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

a cynical political exercise? « Previous | |Next »
January 9, 2014

The Abbott Coalition Government's military-style operation known as Operation Sovereign Borders now involves turning back asylum seeker boats to Indonesian waters and ensuring that these actions are shrouded under a veil of secrecy, disinformation and deception.

It's like a replay of the Howard Government's border control policies around SIEV-4, Tampa and children overboard that involved an abuse of power . The Coalition is definitely not the champion of information freedom in a liberal democracy.

MoirAStopboats.jpg Alan Moir

We can rest assured, says Scott Morrison, because the right policies on our borders are now in the right hands and these are consistently getting the right results. Fortress Australia is safe because a strong government is treating asylum seekers as queue jumpers, illegal immigrants and potential terrorists. Australia is facing a crisis, a veritable invasion by aliens. So the xenophobic fear and loathing is only to be expected.

Morrison's position conveniently ignores the Indonesia side of the relationship with respect to the complexities of refugee flows. Their position is that pushing back the boats is not seen to be a solution and the Indonesian Government rejects the push-back policy. So what is the impact on Indonesia by Australia towing the boats back?

Morrison's shrouding the operational matters of Operation Sovereign Borders under a veil of secrecy and muzzling the press is undemocratic. As Lenore Taylor points out:

Policy questions lead to "mischief-making". Public discussion of major issues is an unnecessary "sport". Asking basic questions can lead to unwarranted "micro-detailed discussions". The policy goals justify silence about the means. And for that reason the government, which believes so fervently in free speech, thinks it is reasonable to withhold basic information from the national policy conversation.

However, there is little need to feel much sympathy for the Canberra Gallery. The press gallery's abrogations of fourth-estate responsibilities is well known, they have become unable to evaluate public policy, and they do not - and cannot - tell us what we need to know to keep us citizens informed on public issues. The journosphere is all about the polls and the horse race.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:18 AM | | Comments (11)


So, what has become of these boats that have been towed back out?
Have they somehow returned to Indonesia, welcomed back with open arms by their erstwhile hosts?
This was the grubby issue and the persistence with it, that made the Tory opposition's first inroads into Labor's ascendancy, even when Rudd at his peak.
Not that Labor had the answers either, but at least they didn't overtly valorise the cruelty and embrace the "Volkischer Beobachter" type racist abuse that comes with the sort of anti asylum seeker policy represented by Morrison.
Funny, if there is a heaven and hell, "they" might have an eternity of sitting by our bbq's scoffing prawns at sunset, while we do an eternal return involving sinking boats, our lungs and the waters of the Indian Ocean.

"So, what has become of these boats that have been towed back out?"

I understand that some crashed on the Indonesian coast

"So what is the impact on Indonesia by Australia towing the boats back?"

Australia's turning back ofasylum-seeker boat to Indonesia would, and has sparked, political anger in Jakarta.

I agree, Peter S Stock.
Our infantile night-terrors and deliberately ill-informed duplicity must baffle and antagonise other people from other countries, no end.
We trumpeted ourselves as leaders and exemplars of "civilisation" for generations, but the veneer has cracked, leaving an unpalatable truth as all that remains of our hollowness.

Abbott sees himself at war over asylum seekers:

If stopping the boats means being criticised because I’m not giving information that would be of use to people smugglers, so be it. We are in a fierce contest with these people smugglers. If we were at war we would not be giving out information that is of use to the enemy just because we might have an idle curiosity about it ourselves.”

Comments like this will ensure that Indonesia’s opposition to Australia’s boat turnback policy will continue to build.

Abbott's war metaphor is nonsense. Asylum seekers do not impinge on our sovereignty. They represent a faux threat.

"The journosphere is all about the polls and the horse race."

The Australia journalistic malaise is rooted in the crippling reliance on public opinion polls. Were also have a coarser, more opinionated and a more partisan political discourse.

The political TV channels demand an endless supply of talking heads to fill time. It's journalists talking to journalists about nothing much.

We are at war. And Abbott is the martyr defending our way of life. Our hero is "being criticised because I’m not giving information that would be of use to people smugglers" This bloke is a legend!!!!

The Fairfax articles was the most disheartening thing I have read for many months. But it gives the politicians the green light to be even more disgusting. It's hard to believe the Australian public can be so nasty.

Abbott's asylum seeker policy, that boats would be "turned back when it is safe to do so" always depended on Indonesian co-operation.

This is not forthcoming as n last week both the foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, and the office of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated that the policy was unacceptable.

Any hope that it might be tacitly approved, as suggested by reports that the Indonesian military chief General Moeldoko had given a nod and a wink are dashed.

The Abbott Govt's proposed use of of lifeboat to facilitate further turn-arounds from unseaworthy Indonesian vessels, means that the Australian government plans to become a people smuggler itself.

It is despatching boat loads of unauthorised immigrants into another country's territorial waters.