The grace period for not politicising human tragedy is less than 24 hours. Both major parties are in full swing - misinforming the public, drumming up fear and spinning themselves out of any actual policy action.
The fact remains that Australia does not have an ‘asylum problem’ but we do have a problem with our policy response. Receiving less than 1 per cent of the world’s asylum claims in a year is not a problem. People dying at sea is most definitely a problem, unfortunately not one unique to Australia or to Indonesia.
The public debate around Labor vs. Coalition policy proposals can be likened to the saying: “When the finger points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.”
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There’s nothing like a leaky boat full of traumatised asylum seekers to spark fear and loathing in Australia.
Why is that?
Today’s news reveals that there are 13 times as many visa overstayers in Australia as there are asylum seekers in detention, but people arriving by planes – who are mostly Chinese, American, British or Malaysian - just don’t trigger the same gut reaction.
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