Scott Morrison just keeps on keeping on

23 Feb

Pimp. Tool. Liar. by Karen Elliot via flickr


There’s a poll in today’s Australian asking readers if they agree or disagree with Scott Morrison’s call in parliament on Monday night for fewer boat people to be accepted as refugees.

As of a few minutes ago, 78% of readers agreed with his proposal,  21% disagreed.

Morrison has called for a maximum of 3,750 boat arrivals per year to be given refugee status.

Indeed, the coalition immigration spokesman brings a whole new model to the process of determining refugee status – it’s to be decided numerically, and will have nothing at all to do with circumstances the asylum seekers fled, or the dangers of refoulement.

The stupidity of this man is astounding. He either has no grasp at all of the principles of refugee assessment, or he knows very well, and has seized another opportunity to misinform and misguide the Australian public on the matter of our domestic and international obligations to asylum seekers.

Or he doesn’t care about either of those things and just has to say something so we don’t forget who he is.

Morrison hasn’t said what he proposes to do with asylum seekers who are legally entitled to assessment after his target is reached.  He can’t send them back if they’re found to be refugees. He’ll keep them in mandatory detention for life, will he?

Or go on another of those humiliating begging trips around the globe, asking other countries to have them, preferably countries a lot worse off than Australia who we can bribe with a bit of foreign aid.

This is yet another of the apparently limitless examples of politicians ignoring our legal obligations to asylum seekers. Unfortunately, some of the wider population is apparently just as ignorant of them.

With many mainstream media voices also ignoring and obfuscating our legal responsibilities, perhaps people can be forgiven for thinking we haven’t got any, and we can do what we like with refugees.

Next time a politician starts banging on about the rule of law, maybe someone should remind him or her of this one. We are legally obliged, domestically and internationally, to accept asylum seekers, no matter how they arrive here, and assess them for refugee status. If they qualify, we are obliged to speedily resettle them.

The idea of numerically determining who will and won’t be accepted as a refugee once they have requested asylum, is the beat up of an increasingly desperate man. Morrison has tried every which way to get up an argument about refusing entry to Muslims, and so far he’s been thwarted. As many boat arrivals are Muslim, he’s now trying another way to give his argument legs.

There is no possibility of a numerical cut-off point for assessing the refugee status of boat arrivals, under our current laws. That is not the definition of assessment, for a  start. It’s saying you’re number 3,751 so bugger off, we’ve reached our assessment target.

What’s amazing, and desperately sad, is there seem to be a lot of Australians who think the idea is a good one, and an opposition immigration spokesman who’s only too happy to peddle that falsehood in his tireless pursuit of votes, and disharmony.

The lies politicians put about on these issues are staggering, all eagerly disseminated by many mainstream media. The fact is, we have voluntarily undertaken to advertise ourselves as a country of asylum. We have voluntarily accepted the legal obligations that go with that.

We could take responsibility for our own actions, and stop making asylum seekers suffer for them.

We could face up to those voluntarily incurred obligations, and either change them, or just get on with fulfilling them.

In the meantime, the false arguments continue to rage, the vilification gets worse, and the politicians exploit it for all it’s worth.

What’s that smell? Flood mud? Nah, it’s just a politician.

5 Responses to “Scott Morrison just keeps on keeping on”

  1. Steve at the Pub February 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    How many should we draw the line at? Worldwide there are more refugees than there are Australians. Australia cannot possibly accept them all.


  2. PAUL WALTER February 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    ” The stupidity of the man (Morrison) is astounding”.
    The fact that the message was painted in the particular broad strokes it was painted in, indicates a target audience and planning rather than crass stupidity, if nearly eighty percent of the public is “grabbed” by it.
    It’s crude, it’s base and some respects indicative of high stupidity- time will tell what consequences come to fruition through the pursuit of the policy.
    It’s divisive, so no accident methinks and an example of why Labor continues to hedge its bets, in response.
    How long has it been since politicians abandoned the idea that politics can be a means for improving the lot of humanity?


    • Jennifer Wilson February 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

      I was wondering about exactly your last question, Paul. Was it a dream, or was there a time when political office was also service? Now it’s fallen into the hands of manipulators and schemers whose goal is to provoke maximum trouble, mayhem, and fear, and then offer the voters the solution for it all if they’re elected.

      Steve at the Pub – I think the argument about how many is a furphy – intended to cause disruption and division – when legally we have to accept anyone who requests asylum, there’s no substance in the argument about how many.


  3. PAUL WALTER February 24, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I dpnt think Steves’ comments can be dismissed quite so easily, because we are now at thej uncture where the refugee relief issue feeds into the wider Big Pop debate. I’d see Steves and Dr Wilsons points as being like points by made by lawyers establishing the issues in a case- two sides of possibly the same coin.
    Thisi s because not all sceptics of Big Pop are motivated by racism so much as concerns as to the inability or depressingly, un willingness of a society to plan accurately for efficient sustainable development.
    There is much concern tha the Big Pop “endless suburb” conceptionis driven by merchant banks and the construction industry in pursuit of a quck buck with downstream costs fobbed off on the wider community later in the form social friction, higher unemployment to drive costs down and a deregulated environment that wastes resources on mass produced junk including junk housing. Those of us who could live with higher population continue to wait for some thing akin to a a social contract that would ensure rational economics, actualefficiency and ecology as foundational to a n expanding society rather than an inconvenient intrusion imposed on big business by greenies and scientists.
    There isl ittle doubt that Steve probably wouldn’t agree with Jennifer Wilson’s contention that bothhumanity and history demand of the west a better response to the developing neo/post colonial world that the West helped create the down fall of.
    But developers also exploit this proposition in demanding that for moralities sake development is ramped up, then advocating removal of environmental economic and and scientific inputs that impose on “effiency”.
    If I were looking for a real owrld example to illustrate what I’m getting at, I’d go to the chequered history o f Tasmania, Gunns and rainforests over the last twenty years.


  4. gerard oosterman February 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    The latte led revolution against the raglan sleeved, knee sock wearing Scott Morrisons of this world has begun.
    There is now ‘something’ in the air and Mr& Mrs Xenophobia are feeling the dreaded midnight knock on the door of change.

    And those who dance begin to dance
    And those who weep begin
    Welcome, Welcome, cries a voice
    Let all my quests come in

    Leonard Cohen


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