Six months ago today, the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers recommended a return to offshore processing on Nauru, predicting it would act as a “circuit breaker” to stem the flow of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat.
In the first six months that followed, more asylum seekers – 10,595 – arrived by boat than in any other six month period in Australian history.
Tragically, deaths at sea have continued, with more lives lost off the coast of Indonesia. Today, the core intention of the Panel’s work – to prevent loss of life at sea – remains unresolved and the need to improve protection for asylum seekers and refugees in our region and beyond still requires urgent attention.
Latest 2 of 64 commentsView all comments
Mark Latham is notoriously harsh and personal in his choice of language. It was one of the things which made him unelectable as prime minister and which saw him shred every friendship he ever had upon making his furious exit from parliamentary life.
At the same time Latham can also make sense. His analysis may often be brutal and poorly-timed but it is often also right. He was 100 per cent right when he said on Sunday that the people who advocate the onshore processing of asylum seekers, on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, are creating a situation where desperate people will risk their lives at the hands of people smugglers in the dangerous hope of making it to the Australian mainland.
Of course Latham could have easily avoided insinuating that the likes of Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young and the Labor Party’s Left Faction had effectively killed the 200-odd men, women and children whose bodies were still being picked out of the sea off the coast of Java.
Latest 2 of 382 commentsView all comments
There is a certain evil logic behind Tony Abbott’s offer to work side-by-side with Julia Gillard to fix the asylum seeker issue. Due to the vagaries of minority government plenty of other members of this shambolic parliament have had a go at playing prime minister, so it’s only fair that Abbott joins the Windsors and the Bandts, the Oakeshotts and the Wilkies, in determining government policy.
Abbott’s offer to work with Gillard is excellent politics in its cheapest form. By extending an invitation to Gillard to support the amendment of the Migration Act to allow offshore processing, Abbott looks like the very model of civilised bipartisanship. In reality it’s a political ploy aimed at drawing even greater attention to the fact that the Gillard Government has failed, again, on border protection.
None of the options Julia Gillard has at her disposal to resolve the asylum seeker problem are politically palatable. Nor are they politically sellable, not in a climate where, according to Newspoll, just 12 per cent of Australians say that Labor is doing a good job on border protection, and are twice as likely to support the Coalition as the party which could best deal with the issue.
Latest 2 of 249 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…