Greg Barbs asks “Doesn’t Julia Gillard know the law on asylum seekers?”:
But what is most disturbing about Ms Gillard’s supposed plans are that it flies in the face of Australia’s obligation to act in accordance with the Refugee Convention.
Article 31 of the Convention says that no “Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
There it is, in black and white. Don’t send people home if they are going to be killed, injured, harassed or captured. But this is exactly what the Gillard government is planning to do, according to today’s report.
One of the refugee-bashing commenters to that piece, who sees the above as a good thing, suggests something we might want to consider: maybe Gillard is actually hoping the left gets really angry about what she does this morning. Maybe the angrier we get, the more it will sure up her “tough a***hole” credentials with the hysterically frightened and paranoid brigade, which is clearly her aim.
The strategy would then be: use the left’s outrage to get the Lib/Lab refugee-hating misinformed swinging voters onside, and then in the last week of the campaign claw back the Greens votes with a relentless advertising blitz and smear campaign. Labor won’t promise to implement any progressive policies: it’ll just scare Greens voters with its traditional “if you vote for them TONY ABBOTT WILL WIN AND REINTRODUCE WORKCHOICES” (even though there’s no way that voting Green will help the Liberals) and “the Greens are extremists who won’t work with anyone” (even though the issue this parliament has been that the ALP repeatedly refuses to talk with the Greens on anything).
Cunning, amoral, shameless bastards, aren’t they? I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the ALP would trash Australia’s responsibilities under the Refugee Convention if they thought it’d help them retain power.
PS Note that I’m not advocating that we don’t go hard on their outrageous treatment of asylum seekers – the flaw in their calculation has to be where they’re confident they can get lefty votes back whilst representing rightwing policies. That’s where we have to stand firm.