In recent years there have been so many bad policy ideas come out of Canberra it is hard to decide which was the worst. Some will vote for the knee-jerk ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia, some the pink batts fiasco, some the dismantling of Howard’s Pacific Solution.

So, you just want us to sit around? Pic: The Australian

Personally I think the worst policies, like the best wines, take years to mature. Which is why Peter Costello’s decision to pay the dregs of society to breed always gets my Number One on the ballot paper of dumb things our politicians have done.

But this week after five years in office Labor finally got its act together with a policy to rival the baby bonus for its stupidity. Congratulations are due to Chris Bowen for his “no advantage” test which will apply to asylum seekers who are released into the community.

And just as Cozzie’s kiddies will be consuming welfare and filling our prisons for decades, the consequences of Bowen’s stupidity will be felt for years.

In case you missed it,  Bowen announced this week that asylum seekers who have arrived here since August and been released into the community while their claims to be genuine refugees are examined will be banned from working and forced to live on the lowest Centrelink payment plus some rent assistance which works out at roughly $270 a week.

And even if they are found to be genuine refugees they will have stay in this limbo for as long as it would have taken them to be processed as refugees in our region which most people put at about five years. Oh, yeah I forgot, during this period the government can, if it wants, intern them and remove them from Australia to Nauru or Manus Island.

Let’s deal with the wickedness and cruelty of Bowen’s policy first - I’ll come to its stupidity later. But before I do let us pause for a moment and admire the compassionate modern Labor politician at work. Clearly, a group of people who can revel in attacking the opposition leader as a misogynist in the same week they vote to kick thousands of single mothers onto the dole, will stoop to anything, but even I thought some of them might baulk at keeping people in welfare-dependent poverty for years on end while they live in fear of being returned to a detention camp on a rock on a Pacific Island. Not least because they’re always lecturing us about the evils of welfare dependency.

Actually does one even have to explain why it is wicked to force people to live poverty is while they live in fear of sudden imprisonment? Does that really have to be spelled out?

As for the stupidity, where does one begin? Let’s start with the fact that one presumes none of the asylum seekers are actually going to comply with the rules. Instead they will disappear into the cash economy, which is good news for me as I’m looking for a gardener right now and having a few refugees about will be a good way of getting the locals to sharpen their pencils. But it isn’t going to do much for the tax base, nor I imagine for harmonious social relations with those whose jobs they are taking.

Then there are the idiots we will have to pay to go around and catch them working on the sly.  You can bet they’re going to have a union. And if they do catch them , what they are we going to do to them? Cut off their dole payments like we do when we catch the natives cheating Centrelink? What will they live on then as they’re not allowed to work? Will we lock them up? Sorry, detention centres are already full.  Suggestions to the minister please.

But let us for a second imagine that some of these refugees are so strangely law-abiding that they agree to sit in their welfare accommodation for five years doing nothing.  How employable do you think they are going to be at the end of that period? They will by then have acquired a taste for that lifestyle, in which case the chances are we will end up supporting them for decades. Never mind the cases who will have gone nuts from the stress of the threat of being sent to the Pacific.

Finally there is the fact that as ghastly $270 a week for doing nothing might sound to you and me, who is to say it won’t act as a draw to people from countries where it’s more than the average annual wage?

This government has of course been forced into this debacle because of the failure of off-shore processing to deter the asylum seekers, almost 8,000 of whom have arrived since it was reinstated in August.  If that deterrent doesn’t start working soon, Australia is going to have to start having a different conversation about refugees. 

But that will keep for another day - in the meantime let us congratulate Chris Bowen for giving Labor a contender for the title of worst public policy decision of the last 20 years.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

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    • acotrel says:

      05:39am | 25/11/12

      ‘This government has of course been forced into this debacle because of the failure of off-shore processing to deter the asylum seekers, almost 8,000 of whom have arrived since it was reinstated in August.  If that deterrent doesn’t start working soon, Australia is going to have to start having a different conversation about refugees. ‘

      This ‘debacle’ happened because Tony Abbott followed John Howard’s lead in capitalising on Pauline Hanson’s racist politics.  Julia Gillard should get smarter amd stop playing Abbott’s game with the asylum seekers.  It is one which Abbott will be called to account for, and she must also lose.  Australians are decent people, and common decency will prevail. Since when has caring for refugees been ’ border protection and stopping ‘illegals’ ‘?  That attitude is a bloody disgrace.

    • marley says:

      07:17am | 25/11/12

      “Since when has caring for refugees been ’ border protection and stopping ‘illegals’ ‘?”

      Probably since 1992, when Keating introduced mandatory detention.  You have a very selective memory.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      07:25am | 25/11/12

      @ Good morning acotrel. Please consider your statement, “Since when has caring for refugees been ’ border protection and stopping ‘illegals’ ‘?

      Australia now needs to spend billions of dollars per year for umpteen years on the new boatpeople crashing into Australia and hijacking our humane refugee program.

      I submit that it is better and more fair to spend these billions of dollars on helping the 40,000,000 plus refugees living in atrocious conditions in refugee camps around the world.

      Just look at the hundreds of thousands of new refugees from Syria and in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Would not these really genuine new refugees in Syria and Myanmar need some pity and help from us rather than the boatpeople destroying our border control?

      Where is the logic of our present Govt policy on genuine refugees worldiwde?

    • Jack says:

      07:33am | 25/11/12

      Yeh just let anyone just sail straight up to the mainland from other countries. That’s not illegal, who needs border protection.
      We’re decent people here, come all and sundry! No problems.

    • Rick says:

      08:05am | 25/11/12

      That attitude is a bloody disgrace.
      Sound like “Shit happens”????

      For as long as true democracy a la Switzerland will be denied to the Australian people “shit happens” like it or not and will keep happening.

      a bloody disgrace to be irrelevant.

    • iansand says:

      08:05am | 25/11/12

      No, alcotrel.  The cause of this debacle is the utterly contemptible approach of all parties to make political capital out of human misery.  Note ALL PARTIES.

    • Gregg says:

      08:09am | 25/11/12

      So acotrel, what is you solution for the forever increasing cost and where to house and employ.
      How many vacant houses and jobs do you really know about in regional Australia?
      Should we encourage the government to just reduce more services to elderly and ailing Australians, try and get some more taxation revenue or just simply say Oh heck, that international credit card is going to be good for a few more billion $$$ each year.

      What system do you propose to have some knowledge of who we let into the country or does that not bother you either?

    • Faith Hope says:

      08:22am | 25/11/12

      Let us also congratulate this Julia Gillard led Labor government for a historical first world wide - a tax that doesn’t bring in any revenue.


      You have it all in one breath, Tony Abbott, John Howard, Pauline Hanson, racist and Julia Gillard Labor should get smarter because her government has the power to fix things for the nation.

      Too bad for Julia Gillard and the nation, she is an atheist because when she is stuffed we are all stuffed.

      Man, I just feel blessed… I was in a situation where the only way I could come out of it was by putting my faith in God. No matter how good my lawyers were, no matter how much celebrity I had, everything was just stacked up against me.
      Puff Daddy

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      09:12am | 25/11/12

      Sorry acotrel but many decent people like myself are less compassionate towards tribalistic salafists (who otherwise have about as much moral fiber as James Packer), and are instead more compassionate to the people in the communities forced to take them in- something you keep ignoring.

      A number of the people whom we have granted refuge to in the past few decades have repaid us with violence, threats, crime, religious extremism and even a religious riot. They never deserved refugee, and the people who suffered from them deserved better.
      But you don’t care about them do you?

      Either way, I don’t want to bring the problem to even more people who never asked to be a dumping ground for someone else’s morals.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:39am | 25/11/12

      I guess my Aboriginal Ancestors should not have allowed the British to just sail up and take their Country,Tribal Lands, their Rights, and their Children away from them either.
      It’s a shame that my aboriginal ancestors never turned the ships around, just like Abbott wants to do with this current crop of boat people., this Country may have been a far better place if my Aboriginal ancestors had done just that.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      10:21am | 25/11/12

      Acotrel blaming Tony Abbott for a failed Labor policy. Its always Tonys fault isn’t it?

    • Damocles says:

      11:29am | 25/11/12

      Hey Christian Real, “I guess my Aboriginal Ancestors should not have allowed the British to just sail up and take their Country, Tribal Lands, their Rights, and their Children away from them either.”
      - the British weren’t seeking “asylum” and your “Aboriginal ancestors” couldn’t have stopped the British even if your “Aboriginal ancestors” had wanted to…..the British came to conquer and take possession of your “Aboriginal ancestors” land. It happened in North and South America. Back in those days the strongest ruled, sorry but that was the way it was, back then…..we can’t change the past or correct it with our modern sensibilities.
      Oh, and what rights are you talking about? I don’t think your “Aboriginal ancestors” had any concept of human rights, it would have been more “my tribe is stronger than your tribe, so tough luck to you ‘cause we’re taking your tribal lands from you.” and don’t question my intelligence by saying this never would have happened because your “Aboriginal ancestors” all lived in peace and harmony with each other and Nature. Get into the 21st Century and get over the past, otherwise you will never be able to move forward.
      As to these “illegal immigrants”, they will be a big problem for our future generations to deal with as they breed in huge numbers and refuse to accept the Australian way of life. Australia will become another Islamic country and the whole Middle Eastern war of intolerance and hatred will be brought right to our door. That is the truth.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:37am | 25/11/12

      “this debacle happened because Tony Abbott foloowed John Howard’s lead in capitalising on Paul;ine Hanson’s racist policies”
      How, acotrel, do you work that out? The Howard policy, as the records show, actually dii stop the people smugglers.
      Tony Abbott is Not the PM. He is the Opposition Leader & as such has virtually no pwere whatsoever in directing Government Policy. He just bleats on & on & on. Gillard is, allegedly, the PM. Gillard sets the policies. She can & does get most of her policies through for she has the numbers both in the Reps & Senate. Gillard & Bowen are every bit as heartless, cruel & sadistic towards Refugees as Howard, Abbott or Morrison - if not more so. Like them or not the Howard policy did stop the People Smugglers. It is they who are the problem NOT the would-be Asylum Seekers/Refugees. Simply locking up the victims of those People Smugglers is inhumane & sadistically cruel.
      We may well ask why do those would-be New Settlers risk coming on those boats. Because they are desperate. Unless you have been in the same situation no-one can have any idea just how desperate those people are.
      Let the Government sit down with the Indonesians, Malaysians, where we are told most of the People Smugglers operate, & work out a way to stop them for it is they who are the problem not their passengers.
      I know, for I have heard it, people target those coming from Sri Lanka. but how many of us have ever actually bothered to go to Sri Lanka and see what is going on there? The war there may be over but the Tamils - No, not all are/were members of the Tamil Tigers, - are still, despite what the Sri Lankan Government says, still treated as less than human

    • hugh says:

      01:29pm | 25/11/12

      Not nice CR. Australia seems to be doing fairly well 200 tears along thanks.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:29pm | 25/11/12

      I think the analogy to white displacement of Indigenous Australians is quite valid (as someone who doesn’t want asylum seekers here either).

      If we feel that asylum seekers bring negatives to our country, and practice our right to keep them away, we SHOULD be making sure we are not still doing the same thing to the Aboriginal people.
      It’s perfectly fair.

    • PJ says:

      02:34pm | 25/11/12

      “Since when has caring for refugees been ’ border protection and stopping ‘illegals’ ‘?  “

      Hopefully since 7 July 2005 when 54 innocent people where blown to bits in a dark tunnel on a London tube, by the sons of Asylum seekers.

      The illegal arrivals are not refugees yet, but illegal arrivals, who are by all accounts middle class in there home countries, illustrated by there ability to fork out $11,500 to criminal gangs to bring them here.

      More and more will come this way unless it is stopped. We have no idea whom these men are, that are typically between 18 to 35 and from terrorist hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.

      The sanitisation through the phrase ‘Green on Blue’ hides the reality of the treachery. Afghan Soldiers and Policemen whom Australian troops are training, in some circumstances are turning there guns on their Australian trainers, usually while they are at sleep or relaxed.

      Illegal arrivals from Afghan must be held and vetted, to prevent an Australian version of London’s July bombings, or a civilian ‘green on blue’ within Australian borders, executed upon Australian nationals.

      After 7/11 and 7/7 in the US and UK, plus the ‘green on blue’ episodes in Afghanistan, it would be folly to open the borders and have a free flowing taxpayers purse to anyone that wishes to walk in and claim asylum.

      We could easily let in our own version of the UK’s Qatada and Hamza, or the asylum seeker whom admitted to the BBC to belonging to a militia responsible for 300,000 deaths.

      The fact is too we just cannot afford it. $1.7 Billion a year and rising. &2.1 Billion on facilities and $300 million per year fighting law suits, as the reject cases file appeal after appeal.

      We need to deter or better still stop illegal immigration, otherwise we could put our existing society at risk.

    • OverIt says:

      03:18pm | 25/11/12

      Follow on from Gregg:

      Have you noticed that those who advocate letting in all and sundry will never, ever specify a number for the limit of our intake, even when asked as a direct question.  With million of refugees around the world hoping for eventual placement, and many more non-refugees trying to get in on the act, just how do they think we are actually going to pay for an unlimited number?  Come one, come all, “the government”, a bottomless pit of wealth, will pay for everybody’s housing, food, medical costs - unless, of course, you are an Australian!

    • acotrel says:

      05:08pm | 25/11/12

      Bob Menzies signed us up to the UNHCR.  Was he wrong to do that ?  If you really think so, perhaps you should persuad Abbott to make rescinding our signatory status a part of his platform ?

    • PJ says:

      05:23pm | 25/11/12

      You will remember the aching agony of discussion to grant $10 million so that poorer Australians could receive dental treatment. Yet there is no discussion bumping up the billions to pay for the comforts of 30,000 illegal immigrants.
      It just shows how unhinged the supporters of illegal immigration are when they support open borders and open treasury for illegal immigrants.

      Under this Government we have a 17 percent increase in homelessness and 12.5% of Aussie kids live in homes where no adult has a job. Yet we obsess and bang on about illegal arrivals, some of which are from liberated countries?

      Supporters of open borders and open treasury ignore:
      - the problems of crime European nations have experienced with the opportunists evident in this number.
      - the threat of importing terrorism.
      - the strain on support resources.
      - the strain on our resources, schools, medical centres, infrastructure, which are already struggling under an aggressive immigration programme.
      - the ever increasing financial burden on a nation whose GDP is on the slide and whose Government is heavily in debt.
      - the impact of resentment within our community, whose own challenges are secondary to those needs of illegal migrants.

      This lack of perspective by supporters that propose infinite never ending numbers, which increase by 2.2 times every year, are not thinking about the imposition on the Australian society.

    • JoniM says:

      06:43pm | 25/11/12

      I think you are all being a bit harsh on the government !
      At least they have tried to keep a lid on the increasing population numbers by reducing the rebate on Chemo drugs for cancer sufferers !
      Gotta love the extremes of the progressives !

    • PeterH says:

      07:08am | 25/11/12

      Not sure if it’s the worst policy of all, but I certainly agree it was the worst one introduced by the Howard Government.

      I understand why they did it but if we have to pay people to breed it should be restricted to those who contribute to society. Those whose main source of income is welfare should be actively discouraged from breeding.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      03:46pm | 25/11/12

      Why pay people to breed at all? It’s not like mankind hasn’t been doing it for free for millions of years…..

    • Babs of Sydney says:

      07:14am | 25/11/12

      Yes of course Acotrel, the government’s disasterous management of the asylum seeker issue has absolutely nothing to do with them - it’s all Tony Abbot’s fault.  Labor is just the government of Australia but, according to you, follow and adopt all the opposition’s policies on the matter.  Yep, makes sense, I guess…maybe????

    • Christian Real says:

      09:31am | 25/11/12

      Unfortunately under the Refugee Convention Act 1951 ,to which Australia is a signatory , they are not illegal as you and your Liberal mates claim
      Howard, now abbott would have you gullible people believe that they are illegals when in fact they are not.
      I am sure that if our Aboriginal ancestors had a choice then they would not have welcomed the English who landed here in ships bringing convicts and free settlers with them and taking over their country,Tribal Lands and children (the lost generation)
      To turn back the boats as Abbott claims he would do if he were Prime Minister is a direct breach of that same Refugee Convention Act of 1951 , just another thing that Abbott and his Opposition party has lied and deceived the Australian public over.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      10:27am | 25/11/12

      Christian you just make this stuff up as you go along don’t you?

    • Gregg says:

      10:45am | 25/11/12

      And if you ever can get rreal real uou might just listen to the thought that whilst there is nothing illegal about claiming asylum though you could even question that if fraudulent information was provided in a claim, I think you may find that illegality references pertains to the method of arrival.

      ” I am sure that if our Aboriginal ancestors had a choice then they would not have welcomed the English who landed here in ships bringing convicts and free settlers with them and taking over their country,Tribal Lands and children (the lost generation) “
      We are just a bit over two centuries past first fleet arrival and sure there have been some bad happenings but do you really think that all aboriginals would prefer not to have what settlement has put on offer for them or would in deed prefer to have had another nation raise its flag.

      As to what happens to boats I am sure if stopping the boats occurs which is also terminology used, whatever is legal, safe and appropriate to do so will be considered.
      Do you prefer that nothing be done?

    • marley says:

      11:22am | 25/11/12

      @Christian Real:  if you’re going to put other people down, it behoves you to get your own terminology straight.

      The UN Convention and Protocol on Refugees are not “Acts.” 

      And here’s a quote from that Convention:

      The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
      themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.”

      The Convention explicitly recognises that refugees may have entered a country illegally.  It is the Australian Migration Act, not the Convention, whose wording is such that these people are regarded not as “illegal” but as “unlawful.” 

      And you want to know what’s really a breach of the Convention, on both sides?  The notion that there’s an upper limit, be it 13,750 or 20,000, to the number of asylum seekers Australia will accept.  We are obliged under the Convention to accept every genuine refugee who makes it to our territory.  If that is 3 or 4000, as in the past, well and good, and we can fill up the “quota” with offshore cases.  If 25,000 refugees haul up on our shores, though, and are found to be genuine, we will be obliged to accept each and every one of them.  That both sides continue to talk as though there were an upper limit to the numbers we will accept is utterly misleading.

    • OverIt says:

      12:09pm | 25/11/12

      Christian, why only Australia?  What about all the other countries in the world who have been taken over by stronger armies, quick example Poland or Turkey?  Should we turn the clock back to whoever happened to be in possession of the land 200+ years ago? 

      But back to the current crop of asylum seekers.  Clearly, as so many have pointed out before, they had to have papers to get on an international flight to Indonesia.  But none on arrival?  Why would they not want your claim to be processed as quickly as possible, which would be much quicker to check if you had documentation that identified them?  Oh, that’s right - they left in too much of a hurry.  Too much of a hurry to pick up id papers, but not too much of a hurry to pick up the $5 to $10k to pay the people smugglers.  How many Australians do you think could just ‘find’ that sort of money?  Especially in a country where the average wage is less than $1,000 a year.

    • Blerghhh says:

      02:00pm | 25/11/12

      “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1”; can someone please then explain to me our an afghan, fleeing persecution in Afghanistan but getting on a boat in Indonesia is “coming directly from a territory where life and freedom are threatened”. i think this is the basic issue that most people have a problem with, because to my mind they have already escaped where there are fleeing and any movements after that are destination shopping

    • Shane says:

      02:13pm | 25/11/12

      @ OverIt,
      “Too much of a hurry to pick up id papers, but not too much of a hurry to pick up the $5 to $10k to pay the people smugglers.”

      That’s a mistruth that’s bandied around quite a lot. The path for middle eastern asylum seekers has them either flying into Indonesia and taking a boat, or flying into Malaysia and boating across to Indonesia and then to Australia. If you turn up at the airport in either of those two nations and tell them you have no passport, no visa and no identity papers, but its all good you’re just passing through, what do you think will happen to you?

      Asylum seekers/illegal immigrants have all the paperwork, passports etc. They are destroyed en route to Australia to prevent identification. That’s the thing that makes me question so many of them. If they truly are refugees wouldn’t their ID papers help to prove their claims?

    • marley says:

      03:01pm | 25/11/12

      @blerggh - if you go back to the beginning of the Convention, you will find a short list of those who are ineligible to claim asylum:  besides war criminals and the like, it includes any person ” who is recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which he has taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the
      nationality of that country.”

      An Afghan who has been given refugee status in the UK, for example, is ineligible to apply for asylum in Australia because he falls under that definition.  However, an Afghan sitting in Malaysia or Indonesia, which are not signatories to the Convention and do not give residence rights and protections to refugees, is entitled to apply for asylum here because he’s not covered by that paragraph.

      None of the major signatory countries regard transiting a non-signatory country as disqualifying someone from applying for asylum.  Most refugees who get to Europe have gone through a half dozen countries en route;  that doesn’t affect their eligibility at all, because those countries are either non-signatories or don’t abide by the Convention themselves.  So a Sri Lankan going through India, Kazakhstan and Russia and arriving in Finland can apply for asylum in Finland. 

      Basically, refugees have a right to seek protection, and that means the protection of a state which is a signatory to the Convention (and which actually observes is obligations, unlike, say, the Iranians).  So, the international consensus is that asylum seekers can transit any number of non-signatory states to get to one that will offer formal asylum.

    • OverIt says:

      03:11pm | 25/11/12

      Response to Shane:
      Hi Shane, I was actually being facetious in my post.  I am well aware that no international airline will permit you to board without appropriate documentation.  I actually agree with you: wouldn’t it help someone’s case to produce this id on arrival in Australia, rather than destroy it en route.  I too am suspicious that not everybody is as they claim to be.  And how on earth can Australian Immigration check?  The fact that some asylum seekers, once granted refugee status, have themselves admitted, retrospectively, that they just made up a story and got themselves admitted, shows how much harder it is for us to disprove their claim, which is of course why they destroy their papers.  And now that we are cutting chemo funding to pay for the hordes arriving on our shores in search of the good life, we have to recognise that we cannot afford unlimited arrivals forever.

    • acotrel says:

      05:11pm | 25/11/12

      ‘Christian, why only Australia?  What about all the other countries in the world who have been taken over by stronger armies, quick example Poland ‘

      Godwin’s Law, you lose

    • Angela says:

      07:50am | 25/11/12

      actorel.. you are blinded by your own socialist ideologies..
      Get this through your head..The majority of Australians do not want country hopping ,people smuggler paying,passport destroying ,illegal arrivals arriving on our shores by boat..
      Our politicians know this and re act accordingly..Unfortunately Gillard who has to try and appease the left ,has totally stuffed up a policy that had previously worked and has put this issue front and center of our political debate.If you want to blame someone ,you should be looking at your previous hero Rudd..

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:35pm | 25/11/12

      Yep it’s ironic, but the strongest paradox in these kinds of people is that they support the ‘idea’ of upholding people power, EXCEPT when the actual people actually vote for something he doesn’t like, and then tries to pretend its a bunch of ‘elites’ making it happen.
      It seems to be justification of ones own personal views by projecting them on everyone else and then convincing themselves that they are ‘standing up for the people’ by forcing their personal opinions on them.

    • Christian Real says:

      07:52am | 25/11/12

      Abbott also is looking at bringing back temporary visas should he become Prime Minister in the near future,he is living in the past by copying John Howard’s aggressive approach towards Asylum seekers.
      I feel that you are right also and Julia Gillard should discontinue to allow Abbott and his Coalition to dictate to her and her Government.
      Abbott and Morrison’s trip to Nauru was just one to grandstand and big note themselves and then they had the audacity on their return to Australia to mislead Parliament and Mislead the Australian people by blatantly falsely claiming that all Nauru need was a coat of paint and a few panes of glass in the windows to be up and running and ready to take refugees.
      The fact that they mislead Parliament over Nauru should have brought about their instant dismissal or resignation .
      I blame both of these men for the current situation on Nauru because if they had not lied and mislead Parliament about the condition of the detention centre on Nauru then refugees that are there now would not be living in tents.
      I believe that even if John Howard had been returned at the 2007 Federal Election and was still in government at this present moment that his Pacific solution would have failed in the very same way it is now failing for the Gillard Government .
      Can Abbott be trusted to be in charge of our Country, I think not already Scott Morrison is talking about re-introducing Temporary Visas and it would not be long before an Abbott Government revived Work Choices as well.
      John Howard is Tony Abbott’s mentor and it is quickly beginning to appear that policies brought in under the Howard Government will be policies brought in by a future Abbott Government also.
      My thoughts on these Aslyum Seekers are that they are not coming here illegally as Tony Abbott,hisOpposition,his radio shock jock friends and ardent supporters are falsely claiming.
      Under the Refugee Convention Act of 1951 signed by the Menzies Liberal Government these people are legally entitled to seek refuge here,they are not illegals as Abbott and everyone that supports him claims.
      The flow of Aslyum Seekers needs to be curtailed in Indonesia and other Countries from which they depart from to start their voyages to our shores.
      The People Smugglers can be stopped but only if these other Countries from where the boats depart from work together with Australian authorities .
      If these other Countries work together with Australia, the People Smugglers and their human cargoes can be stopped before they even depart for their voyages to our Country.

    • marley says:

      09:21am | 25/11/12

      @Christian Real - I’m not sure why you would think that a bridging visa which leaves someone in limbo for five years is an improvement on a TPV which lets him work.

      And by the way, one of the reasons the flow was so low in the Howard years, was the cooperation that the government had with the Indonesians.  First Rudd and now Gillard have damaged that relationship and hence, much less cooperation these days.

    • Achmed says:

      09:49am | 25/11/12

      marley - explain what Rudd/Gillard have done to damage relationships with Indonesia.  You make the claim….substantiate…..

      Or is this just another “urban legend” mis-truth/lie to muddy the waters for political gain?

    • Gregg says:

      10:57am | 25/11/12

      Well believe what you like Christian and a lot of what you do not believe in may come to pass in the not too distant future.
      As for
      ” The flow of Aslyum Seekers needs to be curtailed in Indonesia and other Countries from which they depart from to start their voyages to our shores.
      The People Smugglers can be stopped but only if these other Countries from where the boats depart from work together with Australian authorities . “

      The flow of boats needs to be stopped is one thing you do have in common with your poster boy Tony who would like nothing better than to stop the boats.
      Just how well we can expect that to happen with the involvement of Indonesian authorities may be questionable for even given their many islands, it seems that television reporters can over to Indonesia and easily find where there are people staying and awaiting a trip on a boat.
      Surely you would think it was not beyond the capacity of the Indonesian government to do intercepts.
      And then there has already been prosecution of some Indonesian soldiers for supporting people smugglers, apparently even being escorts!
      Yes, sad as it may be, I suspect there a re a lot of Indonesians, possibly even government and other officials who are getting benefits from the people smuggling trade and so that will make any involvement of Indonesia less predictable.

      So what is your Plan B?
      Do nothing?
      I’d fully support an LNP government doing whatever it takes for the benefit of all Australians including Labor supporters and I suspect there are many who would have hoped the Labor government had not developed this fiasco by revoking what was working for a six year stretch.

    • marley says:

      12:56pm | 25/11/12

      @Achmed - from what I’ve read, Rudd’s focus on China offended not just the Indonesians but the Japanese.  The Howard government worked hard to get cooperation from the Indonesians on refugee issues;  we don’t see much of that these days, do we?  The Indons are basically washing their hands of the mess, whereas in the past they were more cooperative.

    • OverIt says:

      04:21pm | 25/11/12

      Christian, are you suggesting that the government of the day, without carrying out any checks themselves, reopened Nauru on the Opposition’s say so?  If they had reopened Nauru six years ago, before the floodgates opened and before the facilities had fallen into disrepair, then nothing would have needed to be done.  After all this time, however, clearly it’s a much bigger job.  As is the current asylum seeker situation, which no longer existed as a problem before this current government dismantled working policies.

      BTW, although Abbot has been calling for the reopening of Nauru since Labor were elected in 2007, it was only opened as a result of the government adopting the recommendations of the Houston report - no other reason.  Gillard and mob delegated that decision to a committee and even you appear to believe that she is willing to take the word of the opposition over making a decision herself.  And that they should all be sacked because of wrongly advising them!!

      Question:  Who do you believe is currently running the country and, therefore, responsible for their policy decisions?

    • JoniM says:

      06:55pm | 25/11/12

      Spot on marley !
      As we all know, the ALP is only good at negotiating with union officials and each other ! Hence the problems they have with any foreign affairs ! Even Gillard said she hated foreign affairs !
      They have only ever been good at local affairs with themselves !

    • Achmed says:

      07:53am | 25/11/12

      After WW@ Australia took in big numbers of “displaced” persons.  People who could no longer live in the country of birth. 
      On arrival in Australia they were given a job and had to remain in that job for 2 years before they could move on.  The vast majority of the jobs were unskilled, in regional areas where there was a lack of a workforce.  And the placement was not based on skills.
      Doctors, engineers, teachers were sent to work on the building/repair of railways, others to work in the timber mills of the south-west of WA, others to work on road construction.
      There were no psychological services, no dole, no free housing and they learnt to speak/read english from their english speaking co-workers.
      They were “monitored” so much so that I know of one such immigrant who was arrested for getting married because he did not get permission from the authorities.
      There is only one reason why such a work allocation program can’t work today.
      Lack of political will.

    • Gregg says:

      11:13am | 25/11/12

      First of all Achmed, WW1 was nearly a century ago and WW2 well over half a century ago and Australia did have much by way of infrastructure developments to catch up on because of many of our ablebodied being in the military forces for a number of years.

      There was also power station building and the Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme and it was not as much unskilled work as you might think and most displaced persons had come from an industrialised country background so tehre was every chance they had some trade skills and in fact boilermaking and welding was heavily amongst engineering skills to be deployed.

      ” There is only one reason why such a work allocation program can’t work today.
      Lack of political will. “

      Well it would take enormous will to plunge Australia further into more enormous debt than we already have which would be required to start up any type of major projects where people from largely unindustrialised countries or having limited skills and english appreciation could be used.
      And then of course there is housing and all manner of other services which are perilously in short supply for Australians already.

      At the same time this country does run a solid immigration program for skilled people, a program which btw is quite stringent for approval and length of time from application to approval can be all of twelve months and more, such is the queue length.

      You may want to ask yourself should we be jeopardising the selection of skilled people who have to pay for their visas and will likely fit into our communities better, given they already have skills and good english language ability.

    • Achmed says:

      01:03pm | 25/11/12

      @Gregg..thanks for the history lesson in ppointing out how long ago WW1 and WW2 were it feels it was just yesterday…how silly of me.
      You are the one who has jumped straight to Govt funded infrastructure projects.  Many regional centres are dying due to a lack of workers.  Local Councils struggle, road works in remote areas get neglected not from lack of want to do something but from lack of a workforce.  Farmers/cattle stations lament the fact that the mining industry has reduced the available work force.
      I’m have no idea where you live but it would seem that you have no idea how lacking the regions are in having a good workforce.  I live and work in the north west of WA…...have done so for years….
      In regional areas small businesses close so the few staff they have can have a day off.

    • Gregg says:

      08:04am | 25/11/12

      James, given that we had Tory telling us just yesterday to watch what we were saying, I really have to say that I am utterly amazed at the standard allowed in an article today.

      First it is ” the dregs of society ”  and then we have
      ” Then there are the idiots we will have to pay to go around and catch them working on the sly. “
      So these idiots you refer to are ?

      Really, James, it is for certain that we have had an enormous problem created for Australia and for Australians and would you not feel it is far better to address the possibilities of what can be done and what to expect with a clearer and more rational mind?

      I am reminded of another post from yesterday that Tory may have missed:
      ” To all the Liberal maggots, weren’t your ancestors the original boat people? “

      Can we go beyond that style of conversation and attempt to address what our options are?
      First there is the UN convention which does seem to tie our hands somewhat and then we have the hundred thousand or so waiting to or in transit through Indonesia, a flow now of enormous proportions to what it was five years ago and even at the turn of the century before the ” Pacific Solution including TPVs started to take effect “

      We do I suspect have limitations with this government on what we can do in respect to the UN convention and also likely with the attitude within Indonesia, even given that some military people there have been on trial for aiding people smugglers, it also possibly just the tip of the iceberg.

      So with the Pacific Solution and yes, lets take the full solution, there are claims made continually by some that it did not work, particularly TPVs as they point to a 1999 intro and still high numbers of people smuggler boats up to two years later.

      So yes, that indicates there were numbers in transit, in the system pipeline you could say until the message went back and people started to question the value of paying their money for a ticket on a possible death boat.

      ” ........., Australia is going to have to start having a different conversation about refugees. “

      Given that the full pacific solution took two to three years to take effect, if we look at current flow and do some rough extrapolation, then yes we could expect over the next ten years to still have well upwards of a hundred thousand and who knows, even a half a million or more boat people arriving in our north and that is an awful lot of welfare cheques and a lot of services to be cut for Australians so think more homelessness, more elderly and ailling going without medical and dental treatment, greater unemployment and quite possibly more crime.

      We need to acknowledge a few things other than the cost to fully appreciate the dilemma we have:
      1. Australia is widely recognised as the driest inhabited continent, water being a basic commodity to sustain life and the MDB planning conjecture not to mention several questionably successful but very costly desalination plants ought to be ample example of the potential complications there.

      2. We already have housing shortages across the country, people living in sheds and in their cars as a result of natural and other forced events.
      And then there is the forever rising cost of living, electricity as an example.

      3. We have a skilled migration flow which is destined to address skill shortages but then many of our skill shortages are of a variable nature given the ebb and flow of the economy and demise of manufacturing, the whole impact being that sustained employment levels within Australia do need addressing desperately, employers for example usually not prepared to take older people even with skills and experience.

      So where will all the refugees work and live is one big question.
      As you say, it could lead to under the table employment and very crowded living, neither of which is conducive to maintaining a quality of life not just for them but for all Australians.

      If Australia cannot get the UNHCR and Indonesia more on board in addressing the people smuggling flow through Indonesia and from the likes of Sri Lanka, then yes we do need to act separately but not with the camp standard of catered for meals and cleaning etc.
      Have a look at UNHCR run refugee camps and using less inhabited islands around our coast, cleared patches of island, a water well and a tent and some meagre food supplies for self cooking is all that should be offered along with the alternative of them being returned to their home country so as to seek out a UNHCR refugee camp is about what we need to be doing.

    • OverIt says:

      04:35pm | 25/11/12

      We should also stop all taxi services to Indonesian waters.  If the RAN IS needed to save lives because the Indonesian navy can’t locate them, as seems to generally be the line, then we should take them straight to the nearest port.  It makes no sense for us to travel hundreds of kilometres to Christmas Island rather than less than 50 back to Indonesia.  And any demands or threats to captains of other rescuing ships should not be given in to!

    • George says:

      08:11am | 25/11/12

      Perhaps a better idea would be to say to them ‘stay where you are, in your own country and we will send you $220 a week”.

    • Gregg says:

      08:56am | 25/11/12

      And how many in their own countries do you reckon would be putting their hand up for a nice payment!
      500 million or two billion times $220 a week would be even more borrowing than Wayne could get his head around.

    • ronny jonny says:

      08:56am | 25/11/12

      Now that is getting creative. I believe we do give them money to go home, would that fall into that category? Can anyone confirm that we pay them to go home?
      I know we paid those ungrateful Kosovo “refugees” $20,000 to go back home.

    • lingo says:

      08:25am | 25/11/12

      Offshore processing on islands is massively expensive and numbers are restricted.  These people are going to keep on coming regardless of any deterrents. As the time approaches for when Australia pulls out from Afghanistan numbers will increase.
      The world is full of overflowing refugee camps and its time we called a spade a spade. I think we should either process them quickly to get rid of the backlog and let them become productive immigrants, or we pull out of the UN refugee agreement ( or whatever its called) and put them on a plane back to the hellholes they came from. Because that is the only thing that will stop them.

    • Andy says:

      08:35am | 25/11/12

      The majority of boat people are Illegal country shoppers, but who can blame them ? They now have a huge incentive, come to Australia, we will give you a visa, house you and even pay you while you are being processed!

      The Gillard government has lost control of our borders, they are responsible for another 33 deaths at sea. There must be an armada of boats leaving Indo as we speak, it is a thriving industry for the smugglers, who must just love this incompetent rabble that we call a government.

      The Brit newspapers even say we are an easy touch!

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      09:09am | 25/11/12

      @ Andy. In 3.5 months since the new policy announced on 13 Aug we have 7,500 boatpeople. At this rate there will be another 30,000 boatpeople before the next election.

      There are 80,000,000 Indians living on one dollar a day. I wonder when some of them will wake to the opportunity to get $30 a day without having to do any work for the next five years under the new ALP Government policy.

      Many of these poor people are also truly genuine refugees as many have been made homeless when thousands of houses were burnt down in ethnic riots in India and Myanmar.

    • andye says:

      10:12am | 25/11/12

      “There are 80,000,000 Indians living on one dollar a day. I wonder when some of them will wake to the opportunity to get $30 a day without having to do any work for the next five years under the new ALP Government policy.”

      How does this work? one minute they are all economic refugees, paying 5 figures to people smugglers and getting false documents made, the next we are contemplating that people who couldn’t afford a taxi are somehow going to get here.

      Perhaps you should try to make your fear-mongering a tad more realistic?

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      11:16am | 25/11/12

      @ andye. I suggest you spend six months as a teacher of English in Asia and learn how such things work out in Asia.

      You simply cannot use the logic of your daily life in Australia to understand.

    • Gregg says:

      11:45am | 25/11/12

      You might just be surprised at what desperate people will do, beg, borrow, steal and hijack a fishermans boat etc.
      And that good life they can have in Australia at our expense will be enough of a carrot to get that desperation high.

      And then we have a long African coast line that I’d hazard a guess and say the government has not even considered as far as inducements go.

      And of course the deaths could rise, both possibly through crime for funds and/or hijackings or boats sinking etc.
      Then there could be boats stuck out in the middle of the Indian Ocean thousands of kilometres from Australia and who will want to be rescued and of course we should have great sympathy for them all!

    • Terry2 says:

      08:44am | 25/11/12

      I’ve been away for a few weeks and have noticed, on my return, some not so subtle shifts in coalition policy on this vexed question; it seems that ’ tow/turn back the boats’ is no longer to be mentioned in the context of irregular maritime arrivals and the evident failure of the offshore processing strategy, a policy strongly promoted by the opposition, is now a government failure.
      It’s easy to be partisan about these matters but this ultimately is a cop out. A greater challenge for Abbott and Morrison would be to contribute constructively to a bipartisan solution.

    • Gregg says:

      12:49pm | 25/11/12

      If you go back more than just a few years Terry you will find that wghen the Pacific Solution and TPVs were first introduced, it too some 2+ years for the curtailment to be effected, be it push factors as some have often claimed or be it that the message got through to people that there may not be too good a value in spending thousands$$$$ with people smugglers but they already had several thousand in the pipeline who had paid their money.

      Being that we only had a relatively small number of asylum seekers using people smugglers back around 2000 and that we have not seen the government re-introduce the full PS, ie. no TPVs we can hardly expect identical results and it is kind of that the flood gates were opened and it will take a heck more closing.

      Expecting to see a change within a few months is just a bit of sheer stupidity by our politicians and media.

    • TracyH says:

      08:45am | 25/11/12

      I can understand the logic in not permitting asylum seeker people to work. It is used by smugglers to sell their schemes; they tell prospective customers “even if you get kicked out in 5 years, you can still earn while you wait”. This has been a proven outcome elsewhere. Yet the greens and others say that is unfair because people will have nothing to do, adding to their mental distress. OK - that makes sense, so why are they so opposed to Work for the Dole? I don’t understand that aspect.

    • Achmed says:

      08:49am | 25/11/12

      This whole asylum seeker issue has sunk so low.  Fueled by emotive language and very few facts and people who have taken a stance based on lies, mis-information and half-truths.
      The Liberals kept calling for a tougher stance and are now crying foul that its too tough with the introduction of the Bridging visa and its conditions.
      There is a solution in there somewhere, but the fanatics from both sides are unable to move their position, they are by definition - fanatic - a person who will not/cannot change their view even when confronted with the truth and facts that completely dispel their position continue to hold that position.

      The problem is that Labor and Liberal are allowing the fanatics from both ends of the spectrum to dictate.the debate.

      Mature sensible mature leaders who were more driven in their care for Australia than their desire/need to be PM would sit down and come up with a bi-partisan approach.  We should have a solution that holds for longer than the term of government. 

      And while there are those among the asylum seekers who are just abusing and manipulating the system. is it fair, just, humane, compassionate to lump the genuine in with them?

    • TracyH says:

      09:18am | 25/11/12

      Spot on Achmed.

    • Gregg says:

      12:56pm | 25/11/12

      I suppose there could be more constructive diuscussion without the emotive rants like:
      ” Labor re-opening Nauru and Manus, along with the rule tougher than TPV’s, in that they will wait in the “queue” as if they were still in a camp in another country and yet the boats still come is evidence of the uselessness of Abbott’s rants over the years.  And now Labor are introducing Bridging Visas that have tougher conditions than a TPV.
      Abbott’s hypocricy has been well on display when he was against the Malayasia “Solution” stating that he would not support it because Malaya was not a signatory to the UN Convention while he promoted using Nauru who were also not a signatory until 2011…all those years of the so-called Pacific Solution he was OK with Nauru not being a signatory.  And he is quite happy to send the boats back to a country that is not a signatory.  It seems Abbott will rant about being a signatory to the UN Convention or not just depends on which week it is and whether or not it suits a political purpose rather than anything else.  Cheap lousy poltical point scoring changing his mind to suit.
      His plan to “turn the boats back” has been discredited by the Navy, the very people he says will do the job.  They have told him time and time again that they dont have the resources and that this policy would only result in the Navy having to conduct rescues as the boats got sunk.  Part of the “turn the boats back” policy is to remove fuel from the boats so they can’t get to Aust…under International law that is called piracy.
      Just like his “no maternity leave in any Govt I’m part of” rant until he saw that the stance would cost him votes.  His “no new taxes” rant then 2 months later told us about the new tax on business to pay for maternity leave.  Or his comment that the best way to price carbon was with a tax…..that was until Labor introduced a “tax”. 
      Abbott doesn’t need to run marathons etc to keep fit, his backflips and jumping from one policy position to another will keep him fit enough. “

      And then we have more emotive language like:
      ” To all the Liberal maggots, weren’t your ancestors the original boat people? “

      All great constructive input!

    • Achmed says:

      05:10pm | 25/11/12

      Gregg…Emotive???  How is laying out a series of facts emotive?? name calling no abusing anyone…..just some uncomfortable facts for the 27%

    • michael j says:

      09:07am | 25/11/12

      Morning all anybody enlighten me on what James Campbell is meaning by this statement,
      Personally I think the worst policies, like the best wines, take years to mature. Which is why Peter Costello’s decision to pay the dregs of society to breed always gets my Number One on the ballot paper of dumb things our politicians have done.  Just wondering who Dreg’s is James?

    • sunny says:

      10:10am | 25/11/12

      “Just wondering who Dreg’s is “

      Joe Dregs. He’s known as “Dregs of Society” because he’s always popping up in the society pages ..and sure he’s had a cycle of problems due to his socio-economic circumstances, but we all agree that calling him names isn’t going to fix any of those problems.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      10:26am | 25/11/12

      Damn straight. The Breeders subsidies introduced by Howard and Costello were the worst set of policies of all time. Not only did it introduce middle class family welfare dependency but it was straight out and out wealth redistribution from singles and childless couples to middle class families. Australia didn’t need a population boom engendered by subsidies, just as it doesn’t need high immigration or loads of refugees

    • Gregg says:

      10:35am | 25/11/12

      I would reckon michael that James may be referring to his impression that perhaps most people who lined up for the baby bonus were seeing the immediate $$$$$ with not so much consideration as what $$$$$ costs there are in ensuing years and considers that line of thought could be indicative of people with less to contribute to our society.

      It is somewhat of a rough call I consider too, a bit like ” Then there are the idiots we will have to pay to go around and catch them working on the sly. “ and especially seeing that expression has been of interest of late.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:42am | 25/11/12

      I’d still give the Stupidest Policy Ever Award to Peter Costello.

      He got the public hooked on cash hand-outs, especially the most sacrosanct of voters the lil Aussie Battler middle class recipient.

      He eroded the tax base to the point where there is currently a 6% gap in tax take vs taxes necessary to fund future infrastructure requirements.

      Now we are in a situation where it will become necessary to remove all the cash hand-outs but this will mean the public will squeal like stuck pigs.

      We may have to broaden the tax base, too, by either increasing taxes or extending their reach. Again, the lil Aussie battler will bleat like an injured sheep over that.

      Or we can continue having an infrastructure shortfall that will hamstring the economy and blame everyone else for it.

      Maybe we need to hit the reset button. Abolish all the hand-outs and “incentives” and “compensation”. Institute a flat tax of about 20-30% on income which applies to everyone’s taxable income (income minus deductions). Broaden the GST base and maybe increase the rate

    • Achmed says:

      11:50am | 25/11/12

      Agreed.  The baby bonus has effectively been replaced by the maternity leave provisions.  To have both is a double dip into the taxpayers pocket.

      Do away with the MRRT.  Introduce a sliding scale of tax for business the same as PAYE .  Reduce business tax at the lower end, the big earners pay a bit more, same as the bloke in the street.
      GST should not touch health, education and fresh foods but could be increased a small percentage.

      Many years ago superannuation and private health payments were tax deductions.  Since that was removed we have seen the need to have a health rebate and superannuation guarantee.

      We have also seen the introduction of “salary sacrifice”.  Some of the things people can claim has gone overboard, for example some can claim the house mortgage….ridiculous.  Superannuation, work related items such computers, and there could be the option of private health care instead of the health rebate or tax deduction.

      Govt should stop privatising essential services.  All that ends up happening is the Govt still pays taxpayer to the privatised company to prop them up.  Private companies have an obligation to shareholders not the taxpayers.

    • Dot says:

      01:36pm | 25/11/12

      Stop all boats! Send them back if you have to, do whatever so that we can work on the 30,000 already here. No immigration for say another 5 years and allow each asylum seeker to bring over 4 of their closest relatives. 30,000 multiply by 4 = 120,000 then divide by 5 is 24,000 a year for the next 5 years, more than the 20,000 increase intake which the Coalition do not agree with.

    • Peter says:

      03:32pm | 25/11/12

      @ Dot. Your figures are wrong mate. Each of them is allowed to sponsor their family members, any no and not just four,  that is why sometimes only children are send over as boatpeople.

      I wonder what happens with their wives as some of them have legally four wives in their home countries.

    • sunny says:

      05:34pm | 25/11/12

      “four wives”

      poor bastards - no wonder they’re seeking asylum. Let them in I say - they’ve been downtrodden enough and deserve some peace.

    • Peter says:

      06:49pm | 25/11/12

      @ sunny. You are a misogynist under the new definition as recently defined by you know whom !!

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      03:29pm | 25/11/12

      Every week there is a writeup on how, with our ageing population, soon we will not be able to pay old age pensions. How hospitals can’t afford staff or equipment. How we can’t afford teachers or nurses. How we can’t afford roads. How we can’t afford to increase the dole for Australians who (genuinely) can’t find work.

      Yet the billions are available to cover the illegals who, dispite the primitivness they have taken for granted all their lives, complain that what we provide is not of a high enough standard.

      Years ago I sat in at some interviews for a position with a company.

      QUESTION. Why should we select you for this position?

      A lot of the answers were like. ‘I need a better paying job as my kids are starting school.—- We would like to buy a bigger house.—- I hear your superannuation scheme is excellent.——You provide a company car for private use. On and on ‘for me’.

      Man that got the job went something like. ‘I am familiar with your product and can see opportunities to significantly increase sales in particular areas. As you promote according to performance and results, I know what I can do fot you will ensure my long term asperations’.

      First two questions for ANYONE wanting to come here should be. WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR AUSTRALIA? and WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?’

      We are still a growing nation with lots of development needed. We have the capacity for a bigger population.

      What we need is people to do the required work.

      What we DON’T need is more ‘HANGERS ON’; More burdens.

      After ‘weeding out’, those people accepted must after a settling in period become at least self supporting or leave.

      Expenses paid out must be repaid.

    • Doug says:

      04:33pm | 25/11/12

      Labor and the Coalition are locked in a death struggle to see who can ‘stop the boats’. Labor tried one way - it didn’t work. Then they steadily tried everything the Coalition wanted. It still didn’t work.

      That’s because (whisper it quietly) . . . . . . .

      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . you can’t stop the boats.

      No matter what any government does, they will come, from now till Doomsday.

      You can’t stop the boats.

      Instead of trying to do the impossible, start dealing with reality.

      You can’t stop them coming, so how do we get them here as safely as possible, and how do we make best use of them once they’re here?

      By running our own boats . . . . and flights.

      By educating them: teaching them English, and a trade or profession.

      By giving them basic jobs they can do, like working on farms and orchards, or in factories, hospitals, in the mines, in the regions, earning while they learn.

      And once they are settled and earning, they can start repaying the cost of their passage and their education and training.

      By which time they will be settled, productive and most importantly, grateful Australians.

      The Indonesians and Malaysians should tip in a contribution, too, to thank us for taking the problem off their hands.

      You can’t stop the boats.

      But you can stop the inhumanity. And in the long run, we will all profit, too.

    • marley says:

      06:11pm | 25/11/12

      Well, interesting - but actually, you can stop the boats. Not all of them, but a lot of them. 

      We are getting unprecedented numbers of boats at a time when refugee movements are well below the levels of 2001/2.  Why is that?  Because irregular movements shift and change, looking for weak points and opportunities.  Right now, the smugglers see us in that light and are marketing us as a preferred destination.  Change that, and you change the numbers.  As I say, you don’t eliminate them, but you get them back to manageable levels.

    • stephen says:

      05:06pm | 25/11/12

      There has to be a case made that in the years to come, when Iran is bombed by Israel, and then Syria is delinquent and every family there wants to live here, and if North Korea goes ballistic and their locals want to be Aussie, that a country like ours, which is assumed to be culturally weak and therefore has no standards and so is easy game for the pissweak story of persecution, that we can play the good guy and show the rest of the UN - the ones who voted for our non-permanent membership - how we have sympathy, which in this day and age, masquerades as post-modernist ‘Culture’ .

      This country needs, wants, and in fact has always gasped for acceptance.
      We want to be liked so much that our place in the hurly-burly of international affairs can best be realized through acceptance.

      Everyone else’s.


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