After the High Court decision it’s time for co-operation on asylum seekers

31 Aug

If the government and the opposition have any sense and decency, they’ll give up their vile battle to find some way of forcing off-shore processing, and take advantage of today’s High Court decision to co-operatively work towards processing all asylum seeker claims on-shore, and resettling those found to be refugees.

Nobody has to lose face. The Court has made the decision for them with a resounding 6-1 majority. Both government and opposition have no choice but to accept this.  The Malaysian solution is illegal. The decision could also affect plans to send asylum seekers to either  Nauru or Manus Island.

Time to end this shameful decade. We do indeed live in a wonderful country when our judiciary can hold our government accountable and prevent profoundly unethical, immoral and cruel action against those who have done nothing more than request the help we are legally obliged to offer.

15 Responses to “After the High Court decision it’s time for co-operation on asylum seekers”

  1. paul walter August 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Too late now.
    As an activist friend of mine said, its a shame, because in a lot of ways labor has been a good government. Didn’t they run the thing through legals first? – 6-1 is prettyemphatic.The haters wont leave Abbott,just because theALP have proved themselves capable of being bastards too. But now,manyleft and centrist people are disillusioned enough to go some where, else Greens, indies, who knows, as well. These are the people who won’t like kids shoved on airplanes and dumped alone in Malaysia and can’t see the point of sending stressed 800 people with feelings the same as us, to Malaysia as some sort of precondition for us taking 4000. I can’t imagine a relatively poor place like Malaysia needing them there, all we had to do was alter the immigration intake, as to its categories.


    • Jennifer Wilson September 1, 2011 at 6:52 am #

      I don’t want to believe it’s too late! It just makes so much sense to drop the stupidity, say the High Court made them use on-shore processing against their will but what can they do they have to obey the law, and calm the whole stupidity down as much as possible. At least emerge from the mess with a tiny bit of dignity, and do something decent at the same time.

      Apologies to commenters on the original of this article – I somehow trashed both headline and comments and consigned all our observations to hyper space.


  2. Steve at the Pub September 1, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Jennifer, Too late for an Asylum Seeker deal with Malaysia? Too late for the govt’s hopes of stopping the boats? Or too late for the ALP to do anything that will allow them to retain government?


    • Jennifer Wilson September 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      I hope it isn’t too late for both parties to drop the politicking over this issue, accept on-shore processing as a reality, and get out of the mess they’ve mutually created without losing too much face because the High Court has given them the golden opportunity to turn this into the non issue it really is. But I admit that’s not likely to happen.

      The idea that any piddling action by Australia can “break the people smugglers’ business model” is insane. The money involved in people smuggling globally is second only to that involved in drug trafficking.

      There’s not going to be a deal with Malaysia, and maybe not with Nauru and Manus either.

      The ALP is perfectly entitled to retain government until its term is up. It can continue governing with catastrophic polls. Who’s going to throw it out? The army? We’re going to have a military coup next?


      • Steve at the Pub September 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

        Hehe, who is going to throw the government out? Either the cross benchers, or a coup in the ALP, with the new PM calling an election to cauterise the damage being done to the party.
        If this government goes full term, the damage they do to the country will ensure that Labor doesn’t govern for the big end of a generation.
        The quicker they stop the rot, the quicker they’ll be back in power.


        • Jennifer Wilson September 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

          I’m inclined to think the government will go full term. Cross benchers have everything to lose, as do the ALP in calling an election at this point.


  3. gerard oosterman September 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Of course,the original architect of the ‘Nauru Solution’, John Howard, with his directive to boatpeople and refugees ” We’ll decide who comes to this country and the manner by which they’ll arrive” set the tone for a series of events that finally started to resemble a mixture of musical chairs within a Pacific Abu Ghraib type of setting.
    Self harming, lip sewings, riots, AFP firing foam pellets, self burials. All those images seeping out despite all the precautions to keep the lid on those horrors.
    Finally, after all those years of terrorising vulnerable people one wonders why it took so long.
    Flaunting the UNHCR and the UN often can lead to sanctions. Is that what Australia would have finally faced,, or being dragged to The Hague?
    What on earth did we expect?


  4. Steve at the Pub September 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Clearly the law must be changed, pronto, so that it is the Australian government that rules Australia.
    Nobody else, either Malaysia, or dodgy fishing boat skippers, should be deciding who our immigrants are.
    Yes, the people smugglers can be stopped. Any government that is unable to control the borders will not be able to retain government. It is that simple.


    • Jennifer Wilson September 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      Honestly, Steve, it’s governments who pass legislation. This current debacle is as a result of legislation passed by the Howard government which clearly was inadequate to the purposes for which they intended it.

      If they can’t get the legislation watertight that’s not the High Court’s problem.


  5. Marilyn September 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Let’s get this very frigging clear Jennifer as you are buying into the drivel.

    Giving refugees a ride is NOT PEOPLE SMUGGLING – there are 6 protocols and treaties that we helped to write and ratify that say just that. People smuggling in law is the forced movement of people across borders for exploitation, the protocol against the smuggling of migrants and the trafficking trade are nothing whatsoever to do with the movement of refugees which is quite legal under international law.

    And again – if they are here and found to be refugees they must by law be granted protection – remember last year we were told that none of the Afghans were? – well 1335 of those not refugees were granted protection in the last financial year in spite of it.

    Re-settlement is not protection. Resettlement, again, is the voluntary assistance we give to just 0.0001% of the world’s refugees stuck in intractable positions and that my dear is nothing at all to do with the refugee convention or protection obligations.

    See the piece by Michael Pearce in the AGE today.

    This “deal” Bowen thought he could stitch up was indeed human trafficking under international and Australian law, it was the forced trade of humans across borders against their will for gain.

    Votes of the rednecks being the gain.

    The Department does not specifically capture and collate data regarding
    representations made to irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) by people smugglers
    about the prospects of obtaining permanent residence or citizenship in Australia.
    However, based on the comments gathered from the entry interviews of 5209 IMAs
    in the 2009-10 financial year, 85 (or approximately 1.6%) IMAs claimed their people
    smuggler provided country information about Australia, such as:

    Australia would accept them as refugees;
    the person would be able to live in Australia permanently;
    Australia is a safe and humanitarian country, free of discrimination.
    Of those 85 IMAs however, only six specifically claimed their people smuggler told
    them they would get residency or citizenship in Australia


    • Jennifer Wilson September 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

      Christ, I’m glad I’ve got you around to set me straight, Marilyn.

      And yes, you are spot on, and there is currently a case being heard in Victoria arguing that the charge of “aggravated people smuggling” against an Indonesian man be dropped, because people seeking asylum are not people being smuggled, and they have every right to seek passage to this country and ask for asylum once they get here. Therefore they are not being smuggled.

      In order for the people smuggling allegations to hold up, the prosecution must prove that there were five or more people on board the boat who were not seeking asylum.

      Did I say resettlement is the same thing as protection?


  6. Marilyn September 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Steve, what would you say if Kenya shut the door to 11,000 refugees a week.

    Would that be considered rational when the world is aware that 10% of the kids will die by November if they are not allowed out of Somalia?

    Well is it rational for Australia to pretend they are allowed to close the borders to just one small group of people just because of the way they arrive?

    13,750 seaborne vessels with over 800,000 passengers and crews came here last year.

    Only 134 with 6,500 passengers were refugees.

    Why are you so frigging abusive of their rights.


  7. Steve at the Pub September 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    “Why are you so frigging abusive of their rights.”

    Class act Marilyn. Deep thinker too.


  8. paul walter September 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Listening to the ABC radio news, Gillard reckons the blame rests with an “activist” High court, rather than any fault of the government and its legals. But a critical Sen. Mark Bishop, no Trot, was on radio refuting this and the parliamentary left has apparently been venting, over Bowen’s “misshandling” of the issue.
    “Activist High Court”?
    I mean, that was pitiful coming from the conservative right during Howard’s time- from a supposed ALP leader it is beyond explication, the barrel really is empty this time. As it was couple of days ago adressing steelworkers in Newcastle.
    FFS, DROP the neoliberalism!! Even blind Freddie knows what it is; let it go, you technocrats!
    If we’d wanted Tory, we would have voted Howard or Abbott..


  9. Marilyn September 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Thanks Jennifer, words do matter.

    And when words mean the difference between legally binding and voluntary they matter a great deal.

    Gillard had no right to try and pull such a dirty swifty and she shows how pathetic she is by blaming the court for her own ignorance.

    When the international jurist Navi Pillay, ,

    sits her down and says “it’s illegal to trade humans dear” one would have thought Dillard would have looked at her impressive jurist resume and believed her.

    AS it is Gillard has broken hearts, destroyed lives and ultimately was beaten down by an illiterate 16 year old refugee from a war we started.


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