How do I know this isn’t some kind of trick?

And this is why Crikey‘s First Dog On The Moon is a national treasure:

POINT MADE. So clearly that you’d think no-one could miss it.

(Posted without permission but hoping that First Dog will be fine with it because I told everyone he’s ace and that Crikey will be fine with it because they’d like the message to get out there – to the countless hordes reading An Onymous Lefty – and also they have some residual guilt from getting rid of us this week.)

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82 responses to “How do I know this isn’t some kind of trick?

  1. Splatterbottom

    I suppose the possibility of an accurate cartoon in Crikey is out of the question – one showing genuine refugees impoverished and rotting in a camp in Dafur while wealthier refugees, having already achieved relative safety in Indonesia, buy their way to the promised land.

    The next frame would have the Greens and Labor making a deliberate decision to encourage them on the dangerous voyage by changing the rules of the game, raising the jackpot in this lottery of death.

    Then you would have a trendy dinner party where a gaggle of pouting and preening progressives, deeply in love with their own sophistication, admire their exquisite consciences and pompously denigrate the evil redneck conservatives (who actually implemented policies which dramatically reduced the drownings).

    Lastly you would have the execrable Hanson-Young, hand on clit, shrugging as the refugee family drowns, observing that “Tragedies happen, accidents happen”.

  2. pouting and preening… deeply in love with their own sophistication, admire their exquisite consciences… pompously denigrate…

    Project much?

  3. “hand on clit”

    That’s a new low SB

    Now you can add being a creepy perve to your list of shortcomings

  4. Of course, were SB to find himself in the position of being a refugee, you can bet he would do everything in his power to make sure that he and his family did not end up impoverished and rotting in a camp.
    As would we all.

    Or have I got you wrong, SB?
    You have daughters, don’t you?
    Would you happily subject them to the possibility of rape and sexual abuse in a filthy refugee camp.
    Or if you have a son, would you be happy for him to fall into the hands of crime gangs and drug dealers.
    How much risk is enough for your family to bear so that you can claim the moral high ground and not “jump the queue”?

    You don’t strike me as the kind of guy that would let governments or the U.N. tell you what’s best for your family.
    You don’t strike me as the kind of guy that would abdicate his personal responsibility and let the bureaucracy deliver salvation for him and his family.
    And having taken matters into your own hands, you don’t strike me as the kind of guy that would happily settle for second best and “relative safety” when the very best is within reach.

    Maybe I’m wrong.
    Maybe you are that kind of guy.
    Or maybe you have one set of rules for yourself and your family and another for somebody else and their family.

    Cheers

  5. Splatterbottom

    Felix, what is the problem with that. It is just another way of calling her a wanker.

    Marek, you are absolutely right. I would do whatever I could to improve my family’s circumstances, including taking large risks.

    However, when coming up with a reasonable policy (which is really what this discussion is about) I wouldn’t include elements which encourage the drowning of hundreds of people merely so I could sanctimoniously strut about moralising on the inhumanity of my political enemies.

  6. when coming up with a reasonable policy (which is really what this discussion is about) I wouldn’t include elements which encourage the drowning of hundreds of people merely so I could sanctimoniously strut about moralising on the inhumanity of my political enemies.

    Oh, excellent. So you are, like me, also in favour of ending the policy to
    – charge all crews regardless of whether they’re competent or not
    – destroy all boats regardless of whether they’re seaworthy or not
    – NOT charge people who run unseaworthy boats
    – NOT charge people who incompetently crew a boat

    Obviously the above encourage the running of dangerous boats that result in people drowning. Only a reversal will make the voyage safer and save lives.

    If only the two big old parties were on the same page as us, eh?

  7. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, you are being presumptuous about my views.

    The first thing to do would be to get the parties who supported the policy change which has led to hundreds being drowned to admit their failure. It is difficult to see how we can develop good policy without starting from a position based in reality.

  8. The policy change didn’t “lead to hundreds being drowned”. The creation of more refugees led to the numbers increasing. But again the numbers of people getting on boats was never the cause of the drowning – it was the unsafe boats.

    And why are they unsafe?

    Because we promise to destroy the boats and prosecute the crews even if they are safe, encouraging the sending of disposable ones.

    That’s what needs to change. And then people won’t be drowning at sea.

  9. Splatterbottom

    Given the prices people are prepared to pay for the voyage your scheme looks like a lucrative business opportunity for P&O. Flying them in would be even cheaper.

  10. I thought your concern was with them drowning because the boats are disposable death-traps run by incompetent, disposable crews, in which case making the boats safer would seem to be the obvious solution.

  11. Splatterbottom

    It is a catch 22, isn’t it?

    We should take a much larger number of refugees. We can’t act like a dog in a manger while millions of people are suffering. This means we need to invest a lot more in building up our ability to cope with large numbers of refugees. But even so, we need to have some limit on the amount refugees we take. This ultimately means prioritising the most disadvantaged.

    Once we do that, those who are wealthier, more mobile and less at risk among them will try to enter illegally. You seem to be saying that we should make it easier for that group. I think we should so disincentivise them that they do not even bother. This latter goal was achieved by the Howard government policies. The reversal of those policies has led to the current tragic system which is basically a lottery of death.

  12. But even so, we need to have some limit on the amount refugees we take. This ultimately means prioritising the most disadvantaged.

    I reject that assertion. There’s no reason why we have to take a place from the formal queue when someone arrives on a boat and is processed as a genuine refugee.

    (Hell, those people are even more committed to getting there than someone who just gets on a plane. They’d make really committed citizens.)

    Once we do that, those who are wealthier, more mobile and less at risk among them will try to enter illegally.

    Don’t be silly – those people will just get on a plane. Why would they get on a slow, presently dangerous boat if they had wealth, mobility and papers?

    You seem to be saying that we should make it easier for that group. I think we should so disincentivise them that they do not even bother.

    By making sure the boats are dangerous so they drown?

    I don’t think that is a legitimate disincentive for us to accept.

    This latter goal was achieved by the Howard government policies.

    Only until people realised that they were still coming to Australia in a few years anyway. Wouldn’t work any more.

    And anyway, disincentivising seeking asylum by treating desperate people cruelly? How is that compatible with us not being horrible people?

    The reversal of those policies has led to the current tragic system which is basically a lottery of death.

    No, the lottery of death is because we don’t regulate the safety of the boats and in fact encourage the sending of disposable boats and crews.

  13. However, when coming up with a reasonable policy (which is really what this discussion is about) I wouldn’t include elements which encourage the drowning of hundreds of people merely so I could sanctimoniously strut about moralising on the inhumanity of my political enemies.

    Breathtaking lack of self-awareness yet again. Perhaps you forgot what you wrote in your first post to this thread and need to re-read it. It’s a bit hypocritical to criticise others for sanctimoniously strutting about moralising on the inhumanity of their political enemies straight after doing it yourself.

  14. Marek, you are absolutely right…(h)owever, when coming up with a reasonable policy…

    I wasn’t commenting on the policy.
    I was commenting on your demonising of those who seek asylum by boat.

    one showing genuine refugees impoverished and rotting in a camp in Dafur while wealthier refugees, having already achieved relative safety in Indonesia, buy their way to the promised land.

    The bigot’s dog whistle about boat arrivals being queue jumpers, illegals, asylum shoppers or not genuine refugees has eased itself into your vocabulary so successfully that I doubt you even noticed that you used.

    If we can get past the idea that those who seek asylum by sea are not any less worthy than others, then perhaps we can start to have a real discussion about how to mitigate the dangers they face.
    Once that discussion starts, with the assumption that they have a right to seek asylum, we can then start canvassing strategies to ensure their safety which are not predicated on the idea that they should be punished with incarceration in the middle of the desert or on some shit heap in the middle of the Pacific.

    I favour an Australian run processing centre in Indonesia.
    Asylum seekers would be able to move about freely in the community, as they do now, whilst waiting for a determination on their status.
    Once accepted, they would be transported to Australia at our cost.

    The reason they take the boat trip is to get the asylum process started.
    If they could get the ball rolling in Indonesia, then there would be no need to risk a trip to Christmas Island.
    If any did, then straight back to Indonesia with a black mark on your file.

    Having to wait around in Indonesia with relative freedom has got to be better than being locked away at Baxter, Villawood or Nauru.

    Cheers.

  15. Splatterbottom

    “Don’t be silly – those people will just get on a plane. Why would they get on a slow, presently dangerous boat if they had wealth, mobility and papers?

    A plane is a lot cheaper than $10k per head which is what they are paying now. But still they get on boats.

    I don’t favour a system which encourages better-off refugees at the expense of those in more urgent need.

  16. returnedman

    I’m not convinced by that cartoon.

    Dogs with the power of human speech? Please.

  17. Splatterbottom

    Marek: “I was commenting on your demonising of those who seek asylum by boat.
    ….
    The bigot’s dog whistle about boat arrivals being queue jumpers, illegals, asylum shoppers or not genuine refugees has eased itself into your vocabulary so successfully that I doubt you even noticed that you used.

    “Demonising” is just another wank-word thrown about by those looking for an easy way to silence dissent rather than dealing with difficult issues.

    The problem is that unless we can take in every refugee, we must decide who we will take. A major factor in any such decision ought to be need. We should prioritise those in most urgent need of assistance.

    “If we can get past the idea that those who seek asylum by sea are not any less worthy than others”

    I don’t think we should get past the idea of allocating our resources to the most needy refugees. If you think that makes me intrinsically evil then I have only two words for you. But I won’t use them.

  18. “unless we can take in every refugee, we must decide who we will take.”

    Why can’t we take every genuine refugee that applies?

    Is it that we live in on a different planet and have no responsibility for those in need as a wealthy nation?

    Does our wealth give us the right to tell others to f*ck off back to a poor third world country to live just because we can afford a functioning navy?

    Why is this so?

    SB and Jeremy, what’s the limit to our responsibility to others and who decides?

    If I sound confused….I am. It seems that anyway you look at it we are arguing about being able to keep our lifestyle because we are lucky enough to not be going down the tube like most of the rest of the world. We want to hang-on to our wealth regardless of how many others have to suffer……I don’t get it.

  19. Splatterbottom

    “Why can’t we take every genuine refugee that applies?”

    Craigy, that should be the default position. The problem is that there are 30-40 million refugees. If our policy is that we take everyone who applies then we may not have the resources to deal with them all, or even a million of them.

  20. “we may not have the resources to deal with them all, or even a million of them….”. So it is better just to drown ‘em all Craigy; then we can go on living the great “Australian Lifestyle” and continue to search for the “Perfect Bathroom Tile”.

  21. Splatterbottom

    “So it is better just to drown ‘em all Craigy”

    Sarcasm that misses the point entirely is no substitute for reasoned argument.

  22. SB proposes “reasoned argument”, one wonders when he’ll ever get round to any.

  23. “A plane is a lot cheaper than $10k per head which is what they are paying now. But still they get on boats.”

    SB From what i understand the people who get on boats to Australia come from countries that have an automatic presumption against visas. IE if you try and fly from somewhere and are an Afghan citizen (for example) then you will be automatically refused a visa on security grounds because there is a chance you will apply for asylum once you land here.

    I may be misunderstanding, but that is the impression i have.

  24. If you think that makes me intrinsically evil then I have only two words for you.

    Oh dry up, Princess!!
    If you object so much to the use of the word ‘demonising’, then perhaps you should ensure that nobody has just cause to use it when talking about your comments.

    OK I get it.
    You don’t think that people arriving here by boat are deserving or authentic, even though that’s exactly what you would do in their place.
    So I guess I was right; You have one set of rules for you and your family and one set for others.

    Lastly you would have the execrable SB, hand on cock, shrugging as the refugee family drowns, observing that “Tragedies happen, they probably weren’t genuine anyway”.

    Cheers.

  25. we need to set up a processing structure in Indonesia, funded by, and managed by, us, in conjunction with the UN.
    To be successful, this would need to be accompanied with a clear message to all potential asylum seekers that there would be no point getting on a boat to Australia, as they would be guaranteed to be sent home, or at least back to Indonesia for processing.

    Looks like John Hewson agrees with me.

    Cheers.

  26. “A plane is a lot cheaper than $10k per head which is what they are paying now. But still they get on boats.” – SB

    Clueless.

  27. Nawagadj, why is that particular statement clueless? AFAIK while the prices people smugglers charge for passage to Australia varies quite a lot, it has for years stayed consistently higher the cost of a plane fare (figures seem to be in the $3K-$20k range).

    Looks like John Hewson agrees with me.

    Marek, what you’ve proposed looks somewhat similar to the Malaysia Solution, although superior in a couple of respects. I’d certainly support it over the status quo, although I suspect if Indonesia were amenable to the idea, the current government would have entered into negotiations with them already.

  28. J – for one, you need a passport to get on a plane to Australia. BS, err, SB, seems to merrily assume that everyone in the world has one.

    2nd, most of the applicants from countries from where we receive asylum seekers, would additionally need to first apply for a visa to get here, and we’re a bit suss about issuing visas.

    3rd to need to show that you have enough funds to support yourself while you’re here and pay for a return flight.

    That it might not be as simple as a boat costs more than the plane, means that boat arrivees are “better-off” is bonkers.

  29. narcoticmusing

    Craig/Eric (albeit less constructively that C) Why can’t we take every refugee?

    1) Because we can’t manage the current population growth and expectation of living standards let alone if we were to take unlimited refugees. Health costs alone – and the standard of health care is one of the items most people would not, including refugees, want to decline – is growing at 2-3 times CPI and population growth. We simply cannot afford it unless we dramatically decrease the quality of health care. Having trouble getting a GP appointment? How does never work for you?

    2) Because we suck at planning. Police resources (for example) are stretched and wouldn’t you know it, hot spots for police are refugee settlement areas. This may (likely) be a reflection of poor planning rather than a reflection of a poorly behaved population – but do you think suddenly planning will improve? Unlikely.

    3) Because Australia is a democracy and the living standards we have (that attracts asylum seekers) cannot be sustained without limits to refugee numbers. Democracy means that it isn’t up to you as to whether all of our living standards should decline. It is up to the collective us. I put it to you that the collective us, including refugees, treasures Australia for exactly the features unlimited refugees would harm.

    4) Because sympathy doesn’t equate with personal impact – again the democracy that makes this country great would not vote in favour of this. If they did, great, but it would and should require a referendum because it would change everyone’s lives. You might think for the better, but I suggest the rest of the population wouldn’t agree and this democracy hears their voice too. This is why we haven’t enacted a whole bunch of treaties into domestic legislation that we’ve ratified.

    5)Because there are legitimate security concerns and we don’t have the resources to assess them quickly enough now – you suggest we stretch that further and imprison asylum seekers longer? Imprisonment levels/times for asylum seekers are already unconscionable imho (notwithstanding the 60 odd actual refugees serving indefinite sentences here without charge being well outside any form of justice). They were great ideas, but not politically palatable.

    None of this precludes a dramatic increase in our refugee intake, but just some thoughts off the top of my head as to why we can’t take them all.

    None of this precludes a dramatic shift in policy, such as properly regulating boat standards and/or waiving passport requirements for asylum seekers trying to get here by plane (with assessment on this side rather than assessment first). Just a couple examples of many that would change the situation dramatically.

  30. JR, the benefit of Indonesia is that nobody needs to get on a boat to enter into the migration system.
    The Malaysian proposition is predicated on the fact that people have already risked the open seas.
    If we want to “stop the boats”, then we need to send the message that there’s actually no need to attempt sailing to Christmas Island, all can be arranged from the safety of Indonesia.

    Of course, when all of us here, including SB, say “stop the boats”, we means ‘stop people from risking their lives in boats’.
    When the Howardites and their merry band of bigots say “stop the boats”, they mean ‘stop those tinted people from coming here in boats!’.

    Cheers.

  31. 1. ) Because we can’t manage the current population growth and expectation of living standards let alone if we were to take unlimited refugees.

    Well I’ve read everything now. We have a country with a land mass nearly the same as the U.S. of A. with what amounts to a handful of people in it, enough resources in it even being consumed at their current rate to last a thousand years, and we can’t take all the refugees.Bwaaaaaaaha.

    Not to mention our expected living standards. Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaha. Does that mean I’ll soon be getting my Rolla?

    Here’s a hot flash for you Narco, the refugees have got nothing to do with our living standards, not now or in the future, nada, zilch, zero. Just the money of our soon to be richest first lady would fix Australia’s problems for a hundred years. Kerry Packer has lost more money on a roulette table in one night than the refugee so called problem.

    Is it any wonder Abbott is laughing intro his soup? We have more to worry about than the refugees, like the U.F.O. problem tee hee he.

  32. “expectation of living standards” (the expectations are insane)
    “the living standards we have” (are well past sensible or remotely sustainable)
    “cannot be sustained without limits to refugee numbers” (but rich white people are fine)
    “exactly the features unlimited refugees would harm” (gee yes, all those broken bathroom tiles that you can’t match up).
    “there are legitimate security concerns” (but not for rich white folks).
    “we don’t have the resources to assess them quickly enough”. (no..we just can’t be bothered).
    “the democracy that makes this country great”. (LOL).

    There is absolutly no sensible or rational reason whatsoever that Australia could not take in, and process properly, every person that presents at our borders and claims refugee status. The reasons we don’t are about our inherent selfishness as a nation, our complete and utter disregard for others worse off than ourselves, and (as I have said many times at this blog) our inherent racism.

    We’ll have to get better at it. We’ll have no choice, climate change refugees alone will demand a complete shift in the whole idea of nation states. That “dramatic shift in policy” is coming, and it is coming far faster than we think.

    The bathroom reno will have to wait a while.

  33. narcoticmusing

    Lynot – while I agree that a reduction in living standards is appropriate if that is the cost of allowing in more refugees, I was merely pointing out that whether we like it or not, this is a democracy and that would never fly with the electorate. So, whether you like it or not, we cannot reduce living standards. You also cannot take the first lady’s private property whether you like it or not. Or anyone else you dislike. It is a right to be greedy as much as it is a right to be sympathetic (at the very least there are not laws prohibiting either). It is what makes Australia great – difference of views and unfortunately, some of those views are pretty shitty. But we don’t have the law come along and strip us of all our rights and property against the view of the masses (marriage equality notwithstanding).

    Also, landmass alone does not equate to having adequate infrastructure etc. Are you happy for our hospitals to turn everyone away? Are you happy for there to be NO elective surgery -which by the way, is not cosmetic. Elective surgery is the sort of surgery that you don’t need straight away but you still do actually need. A heart valve bypass or removal of a tumor for example are elective surgery procedures. Our hospitals instead would just be giant emergency departments, forever sucking more and more resources until even that is destroyed.

    So Eric and Lynot – selfish or not, it is not your choice. This is a democracy. Despite your quite aggressive attacks, I was not suggesting we should not increase the intake, nor that removing limits was not laudable. Ie. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you.

    I was simply pointing out that it is not the few people who would give up their resources choice to make for everyone else. Private property is an important aspect of this. I’ll ask you to consider what you personally have given up for refugees and asylum seekers? I know what I’ve done and I know it is more than most of the population which is why I also know that most of the population would not consent to reductions in living standards to appease your (and my) conscience. (Please do not feel like I’m calling you out – there is no need to actually answer)

    I don’t recall the ethicist off the top of my head (I’ll try to remember) but he essentially said that we must maintain a level of self interest in order to preserve compassion – that if every person with a conscience acted that way, we’d be bred out of existence in a couple generations.

    Eric, I also put it to you that ‘rich white folks’ that are a security threat are treated as such. You presume too much. I don’t disagree that the political atmosphere is racist and there are some concerning laws regarding the boats (as Jeremy has rightly pointed out many, many times), but I am aware of frequent deportations of security risks, particularly of ‘rich white folk’ who have already served a sentence then being deported post sentence despite legit family here etc.

  34. Narco one should not confuse being aggressive your words, and not suffering fools gladly. I am a socialist so that makes me a tad upset when I hear the rich folks banging on about how bad we’ve got it. Australia is one of the richest countries on this ere planet and we have a standard of living DESPITE the efforts of our greedy capitalist friends, who would still have children working in mines if they thought they could get away with it, a standard of living that is the envy of the world.

    This standard I might add fought for and won by my generation. Your comments about our hospital system is abject nonsense. I have been attending them for sixty years, my wife has had three children in them, I have had my life saved in them, and have never been turned away or had any complaint about the waiting time or service. I can only assume you may just live in the Sudan or some where.

    Your contention we live in a democracy is right up to a point. We still have electorates that are gerrymandered in this country. Try painting your garage pink in the leafy suburb of Toorak or pitch a tent on the foot path. The way we are travelling we are headed for a police state not a democracy. It may just have escaped your notice that the Howard government gave the police sweeping powers in this country to detain with out trial, and tried to control the free market place as far as labour is concerned, with work choices.

    Your comments about the rich I will include in some poetry I’m putting together.

    As Eric said we have to take them, there is no choice.

    We will see if your opinion changes about our democracy with the election of Tony Abbott God forbid!

  35. narcoticmusing

    That you have had good service from our health system is indicative of the current standard you enjoy. Our health system, however, is at a very difficult point (indeed all Western jurisdictions are facing this). Where the costs of healthcare are outstripping CPI. This is due to a range of factors, including population growth, but population growth alone isn’t the only factor as the costs are growing at a faster rate than population growth. The factors there include: an increasing older population, increasing complexity of conditions, increasing expectations of standards of care and access to the ‘latest’ technologies for treatment, pharmaceutical costs etc etc.

    I’m not sure what you base your remark ‘Your comments about our hospital system is abject nonsense’ but I base them on a working knowledge of the health system, working within the health system, the AIHW reports, the World Health Organisation reports, research and data from every justification similar to ours – we are all facing the same pressures and no one is yet to come up with a solution. Increasing the population is not one of them. Your remark seems to be based on your own personal isolated experiences and I’m really pleased they have been fabulous, but that standard is what will (and is in) decline due to the pressures above. The entire basis for National Health Reform was to address this (although that has been pretty screwed up thus far thanks to the Feds utter incompetence in this space). This is actually a field of specific expertise for me and not at all nonsense.

    The issue with the health system in the Sudan is one of money. Having worked with the Doctors without Borders there, it is dire. There is insufficient GDP to prioritise health in the way we do here. Frankly, healthcare is a 1st world issue in the context that the main pressures are ones that the Sudan would dream to have. That being said, would you be happy to be turned away and not have your life saved because the hospital is at capacity and can’t see you? We have current examples of hospitals being at capacity almost all the time, being in the red, being in default of creditors, etc etc.

  36. narcoticmusing

    As for the rest of your post – you presume too much about me.

    As for rich white folk, I was merely explaining the basis isn’t completely race based. I”m not sure again the basis of your sarcasm that obviously implied I was wrong, but again my assertion was based on evidence. If you want a current example of a ‘rich white’ boy being treated as a security risk, look no further than the radically resourced Julian Assange – whose access to resources could make a minor monarch blush. But yes, my primary examples were relating to ex-cons.

    It may just have escaped your notice that the Howard government gave the police sweeping powers in this country to detain with out trial, and tried to control the free market place as far as labour is concerned, with work choices
    Oh ffs, I didn’t say the democracy was perfect – but you want a dictatorship with you in charge. Where you are right and to hell with the population. Sure our democracy is flawed and certainly has its dose of tyranny of the majority, but it is better than just one know-it-all in charge without any say. Btw, I objected to those market place interferences (workchoices) both through protest and the ballot box. There are plenty of other interferences to the market though – are you ok with all or none or is it perhaps not that simple? No, I didn’t think so. Black and white rarely exist in reality, only in the minds of extremists.

  37. “that most of the population would not consent to reductions in living standards”

    “bred out of existence”

    “we must maintain a level of self interest in order to preserve compassion”.

    “Private property is an important aspect of this”.

    Private property is theft. The current lifestyle is unsustainable, and will remain unsustainable whomsoever we vote for, in whatever so called democracy we might happen to live in. (In Queensland for example, poor people are about to be forced out of their homes and hearded together in groups so that Clive Palmer can avoid more tax).

    What world do you actually live in?

    because it is not a question of “want”.

  38. narcoticmusing

    “the democracy that makes this country great”. (LOL). What do you suggest in the alternative? You in charge?

    “we don’t have the resources to assess them quickly enough”. (no..we just can’t be bothered). No, the executive government allocates resources and would lose an election based on $ to resource this better due to the almost complete breakdown of the 4th Estate.

    There is absolutly no sensible or rational reason whatsoever that Australia could not take in, and process properly, every person that presents at our borders and claims refugee status Self interest is completely sensible and rational. It is not always selfish either. Your opinion of what defines good and evil is not the same as everyone else’s. You should not be able to dictate your morals on to everyone else and have your morals define our rights and responsibilities. This is the exact same position I hold against the dominant religions. Why would I give you a free ride just because I happen to agree with you that we should let in more refugees? Justify why it is ok for you morals to be imposed on everyone in the nation while it is not ok for the ACL to impose their morals on us? You demand a double standard on the basis of being ‘right’ as if that hasn’t been used to wipe out entire peoples before.

    The reasons we don’t are about our inherent selfishness as a nation Agreed, which is why the electorate won’t vote for it. What can I say? Do you personally sacrifice what you have (time/money/etc) for refugees or others in need? (no need to answer). I do and yet, that doesn’t mean I can legislate that have to as well. And I would fight to defend a person’s right to not be forced to do something for others.

    We’ll have to get better at it Agreed.

  39. “That you have had good service from our health system is indicative of the current standard you enjoy. Our health system, however, is at a very difficult point”

    Like all government run institutions the hospital system may have its faults, but it is still the envy of the world. If you are telling me they’re on the verge of collapse and refugees are going to exacerbate the problem (your opinion) nonsense. Could they use more money? Yes. They can get it by taxing the mining companies at a higher rate for starters. But of course according to the conservatives they’re down to their last Rolex.

    My quip about the Sudan, Gordon Bennett !. Are you serious? Tell me something I don’t know. They have the money (government that is) but would rather spend it on pop guns and better ways to kill people. Although they do share some similarities with our own get rich merchants. They have their chateaus filled with paintings, some of which could no doubt buy a children’s hospital, or fully equipped cancer ward. They also like our own, have their media telling the plebes its all the fault of those damned foreigners.

    Abbott is running a fine fear campaign, and it’s working. Even the so called lefties are now buying the story.

    Yep! I despair.

  40. The cost / standards of living concerns raised about refugees are largely spurious. In the short term, refugees cost money, yes – processing, background checks, counselling, etc. In the medium to long term, they trend toward the general economic impact of migration – i.e. neutral to current residents, and massive benefit to the migrants themselves.

    Where the costs of healthcare are outstripping CPI. This is due to a range of factors, including population growth, but population growth alone isn’t the only factor

    While the healthcare system’s costs are proportional to population, so are the revenues. In fact, because of economies of scale, all else being equal, funding health is easier with a larger population.

    The same holds true for most public services, particularly where the population moves toward higher density (as is the trend). So for instance In general, for every 100% increase in a city’s population, the cost of infrastructure rises by only 85% or so.

    The factors there include: an increasing older population

    Yes, and given the average age of refugees, accepting more will in fact mitigate the issue of the ageing population.

  41. “Black and white rarely exist in reality, only in the minds of extremists.”

    Gee Narco you really do have more front than a block of flats twelve stories high.

    You tell me I presume tooooo much about you, then have the unmitigated gall to accuse me of being an extremist. I also see you take great delight in putting words in people mouths. Where ffs, did I say I wanted to be in charge. I gave you an example of work choices, you gave me, I want carte blanch to let the people that run the place do as they please. Nuance is not your strong point is it Narco?

    The truth of the matter is, the whole refugee problem has got nothing to do with economics period. Tony Abbott is pandering to the red necks in our society who would not only want to stop the boats, but put a steel fish in the bottom of them to terminate the problem with extreme prejudice. This is wedge politics of which conservatives are masters at. Well they must be, hey they’ve even got the left on board now. (pardon the pun)

  42. narcoticmusing

    Wow, I put up some suggestions around why the general population would never agree to unlimited refugee intake and suddenly I”m a monster from a fairy tale. No wonder nothing happens on this issue, and people just keep on dying.

    Jordon – my point was that healthcare costs are NOT proportional to population growth, while the revenues are.

    Eric – sorry, tried to respond to you, response has been in moderation for some time now. I promise it wasn’t offensive :) Oh but, private property is theft? Really? Have you given up all your possessions then or are you a thief? What world are you living in? I believe in socialist ideas and actively advocate for them. What do you do beyond being a thief with all your possessions that you ‘need’ to live in this thiefdom? Do you have an iPhone by chance? A car? A house over your head. You monster you!

    Lynot, I do not, nor have not ever, got my information from sources like LibCo. Abbot’s fear campaign is an issue, but there are real tangible issues with the health system which is one of MANY examples. My point was around population growth in general – we need to change a lot in this country to account for that. Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t, I’m simply saying without those changes we can’t have unrestricted population growth.

    Further, Lynot, I was using the same strategy as you – I’m glad you at least to some degree recognised it. You may want to read your responses to me before you pull the ‘putting words in others mouth’ line. You were implying to hell with the populations view, your view should be the one that gets implemented and enforced because you are right. Ergo, you want a place where you or someone like you is in charge.

    I certainly agree that Tony Abbott’s political motivation and policy is garbage, I have not at any point suggested other than this. Indeed, I think both major parties have a disgusting record on this matter, not sure what your obsession with Abbott is or why you keep trying to pin him to me. Is it just that if someone offers up a different view to you then they must be an Abbott fan?

  43. Peace. Narco.

    Next topic.

  44. Looks like Julian Burnside agrees with me as well;

    Mr Burnside has proposed an agreement with Indonesia that would involve processing boat people’s claims for asylum in Indonesia and then giving them a ticket, telling them they will be safely resettled in Australia in a number of months or years and warning them not to get on a dangerous boat in the meantime.

    Cheers.

  45. narcoticmusing

    One of the greatest concerns in this debate is the media coverage and the salivating playing to it of our political ‘leaders’. As the argument shifts further and further to this extremist position, it gets normalised so a humane policy that would’ve sounded normal years ago now seems extreme. Although, this shifting of the centre to the extreme right (pulling the left along with it) seems to be across topics.

  46. narcotic expresses inhumane policies but says they aren’t his and then blames everyone else cause “it’s a democracy” and “nobody would ever agree”…well well…

  47. “As the argument shifts further and further to this extremist position, it gets normalised so a humane policy that would’ve sounded normal years ago now seems extreme. Although, this shifting of the centre to the extreme right (pulling the left along with it) seems to be across topics.”

    nm Thats called the moving the Overton Window.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

    The media in this country has shifted it to the “right” consistantly for ages. Bolt is good at it, as is Glen Beck, who even wrote a book about it.

  48. narcoticmusing

    wtf are you on Eric? What inhumane policies have I expressed? The question was raised why we can’t take all refugees, I listed a few common explanations. Please point out my inhumane policies before you go attributing such a term to me. Once again you fail to read or add anything and only insult contributors.

  49. “I listed a few common explanations”. Sigh.

  50. Welcome to the other side of the debate narc – I used to think the lunatic Right had the market on baseless invective cornered until I started deviating from accepted left-wing orthodoxy.

    I now know that our side of politics is infected with the cancer of abusive and childish recalcitrance, just as the Right is.

    The good news, though, is that the vapid sloganeering of commenters like Eric will help you recognise the reasonable limits of your own ideology.

  51. If we want to “stop the boats”, then we need to send the message that there’s actually no need to attempt sailing to Christmas Island, all can be arranged from the safety of Indonesia.

    Marek – that’s only half the solution. If you want to stop people risking their lives on boats you need to do two things:

    1. Make it easier for genuine refugees to achieve effective asylum through application at regional centres (such as your Indonesian suggestion); but also

    2. Disincentivise the ‘boat travel’ option for those looking to circumvent the formal process.

    There will always be a refugee quota that must be enforced, and thus there will always be people who miss out and are looking for another option. As long as the boat arrivals option remains open and offers a superior outcome to offshore application there will always be a market for it.

    2.

  52. narcoticmusing

    “I listed a few common explanations”. Sigh

    That is your answer? What are you, 12? You accused me of having inhumane policies. Explain yourself. You are defaming me with a baseless accusation that you refuse to back up. How is anything I’ve said inhumane? No wonder the Right think the Left are full of loons if this is your attempt at a constructive debate.

    You accuse me of being inhumane with an implication that you are humane and yet you’d have us living in a dictatorship with someone like you in charge because you’d prefer there to be no population to disagree with you.

  53. narcoticmusing

    This has been in moderation since last week. Trying again.

    “the democracy that makes this country great”. (LOL).
    What do you suggest in the alternative? You in charge?

    “we don’t have the resources to assess them quickly enough”. (no..we just can’t be bothered).
    The executive government allocates resources and would lose an election based on $ to resource this better due to the almost complete breakdown of the 4th Estate. Ie. the electorate would punish them. If you don’t like that then you are advocating for a totalitarian regime as per above.

    There is absolutly no sensible or rational reason whatsoever that Australia could not take in, and process properly, every person that presents at our borders and claims refugee status
    While I agree to a point, I also know that not everyone volunteers. Do you? Is that just completely selfish? Not everyone gives regularly to charity. Not everyone gives away ALL they have. Is that selfish?

    Self interest is completely sensible and rational. It is not always selfish either. Your opinion of what defines good and evil is not the same as everyone else’s. You should not be able to dictate your morals on to everyone else and have your morals define our rights and responsibilities. This is the exact same position I hold against the dominant religions. Why would I give you a free ride just because I happen to agree with you that we should let in more refugees? Justify why it is ok for you morals to be imposed on everyone in the nation while it is not ok for the ACL to impose their morals on us? You demand a double standard on the basis of being ‘right’ as if that hasn’t been used to wipe out entire peoples before. You are beaing incredibly inhumane if you would take away our abiility to choose for ourself for your own conscience.

    The reasons we don’t are about our inherent selfishness as a nation
    Agreed, which is why the electorate won’t vote for it. What can I say? Do you personally sacrifice what you have (time/money/etc) for refugees or others in need? (no need to answer). I do and yet, that doesn’t mean I can legislate that have to as well. And I would fight to defend a person’s right to not be forced to do something for others.

    We’ll have to get better at it
    Agreed.

  54. Splatterbottom

    This debate will inevitably degenerate into slanging match.

    Firstly, those that changed the Howard policy will not admit the fact that doing so has led to the deaths of hundreds of people. Instead you get utterly idiotic and totally self-serving comments like:

    The policy change didn’t “lead to hundreds being drowned”. The creation of more refugees led to the numbers increasing.

    That comment is somewhat less rational than say, a belief in creationism.

    Second, there is no attempt to engage in rational discussion. This is all about giving the appearance of concern and care for refugees. It has become a pathetic beauty parade of bleeding hearts. People incapable of admitting that there are limits to our ability to take in refugees or that we should prioritise the most needy aren’t playing this game to help anyone. They are participating in a mass beat-up – writhing and moaning as they stroke themselves with their lubricated fingers, ecstatic at the prospect of once more strutting their virtuous sensibilities while unloading on anyone who disagrees with them. Take a bow, Marek!

    This is a mess for the government to fix. That would be Labor and their partners in government the Greens. Labor is too proud and too afraid of the political consequences to admit their mistake. So people still die. The Greens just don’t give a shit. “Tragedies happen, accidents happen” they say, convinced of their own righteousness. It is the same cold impassive certainty that led their ideological forbears to kill tens of millions in pursuit of the socialist dream.

  55. Once again the thoughts of “Chairman Splatterbottom”

    He uses his old “Rational debate” routine, and then goes on to associate the more progressives here as communists. SB the thinking mans hypocrite.

    I don’t know what it is? But SB always reminds me of the old joke about Martin Bormann and Adolf Hitler escaping to the jungles of South America after the war. Yep there they are it’s 1970 and sitting around in a grass hut talking about the old days and Adolf turns to Martin and says “You know Martin after all these years the Jews! I have forgiven them”

  56. They are participating in a mass beat-up – writhing and moaning as they stroke themselves with their lubricated fingers, ecstatic at the prospect of once more strutting their virtuous sensibilities while unloading on anyone who disagrees with them.

    Once again, project much?

  57. It is the same cold impassive certainty that led their ideological forbears to kill tens of millions in pursuit of the socialist dream.

    Isn’t it amazing that someone can come out with such idiotic trolling while at the same time purporting to decry that the debate will inevitably turn into a slaning match? Also, that the person would expect people to engage them in debate – not just on this topic but on anything at all?

  58. Slanging, even.

  59. (my last comment being a correction of a post in moderation)

  60. narcoticmusing

    While I agree that Labor et al have been useless in all of this, LibCo shows no concern for the people that are dying. They merely take advantage of it as political capital. They don’t care about people dying or else, as Jeremy rightly points out, they would advocate for a range of practical strategies that could very quickly create a situation where people stopped dying.

    So, SB, while I am realistic that there are limits on the refugee intake and that it should have a merit basis of some kind, Howard’s policy was not about merit or about saving lives but merely damning them somewhere else. Howard’s policy didn’t stop the boats, it diverted them. Indeed, the policy would not work now as most people that were impacted by that policy were given refugee status and as such, that policy was already showing signs of failure prior to the change of govt b/c people began to learn that Naaru today = Australia tomorrow.

  61. This issue has presented us with an interesting ideological contradiction.

    It is usually the lefter end of the political spectrum who are forever reminding us that those with more money and means should not be granted any advantage over those with less so; that people should not be able to buy their way out of situations that those with less wherewithal have to suffer.

    Yet here the same lefties appear quite happy with an arrangement that sees those refugees with more money and means bypass the uncertainty, languishment and eternal privations of the refugee camps whilst those without such means face the prospect of never being resettled.

    Additionally, progressives tend to rail against legalism and legalistic arguments, favouring natural justice. “Because it’s the law, that’s why”, is usually a refrain to be heard coming from conservative lips.

    Yet, the justification for allowing those refugees with more money and means to bypass the uncertainty, the possibility of never being resettled, that those who cannot afford to buy their way to a country such as Australia face, is our obligations under international law.

    “Because it’s the law; that is why people with more money should have an advantage over those with less money”, is now the refrain of the progressive left.

  62. Completely false comparison. Treating those who arrive and seek asylum compassionately and in accordance with our international obligations in no way should disadvantage those applying elsewhere.

    I reject utterly the policy where we play them off against each other.

  63. Jeremy

    Before going further, let’s ensure we aren’t arguing at cross purposes. The crux of my contention regarding the issue of fairness is regarding permanent resettlement as opposed to temporary asylum.

    I reject utterly the policy where we play them off against each other.

    Indeed, you do. An unlimited quota for onshore arrivals decoupled from the limited quota for offshore refugees has long been your position, correct?

    However, all your proposition does, Jeremy, is create an unlimited quota reserved for those relatively ‘privileged’ refugees who can buy their way to Australia, whilst those who cannot are still subject to fixed quotas that many will never find a place on.

    A guaranteed place on an unlimited quota if you have money and means
    but the mere chance of a place on a limited quota (and the accompanying possibility of permanent destitution) if you don’t? Doesn’t sound like the kind of fairness that the Left usually so vocally demands.

    Personally, I’ve long ago come to accept that the world is not fair and thus am not too exercised by this example of the strong doing what they can whilst the weak are left to suffer what they must.

    However, Jeremy, for those, such as yourself, who have long made a song-and-dance about situations in which those with money hold some sort of procedural advantage over those without money, and do so as a matter of moral virtue, there is no such luxury should you wish to be seen as consistent.

    Treating those who arrive and seek asylum compassionately and in accordance with our international obligations in no way should disadvantage those applying elsewhere.

    Given the paradigm of a fixed and finite humanitarian quota, this is the reality, Jeremy. It is not a reality that appears to be changing any time soon.

    In light of this, and that your above suggestion is not supported by any political players that matter, should you not come to a position on this matter that acknowledges this permanent reality?

    To do otherwise is to deal yourself out of the debate by refusing to accept reality is it not?

  64. However, all your proposition does, Jeremy, is create an unlimited quota reserved for those relatively ‘privileged’ refugees who can buy their way to Australia, whilst those who cannot are still subject to fixed quotas that many will never find a place on.

    That’s absolutely correct Howard – a no limit quota for those refugees who get to Australia by boat.

    And you should not forget to pair this outcome with Jeremy’s other policy suggestion – the creation of a safer and more regulated people smuggling corridor to reduce the numbers of deaths at sea.

    In other words he’s advocating for the abandonment of a managed refugee quota, the creation of a government sanctioned people smuggling route and the creation of a two-tier refugee system where those with means get preferred entry while those without are forced to wait years.

    How anybody could honestly consider that disaster preferable to a managed system of offshore processing and TPVs (a system already proved to be effective) is quite beyond me.

  65. I don’t see why we need a quota for either, actually. We’re nowhere near the limit of people this continent can support. And the numbers of refugees seeking to come here isn’t that high anyway.

    TPVs are cruel, preventing people from getting on with their lives. Offshore processing, which is supposed to be a deterrent, as if deterring refugees from coming here should be the aim of refugee policy, wouldn’t even do that any more because genuine refugees know they’ll eventually be settled here anyway. Malaysia is supposed to work by being monstrously cruel since we actually send people who’ve sought asylum here to a country that will treat them even more inhumanely than we could – that’s the whole point of it as a threat – but that involves us SENDING REFUGEES INTO DANGER for seeking asylum, as is their right.

    How anybody could consider the cruel disaster of offshore processing preferable to treating refugees humanely is quite beyond me.

  66. …I’m going to ignore SB’s lunatic and offensive contribution above.

  67. mondo rock

    Offshore processing, which is supposed to be a deterrent, as if deterring refugees from coming here should be the aim of refugee policy

    Offshore processing is about deterring refugees from coming here by boat Lefty, not about deterring them from coming here. Do you understand this distinction and pretend not to, or do you genuinely not understand this distinction?

    How anybody could consider the cruel disaster of offshore processing preferable to treating refugees humanely is quite beyond me.

    I’ll happily measure the ‘humanitarian’ results of Australia’s offshore processing system against the results achieved since it was dismantled. Any rational person would.

    How many people need to die Lefty before you accept offshore processing as the better option? Obviously the current body count of 400 or so isn’t high enough to change your mind, but I have to believe there would come a point where even you would admit that dismantling the Howard Government reforms was a mistake.

  68. How many people need to die Mondo before you accept processing asylum seekers in Indonesia before they get on boats, and the replacement of present policies of destroying safe boats and prosecuting competent crews with a policy of making disposable boats and crews less attractive to those sending them, as the better option? Obviously the current body count of 400 or so isn’t high enough to change your mind, but I have to believe there would come a point where even you would admit that the present system of making the trip so dangerous and not properly funding a processing centre in Indonesia is a mistake.

    And once the boat trip is safe, why should we be so obsessed with stopping boat journeys?

  69. mondo rock

    How many people need to die Mondo before you accept processing asylum seekers in Indonesia before they get on boats.

    None – I accept the need for better refugee processing capacity in Indonesia right now. I already admit that it is a mistake not to include this as part of our policy response.

    and the replacement of present policies of destroying safe boats and prosecuting competent crews with a policy of making disposable boats and crews less attractive to those sending them, as the better option?

    If you could make a persuasive argument that this policy could (a) ever be acceptable to the Australian peopple, and/or (b) actually be effective in significantly reducing the number of deaths at sea then I’d advocate for it. However you’ve made neither case persuasively, and to be honest I can’t see any rational way you could.

    And once the boat trip is safe, why should we be so obsessed with stopping boat journeys?

    Any reasonable person can see that a people smuggling trade will never operate within acceptable maritime safety standards. Nonetheless, for the record, if you could actually make the ‘boat arrival’ option safe then you would have effectively removed one of my primary objections to the current system.

  70. mondo rock

    By the way – SB’s contribution above may well be offensive (that’s his style, after all) but it’s hardly “lunatic”.

    This comment, in particular, cuts directly to the truth of the issue:

    People incapable of admitting that there are limits to our ability to take in refugees or that we should prioritise the most needy aren’t playing this game to help anyone.

    These observations should be accepted as obvious fact by anyone engaging rationally or honestly in this debate, and any proposed solution must recognise and somehow address both before it is taken seriously.

  71. None – I accept the need for better refugee processing capacity in Indonesia right now. I already admit that it is a mistake not to include this as part of our policy response.

    Pity that the ALP and Liberals wouldn’t consider it, eh? One more reason to vote for the Greens.

    If you could make a persuasive argument that this policy could (a) ever be acceptable to the Australian peopple, and/or (b) actually be effective in significantly reducing the number of deaths at sea then I’d advocate for it. However you’ve made neither case persuasively, and to be honest I can’t see any rational way you could.

    (a) So I don’t just have to make the argument, but I have to persuade you that others will be persuaded of it? How absurd.

    (b) How could it not?

    Are you seriously suggesting that telling people smugglers we’ll destroy their boats, that there’s buckley’s of them getting the boats back, doesn’t encourage them to send disposable boats? Are you seriously suggesting that imprisoning crews for simply being crews doesn’t encourage the sending of disposable crews? Are you seriously suggesting that enforcing basic safety standards on boats we pick up would have no effect in improving those safety standards, and if so, are you calling for our governments to stop wasting time and money enforcing safety standards on passenger vehicles within Australia?

  72. People incapable of admitting that there are limits to our ability to take in refugees or that we should prioritise the most needy aren’t playing this game to help anyone.

    We’re nowhere near such a limit, and there’s no genuine reason to fear that treating refugees humanely would drive us to such a limit any time in the foreseeable future.

    I reject your assertion that processing refugees who arrive here humanely should in any way affect “the most needy” waiting elsewhere.

  73. Marek Bage

    the present system of making the trip so dangerous and not properly funding a processing centre in Indonesia is a mistake.

    First John Hewson, then Julian Burnside and now Jeremy Sear!
    I gotta say, I’m pretty chuffed with that!

    Howie
    Your point about the perceived cognitive dissonance by Progressives who defend boat arrivals is well crafted, but ultimately useless as a contribution.

    I could also make the case that Conservatives are ideologically bound to favour boat arrivals because they have assumed personal responsibility for themselves and their families, they eschew “Big World Government” institutions such as the UN in favour of market solutions and their apparent wealth means they are a better class of people than the alternative.

    I could make all those points, but it wouldn’t be very useful in furthering the discussion, would it?

    Still, I’m happy to see you here. It will be very nice to engage with a real Conservative as opposed to a shameless pamphleteer and barrow-boy.
    Take a bow, SB!

    I may even show up more often. ;-)

    Cheers.

  74. ” People incapable of admitting that there are limits to our ability to take in refugees or that we should prioritise the most needy aren’t playing this game to help anyone. ”

    As per usual the Mondo man rushes in on his left winged steed to come to the aid of S.B. who is the only one here apart from Mondo of course, who is making any sense.

    Yep we may just need two wait another 200 hundred years to reach saturation point, refugee over load, indeed swamped. Yep lets set up our very own Ellis island to handle the masses expected. We could have our very own M.E. Ghettoes around the major cities.

    Then there’s the cost, My God how will we pay for it ?

    But I

  75. Jeremy

    I don’t see why we need a quota for either, actually…the numbers of refugees seeking to come here isn’t that high anyway.

    Is it that the numbers of offshore refugees resettled may not be high because we have a quota, Jeremy?

    As a I understand it, due to the finite quotas of third-party settlement countries such as Australia, the UNHCR has to prioritize which cases it presents to said settlement countries for consideration. This means there are long-term destitute refugees who wouldn’t turn down the chance to be settled in a developed country but are not even considered due to this prioritization.

    Now give thought as to what may happen should any one settlement country declare it will take an unlimited amount of the very large amount of refugees said to be languishing in camps around the world, Jeremy, and you may begin to appreciate the need for a fixed quota.

    Whilst no one can fault the size of your heart, Jeremy, your commitment to the practical can at times appear tenuous.

    I don’t see why we need a quota for either, actually…We’re nowhere near the limit of people this continent can support.

    Whilst I’m happy to see that not all on the Left subscribe to the Dick Smith school of thought on the issue of population growth, Jeremy, I’m afraid not even the most blasé on this matter would suggest that government throw away clearly defined yearly metrics and wing it until we feel about ‘full’.

    In addition to the fact that government policy should work on clearly defined yearly metrics as opposed to the vibes of bloggers, there is the issue of national self-interest. The yearly migration intake is selective in order to benefit the nation with needed skills and capital. We have to consider how much of this intake we are willing to sacrifice to the humanitarian programme.

    TPVs are cruel, preventing people from getting on with their lives.

    Given that people around the world relocate temporarily to other countries as a matter of routine, Jeremy, this statement is all heart and not head. The notion that temporarily residing in another country prevents people ‘from getting on with their lives’ flies in the face of the fact that multitudes of people work overseas for indefinite time periods.

    In addition, the vast bulk of refugees who are not lucky enough to be resettled in the developed world (that being about 99%, Jeremy), will return to their countries of origin once the cause of their displacement has ceased.

    But yet again, Jeremy, those with the money and means to reach our shores seem to capture your attention to the exclusion of all else.

  76. Marek Bage

    I could also make the case that Conservatives are ideologically bound to favour boat arrivals because they have assumed personal responsibility for themselves and their families, they eschew “Big World Government” institutions such as the UN in favour of market solutions and their apparent wealth means they are a better class of people than the alternative.

    And I would thoroughly agree, Marek. I had been making a similar point over at Pure Poison recently before it ceased. The ideological role reversal this issue has engendered has been a fascinating thing to behold.

    As for a contribution on the issue itself, I would simply say there is no moral high ground here Marek. All roads led to someone in need being saved with someone just as deserving being left to their fate on account of the simple fact that every life-raft has a limited carrying capacity and there are more people in the water than spots on the metaphorical life-raft.

    Either way, onshore or offshore processing, people who are genuine refugees will continue to languish whilst destitute and perish. Whether they drown trying to get here by boat or perish in a refugee camp after spending the better part of decade waiting patiently to be resettled, there will always be more human misery than can be accommodated.

    This is the sombre reality that renders any moral high ground a political mirage as far as this issue is concerned. Thus, in the absence of any option being any more moral than another, we are left with the question of what is the more practical option for facilitating and fulfilling our obligations?

  77. The very idea of trying to maintain a “quota” is simply laughable when one considers actual reality as opposed to wingnut “protect our borders” fantasy land:

    “It is believed that between 50 and 200 million people may move by the middle of the century, either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis.”

    http://www.unhcr.org/4a1e4d8c2.html

    We have to get better at it, not worse. We have no choice.

  78. Splatterbottom

    Marek: I could make all those points, but it wouldn’t be very useful in furthering the discussion, would it?”

    You could try making sensible points instead! :-)

    To deny or dismiss as irrelevant the proposition that there are limits to the number of refugees we can take is anti-rational.

    To adopt a policy which dramatically increases the number of refugee arrivals without understanding the cost of supporting them and without making appropriate arrangements to do so is irrational and also bad policy.

    The refusal of some people to even engage on these points is fatal to the possibility of developing a fair and decent refugee policy.

  79. Are you seriously suggesting that telling people smugglers we’ll destroy their boats, that there’s buckley’s of them getting the boats back, doesn’t encourage them to send disposable boats?

    The price of the boats are in general a tiny proportion of revenues associated with the average journey, so the economic incentives needed for your argument to hold don’t really seem to be there, Jeremy.

    The notion that temporarily residing in another country prevents people ‘from getting on with their lives’ flies in the face of the fact that multitudes of people work overseas for indefinite time periods.

    The rather important difference is that people moving to pursue work overseas A) voluntarily opt to relocate and B) know when and in what circumstances they’ll be moving, and can plan as such.

    On a TPV, you can be thrown out of the country at any time, against your will, and more or less without notice. What employer is going to hire or train you for any but the most menial, least important job? What bank would even consider granting you a mortgage? If you are single, who would risk pursuing a serious relationship with you? If you have kids, how disruptive is it to have them move not just schools, but countries – possibly to a place where they no longer speak the native language?

    Personally, I favour the reintroduction of TPVs, but only as a voluntary option that people can apply for if they are rejected for a standard refugee visa, that is strictly in addition to the (substantially increased) resettlement quota. They should certainly not be the default option, but they are better than no visa at all, and they don’t add to permanent population growth for all the doomers out there….

  80. Oh dear, oh dreary dear, I see Abbott has really excelled himself in the humanity stakes today, he now wants to take away fuel from the refugee boats so they can only return to Indonesia. Good idea he reckons. What a caring considerate soul he is. I see a prize from Nobel coming up for services to humanity. Being a good Cathlic he’ll probably remove any condoms on board as well.

    He should go the full Monty and leave them just enough food and the water for the trip. I can just imagine the maths going through his thick head. Yep, he’ll be thinking, let me see, a 1/2 pound of rice for two people a day, 1 ltr of water, 6 peas, a spud, and maybe a Snickers bar as a gesture of goodwill from the Australian government.

    I love it. In fact I love him what a man. Anyways, I’ll let the so called lefties and rancid right wingers carry on the debate, they make it so much more intellectual than I can.

    I’m sure all these refugees invading our fair land must have an effect on the price of Lamington’s.

  81. mondo rock

    (a) So I don’t just have to make the argument, but I have to persuade you that others will be persuaded of it? How absurd.

    People are dying under our current policy Jeremy, and will continue to die unless something useful can be agreed. That’s just a simple and straightforward fact.

    Proposing solutions that have zero chance of ever being implemented is not a reasonable response to this situation. Injecting silly and unrealistic policy suggestions into the debate does nothing but prolong the deadly status quo, leading to further human suffering and misery.

    The longer we drag this debate out looking for utopian solutions, the more people die. That’s not acceptable to me.

    Are you seriously suggesting that enforcing basic safety standards on boats we pick up would have no effect in improving those safety standards,

    I’m suggesting that you quite obviously cannot enforce safety standards on an unregulated criminal people smuggling trade. The only way your proposal could possibly work is if Australia legalised people smuggling and invited ordinary commercial operators to enter the market.

    Which is self-evidently ridiculous.

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