Can Gillard corner Abbott and save lives at the same time?

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Yes! The deaths of asylum seekers is horrible and the government needs to reduce the ‘incentives’ to get on leaky boats. We know offshore processing reduces the flow. So, Gillard should go to Abbott and offer the following:

  • re-establish offshore processing in Nauru;
  • at the same time change legislation to allow the Malaysia off-shore processing to go ahead; but
  • not re-establish temporary protection visas.

Is this good policy? No idea. But it will help to stop people dying. It will also put Abbott in a bind. If he agrees, good.  If he doesn’t agree then he may find a few of his own party room are willing to cross the floor to support the policy. And having that happen may just save Julia Gillard’s political life!

8 Responses to "Can Gillard corner Abbott and save lives at the same time?"
  1. Excuse my ignorant but I would vote for “not to re-establish temporary protection visas.”

    You don’t want Australia to be filled with … as the late Prime Minister of Singapore’ LKY called it “the trash of Asia” (or the world for this matter).

    Yes, it is a harsh cruel decision for not partaking in the “greater good”. Oh well, to be frank, Australia can’t afford it at the present time. You don’t want to take any more excess baggage from the rest of the world.

    Alternatively, you would say welcome to a “LaLa” land …. inviting for more social tension and unrest …. Other countries already capped the entries …. Why not Australia?

  2. “Is this good policy? No idea.”

    Begs the question as to why you would suggest it then unless tribal party allegiance trumps an alternate solution?

    Can I qualify 2 things with you?

    1) are you comfortable with the Malaysian solution? i.e. the human rights and standard of care afforded refugees in Malaysia? As far as I know Malaysia is a 800 for 4000 swap and over 1000 arrivals have come in the last month alone. Is it really a solution or does it stay in your consideration above simply to allow Labor to save face?

    2) are you comfortable with starting to set boundaries of exclusion based on current geo political situations? For example Iraq has had an elected government and little or no mention of political, cultural or ethnic persecution in the last 24 months. Sri Lanka has similarly resolved tensions to a large degree with Tamils. Can arrivals from either place now be returned home to allow more “worthy” applicants from Afghanistan, Africa etc. or is this too simplistic in your opinion?

  3. Mack,

    I know your questions are for Stephen. But I would like to chip in few words for your second point.

    “Can arrivals from either place now be returned home to allow more “worthy” applicants from Afghanistan, Africa etc. or is this too simplistic in your opinion?”

    1) Do you think those refugees would like to go back? They are refugees ….. They run from half-way of the world to avoid … whatever it is …. Just ask the US experience with the illegal immigrants ….

    2) I don’t think conducting trade on human beings are allowed (morally troubling and legally challenging).

    3) If the deal has to go forward, I think setting boundaries of exclusion is the way to go.

    For example, provide them with a written agreement on how long they will be staying as “refugee” (what is the exit pathway after few years for Australia and them – a possible re-direction to other places?) and the level of supervision and contribution that they need to partake.

    Possibly, you can mimic Singapore government idea in their treatment of household “maid”. It doesn’t have to be “household” ….

  4. Few more things you all should be aware of ….

    There is a very strong sentiment for people in Malaysia to migrate to Australia. They have done it with Singapore for the past 10 years.

    Furthermore, there is an active wide-political campaign in Australia (from international students, especially from Malaysia) since 10-15 years ago to promote the well-being of Malaysian migrants. They form close-knit ring …. from bottom to top of political echelon … even in the Parliament. Most of the times are driven by geo-political sentiment with no much substance.

    Just thought of sharing this …

  5. 12:16 Anon,

    Cheers, to clarify my post further, are we meaning “humanitarian” refugee when we say refugee and do we place a stronger moral weight/score to those who are fleeing from danger and disaster Vs those who are simply seeking a better life and greater opportunity for their family (an “economic refugee” as they are sometimes referred) Is it fair to say in 2012 that the majority of Iraq and Sri Lanka arrivals would be economic instead of humanitarian and if so, where do they “rank” against those from other locations and more adverse situations? I know this broad brush will always have challenges, but where should any boundaries be set in others opinion?

  6. “The deaths of asylum seekers is horrible and the government needs to reduce the ‘incentives’ to get on leaky boats. We know offshore processing reduces the flow.”

    I’m not sure whether it’s amusing or disturbing that people actually believe sitting in Nauru for a year or three before being granted asylum should be a significant disincentive to people who don’t consider the real risk of death to themselves and their family as disincentive enough already.

    How inhumanely are you proposing that these people be treated to make spending time in Nauru worse than the possibility of dying.

  7. A truly regional solution is required that engages Indonesia substantively.See the discussion on this by Frank Brennan in eureka Street today.

    Iraq and Sri Lanka are still potential hotspots and likely to be an ongoing source of people with very well founded fears of persecution. The destabilisation arising from the US invasion is ongoing.

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