Julia Gillard this afternoon invited Tony Abbott to a briefing tomorrow on the legal implications of the High Court’s decision last week on the Malaysia solution. Abbott has accepted.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the two will join forces in amending the Migration Act to stop any possible legal disputes preventing off-shore processing of asylum seeker claims.
Common sense and decency have long since fled this debate. It defies rationality that the major parties are willing and eager to continue spending billions on off-shore processing and mandatory detention.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect is that last time we used Nauru as a dumping ground for asylum seekers who arrived by boat, almost every one of them was found to be a refugee, and sent to Australia where they now live. As the majority of boat arrivals are granted refugee status, we can only anticipate that this will continue to be the case. Unless of course, Ms Gillard has it in mind to indefinitely detain genuine refugees in Nauru or some other off-shore prison, until she can persuade another country to grant them sanctuary.
So exactly how will this “stop the boats?”
Just when we thought Gillard’s judgement couldn’t get any worse, it does.
In her final abandonment of the Labor platform on refugees, Gillard appears to have entered into an ego-driven game of one-up-man-ship with the High Court. Her ill-disguised pique with Chief Justice French adds personal prime ministerial face-saving to an off-shore processing policy that is already populist, right-wing and economically insane.
The mental and physical damage the Gillard government will continue to inflict upon asylum seekers and their children by subjecting them to mandatory detention and off-shore processing is of no consequence to Gillard. In spite of mounting evidence and protests from just about everyone involved in the detention system about the damage sustained by both detainees and those who work in these grim places,Gillard continues to pursue a policy that she is fully aware seriously harms many, and she does it for personal and political gain.
An alliance with Tony Abbott on asylum seeker policy is but the latest Gillard political misjudgment and it ought to be the last. As Philip Adams wrote today, resign Julia, resign.
The High Court decision gave the ALP a golden opportunity to extricate themselves from a disgraceful and shaming policy without losing too much face.
While Gillard was perfectly entitled to criticize the decision, her opinions were wrong. She’s been shooting off her mouth on the asylum seeker issue since day one, when she announced that we’d be expelling boat arrivals to East Timor without first properly negotiating her plan with that country. Things have gone downhill from there.
If there is such an animal as the national psyche, government and opposition policies on boat arrivals are doing it nothing but damage, as willful misrepresentation, weasel language, outright lies, complete lack of compassion and political and personal selfishness over-rule every other consideration, such as our responsibilities to the region in which we stand out as the wealthiest country, our voluntarily incurred responsibilities to the UN Refugee Convention, and our right to behave humanely and generously towards those in need. Julia Gillard is denying us that right. Julia Gillard is shriveling our national heart and soul. Julia Gillard is turning this country into a land of hard hearts and closed minds.
I wonder if she’ll have the sense to get anything Tony says in writing.
- If Julia buys bipartisan Tony she’ll buy anything (thepunch.com.au)
- Both sides courting disaster over asylum seeker policy (thepunch.com.au)