s electoral body.

    When you look at Labor’s actual stated policies on asylum seekers you immediately see a glaring difference in the humanitarian principles they rhetorically commit to, compared to the Coalition, but as I said before, it appears to be largely rhetorical and therefore empty. I’d like to see a lot more from them in terms of practical action.

    Is this one issue sufficient for me to change my vote? Probably not, but in concert with other matters such as population surveillance and certain areas of welfare policy, Labor is on somewhat thin ice with me and I think I’m cutting them about as much slack as I’m prepared to.

    We’ll see when the election is announced. Their commitments re: renewables, Gonski and protection of penalty rates are all good signs, of course.

  36. diannaart

    I cannot forget Kim Beazley supporting Howard that claims of children thrown overboard was true. Nor forgive.

    Neither man bothered to verify such abhorrent claims.

    That was the beginning, for myself, of losing faith in Labor – admittedly I had been growing increasingly despondent with Hawke/Keating.

  37. Backyard Bob

    Ah, yes, Beazely. When he caved to the politics of Tampa and “children overboard” a policy juggernaut was set in motion and nothing much has slowed it.

  38. Trish Corry

    Ah Yes, and how can we forget Sir Joseph Cook, who in 1917 split from Labor and joined the Nationalists party. I will never forgive Labor for that!

  39. Backyard Bob

    Well, I’m in the camp of those who follow the wisdom of not forgetting history. If Labor wants to claim any moral high ground on asylum seeker policy is had best find a way to actually occupy it.

  40. Trish Corry

    You could actually read Labor’s current policy for a start.

  41. Neil of Sydney

    If Labor wants to claim any moral high ground on asylum seeker policy is had best find a way to actually occupy it.

    Apparently Labor locked up 8,000 kids and the highest number locked up at anyone time was 2,000. I can remember Labor supporters condemning Howard for locking up a much smaller number of children.

  42. Roswell

    Neil, if your memory’s that good then I’m sure you can remember Labor supporters condemning Labor for it too.

    Unlike you, they don’t hesitate to condemn the party they support.

  43. cornlegend

    Trish Corry
    “how can we forget Sir Joseph Cook”
    mine is longer 😀
    I still have sleepless nights over King O’Malley dropping the U in Labor, 1912 and I’m still dirty 😀

  44. Matters Not

    Once again, Neil wins, As he always does.

    He’s so much smarter than the average contributor here.

    Sucked in, chewed up and spat out is his plan. Wins every time.

    Nothing new. His history is well known and yet contributors who should know better fall for it.

    Anyone want to buy a bridg …. ? Just contact Neil.

  45. diannaart

    Trish Corry

    … how can we forget Sir Joseph Cook, who in 1917 split from Labor…

    Relevance to action on refugees?

    Changes made by Howard and endorsed by Beazley still in effect today, which is why we STILL have children having their lives eroded away while languishing in detention camps.

    But thanks for enlightening me for how you and cornlegend really feel about detaining refugees.

    Now, please continue to mock…

  46. Backyard Bob

    Neil:

    Apparently Labor locked up 8,000 kids and the highest number locked up at anyone time was 2,000. I can remember Labor supporters condemning Howard for locking up a much smaller number of children.

    That’s true; Labor was dealing with a rather high number of asylum seekers, but it is also true that children in detention under Labor stayed in detention for significantly less time than under any Coalition Government. But you know, Neil, when all’s said and done this isn’t some political f*cking competition, is is a moral and humanitarian issue. Do you, or do you not, support the current style and level of treatment of asylum seekers by the Government for the purpose of a “deterrent”? yes or no. No stats, just a simple answer, if you please.

    Trish,

    I have read Labor’s current policy on asylum seekers. If you read more comments here you’d know I dismiss it as rhetoric that is not matched by their actions. Tell me, why does Labor not support New Zealand’s offer to take refugees from Manus and/or Nauru? Or, if I have my facts on that wrong, can you point me to where they have expressed their support for the offer.

  47. Backyard Bob

    diannaart,

    Changes made by Howard and endorsed by Beazley still in effect today,[…]

    Yes indeed, which makes the historical observation relevant. I have to be candid here and say it shits me to tears when party hacks from Labor mock observations about their history on some issue as though it were not relevant because, well, they are not in Government. That argument is nonsense on stilts. As I said, Beazley’s cave-in set a policy juggernaut in motion that is still, to this very day, smashing its way through basic principles of human decency. That cave-in is not a thing of the past, it’s precisely what Labor is doing right now.

    Trish seems to think we should read Labor’s current pixelated policy on asylum seekers. I have and I can say that despite a greater amount of flowery language it doesn’t read all that differently from the Coalition’s. It’s all just words. I could cite all the humanitarian failings during the Gillard/Rudd period but that would be silly, as they are not in Government and nothing they did informs what is happening now. Noooooooo…..

  48. trishcorry

    Diannaart. Feel free to think that I am mocking children of asylum, however you are way off the mark. My exasperation is how people go back over decades and complain about decisions made by a completely different make up of one party and blame the current party. The parties of years gone by were dealing with a different set of circumstances and yes, the world does change and all governments need to respond to that change. John Howard is not Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten is not Kim Beazley, nor is he Rudd or Gillard.

    I don’t believe that John Howard would support prolonged detention and the entire operation shrouded in secrecy. Please look at the current policies of the Liberals, Labor and Greens. In my view, Labor has the balance right, in terms of humane treatment with quick processing, transparency, independent guardian and child guardian, access to health and psych and legal etc.,

    The Liberals policy is far too severe and having studied the statistics (which are available online) it is heavily apparent that the prolonged detention (which is what is said to cause people the most harm) sharply increased when the LNP took power.

    The current ALP policy will reintroduce the UN 90 day processing rule that the LNP abolished and return the refugee tribunal for fair claims (which the LNP abolished). Onshore does not equal humane treatment. The LNP would still have prolonged detention and secrecy and no refugee tribunal if they were housed onshore. It is the mechanisms within the policy – the practicalities that change the practices, not where it is done. Labor also supports funding more regional processing centres in other countries. If this works, trips from Indonesia to Australia will be obsolete and so will the need for Manus and Nauruu.

    The Green’s policy is open to risk as it is very vague, it reduced claim processing to 30 days (and does not detail why they are aiming for 60 days less than the UN recommended time), they do not detail where the people will be processed, or how they will get to Australia. Will they just be sitting back waiting for them to come on a fishing boat and hit the rocks on our shores? Or will there be Navy vessels out there like there is currently transferring them to the boat. Where do they go after that, if there is no mandatory detention at all for screening? What risks are involved with that model? Considering there are people who are NOT genuine refugees and there is the possibility in the world we live in that these people have the intent to cause people harm in Australia, there is absolutely no detail that 30 days turn around is sufficient time to vet for incubation of diseases and also proper security checks. There are so many gaps in their policy it is difficult to determine the practicalities of it.

    I would like to call out the people who simply just say the Green’s policy is so great and all nice and good, when they may not have even have read it or weighed up the risk aspects of it. We have a responsibility to people seeking asylum, but we also have a responsibility of not bringing in diseases we have eradicated here and we have a responsibility to security check people arriving here. The Greens also supported offshore processing over the Malaysia solution and voted it down, hence returning to the offshore model we have now. I also note that the Greens have included in their policy, many mechanisms that are in the Labor policy.

    If you want to be so critical of current ALP policy, please map out for me how the mechanisms within the policy will result in inhumane treatment of Asylum seekers. I also would like to note that all cross benchers voted down the Green’s motion as well, except for Madigan. Xenophon was absent. I don’t think Lazurus and Muir are inherently evil either.

    For the record, my personal preference is a short mandatory detention onshore to clear for health checks and security and then a community billet program until they can get their own community housing. I also do not believe the Liberals or Labor are inherently evil, because they are trying to work with a solution that stops people crashing into our shores on rickety boats and drown on the way here. I also don’t think they are inherently evil by making sure that they are detained until proper security and health checks are done. It is a situation with many layers of complexity with all solutions having negatives and risk. I also personally do not see the problem with keeping those asylum seekers here in question; however, I do understand the No vote as well. If there was a simple solution for managing asylum seeker arrivals, Govt’s would have done it by now. No Govt wants a complex problem that damages their reputation if things go wrong.

  49. Neil of Sydney

    but it is also true that children in detention under Labor stayed in detention for significantly less time than under any Coalition Government

    I have seen that statement many times but i don’t believe it. I suspect the time in detention for kids has not changed. What has changed is that there are no new arrivals which occurred in the thousands under Rudd/Gillard. Just do the maths. Do you know what an average is? Just say 2,000 kids turn up next week and then you do time in detention after they arrive. Average time has dropped because 2,000 kids have just arrived. So i say time in detention has not changed but average time in detention has increased under the Coalition because now the boats have stopped there are no new arrivals.

    Do you, or do you not, support the current style and level of treatment of asylum seekers by the Government for the purpose of a “deterrent”? yes or no.

    I support Coalition policy. In an unjust world Howard got it right. We stop the boats which Abbott showed is possible and take our refugees from UNHCR camps.I have yet to see a Labor support put a number on how many refugees we should take. We got 4,000 boat people in July 2013. That could easily double and we could find ourselves with 50-100,000 boat people arriving/year.

    In my view, Labor has the balance right

    Labor did not even provide education/schooling for the kids they locked up. It was not until Morrison became Immigration minister that schooling was provided.

  50. diannaart

    @trishcorry

    I am not here promoting Greens policy – or any particular ideology, for that matter.

    I am speaking for justice, for humane treatment of damaged people.

    Backyard Bob said it all for me:

    …Beazley’s cave-in set a policy juggernaut in motion that is still, to this very day, smashing its way through basic principles of human decency…

    You and cornlegend comparing this evil inheritance from both Labor and the LNP, to something that occurred early last century which doesn’t even pertain to the issue of refugees, is beyond insult.

    I cannot forget what you and cornlgend have said today – only words, like the ALP refugee policy is only words, but your words hit deeply.

    I really don’t know what else to say – you can write marathon of words in reply, none of them will change your mockery of me making the valid and irrefutable argument, the appalling treatment of refugees began with Howard AND Beazley and continues…. in our name, Australia!

  51. Trish Corry

    Neil the boats have not stopped. 23 boats last year. Everything is a secret we have no idea who is dying

  52. Trish Corry

    Please explain how the current ALP policy is not about the fair and just treatment and humane treatment of Asylum seekers

  53. Lee

    “No, the Coalition policy of stopping the boats and taking our refugees from UNHCR camps is a cheaper and fairer system. ”

    @NoS

    Cheaper than what? The LNP is spending approximately the same amount on a few thousand refugees every year, that the UNHCR is spending worldwide on 50+ million refugees.

  54. diannaart

    What did I say about words?

    ALP policy means NOTHING, unless immediate action can be taken to put a stop to this appalling treatment of people.

    I will not be goaded into a pointless argument of Labor’s claims – because right here and now, they mean nothing.

    Why don’t you go and tell Abyan how wonderful Labor’s refugee policies are?

  55. Lee

    “Please explain how the current ALP policy is not about the fair and just treatment and humane treatment of Asylum seekers”

    @Trish Corry
    Labor is still willing to put children in detention. There’s no time limit on processing. “As quickly as possible” could be 5 or 10 years.

  56. Lee

    “The current ALP policy will reintroduce the UN 90 day processing rule that the LNP abolished”

    It’s not a rule according to Labor, it’s a KPI. KPIs are meaningless. When they’re doing better than the target, Labor will say “look how good we are”. When they’re doing worse than the KPI, they’ll have a list of excuses. By that same marker they were doing badly before, even though they were doing better than the LNP with processing time.

  57. trishcorry

    Dianne.
    You appear to be passing judgement on the ALP and asking them to prove something they cannot prove until they are in power, makes perfect sense. You are also passing judgement on me, when I am speaking to the current ALP policy. Not the policy of 30 years ago, which some are more interested in. The ALP policy has had significant changes and improvements at conference. I think a very detailed policy indeed sets out, the intentions of a party and it is a document that will hold them to account. I cannot understand how you can ignore that and have a serious debate on the issue. I guess the Greens, never being in power are exempt from this, because their policy has never been tested, but people are prepared to trust Greens based just on their very vague policy.

    Lee,
    Under Labor’s policy developed at conference processing times will be under the UN rule of 90 days and the refugee tribunal put back in place. The ALP policy implements a child guardian, who will specifically look after children and an Independent overseer for all operations.

  58. Lee

    “I have seen that statement many times but i don’t believe it. I suspect the time in detention for kids has not changed. ”

    @NoS

    It’s in the AHRC’s report on children in detention. That report that your beloved Tony Abbott proclaimed was partisan – as usual he was lying. The time period covered by that report also included some of the time when Labor was in government and reported stats for both governments. It was equally as critical of the Labor government because although they detained people for shorter periods of time, they detained more people than the LNP did.

  59. Lee

    From the ALP website:

    “Under the former Labor Government there was a statutory requirement for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to report on how many claims were processed within 90 days of a completed application being received. This ’90 day rule’ was an important accountability measure in ensuring that government operates in a timely way in assessing protection applications. The Abbott Government removed this requirement as part of a package of measures passed by the Senate in December last year.

    Labor in government will reintroduce the ‘90 day rule’ into the Migration Act. ”

    1. The 90 day rule is a KPI. It does not mean that all asylum seekers must be processed in 90 days.

    2. There’s no guarantee that a Labor government will be able to get it through the Senate.

    http://www.alp.org.au/asylumseekers

  60. diannaart

    Trishcorry

    I can CRITICISE whomever I choose. Be it Labor, Liberal, Greens or that proven idiot Neil.

    When this treatment of refugees becomes a part of history – the world will not be pointing a finger at Labor or the LNP, it will judge us all.

    In the future when asked what did we do to help (insert vulnerable persons of choice, eg, First Nation, Muslims, Refugees) we can answer we argued over the meaning of political policies.

    Please Trish go tell Abyan that she will be in detention for less time than if the Libs are in power.

  61. Lee

    “I guess the Greens, never being in power are exempt from this, because their policy has never been tested, but people are prepared to trust Greens based just on their very vague policy.”

    @Trish Corry

    The outcome on any issue should be of greater importance than the party that delivers it. If you’re just blindly voting for one party no matter what, then you’re part of the problem.

  62. Neil of Sydney

    Under the former Labor Government there was a statutory requirement for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to report on how many claims were processed within 90 days of a completed application being received.

    ok assuming this is correct, did this change the time in detention? I still suspect what i said is true. As soon as the boats stopped there were no new additions to people in detention hence the average time in detention increased but time in detention remained unchanged.

    It’s in the AHRC’s report on children in detention

    See above

    Cheaper than what?

    I get condemned for repeating myself but i have to. In 2007 there were only 6 boat people in detention most probably because they could not get a security clearance. Howard stopped the boats, emptied the detention centers and took our refugees from UNHCR camps.

    And for the morally superior Labor supporters after locking 8,000 children up they could not get schooling until the Coalition was elected

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-20/school-changed-lives-of-asylum-seekers-on-christmas-island/5980986

    When teachers from the Catholic Education Office travelled to Christmas Island to set up a school for asylum seeker children, they knew they would be working with a traumatised group of young people.

  63. Lee

    “ok assuming this is correct, did this change the time in detention? I still suspect what i said is true. As soon as the boats stopped there were no new additions to people in detention hence the average time in detention increased but time in detention remained unchanged.”

    Que? The only way the average time in detention can increase, is if the total number of days for some individuals increases, either a small number of days for a lot of individuals or a lot of extra days for a smaller number of individuals. If the boats stopped, then the workload for processing asylum seekers also drops. Either the Immigration Dept has suddenly become slack as, or the boats kept coming. The total number of refugees worldwide has been steadily increasing, so it’s probably the latter.

    http://www.asrc.org.au/resources/statistics/detention-and-refugee-statistics/

    According to this website, the following people were in offshore detention:

    31 Dec 2013 = 2067
    31 Dec 2014 = 1930 (137 processed)
    30 Dec 2015 = 1459 (471 processed)

    Assuming the Liberal Party are being honest (cough, cough) and the boats have really stopped, that’s a rather lame total number of asylum seekers processed in one year by an entire department.

  64. Neil of Sydney

    The only way the average time in detention can increase, is if the total number of days for some individuals increases,

    Sort of. If 10 people have been in detention for 10 weeks the time in detention is 10 weeks. Just say 1,000 boat people turn up today and we measure time in detention 1 week latter. So 10 people have been in detention for 11 weeks and 1,000 people have been in detention for 1 week. How do you measure time in detention? Well i say the answer is

    (10×11 + 1,000×1)/1,010 = 1.1 weeks.

    See the extra 1,000 arrivals has driven the time in detention down from 10 weeks to 1.1 week.

    As soon as the boats stopped the average time in detention started to increase but time in detention did not change. All the new arrivals drove down the average time in detention. Anyway it is a possibility. I would like to see if they measured time in detention. Was it average time or total time.

    FRom your link total number of people in detention has been reduced from approx 12,000 when Labor lost office to 4,000 in December 2105. That is a reduction of 8,000. Could be better i guess.

  65. Backyard Bob

    Trish,

    My exasperation is how people go back over decades and complain about decisions made by a completely different make up of one party and blame the current party. The parties of years gone by were dealing with a different set of circumstances and yes, the world does change and all governments need to respond to that change. John Howard is not Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten is not Kim Beazley, nor is he Rudd or Gillard.

    “The parties of years gone by were dealing with a different set of circumstances.”

    It’s hard to deny the truth of that at the level of minutiae, but in the broadest sense, when everything is distilled down to its essence, I’m forced to call bullshit. I’m quite fond of the products of distillation, so for me the basic spirit of this issue may be messaged in this bottle: over the last 15 years various refugees came on various boats from various countries and were variously screwed over by us, leading to 2 quintessential developmental changes in Australian politics regarding refugee policy – 1) a gradual yet transparently deliberate attempt to demonise boat people in the minds of the Australian public; 2) a gradual yet transparent and deliberate dismantling of our regard for, and willingness to abide by, various humanitarian and international conventions and protocols, all of which we signed up to. None of the major parties are free of guilt on those points.

    From the mouths of babes:

    In 2007, Year 8 student Katharine Gentry won the Victorian National History Challenge for her essay The Tampa incident and how it became a turning point in Australian history.

    This is her essay:

    The Tampa search and rescue mission of 438 asylum seekers heading towards Australia in 2001 marks a turning point in Australia’s history in three key ways.

    Firstly, it provoked legal changes that determine how Australia responds to unauthorised boats in our territory.

    Secondly, through extensive media coverage it shaped the public’s opinions towards boat people and dramatically influenced the outcome of an election.

    Lastly, the Tampa incident marks an important turning point in international perceptions of Australia.
    After briefly outlining the Tampa’s mission, these three dimensions will be examined.

    On 26 August 2001, in response to a Mayday signal from a ship in international waters, the Australian Government sent a plea to nearby vessels to conduct a search and rescue mission. The Tampa, a Norwegian cargo ship, responded to the call.

    After a four hour journey, the Tampa discovered the Palapa; a 35 metre Indonesian fishing boat with 438 asylum seekers on board. The Palapa had been heading to Christmas Island and the passengers were planning to claim refugee status in Australia, but they had encountered a storm and the boat was falling apart.

    The asylum seekers asked to be taken to Christmas Island and the master of the ship, Arne Rinnan, took them as far as he could before he was forbidden to enter Australian waters.

    Canberra did not want any more asylum seekers in Australia and they held to several arguments: to protect the nation’s sovereignty; that our detention centres were full; that these people might not be genuine refugees and after 11 September, that there could be terrorists among them.

    The asylum seekers were kept on the hot deck of the Tampa with up to 15 people unconscious at one time, not enough toilets, on hunger strike, with skin diseases, diarrhoea, three pregnant women, one broken leg, several suffering from hypothermia and 46 children.

    Rinnan waited outside the territorial waters with the health situation on board deteriorating for three days until he decided that he had to get to Christmas Island.

    At this, the government sent an SAS recruitment to board the ship. On 3 September, the asylum seekers were transferred to a navy boat and taken to Nauru as part of the Pacific Solution. 131 of them ended up in New Zealand and the rest were scattered. Australia wanted as few refugees, particularly from the Tampa, as possible.

    On 17 September the new Border Protection Bill was voted in. This made the Tampa incident not only an event, but a turning point in Australia’s history and law. In effect, the Bill represented a shift in power away from legal systems (where judges and evidence determine asylum seekers’ future) to military and government officials. It overrode previous laws, like the international convention (1951). This gave the Prime Minister the right to turn the Tampa, and many other vessels away.

    As to be expected, there was opposition to the Bill. It took two appeals to parliament for the Bill to be agreed to. Human rights advocates and the United Nations also strongly opposed the Bill for humanitarian reasons.

    The Tampa sparked an upsurge of media interest in asylum seeker issues and consequently established immigration policy’s place as a key social question. Before the Tampa incident media coverage of boat people was enough to ignite fear, but never informative enough to present the issue clearly.

    Just one week before the Tampa’s mission, polls were showing Howard was going to lose the 2001 election. “I didn’t actually think immigration issues could flush that away” says leader of the Opposition at that time, Kim Beazley. It turns out the Tampa mission was a crucial turning point in the election campaign. Howard used the Tampa incident to fuel anxiety.

    The Border Protection Bill symbolised the Liberal’s commitment to security issues. Howard argued that tough uncompromising action was needed, and that Labor’s indecisiveness left Liberals the only party up to the task. The events surrounding the Tampa signify an important political turning point in Australia’s history, as they influenced Liberal’s 2001 election win.

    Before the Tampa, Australia was well known for its humanitarian treatment of refugees. Marian Le, a prominent spokesperson for refugees, notes that Australia offered Indochinese asylum seekers fleeing the Vietnam War unquestioned two year protection visas through to permanent citizenship rights.

    When John Howard’s government decided to turn asylum seekers away, she was among the many people opposed to the cruelty of not allowing other human beings peaceful asylum.

    The Tampa’s captain, the owner of the ship and the local head of the shipping line were careful when criticising the Australian government. They said that they were merely ‘surprised and disappointed’ by Canberra.

    The United Nations, the government of Norway, the Wilhelmson Line (owner of the MV Tampa), legal commentators, human rights advocates, a few brave politicians and some Melbourne lawyers were among the biggest opponents the Australian government had.

    They were opposed to the Border Protection Bill; which included Operation Relex (the naval operation used to keep the boats away) and the Pacific Solution (sending the boat people who wouldn’t turn away to detention centres on islands in the Pacific).

    In conclusion, the Tampa incident represents a three-fold turning point in Australia’s modern history.

    It led to the creation of the Border Protection Bill, which was a substantial change in Australia’s law and attitude to asylum seekers.

    Next, it raised immigration policy and asylum seekers as a major social issue and influenced the 2001 election.

    Finally, Australia’s humanitarian and fair image was damaged in the international community.
    If it weren’t for the Tampa incident, Australia could be heading in a different direction. The Bill might not have been introduced. Asylum seekers could still be coming to Australia. People would probably still be very ignorant about asylum seekers, with little media interest in the subject. For all we know, Australia could be led by a different political party.

    A comparison of Coalition and Labor government asylum policies in Australia since 2001

    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1314/AsylumPolicies#_Toc381358237

  66. Lee

    Neil, the average stay in detention is the sum of the length of each stay in days, divided by the total number of people included in that data set. If the data only includes those who have been processed and either resettled or returned, then the recent arrivals won’t be included. If the recent arrivals are included, they will decrease the average length of stay. But according to you the boats have stopped, so there aren’t any recent arrivals anyway, unless someone gives birth. We could also ask if deaths are included in that data. Deaths would decrease the average length of stay and make the Immigration Dept look more efficient than they really are.

  67. diannaart

    Thank you ByB and Katharine Gentry for a most interesting read.

    The entire world took a seismic shift to the right in 2001.

    People who care only about power and how to use it to control and frighten others…. so distorting has this shift been that, now, too many believe the ends justify the means.

    If Tampa, if children overboard, if John Howard, if if if

  68. Neil of Sydney

    If the recent arrivals are included, they will decrease the average length of stay.

    Exactly. That was my point.

    If 10 people have been in detention for 10 weeks and 1,000 new people have been in detention for only one week how do you workout the time in detention? Labor continually had new arrivals changing the equation. Once the arrivals stopped the equation changed again.

    if children overboard,

    I cannot believe you people are going on about children overboard. I cannot see what the big deal is. In October, Howard was told children were thrown overboard. Howard was told 3 days before the 2001 election that the claims may not be true. What is the problem? I doubt it played any role in the election. If there was some sort of conspiracy going on between Reith, Ruddock and Howard it would eventually come out. If you tell a lie you have to be very clever because you may have to tell another lie to cover up the first lie and the first lie then gets revealed.

  69. Trish Corry

    There have been a number of comments this afternoon since I logged off, so I will just summarise some points.
    Firstly, I truly believe the current Labor Government has the right approach to asylum seekers. Their policy is built on a humane framework and has a number of mechanisms in place to ensure that people seeking asylum are treated humanely. I am of the view that onshore does not automatically equal humane treatment. The LNP if we had onshore detention would still have secrecy and prolonged detention. It is the prolonged detention and the denial of access to legal advisors and a tribunal that is causing a lot of harm. In addition, the secrecy is also an issue, as we have no idea what is going on.

    The Labor party’s current policy, addresses this by setting a limit of 90 days for processing. They also will reintroduce the tribunal for refugees to access. That means when people arrive they for the most part be processed within 90 days, rather than some people who have been in there for 730 days according to the latest report from the Department.

    I 100% believe and support a system of mandatory detention for a short period for both health and security checks, including for children. I don’t think it is sensible to allow anyone to come into Australia who may be carrying a contagious disease. We also have an obligation to citizens here, particularly those who are vulnerable.

    For those here who are attacking me saying I am inhumane. I am not. A Govt has an obligation to its citizens as well as to the Asylum seekers. There needs to be balance. Reports from guards that have been there that have spoken out state that there is a mixture of genuine families seeking asylum right through to hardened criminals. No different than if you grabbed a heap of different people from one town in Australia. You will get a mixture of all sorts of people. We simply cannot assume that everyone fleeing is wholesome and good. There are many rules in our society where we apply one rule for all, to ward off the risk of a few. I am 100% opposed to the prolonged detention under the Liberals and I support Labor’s policy with the 90 day limit and full access to legal and a tribunal. Even the Greens have a processing time of 30 days, but they do NOT state where these people will be staying or what the risks are of reducing this from 90 to 60 days. The Greens policy, although probably well intentioned has many gaps and is ambiguous.

    I am fully opposed to secrecy that the Liberals have put in place. I do not understand how as a nation, we can improve our management of asylum seekers and care for them, if there is no input from anyone else.

    Labor’s policy will remove secrecy and have full transparency. The public can judge Labor on their actions and refugee advocates and others will be welcome to inspect conditions and obviously feedback for improvements.

    Another key area to turning around the secrecy provisions will be that of an Independent overseer and a Child Guardian. A child guardian is in place to ensure the rights of children are protected and they are processed as quickly as possible.

    Those who advocate that we should just let people in, I do not agree with, because I do not think it is right or just to simply not screen people coming to this country. I do not believe we need to have offshore detention and we can have a system of onshore detention. But I do not agree that people should just crash into rocks on our shores, drown on the way and just live in the community. Sorry if you think that is harsh, but my thoughts are to provide balance between those arriving and the people who already live here. I don’t just blindly follow Labor’s policy. I was against it at first until I really sat down and mapped out how it will counteract the inhumane actions occurring now under the Liberals. I do insist that many who just attack Labor do not engage with the policy, but just see offshore and think it is the same as the Liberals. I also charge Labor with responsibility for this as they are lax at promoting the positives of this policy and how it will work. I have no interest in discussing Howard or any policy of the past. I am interested in the here and now and how ALL the parties’ policies affect people today if implemented.

    This blog post was actually about Gonski and the majority of comments have been about Asylum Seekers. Although this is a pressing issue, so is the education of our children. I hope that we can walk and chew gum at the same time and we can all indeed Give a Gonski for our kids. Because I also have compassion for the class divide that is being pushed onto the lower and middle class in Australia, including their access to quality education.

  70. Trish Corry

    Neil, yes you are correct, by the reports the numbers are reducing in detention. However, this is because they have turned 23 boats around and we have no idea what has happened to them. That is denying our responsibility altogether to those seeking asylum. Out of sight out of mind does not make things right either.

    With regards to children overboard. We have heard from reports in documentaries that people smugglers do indeed threaten to kills women and children. The ABC doco even took us to the graves. I do believe the current Govt when they insist that people smugglers are not good people but criminals. I refuse to believe that Howard, Abbott or anyone else is inherently evil. Their ideology harms people who disadvantaged. However, it is a position that many people in the world take, as opposed to a left or socialist ideology. Labor is build on democratic socialism, not conservatism. They are two sides to a coin, but neither come close to the atrocities and treatment of people we see who are under a dictatorship. I think once the secrecy provisions are lifted, everyone will have the opportunity to keep improving our management and treatment of those seeking Asylum and that is what we should aim for.

  71. Neil of Sydney

    The LNP if we had onshore detention would still have secrecy and prolonged detention.

    Secrecy? What do you think of this. The article is dated March 5 2013

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/official-barred-from-visits-to-nauru-manus-island-20130304-2fh2g.html

    The federal government’s top legal adviser has told Australian Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs she cannot visit Nauru and Manus Island to assess and act on complaints from asylum seekers about conditions on the islands.

    And i doubt the time in detention has changed. There were 20,000 boat people in 2013. It takes time to process all these people. The average time in detention has increased under the Coalition because there are no new arrivals being added to the system. But i doubt the total time in detention has changed at all.

  72. Michael Taylor

    Neil, you’ve spent months telling us that Gillian Triggs is an evil, lying fraud. Have you had a change of heart?

  73. Neil of Sydney

    No i am saying the Labor govt was secretive when they banned Triggs from visiting Nauru and Manus Island.

  74. Trish Corry

    Neil it really is not a competition. It should be bipartisan or tripartisan including the Greens to work on the best outcome. The whole lot of them should be locked in a room and come up with a solution they all agree with as far as I’m concerned.

  75. Trish Corry

    and if Labor did that in 2013 Neil, they were wrong. However, their entire operations were not shrouded in secrecy. What is happening now is appalling.

  76. cornlegend

    Trish Corry
    I was out of the country for a couple of months and have just been catching up with stuff
    No 2 on your list {2. The Job Seekers can Starve for Six Months Policy} is the one that scares the bejesus out of me when you think of what could happen, based on ABS figures, if things go guts up
    From underemployed to unemployed is a quick hit

    A record 4,192,000 Australians are employed part-time (up 349,000 since November 2014);

    Now 2,536,000 Australians are unemployed or under-employed: 19.6% of the workforce – up 45,000

    This month’s increase from 8.8% to 9.2% means the latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate is now 3.3% higher than the figure currently quoted by the ABS for October 2015 (5.9%).

    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    http://abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0?opendocument#from-banner=LN

  77. Trish Corry

    Yes, it horrifies me as well. So far the starve for six months has been blocked and Labor and Greens currently stand opposed to starve for one month

  78. Backyard Bob

    Trish,

    Please explain to me how the changes to the Australian Migration Act (e.g. 90 day rule) proposed as part of Labor’s Asylum Seeker policy platform will apply to detainees on Manus and Nauru. Oh, and could you address the question about New Zealand’s offer if you get a moment?

  79. Backyard Bob

    Preventing deaths at sea

    The combination of offshore processing and regional resettlement together with the policy of turning back boats has stopped the flow of vessels arriving on our shores. None could have succeeded in isolation but together they have ended a human tragedy.

    To ensure that people smugglers are denied the opportunity to offer any incentive to vulnerable people to board unsafe boats to make the dangerous journey to Australia by sea. Provided it can be done so safely, a future Labor Government will retain the option of turning boats around.

    Good for you, future Labor Government. Good for you.

  80. Neil of Sydney

    and if Labor did that in 2013 Neil, they were wrong. However, their entire operations were not shrouded in secrecy. What is happening now is appalling.

    More applying than this?

    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/asylum-seekers-refugees-and-human-rights-snapshot-report/2-onshore-detention-and

    2.4 Mental health impacts of detention

    Between January 2011 and February 2013 there were 4,313 incidents of actual, threatened and attempted serious self-harm recorded in immigration detention facilities in Australia.[73] In the 2012–2013 financial year there were 846 incidents of self-harm across the immigration detention network.[74]

    Between 1 July 2010 and 20 June 2013, there were 12 deaths in immigration detention facilities. Coroners have found that six of those deaths were suicides.[75]

  81. The AIM Network

    Oh FFS Neil can’t you accept that this government are evil bastards too when it comes to detention? Go on . . . admit it. It won’t kill you.

  82. gangey1959

    NoS.
    You stated somewhere above “The average time in detention has increased under the Coalition because there are no new arrivals being added to the system. But i doubt the total time in detention has changed at all.”
    If I am correctly understanding what you are saying, Although there are no new arrivals, the average time in detention is increasing.
    Isn’t that like saying that the last few people through the supermarket checkout are going to have to wait just as long as the hundreds who came in at 3.30 with all of their screaming schoolkids just because “we have a system and that’s how it works” ?

    I still believe that you are tony abbott in civvies. No-one else could be that stupid. Have you found it difficult to get a job a “Hire a Moron”?

  83. Trish Corry

    Neil and Bob the reason Labor have developed their current policy is that they have considered where things have gone wrong in the past. That is why they will be implementing mechanisms to ensure that humane treatment will occur. Part of this is full access to medical and legal, and independent overseer and child guardian.

    It is easy to criticise Labor’s balanced policy without having to engage in any of the detail, I understand that. It is also easy to take the moral high ground rather than the unpopular opinion without engaging in a debate that offers solutions of what could be improved in Labor’s policy. It is easy to take the moral high ground, rather than the unpopular opinion of what the risks are to “just letting people come here, with no mandatory period of detention for health and security checks.” Labor’s policies in the past have indeed had flaws and that is the reason for many of the provisions in the current policy; however it also does not mean there is room for improvement by engaging in actual quality debate, rather than posting links about what happened in the past.

    The Liberals ideology that everyone should be punished as a deterrent has seen people being detained now for 730 days as of the last report issued in December. It is the prolonged detention and the secrecy and the inability for these people to access the fairness of a justice system, that is causing so much pain for people waiting to be processed. In addition, the insistence that no one will be resettled has a huge impact. The Labor party does not agree with prolonged detention. They do not agree with denying access to fair process and they do not agree with a shroud of secrecy. There are stark differences between the Liberal and Labor policy and if people want to insist that they are the same, then they have not read the policy. If they have read it, they have a serious issue with comprehension.

    I respect people’s position for onshore processing, however the details of that need to be hashed out for those who do not want offshore. The benefits as well as the risks and what we as a country will accept as those risks. If we only have onshore, do we accept that some people may drown? The same with the Liberals, the “boats may have stopped” (however they have just been turned around and not stopped) but as a community, we have not been given the option to argue for what we are prepared to accept. Do we accept turnbacks to country of origin? Will we accept turnbacks to Indonesia? Why or why not? Do we accept prolonged detention and the risks that brings? Debate simply must be centred on policy and not idealism.

    I personally would like to see a short period of onshore detention and a billeting program in the community until they get independent housing. I do NOT agree with only resettling in other countries and I do not see the need for all periods of detention to be offshore. However, the reality is, there are two policies which belong to two parties that can form Govt and if people cannot engage with the policy that both parties have and offer a way forward, then the debate really is pointless.

  84. Trish Corry

    Neil if you have a look at the graph in the reports on the “Border Force site”, processing times have dramatically increased since 2013. It is actually quite astonishing. Please also acknowledge that it is actually a well known fact touted by the Liberals that no one will be resettled. They are doing prolonged detention specifically as a deterrent of their policy. They advertise it themselves.

  85. Neil of Sydney

    Neil if you have a look at the graph in the reports on the “Border Force site”, processing times have dramatically increased since 2013

    I am not blind. My proclamation is that they are telling lies using statistics. Average time in detention is not a measure of processing time. It is a measure of which govt is getting the most new arrivals. The Coalition is not getting any new arrivals so average time in detention is increasing but processing times are unchanged.

    Just think about it. What would happen to average time in detention if 10,000 boat people turned up tomorrow. Well average time in detention will drop.

  86. cuppa

    The worst government in history.

  87. Lee

    “Just think about it. What would happen to average time in detention if 10,000 boat people turned up tomorrow. Well average time in detention will drop.”

    Neil, that won’t happen. You’ve told us many times that the boats have stopped.

  88. Neil of Sydney

    Neil, that won’t happen. You’ve told us many times that the boats have stopped.

    Exactly. And that is why average time in detention is increasing. I suspect the journalists who say time in detention is increasing are Labor supporters. I have seen enough deceit from Labor supporters to never trust anything they say. So i say they are telling lies using statistics. The phrase Lies, damned lies, and statistics is true. Average time in detention is not a measure of processing time which i suspect is unchanged.

    The worst government in history.

    Which govt locked up 8,000 kids?

  89. Backyard Bob

    Trish,

    Yes, it’s easy to adopt a moral high ground. It’s also apparently easy to avoid questions. I put them to you again:

    Please explain to me how the changes to the Australian Migration Act (e.g. 90 day rule) proposed as part of Labor’s Asylum Seeker policy platform will apply to detainees on Manus and Nauru. Oh, and could you address the question about New Zealand’s offer if you get a moment? i.e. why does Labor also reject it (assuming they do).

  90. Trish Corry

    The Govt is lying about their own statistics?

  91. Neil of Sydney

    The Govt is lying about their own statistics?

    Average time in detention is not a measure of processing time. It is a measure of how deceitful you can be to make the Coalition look bad.

    I have provided examples. But once again, no new arrivals increases average time in detention but does not alter processing time.

    Yes you can say they are telling the truth but not the whole truth so they are lying.

  92. Michael Taylor

    Trish, on the times that I’ve explained how the Howard government fiddled with the business rules regarding the number of people on Newstart, on each occasion Neil jumped down my throat and called me a liar.

    He has now shown all of us what a true hypocrite he really is.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m growing rather tired of him.

  93. Trish Corry

    Neil the Stats are from the official border force stats on their website!

  94. Neil of Sydney

    Neil the Stats are from the official border force stats on their website!

    If 10 people are in detention for 10 weeks

    av time in detention = 10 weeks

    If 1,000 people turn up and time in detention is measured

    av time in detention = 1.1 week

    if no new arrivals in 6 months time

    av time in detention = 25 weeks

    AVERAGE time in detention has gone up because there are no new arrivals.

    You are confusing processing time with average time in detention. They are two completely different things. Lee seems to get what i am saying.

  95. Lee

    @ Neil – I get that what you’re saying is a lie and repeating LNP propaganda without actually stopping to think about it. For every asylum seeker processed, there’s one less asylum seeker to process, so the high blow out in average time in detention is not justified. It was the Liberal government that removed the 90 day rule for processing asylum seekers. Why would anyone remove a KPI and thus remove the incentive to do better unless they didn’t give a rat’s posterior about the asylum seekers?

  96. Lee

    @ Trish – How is the current ALP policy towards asylum seekers is an improvement on the previous Labor government’s actions? I read the policy and I see that it’s so vague, they can continue doing that they were doing during their last term in government.

    Labor says it will treat asylum seekers humanely. Humanely by whose definition? They haven’t acknowledged that they treated asylum seekers inhumanely during their last term in government so how can we be assured that this policy is an improvement? Nowhere in that policy does it state that they will treat asylum seekers according to the mandates of the International Declaration of Human Rights. If we want to audit their performance when they get into government, how will we do it without defined benchmarks? The only benchmark they are including is a KPI for processing within 90 days and they can easily weasel out of that one.

  97. Trish Corry

    I don’t see the policy as vague at all. What are the in humane aspects of the policy you refer to?

  98. Backyard Bob

    $20 says I never get a answer to my question about how Labor’s proclaimed changes to the Migration Act in their asylum seeker policy will apply to Manus and Nauru.

  99. Lee

    “I don’t see the policy as vague at all. What are the in humane aspects of the policy you refer to?”

    @ Trish – I’ve already pointed out the lack of benchmarks and definitions. You’re the one asserting that the policy is an improvement, so please explain how it is an improvement. Introducing a 90 day rule isn’t an improvement on previous ALP performance because they had it before. Surely you have some reasons why you consider it to be improved. Or are you just mindlessly repeating ALP propaganda?

  100. Trish Corry

    When I’m not on the phone and at home Bob. In the meantime have you checked the info yourself?

  101. Trish Corry

    Thank you Lee. What I have been looking for is for someone to identify a gap so we can discuss it. I will answer you when I home from work this arve.

  102. Backyard Bob

    Trish,

    I already have a view on the subject. I want to see yours first since you are the one promoting Labor’s asylum seeker policy platform. The degree to which that platform might be said to be meritorious (and of course elements of it undoubtedly are) rests significantly on the question of how much of it is actually applicable to Manus and Nauru.

  103. Wally

    Neil of Sydney February 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    If 10 people are in detention for 10 weeks

    av time in detention = 10 weeks

    If 1,000 people turn up and time in detention is measured

    av time in detention = 1.1 week

    if no new arrivals in 6 months time

    av time in detention = 25 weeks

    AVERAGE time in detention has gone up because there are no new arrivals.

    NoS you have an error in your statistics.

    If 10 people are in detention for 10 weeks the average time in detention = 10 weeks.
    If 1,000 additional people turn up (and time in detention is 1 week) average time in detention = 1.0891 weeks
    = 1100 weeks divided by 1010 people.

    Really cannot make full sense of figures you have used in this comment it doesn’t seem to work out.
    When computed correctly your figures would show the average time people still in detention have been there.
    And your statement that new arrivals would decrease average time these people have been in detention is correct.

    BUT

    This discussion is not about how long they have been there it is how long for them to be processed.
    When calculating the average time for a case to be processed the number of people in detention is irrelevant.
    You would calculate how long people who have been processed and left detention were held in detention.
    The people still in detention and new arrivals have no influence on the calculation at all.

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