Asylum Seekers in Australia
Usually I would write about asylum seekers on my Quizzically Musing site where I recently wrote about the GetUp! campaign shown on the left, however this is a subject close to our family’s hearts: those who have followed our journey from the beginning know Mr O and I met when he was an asylum seeker. I have been following the current use of human beings as a political football with interest and disgust.
The conflict of interest of the Minister being the legal guardian of unaccompanied minors AND the Minister for Immigration is something that MUST be addressed, but it seems we have a while to go before we reach that point.
I briefly mentioned the High Court decision in the “Malaysian Solution” case in yesterday’s article. Today the papers were full of coverage of the decision. I read The Age, our daily broadsheet. I share links to some of the articles here to illustrate there was a LOT of coverage – this was a landmark decision.
Incompetence and disaster: another grim day for Gillard
No solution: Labor in disarray
The Malaysia solution is shipwrecked
One article in particular, by Michael Pearce, I found extremely interesting.
Withdrawal from Refugee Convention may be last resort
At first I thought, “What? We can’t do that!” then I read the article. Michael takes an extremely pragmatic approach to the debate, together with presenting a fresh perspective.
Public policy in Australia seems to have reversed the legal position. The major parties and public opinion seem to say that we should refuse refuge to those who reach our shores and seek asylum because that denies refuge to those in the so-called queue. That is, we should abrogate an obligation which is legally binding on us so that we can comply with an imagined obligation by which we are not, in fact, bound.
You see, much is made in the mainstream press in Australia of those arriving by boat being “queue jumpers”. According the Michael, there IS NO QUEUE! So are the politicians lying to us? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised if they are, but it leaves me horrified that we have politicians that will use those less fortunate in such a way.
Michael goes on to say (emphasis added):
This course will no doubt be very unpopular in some quarters and for good reason. It would signal to all that we, one of the richest countries in the world with enviable space and resources to spare, did not want to share with the bedraggled and desperate few who, by good fortune, wash up on our shores. But this is only to tell the truth about who and what we are as a people.
Would that more people listen to people like Michael.
Cabinet is in desperate discussions tonight trying to dig themselves out of the quagmire they have got themselves into. The Opposition are champing at the bit. As far as I can see, all of them are interested in little more than political expediency and personal gain.
Along with many other Australians, I am very glad the High Court ruled as it did. As a co-worker said to me today, the silent majority are not staying so silent any more. We care and we are speaking up.
I do wish the government would stop talking about the people smugglers’ “business model” as if they are an international conglomerate. Whether Julia Gillard and Chris Bowen realise it or not, this gives the people smugglers an air of legitimacy they should not be handed. Business model, indeed.