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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the 'Indonesia' solution « Previous | |Next »
October 29, 2009

Question Time is still dominated by what to do with the Oceanic Viking's 78 asylum seekers (ethnic Tamils) from Sri Lanka, anchored near Bintan Island on the eastern coast of Sumatra and close to Singapore. It's a charade that is becoming turning into a political hot potato.

We know that a deal has been struck behind the cloak of diplomacy in which Indonesia has been given money for their detention centres so they take the people Australia doesn't want. The asylum seekers do not want to leave the Oceanic Viking and step ashore to enter a detention centre and disappear into nobody's land for ten years.

PettyRefugues.jpg

What now? Send in the troops? Jakarta said it was not prepared to use force to get 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to leave the Australian customs vessel Oceanic Viking. That was not part of the deal and the Oceanic Viking is an Australian flagged vessel. Australia has said that it would not allow the asylum seekers to go to Christmas Island, which is what they want. What now?

The ''Indonesian solution'' to the flow of boats is now tarnishing the Government's claim to be humane in its refugee policy. In The Age Michelle Grattan spells out the quandary of the Rudd Government:

Australian officials will try to persuade the people to leave voluntarily. It would be a bad look to have them taken off the ship by force, although Rudd and Smith don't rule that out. But who would do it? The Indonesians insist they won't and the idea of Australians carrying them off is preposterous.

So what is the future of the Indonesia solution, when the Indonesians do not want to be a dumping ground for asylum seekers? And it is still such a paltry flow of asylum seekers.

Rudd continues to duck and weave for domestic reasons: to avoid antagonising the anti-immigrant sentiment in the outer suburbs whilst talking up bigger population for Australia. How is the latter to occur? Mostly, through immigration. Rather than address that nexus politicians in both the Labor and Liberal parties are going in mock hysteria and exploiting the issue of race to whip up fear in the suburbs. We don't want coloured Asian immigrants is the subtext. We don't want ethnic enclaves in our capital cities. They harbor terrorists.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:58 AM | | Comments (13)
Comments

Comments

Paul Howe of the AWU -- the AWU of all people--- says it right:

Question time is dominated by 78 people on a boat. We have around 50,000 visa overstayers every year. Is anyone saying this is a national crisis? One reason there is no outrage is that these people are mainly white and speak English. Is anyone demanding we clean out the backpackers' hostels of Bondi and Surry Hills?

It looks like Rudd will have blood on his hands if he is not careful. The quick diplomatic fix is beginning to unravel.

The anti-immigration crowd say that as well as not integrating (causing social breakdown and division) the unskilled, poorly educated ethnic immigrants just go on welfare because it is attractive. So we have a property trap. That is more financial burden on the poor suffering Australian taxpayer weighed down by ever increasing taxes imposed by big government! Labor is too soft etc etc.

And we should not not to forget the religious strand of the anti-immigration discourse---the politically correct Leftist crowd will always be sympathetic to Islamic immigration.

Why so? Because it is one way to continue the dilution of Australia's predominantly Christian populace. These Leftists hate out Judeo-Christian heritage.

There is and must be an "assessment process".
This assessment is "valid".
As part of this valid assessment process evidence must be "collected and documented".
Evidence needs to be investigated and documented "well" by persons qualified to do so.
Those that are being assessed need to be taken to a place where evidence can be gathered in the time frame necessary to do the assessment properly.
After the assessment process has concluded the "Decision process" can begin.

It would be nice to see something on tele and wiggle you nose like Samantha from Bewitched and its all fixed. But it doesn't happen that way.

Les,
do you think that the old fault lines from the Tampa days are fracturing and shifting? Its no longer so black and white---more different shades of grey?

Gary,
Perception shifts as the world changes. This type of issue is always well covered by the media and dependent on economic circumstances of the time in Oz ie Are there plenty of jobs about/are things good or bad does cause the perception lines to change and the way that these are portrayed by those that have agendas.Drawing reference between this time and the Tampa days could be perceived as an agenda perception but don't perceive this as criticism.
The similarities of this time and previous times is that the "Assessment process" is still the same with perhaps some variance in those that are assessing,those that are reporting and process involved in showing openness.

I think the greyness we have here that you speak of factors greatly in the decision making to come here.

It seems the public attitude has softened since Tampa, although the next lot of polls will show more. Media has access to these people, which humanises and makes it harder for the hardliners to justify their attitudes.

Les is right, that there must be an assessment process, but the political assessment process is the one the public goes through when they're weighing up the pros and cons of the tough but humane rhetoric, alongside footage of cute little girls with big eyes staring out of the tv.

The standoff situation and blather over it all in Question Time is all a bit excessive over 78 people. It's just making our politicians look ridiculous. More ridiculous.

In my estimation this gets chalked up as yet another instance of Rudd making a lot of noise and doing nothing.

Lyn,
Its a pity that the media tends to film these things as if it were a vehicle moving slowly past a fatal car accident hoping to catch a glimpse of tragedy.

Indonesia's position is that the 78 asylum seekers moored off the Riau Islands are Australia’s problem. Indonesia insist its policy of not forcing them to disembark reflected the human rights values that Australia is always urging the country to embrace. Indonesia also insists that it would not allow the Australians to unload them against their will in Indonesian territory.

It increasingly looks as if Xmas Island is the only 'tough but humane' option.

In The Age Michelle Grattan says that Rudd's options are limited and all are unsatisfactory.

He can allow the Oceanic Viking to go to Christmas Island; take the people off the vessel by force; or continue trying to persuade them to disembark.

Lyn,
at least the border protection issue is working for the Coalition --they are no longer the issue as they are with climate change. That must be a relief.

Gary,
True. And the way things are going, boat people will see them through Copenhagen.

maybe not. The Age reports Senator Minchin, a climate hardliner, saying on radio yesterday that the Opposition may reject the legislation even if it gets its amendments:

Even if the Government accepts all our amendments we may well still vote against the bill or seek to defer the bill. But that is a decision we are yet to make and we'll make that decision once we know the Government's response to our proposed amendments... There is no guarantee the negotiated outcome between the Coalition and the Government will be accepted by the party room.

The delay is only a tactic adopted by the b climate change denilaists.