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What Unbelievable Cruelty

Image from theaustralian.com.au

Image from theaustralian.com.au

Author and journalist David Marr made an interesting observation on the ABC’s Insiders program last Sunday. He suggested Australians might be willing to countenance the unbelievable cruelty being exacted upon asylum seekers at Manus Island and Nauru if they thought it was a one-off effort that would bring an end to the boat people risking their lives to come to Australia. David concluded, however, that if this was what people thought, it was a false expectation. He was certain that the boat people would not stop coming, not now, not ever; and he is right.

If Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison think news of unbelievable cruelty at Manus Island and Nauru detention centres will filter through to those who are seeking to find another country to live will succeed, they are wrong. Why? Because always there will be other ways for people smugglers to continue their trade and adapt to changing circumstances. That is what business people do. And always there will be people who do not hear the message and still come, believing that their efforts will be rewarded. As long as there are 40 million people either displaced or stuck in refugee camps around the world, there will always be those who lose faith in the likelihood of receiving genuine help. They will simply take matters into their own hands and try another way. And who can blame them? The worldwide management of the refugee problem by the UNHCR is being woefully mishandled as is the selfishness of individual countries that have the wealth to absorb these, the most disadvantaged of the world’s citizens. The management is what needs to be reviewed and that is something that cannot be left to the whim of mean-spirited individuals in power; especially individuals with a political agenda. Last Tuesday’s Dateline program on SBS proved that. What unbelievable cruelty.

How long will it be before public outrage forces a closure of Manus Island and Nauru? Is it likely that the last outbreak will see no more asylum seekers sent to Manus? Or will the determination of the Prime Minister and his Immigration Minister see that the only way to ensure the success of Operation Sovereign Borders is to maintain this unbelievable cruelty for the foreseeable future?

The Immigration Minister proudly claims that no boats have arrived for some 70 days. But that doesn’t mean they have stopped coming. The proof of that can be seen in the navy intercepting them and transferring them to orange lifeboats and forcing them back to Indonesia, a strategy that cannot continue indefinitely. Put simply, they are still coming but not arriving.

Already, you can be sure, people smugglers are dreaming up new ways to continue their trafficking. Think of the relatives and friends of the dozens of people injured at Manus Island and what they would likely tell others about trying to reach Australia? Will they say to their loved ones, “don’t go”? I suspect not. More likely they will say: “don’t go that way.” So, people smugglers will continue to find ever new and more creative ways to enter into Australia. The flood will continue.

So, to pursue David Marr’s thoughts, one should ask how long Australians will tolerate this cruelty before their conscience forces a change in their thinking. Would another violent outbreak like the one that saw the death of Reza Berati be enough, or maybe more riots? Could the revelations that unaccompanied minors may have witnessed the riots be sufficient?

This week the PNG Catholic Bishops Conference issued a statement calling for the centre at Manus to be closed. A similar call from the Australian Bishops would be a step in the right direction. The PNG Bishops statement said it was concerned that the “rhetoric of a righteous campaign actually seemed to be a matter of political convenience.” The statement also said, “Arrangements for the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre do not meet international protection standards and the present situation on Manus is likely to lead to increased levels of psychosocial harm.” If the Bishops can see that so easily what is wrong with the majority of Australians? Nationals Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams says they should be grateful for being there. Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison has announced that monthly forums will be set up between Australia and PNG aimed at denying asylum seekers entry to Australia. That seems to suggest the Australian government’s intention is to continue with the cruelty. One would have thought that a predominantly Catholic federal cabinet would be willing to listen to the findings of a Catholic Bishops conference. But it appears not.

If a well-argued case can be established to show that this policy will fail, on what moral, ethical or even economic grounds can the government continue its practice? Or is it being employed for another reason? Is it nothing more than political ploy? If we can stop the boats and save a life that is a good thing, but if the original intention was simply to stop them coming because it was considered a vote winner, that is inexcusable. So, what will it take for this brutality to be a vote loser? Thinking that we can stop the flood of refugees while 40 million wait in camps around the world is foolish. In 1998 former Prime Minister Bob Hawke once said we have to move on from thinking we are the lucky country and become the clever country. There is nothing clever about what is happening today. As the statement issued by the PNG Bishops says, “Detaining people against their will in PNG, even if it works as a deterrent, is not a just solution worthy of a great nation otherwise proud of its human rights record.”

 

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49 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    All too often arrogance accompanies strength, and we must never assume that justice is on the side of the strong. The use of power must always be accompanied by moral choice.

    Theodore Bikel

    It’s a deep and all but certain truth about narcissistic personalities that to meet them is to love them, but to know them well is to find them unbearable. Confidence quickly curdles into arrogance; smarts turn to smugness, charm turns to smarm.

    Jeffrey Kluger

  2. bobrafto

    Perhaps we could drop the M from Manus so as to read Anus, most probably a more apt description and One Term Tony’s gulag as its Hell Hole.

  3. Kaye Lee

    “Some believe that it is only GREAT POWER that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I’ve found. I found it is the SMALL THINGS. Every day deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.” – Gandalf

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/100838479128526478/

  4. John Kelly

    Reblogged this on THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN and commented:

    If we can stop the boats and save a life that is a good thing, but if the original intention was simply to stop them coming because it was considered a vote winner, that is inexcusable. So, what will it take for this brutality to be a vote loser?

  5. DanDark

    March in March
    We will have our say then,
    Phony Tony and his gestapo are on borrowed time
    They are driving the country into the ground
    They are killing innocent asylum people,blood all over their hands

    They are dividing the country anyway they can
    Hence now telling folks, when it comes to our forests
    You can do what ever you want loggers,Tony says so
    geee if he had a brain it would be so lonely

    He goes out of his way to Divide and Conquer the nation
    because he is a foolish,backward, neanderthal…
    You can tell by just looking at him,Tony has not evolved….

  6. Mic

    As unattractive a prospect as Australia under the Abbott “gummint” has become, beggars cannot be choosers. Whilstever there are people displaced by war, political and/or religious persecution, there will always be people seeking greener pastures.

    We also know that “boat people” are the lowest of the low when it comes to refugees. They make up that small percentage who can’t afford to get on a plane, which is how most illegal immigrants get into Australia. These people are desperate to survive, so desperate that they are willing to risk their lives in the hopes of getting their families to somewhere “safe”. They’ve given up everything that has any material value and have only the last of their clothing left.

    I am extremely tired of people’s lives being used as a political football. Yes, we need some method of weeding out the criminal elements trying to sneak through undetected but, that is no excuse for treating all these people in such a disgusting manner.

    When history looks back on these events, will Australians be labeled as war criminals?

  7. Kate Rose

    The Roman Catholic Bishops should heed this. They need some positive publicity from the wreckage their religion has become. Go back to the basic tenements of their Christian beliefs and stand up and shout for humane treatment for the refugees.

    I wish…..

  8. Sue Lofthouse

    Now that PNG Catholic leaders have denounced our detention of asylum seekers, will the Australian clergy join suit? Will our Catholic politicians take heed if they do? I have been wondering how they have managed to reconcile their faith with their treatment of refugees as the two seem so incompatible.

  9. kathysutherland2013

    I think the whole aim of the policy is wrong. We should not be aiming to “stop the boats,” but perhaps provide some sort of support before they embark on the risky sea journey – though I must admit I don’t have any suggestions – perhaps Clive Palmer has it right?

    People flee their countries because of violence and persecution. They’re not going to stop doing that. Their only option is to turn to people-smugglers, who they know are criminals, but what choice do they have?

    It’s a human rights issue, NOT a political issue, and we need to look at it accordingly. How can we help those in fear of their lives?

  10. Ross Sharp

    But then 60% of Australians want more severe treatment of asylum seekers, according to a survey a little time back. I’m not sure how much “severe” the treatment can be than getting bashed over the head. I don’t think the 60% give a rats arse, to be depressingly honest, and I don’t think they ever will. Howard was on a winner with this issue, and it’s an issue that just keeps giving.

  11. patsy

    love david marr……..says it how it is and I agree with him……..abbott ….pyne.etc who profess to be good catholic men make me puke…..I am ashamed to say I am catholic but my beliefs are far far far from theirs….I am sick of people like them hiding behind a religion…and pretending that they are compassionate…..NOT….get rid of manus …reopen the old detention centres that morrison skites about closing…surely they can work out the difference between the real asylum seekers and the ones that are not and why does it take so long to do so they have enough M>P>s or do they have to have an audit on that one also….when is abbott going to do something constructive himself beside from spending money on specialists to do his job….is he really that stupid????????

  12. patsy

    but ross are these polls correct or are they paid for…yes howard did have the answer but that was then this is now and there are far more people looking for refuge……and manus is not the answer….labor should follow howards answer to stop the boats and change it….

  13. mars08

    In the wake of an outbreak of violence at a holding centre for asylum seekers on a remote island, which left one person dead and many injured, Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) have called for a ‘National Lament’ this week….

    http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=24267

    “One would have thought that a predominantly Catholic federal cabinet would be willing to listen to the findings of a Catholic Bishops conference….”

    Not when there’s easy votes to be had!

  14. Kaye Lee

    Great article Ross.

    “Those reasons (for the continued asylum debate) are defined primarily by the political needs of elites to create scapegoats and distractions for their failure to provide security to ordinary people already living here – not of borders, but of a social kind. That is, they seek to displace social insecurity into a defence of national integrity, here in the form of ‘border security’, in the process shifting blame for social ills onto an external ‘other’ that is threatening to invade and disrupt our livelihoods and cohesion. While previously the natural territory of the Right, the mainstream Left has been drawn into playing this game the more it has abandoned its traditional support base in favour of pro-corporate neoliberal policies.”

    The truly stupid part is the amount we are spending on this insane inhumane policy which is not only taking money from our lifestyle, it is threatening the fibre of who we are.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Father of Torment Mother of Lies

    Father of torment mother of lies
    Wresting falsity from ignorance
    Casting those who suffer into the arms of despair
    Born of false hope that anything could be other than greed
    Narcissistic reflections of imposed misery
    Sold as mocking concern for what?

    Father of torment mother of lies
    Drawing down suffering upon need
    Grasping the vestiges of remembered deceits
    A voice of not knowing empty of proof
    Hollowed out by God’s compromise long removed
    From love of your brothers and disdain for the truth

    Father of torment mother of lies

  16. JohnB

    @mars08
    Abbott and his fellow LNP Catholic’s are to Catholicism as were Hitler and his Nazi regime.

  17. Team Oyeniyi

    I hear today Morrison has suspended the granting of Protection Visas to try to defeat the High Court challenge tomorrow.

    Horrific policies. White Australia Policy by stealth?

  18. Eva

    At the age of 11 due to family dysfunction, i was placed in a school run by so called Christians. During the almost 6 years I spent there I learned that there are people in this world who take pleasure in abusing vulnerable people. They feast on their power over such a person, gaining emotional gratification from the sight of a frightened, distressed person, and gain their greatest pleasure in knowing that they have total power to mentally destroy that person at whim, that there is no recourse for their victim. Such people congregate wherever they can exercise this evil power. I was starkly reminded of this whilst watching Dateline last Tuesday. No decent, humane person who is genuinely a Christian, or at least what I understand being a Christian means, could possibly treat our asylum seekers in such a vile, cruel and despicable manner. Scott Morrison and Angus Campbell, at the very least, should stand trial for crimes against humanity. Tony Abbott is most certainly guilty of complicity and the G4S staff on Manus should be charged and tried as appropriate. What is being done in the name of the Australian people is, or should be, abhorrent to all decent Australians. Manus and Nauru should be closed immediately.

  19. CMMC

    Private school boys given the chance to found a new society instead descend into primitive brutality……oh right, Lord of the Flies.

  20. Jane Plane

    Its the old ‘ends’ and ‘means’ dilemma. Abbott and his minions may believe they are in control of our borders and that this festival of cruelity will pass but I’m with Marr on this one. It won’t. This is a global issue. It is complex and monstering a small group of people will not act as a deterrent. It makes you a monster.

  21. diannaart

    We all thought that “Stop the Boats” meant stopping asylum seekers from setting foot in a leaky boat. What Abbott actually meant was “Stop the Boats and transfer occupants into Navy Lifeboats”.

  22. Darren

    In my view those few more entitled than the majority of us are getting more entitled daily under this government.

    Recently I mentioned in one of these blogs a real world friend of two decades who suddenly and viciously attacked me personally as a ‘rusted on leftie’ on social media when I made a comment there about the bias of the Murdoch media.

    This particular friend is fairly successful in life – a good career, his own house, another investment property and a good career that has seen him work at various places around the world.

    He is a staunch LNP supporter, enough so that he volunteered to hand out how to vote cards at the polling booth last election. He has made it clear on social media in no uncertain terms that he strongly believes in their policy positions hook, line and sinker – that refugees are economic migrants, that the economy was left in a shocking state by the last government, that the unions are cesspits of corruption and greed, that the coalition is going to create a million jobs, and so forth.

    So with his man in the chair, you would think he would believe his prospects in this country more secure and better than ever? This is where I believe the hypocrisy comes in – he is choosing instead to leave his job here, and move overseas for work. So now less fortunate taxpayers like myself will be subsidizing his negative geared investment property, he will be accruing rent from both of them, he will not be paying income tax into government coffers, but will be using his income to further reduce outstanding debt and increase assets here.

    I do not understand why someone who so fervently believes that the coalition government is the right one for this country abandons it, yet continues to benefit financially from its policies and yet contributes little to it.

    This was roughly written, so it might seem all over the place, but my basic point is it seems to me that this is the profile of many LNP supporters – all they seem concerned about is maximizing their piece of the pie, and to hell with anyone else.

  23. mars08

    What is being done in the name of the Australian people is, or should be, abhorrent to all decent Australians…

    For several months now I have been asking myself “WHAT IS THE POINT?”

    Why do I bother seeking out the truth and feeling empathy for the victims of this cruel scheme? Because based on what I see and hear around me every day there is no widespread concern about what is happening to the asylum seekers. I hear absolutely ZERO condemnation of Australia’s policies towards there innocent and powerless people. There is not even a hint of disgust at the cruelty they suffer.

    SO WHY SHOULD I TORMENT MYSELF?

    Knowledge is power!!?!!??! Oh bullshit! I know what is being done in my name but have not influence at all. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of my fellow citizens work on two principles when it comes to refugees. That is… “better safe than sorry” and “out of sight out of mind”. Every day I hear and read comments from those who would be quite comfortable no matter how badly the boat people were treated. AND IT CRUSHED MY SOUL!!! In my experience our politicians could ask the Navy to torpedo every wooden boat that heads our way… and most people I know wouldn’t give it a second thought!

    I am convinced that nothing will change in the short term because the asylum seekers have been so utterly demonised (by both major parties) over the years. The harsh and nasty treatment of these people in cemented in a bipartisan approach. No matter how many social workers, lawyers, bishops or doctors speak up… it falls on death ears. The vast majority of Australians I know are incapable of feeling any empathy.

    Maybe, just maybe, people will being to turn away from these policies… but I fear it will not be any time soon. Things will have to get much, much worse before the majority in this country begin to have doubts. In the meantime they will continue to blame the victims!!!! It seems to me that most people WANT to believe that the asylum seekers deserve to be mistreated and harmed, irrespective of any contrary evidence put to them. The conditioning is now complete.

    SO WHY SHOULD WE TORMENT OURSELVES????

    The fate of asylum seekers is not something that will turn voters against Abbott. There aren’t enough people in the important electorates who care enough to make a difference. And any vote for the main opposition party would just ensure that the cruelty will continue.

    We have already been taken way too far down a dark and horrible road, and we are incapable of finding our way back.

  24. John.R

    A I read in another article that was tongue in cheek,the brains in control of the whole operation are putting them into lifeboats supplied courtesy of the Australian Govt.and so are the property of the same(no money changed hands) and so the Indonesian Govt. will tow them back to where they belong,probably with a few passengers
    One day,in a court somewhere,someone will ask for it to be determined, Who owns these boats..?

  25. Kaye Lee

    There are voices in the wilderness. The Greens are fighting hard and Cathy McGowan is making her presence felt too. Good on her…it isn’t easy without a party machine to help you.

  26. Shaun J

    G’day All,

    Is there someone here, with sometime maritime law knowledge, that could help me clear up a nagging suspicion, please? If a refugee boat was stopped by the RAN outside the 22 km exclusion zone (i.e. open sea) and the passengers (and indeed crew) were transferred to one of the orange roughy lifeboats for transfer back to Indonesia, would that be considered an act of piracy? And of course if they were intercept inside the 22km zone then essentially they have arrived in Australia. Is this correct?

  27. John Kelly

    Darren, your post wasn’t poorly written at all, in fact you quite succinctly described the quintessential LNP supporter. At least, if you friend does go overseas, you won’t have to listen to him winge and whine about how disadvantaged he is.

  28. Fed up

    Shaun, I expect the answer is yes to all your questions. The problem could be, that these people are not able or have the ability to take the matter to the appropriate courts.

    I suspect this is what this government relies on.

    Look at the lengths that Howard went to, to prevent these people having access to the law.

  29. allenmcmahon

    Later today the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pilay, will be delivering the opening speech at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She will be calling on Australia to review our resettlement arrangements with Nauru and PNG because we are not providing the protections required for refugees under international law.

    Earlier this year she was highly critical of the failure of Sri Lanka to comply with a UN order to investigate war crimes in the final months of the Civil War in 2009 and ongoing human rights abuses in the country among the minority Tamil and Muslim population.

    When Abbott was asked to explain how Australia can justify our governments that Tamils are economic refugees and are not at risk Sri Lanka he made vague references to the complexity of foreign relations and how different people had different views etc.etc. When asked why Australia supported a USA led UN motion condemning for failing to investigate allegations of human rights abuses he refused to answer the question. He went even further at the recent CHOGM conference in Sri Lanka we asked similar questions with his famous statement that Australia was not there to condemn Sri Lanka and that ‘difficult things happen in difficult times.

    The war crimes refereed to occurred in the final days of the war. The UN designated to areas as ‘no fire zones’ where the civilians could gather in safety. As soon as The UN pulled out both areas were shelled and bombed causality figures range from 40,000 to 70,000 in these two areas alone, Total civilian deaths in the final months are estimated to be as high as 150,000. The Sri Lanka government admits to only 6,000 civilian deaths and said most occurred when the Tamil Tigers used civilians as human shields.

    Since ‘enhanced processing’ was introduced by Labor and not only continued but further restricted over 1,400 Sri Lankans, mainly Tamils, have been forcibly repatriated. Among my contacts in the Tamil community they have told me that at least three have been murdered and there are no doubt more.

    The UK and the USA have recently accused Australia of trying to derail a US led UN motion demanding an independent investigation by the UN to focus on war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses in the country.

    We currently have more than 50 Tamils in indefinite detention, essentially never to be released because,, while they meet the requirement to be classified as genuine refugees because of their links to the Tamils Tigers ASIO thinks they might represent a terrorist risk. These people have not been told why ASIO made this ruling so they have no way of refuting the supposed evidence against them. For 30 years the Tamil Tigers were regarded as a legitimate group involved in a civil war. They were declared a terrorist group after a Tamil Tiger operative assassinated the Indian Prime Minister, in India. Apart from this there has never been any acts outside of Sri Lanka that warrant them being classified as a terrorist group and the attack in Indian was in response to India providing military aid the the Sri Lankan government. These people represent no threat to Australia but may well spend the rest of their lives in an Australian detention center.

  30. jasonblog

    The Cathy McGowan clip posted by @kayelee is insightful. I have a feeling she is tapping into something meaningful.

    Cathy McGowan speaks the truth as I experience it in regional Victoria. Australia can do better on this issue.
    It makes you wonder what Sharman Stone would be like as an Independent.

    @johnkelly asks “How long will it be before public outrage forces a closure of Manus Island and Nauru?”
    I have a feeling international pressure – i.e. trade – will force the Abbott government hand before they listen to the Australian public. I suspect Abbott & Co are pissing into the wind on this one. China is transforming itself to be less reliant on Australian natural resources. Indonesia can grow its economy and provide opportunities for its people by looking towards China. America is an Empire in decline and the last 4-decades of debilitating Neoliberalism is catching up with it. The USA is scaling back its military & has its own issues of inequality to deal with.

    In short, the Morrison Solution, courtesy of Rudd & the other useless suck-holes, is not likely to win friends when things go pear-shaped. I hope truly hope it does not eventuate, but if Australia continues on this cruel pat then things will get worse & a true crime against humanity becomes inevitable.

    The contemplation of that does not reconcile with an Australia I’ve known in the past. I may be a bit naïve but I belong to the Cathy McGowan sense of Australian justice and fair go.

    It’s time Australia sough more authentically individual and independent voices in its Parliament. It might help it regain its conscience.

  31. allenmcmahon

    One of the major problems Australia will face in the near future is i its relationship with Indonesia. Indonesia has made to formal complaints regarding the use of Australian lifeboats to send asylum seekers back to Indonesia. We pay ducks and drakes with their navy and have keep asylum seekers on our vessels for up to ten days before the opportunity to slip the lifeboats back into Indonesia waters has presented itself. Indonesia does not have the naval assets to stop us at this stage and Morrison just gives them the finger. Between now and 2020 will change substantially, Indonesian military spending is increasing substantially and the increase of air and navy assets in Indonesia will tip the balance in their favor. They have purchased 120 of the new Russian/Indian strike fighters which will outperform the US fighter that we are getting. They will then control the sea and the air and there is a very real threat that this will lead to a major confrontation.

    If Australia expects support from the US its not going to happen. The US is the major arms supplier to Indonesia and sees them as an ally against Chinese expansion into the pacific. The Chinese, another country we have recently annoyed, sent two of their destroyers and a troop transporter on a sail past between Indonesia and Christmas Island without notifying either country. This is their first time in the western pacific and a not so subtle message to both of us.

    Just over a week ago John Kerry met with the Indonesian foreign minister who raised the matter of boat returns from Australia and was asked where the US stood in any dispute involving a breach of Indonesian sovereignty. Kerry said it was a matter for Indonesia to deal with.

    The Indonesia president SBY is the most moderate leader we have had to deal with for some time but this will change with the presidential elections later this year. The front runner is an ex general who is anti Australian and is on record of saying that he sees Australia as Indonesia’s greatest threat. The Indonesians withdrew their ambassador from Australia over spying claims and there is no intention of then sending another ambassador before the elections and with this diplomatic channel closed it will make it harder to defuse difficulties as they arise. I have little faith in Abbott being able to deal with an increasing hostile Indonesia and can only see matters getting worse between our two countries and in the long run we will be the losers.

  32. Alan Smith

    Why is it always boats (orange or otherwise) that dominate discussion about refugees attempting to enter Australia. I strongly suspect that a lot more refugees arrive by plane… a situation that the Navy is, for obvious reasons, powerless to prevent!

  33. Shaun J

    G’day All,

    Thank you FU, I appreciate you answer, but surely this is not a problem with the Asylum Seekers ability to bring this to court, piracy is an offence against a nation or indeed an offence against the high seas, surely it is something that an International Court will soon notice, is it not? If that is the case then will it be our “rogue government” or the RAN that will face the wrath?

  34. John Kelly

    Allenmcmahon, could you provide me with links to the sources you have used in your two posts here. I’d like to take a closer look at it.

  35. Pingback: What Unbelievable Cruelty | lmrh5

  36. StopHate

    ” a great nation otherwise proud of its human rights record.”
    I think the Indigenous peoples of Australia have a legitimate reason to disagree with that statement.

  37. Michael15

    How long will it be before public outrage forces a closure of Manus Island and Nauru? Is it likely that the last outbreak will see no more asylum seekers sent to Manus? Or will the determination of the Prime Minister and his Immigration Minister see that the only way to ensure the success of Operation Sovereign Borders is to maintain this unbelievable cruelty for the foreseeable.

    John, one thought on this occurs to me.

    For all Kevin Rudd’s acknowledgement of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a personal ethical mentor, as a political operator he draws more on Machiavelli. Could it just be that when Rudd set up Manus staring down the face of defeat at the election, he reasoned that this initiative might be just enough to get the Labor Party over the line.

    On the other hand, if that didn’t happen, he may have reasoned that Manus would eventually become the poisoned chalice for an Abbott government.

    Why?

    Rudd would know that the Coalition are decidedly less of a human rights Party than is Labor, being political heirs to the asylum seeker brutality of the Howard-Reith-Ruddock era. Rudd might have legitimately reasoned that Abbott and Morrison would persecute asylum seekers with at least as much inhumane flair, and certainly more so than Labor would. Eventually, the Australian people, following this reasoning, would come to reject the Abbott government’s policies on asylum seekers and return the Labor government.

    He may be right. Certainly, the Australian electorate after 15 years of the unrelenting war on asylum seekers grows weary. But community views seem increasingly polarised. Abbott remains resolute as the crusader he is that he is right, but I suspect the Australian electorate is steadily growing tired of his lies and fatuous slogans, and they will punish him. In Machiavellian style, it may be that in the Manus initiative. Rudd has set Abbott up with a poisoned chalice.

    Sadly, despite our protests, desperate asylum seekers will continue to seek to come to Australia, and suffer persecution for their trouble for some time yet.

  38. mars08

    ,blockquote>Eventually, the Australian people, following this reasoning, would come to reject the Abbott government’s policies on asylum seekers and return the Labor government.

    After more than a decade of lies and demonisation (in parliament and the media) don’t underestimate the electorate’s appetite for cruelty. Off shore detention is promoted as good policy by BOTH the major parties. They only disagree on how the cruelty is to be administered.

  39. bjkelly1958

    Kaye Lee, you suggest a very interesting concept. Security for all. Are the LNP Governments attacks on the aged, the disabled, workers’ rights, health, education and so on designed (i.e. constructed for a purpose) to engender a lack of security in all Australians other than the very rich?
    Why do we believe our borders are under threat? I believe it is because we’ve been led to believe it. An orchestrated campaign that was begun by John Howard and blown into full proportion by Abbott, Morrison and Murdoch.
    While there is no doubt that a need exists to weed out the criminals trying to enter our country, by air or by sea, modern history tells us that the majority of asylum seekers are genuine and they are fleeing war, persecution or starvation.
    So, a two-pronged attack on the Australian people: the demonisation of asylum seekers so we become fearful of them and a stripping back of those things provided by Government to enable us to live a decent life so we fear for our very standard of living.
    The Government wants you scared, very scared, and then they’ll try to convince you they are your only hope. It worked for the Republicans in America, starting with Reagan and continuing through to Dubya.

  40. mars08

    …a two-pronged attack on the Australian people: the demonisation of asylum seekers so we become fearful of them and a stripping back of those things provided by Government to enable us to live a decent life so we fear for our very standard of living.

    You are probably onto something there…

    A new Newspoll indicates that voters are putting Labor ahead of the Coalition when it comes to managing climate change (29% to 25%), industrial relations (40% to 32%), and unemployment (30% to 34%).

    But the Coalition demolished Labor on the “issue” of asylum seekers (only 19% for Labor against 43% for the Coalition). Looks like the voters are quite keen on the way it is being handled under the current government. So… I assume we’ll be seeing more of the same…

  41. Eva

    “We have already been taken way too far down a dark and horrible road, and we are incapable of finding our way back”. If this is true, and I fear you are right, Mars, then we are truly lost.

  42. mars08

    Eva… consider then Newspoll numbers I mentioned above.

    It seems that more than twice as many voters prefer the Coalition’s handling of asylum seekers as opposed to Labor’s approach. And let’s not forget that Labor’s policies were sickening…

    The demonisation (by both major parties) is solidly anchored in the Australian electorate. Any hint of a more compassionate approach would be political suicide.

  43. Eva

    This is going to end badly for us all. Australians used to be decent people, willing to give everyone a fair go. Howard spread his poison well, damn him to hell. Re political suicide – I can think of several that i would be be happy to see!

  44. contriteshadow

    To suggest we would forget that Reza Berati was brutally murdered by employees of Australia is insulting on so many levels. To suggest that we would do so because we believe it will stop asylum seekers dying merely insults our intelligence.

  45. mars08

    Hmmm…. but hey… our politicians are really that bad. I mean we stopped those nasty Japanese from killing whales. Surely THAT must make us feel good about ourselves as a country. Riiight?

  46. mars08

    …our politicians AREN’T really… sorry

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