Jun 262012
 

It’s time I put down some thoughts on this Asylum Seeker issue.I’ve written before today in this tome on this matter, but find my thoughts are constantly changing, especially in regard to the constant, and increasingly adversarial, populist, aggregious political background in which this issue is being managed. Or rather, mis-managed. Some pertinent points I find coming to the forefront of my considerations:

  • We are dealing with the lives of human beings, not threats to national security;
  • The incidences of so-called ‘boat people’ arriving on our shores are minimalist in comparison to the global problem of displaced persons seeking asylum;
  • People seeking asylum via the auspices of so-called ‘people smugglers’ do so out of some form of desperation, not because they wish to jump any perceived ‘queue’;
  • In colloquial parlance – “They pays their money, so they takes their chances”;
  • Neither on-shore processing nor off-shore processing will end the flow of these so-called ‘boat people’;
  • A process of South-East Asian centralised off-shore processing – ie: the Malaysia Solution – would appear most rational and seemingly humane;
  • The current political impasse is both untenable and unconscionable from a variety of standpoints, not the least of which is the non-addressing of of the human suffering and threat to life & limb these random journeys on the high seas pose to the participants;
  • Are we to be seen, or should we indeed act as, our brothers keepers?;
  • A political refusal to address the issue, claiming lack of ‘good faith’ on the part of parties advocating alternatives would seem to be a coward’s way of expressing a purely ideological rejection of any & all alternatives, save for one’s own;
  • “National Interest” would also appear to be an obfuscatory method of diverting responsibility into directionless obscurity;

I’m sick to death of the entire brouhaha. It is essentially a non-issue. Australia is a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of the refugee. Whether or not that convention requires updating is entirely irrelevant. As a nation-state, we have obligations which must be met. In particular, I fail to understand how someone who comes to this country to escape persecution in another for having formerly been a part of an anti-government insurrection on behalf of an ethnic minority, and be denied entry on the grounds of assumed terrorist activities seems to me to be entirely hypocritical. Who are Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão or José Manuel Ramos-Horta if not former militant insurrectionists who fought for freedom of a minority ethnicity against a repressive, autocratic government? Such arguments have no basis in truth, let alone logic.

Unless and until a rational, formalised system of centralised off-shore processing of asylum seeker applications is established, this ideologically driven blame-game will continue. It is an issue I believe a huge majority of Australians are heartily sick of. It is an issue I believe which is NOT one of public importance, outside of the concern expressed by people like myself for those who die at sea risking their lives. I will not vote on such an issue as a matter of public policy. I have already voted for a government which I expect to take matters in hand and address issues such as this. I do not expect Her Majesty’s Opposition to stand in the way of sound public policy decisions on purely ideological grounds. As dummy-spits go, the continual refusal by Abbott to even consider any alternative on this issue other than what he wants, and ONLY what he wants, in order to embarrass a ham-strung governmental process AND his own self-goaling shadow ministry, his most recent claim of ‘lack of good faith’ has to surely go down in history as the all time greatest effort at self-aggrandisement.