Almost as bad as the Liberals

Strike Three.

Sorry, there’s no justification for leaving people locked up while you deliberately refuse to assess whether they’re refugees or not.

ELSEWHERE: Bernard Keane in Crikey:

Taxpayers will be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on several thousand asylum seekers, to assuage the xenophobic instincts of a few swinging voters in marginal electorates. Unedifying indeed.

Quite.

UPDATE: And it’s a strike against Julia that to position herself she had to deliberately misrepresent what Julian Burnside had said.

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36 responses to “Almost as bad as the Liberals

  1. Feh. Not as bad as I feared. Establishing refugee assessment centres at point of origin and NOT (as far as I read) sending boat arrivals to those centres is a reasonably positive move.

    The Afghan thing is desperately disaappointing, I agree.

  2. She was very clever in raising expectations of a massive shift to the right so high that when it was only a mild shift it didn’t seem quite so bad.

    It has to be said, JG’s a consummate politician. And I mean that compliment to be as backhanded as it appears.

  3. True. The emphasis of preventing the final sea journey is a reasonable one, however.

    Ramos-Horta probably thinks it’ll be an economic win for East Timor to have an immigration departure lounge on its shores.

    I really don’t “read” this as inherently being offshore processing in the way we came to know and loathe under Howard. The big thing for me will be whether or not there’s swift throughput of asylum seekers by Australian assessment standards (IIRC, a huge proportion of those banished to Nauru were granted resettlement).

    This won’t necessarily stop direct travel across the Indian ocean, of course.

  4. It’s the Timor solution?

    I’m assuming Gillard has announced this because they’ve had a positive response from East Timor.

    But, as usual, this solves nothing.

  5. confessions

    Almost as bad? A disgraceful race to the gutter.

    For decades people have been using their money and/or their connections to flee themselves and their families from persecution. Neither of these policies will put a stop to that. Frankly it’s about time Australians grew the fuck up and faced that reality.

  6. You can’t blame the ALP for changing its policy to appease voters stirred up by Abbott playing the fear card and making boat people a huge issue again. The alternative was (quite likely) that Abbott wins the election and then the plight of asylum seekers would be far worse.

    Personally I’d rate Gillard’s speech today right up there with the greatest Australian political speeches of all time. She covered all concerns and if you were not happy with that you are just too hard to please and looking to create more problems than you solve.

  7. This will involve all the same problems as the Pacific Solution – will need to spend bucket loads of money to replicate facilities that already exist here, fly people over there, and then when it turns out most of them are refugees entitled to protection, we’ll have to fly them back here because, quite rightly, no one else will take them.

  8. Having looked at it in more detail, I retract my ambivalence. Any small risk I may have voted [1] Labor is now removed.

  9. Pingback: The race to the bottom « Spray of the Day

  10. Pingback: Strike Four – the filter « An Onymous Lefty

  11. Blast Tyrant

    Ray, she could’ve just pointed out a few facts that are hardly ever mentioned.

    Like how few asylum seekers we really receive and why they’re fleeing in the first place – you know, those situations in Afghanistan and Iraq they Aus government helped create, and attempted genocide in Sri Lanka – a country that the Aus government continues to provide aid to and refuses to really condemn for it’s action.
    Instead she continues to focus on the need to address these bullshit “pull factors” when the debate should be about WHY people feel they need to risk their lives on rickety boats.

  12. That she didn’t point that out doesn’t mean she doesn’t believe it. She did actually mentioned the small percentage that refugees represent of total immigration but this issue is so blurred now that if she starts arguing in favour of the status quo she risks losing office to the nutjobs on the other side. She had to be seen to be addressing the unannounced arrival of boats. Give her time – it’s difficult to come in just before an election and turn the tide.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Gillard has no intention of turning the tide. She is trying to coast to victory on it.

  14. I meant turning the tide of public opinion.

  15. Blast Tyrant

    Nah, even SB can see through Gillard.

    She’s fucking scum and has no intention of turning public opinion in favour of better rights for refugees, gays and lesbians, or Aboriginal people.

    Just out of interest, how long after the election (assuming she is elected) do you expect her to start turning the tide?

  16. Splatterbottom

    She is intent on riding the tide of populist opinion all the way to the ballot box.

  17. She’s fucking scum …

    Charming.

    … and has no intention of turning public opinion in favour of better rights for refugees, gays and lesbians, or Aboriginal people

    Let’s see:

    On refugees: Read her speech. That’s the biggest attempt to undemonise refugees any PM has ever made.

    On gays & lesbians: I think you mean on gay marriage – they certainly have equal rights on everything else. My guess is that when public opinion demands action on gay marriage she’ll revisit that.

    On aborigines: You’re flat wrong on that one I’d suggest.

    … how long after the election … do you expect her to start turning the tide?

    I expect her to turn the tide of public “electoral” opinion before the election, in fact she’s already started.

    If you mean public opinion on your pet subjects: see above.

  18. Splatterbottom

    My guess is that when public opinion demands action on gay marriage she’ll revisit that.

    That is the point really. If you are looking for a principled position, forget about Gillard. You can always count on her to go where the votes are.

  19. It is a politician’s duty to respond to & address public demands.

  20. No it isn’t. It’s a politicians duty to represent the voters who voted for him or her by advocating the policies he or she promised them he’d advocate, or approaching issues from the perspective he or she claimed to hold.

    You might like your representatives skating all over the shop trying to represent everyone; I’d like mine to represent me and my views. That’s how a representative democracy is supposed to work.

  21. Sounds too robotic for me. Politicians duties & responsibilities are not only set by pre-election undertakings.

    For instance, Gillard is going into this election advocating “no” to gay marriage. If she’s elected and if during her next term there is increasing public demand for marriage reform then, by your logic, she should ignore it.

  22. Well, she’s a big party politician – their voters (like you) by now expect them to skate all over the issues. I imagine many ALP voters just expect that the ALP will come round to gay marriage some time in the future. I doubt even a majority of ALP voters want Gillard to maintain her opposition to gay marriage – they vote ALP in spite of it, rather than because of it.

    But relying on your MPs changing their minds is a silly way to vote.

    I’ll vote for a party that represents my views now, rather than one which may or may not in the future. By voting Green, I know I’ve given myself the best chance of having a representative actually represent me in parliament.

  23. Blast Tyrant

    Charming
    What exactly is your point? Not used to “slumming” it Ray?

    “On refugees: Read her speech. That’s the biggest attempt to undemonise refugees any PM has ever made”
    So what? That’s hardly a big achievement with the PM’s we’ve had. Fact is she is still for locking up people fleeing persecution that OUR governments have had a hand in creating.

    On gays & lesbians: I think you mean on gay marriage – they certainly have equal rights on everything else. My guess is that when public opinion demands action on gay marriage she’ll revisit that.
    Garbage. Gays and lesbians don’t have the same rights of adoption and ivf access as straight people. Maintaining this ban on same sex marriage is a statement that basically says “Gays and lesbians are different, and somehow less deserving of human rights as straight people”.
    It’s a signal to all the bigots in society that verbally and physically abusing gays and lesbians is acceptable behavior.

    Also, public opinion IS in favour of lifting the ban.

    On aborigines: You’re flat wrong on that one I’d suggest.
    Based on what? She has no intention of ending the NT Intervention and has stated she is going to expand “income management” to other states as well.

    If you mean public opinion on your pet subjects
    You mean subjects like human rights and civil rights? People who don’t care about these things are fucking scum in my books, and there is no reason not to call a spade a spade.

    Also, her continuation of the ABCC, which in it’s time has actually seen workplace deaths increase is an indication she cares more about the wishes of big business than the lives of “working Australians”. Again, she’s scum.

  24. For instance, Gillard is going into this election advocating “no” to gay marriage. If she’s elected and if during her next term there is increasing public demand for marriage reform then, by your logic, she should ignore it.

    If she specifically campaigned on an anti-gay marriage platform then indeed she should ignore it. Those who voted for her on the basis of her opposition to gay marriage would feel rightly disenfranchised if she were to backtrack on that commitment.

    She can always take a ‘pro’ platform to the next election to capitalise on the upswell in (hypothetical) public support and then make the changes she was elected to make.

    To take any other viewpoint is to effectiveluy say that it’s OK for politicians to break election promises as long as they only do so on issues where you personally agree with them. That’s a total corruption of democratic principle.

  25. Except that in this instance it’s a matter of the human rights of a minority, which I’d argue trump “democracy” – particularly in the form practised by the big parties.

    I don’t agree that a majority of voters have the right to have government take away human rights from a minority on their behalf. And I strongly believe that equality before the law – something denied by any legislation that discriminates against gay people – is a human right.

    So Gillard standing up for equality, even if she’d said she wouldn’t, would still be preferable to her bloody-mindedly discriminating against them. The slight against democracy is the lesser of two evils.

    That said, having a representative stand up for what they advocate before an election is important, which is why I wouldn’t be voting for someone like Gillard in the first place.

  26. A lot of people over history have held views that they passionately believe are so important that they should ‘trump’ the democratic wishes of their society. Some are views that you or I might agree with, but others have been horrific perversions.

    Given the wide-ranging potential for passionate beliefs then surely we must commit to the integrity of the system whilst we advocate in favour of our subjective views?

  27. There’s a limit to majority rule, though.

    You wouldn’t agree that the majority has the right to “democratically” insist that minorities are discriminated against?

  28. Jeremy: I’ll vote for a party that represents my views now, rather than one which may or may not in the future.

    I believe you’ve previously said that not all Greens Party policies are “your view”.

    BT: Not used to “slumming” it Ray?

    That’s not a nice way to describe Jeremy’s blog, which is a lot “cleaner” than, er, some I’ve visited. Anyway, when you open your argument with a statement slagging the newly installed PM as “fucking scum” you kinda lose it right at the start.

    My mistake about the other areas of gay inequality but my point is that there is not yet a huge public outcry that these matters are top priorities, They’ll come – eventually.

    Mondo: If she specifically campaigned on an anti-gay marriage platform then indeed she should ignore it.

    She hasn’t “specifically campaigned” on it. That’s probably because (much to Jeremy’s disappointment) it’s not a major election issue. I reckon she should be allowed some latitude on this and see what happens in her first term. Of course if people would rather we get Abbott they could always be over-critical of someone who has only recently taken over the top job just months before an election with her party needing to shore up support.

  29. mondo rock

    Well, I don’t personally think the majority should be allowed to do that, but I would stop short of arguing in terms of ‘rights’. I don’t really believe in rights as anything other than an extension of our laws.

    Given that we do not currently have a Bill of Rights (or a Constitution with more teeth) then, as far as I can see, discrimiation against minorities remains a legitimate political platform in this country.

    I’d love to see that changed though . . . .

  30. mondo rock

    Of course if people would rather we get Abbott they could always be over-critical of someone who has only recently taken over the top job just months before an election with her party needing to shore up support.

    Ahh yes – the good old ‘blackmail’ reason for voting Labor.

    I’d rather Abbott as PM than to vote for a party that fails to represent me. The only way I know of to express my disappointment with Labor is to not vote for them.

  31. Is it “blackmail” or just reality? Oh well, Mondo, if you feel Abbott will represent you that’s your choice. Me, I’m voting for the party that I believe, on balance, has the better social conscience and belief in basic fairness. I’m not naive (or self-interested) enough to think a party can (or should) represent me personally. I don’t want or need their help.

  32. “I’m voting for the party that I believe, on balance, has the better social conscience and belief in basic fairness. “

    You reckon the ALP has the better social conscience and belief in basic fairness than The Greens? Really?

    “The only way I know of to express my disappointment with Labor is to not vote for them.”

    Likewise. And the way I know of expressing my distaste for Labor and my fear of Tony Abbott is to put both of them down the ballot paper, but put Abbott’s Liberals slightly further down than Labor.

  33. Ray would’ve voted for the German Workers party in 30’s. The main opposition’s social conscience and basic fairness was just not to the same high standards :/

    Wait wut Minor Party?

  34. mondo rock

    Me, I’m voting for the party that I believe, on balance, has the better social conscience and belief in basic fairness.

    Me too Ray – that was my point.

  35. mondo rock

    BTW – Jeremy – I owe you a “you were right” on this.

    Many years ago you and I argued about whether or not it made sense to vote for Nader in the US election and my position was that it did not because it would help Bush to be re-elected.

    Suffice to say I have completely changed my mind about that and now believe that you were right. It is an act of utter stupidity to vote for a party that follows policy you don’t agree with simply because the other party is worse.

    So, yeah, you were right and I was wrong.

  36. I know what you mean, though. It would be so hard in the US – imagine knowing your Nader vote was helping the Republicans.

    Their system is just so fundamentally broken. I think my prerequisite for voting for any party in the UK or US would be, on first principles, that they support the implementation of preference voting. It’s pretty much the first step before you can have any sort of real democracy and tackle all the other issues.

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