Sharon Pickering

Jun 28, 2012

Emotional parliament fears for lives of people on boats; refuses to address the actual safety of those boats

As the media demand that politicians PUT ASIDE POLITICS and SAVE LIVES but are vague on the specifics of how exactly to do that, the parliament wrestles with legislation that will SAVE

As the media demand that politicians PUT ASIDE POLITICS and SAVE LIVES but are vague on the specifics of how exactly to do that, the parliament wrestles with legislation that will SAVE LIVES whilst simultaneously PUTTING LIVES IN DANGER and if only people on the other side to me would put politics aside for a minute and vote with my party then nobody would drown again. Why don’t the people who disagree with me on the specifics of which country to send them to so that they hopefully give up on coming here and instead try to survive in dangerous camps care about refugees AND THEIR PRECIOUS WOMEN AND CHILDREN as much as I do?

I WOULD NEVER SEND REFUGEES TO A COUNTRY THAT HAS NO REFUGEE PROTECTIONS except when I voted with the rest of the Howard government to do just that.

If you want more than the media’s fatuous “if only they’d put aside politics” politicking and repeated declarations that only offshore processing to avoid our obligations is a realistic option, you’ll have to look online. Such as at The Conversation, where Sharon Pickering describes Six Issues Missing From The Asylum Seeker Debate. (Don’t look for the contribution elsewhere by her namesake Larry – he’s telling gullible people on Facebook that they basically win Sale of the Century when they arrive.)

Among the points Sharon highlights that we’re missing:

  • No one is talking about the UNHCR having such a small number of officers processing asylum claims in Indonesia. It is impossible for this tiny cohort to process any reasonable number of applications. According to the International Organisation for Migration, from January 1 to May 31 this year, 24 refugees were resettled from Indonesia to Australia. That’s from a pool of 5732 asylum seekers and refugees.
  • No one is talking about the relationship of people smuggling (as an illicit activity) to the licit regulation of entry into Australia. Australia’s universal visa system deems entire groups “high-risk”. For example, those from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka are routinely denied visas that would enable them to arrive legitimately by air. These groups are not considered risky because they represent a significant security threat (for, say, terrorism or serious crime), but because they may engage Australia’s protection obligations. No one is talking about changing these risk profiles and visa issuing practices.
  • No one is talking about what happens to those who are prevented from coming to Australia (subject to disruption or deterrence regimes) or whether this is a desirable objective for a nation such as Australia. Preventing or deterring people from coming to Australia does not mean persecution stops. Instead, those being persecuted become some other country’s problem. This surely is an unsustainable contribution to regional (let alone) global relations.
  • No one is talking about decoupling the zero-sum game between refugees settled from offshore, and onshore arrival numbers (in which as arrivals increase, offshore resettlement places go down). This is a policy change that could end the mindless pitching of one group of refugees against another.

She has another two, to which I’d add the one I’ve mentioned several times before: STOPPING POLICIES THAT MAKE THE BOATS MORE DANGEROUS.

We tell those running boats that we’re going to destroy their boats, so what do they do? Send unseaworthy disposable ones. We tell them we’ll lock up their crews, so what do they do? Round up villagers with no training who don’t realise what’s going to happen to them.

What could we do instead? Return seaworthy vessels. Return competent crew. Destroy dangerous boats and work with Indonesia to find the people running them (aided by informants from groups running safe boats who are happy to rat on their competitors). Lock up incompetent crew. If safe boats and crews are returning to Indonesia, then the boats will increasingly have experienced crew, and the message of what’s happening to those running dangerous vessels will go straight back to the ports from which the vessels are leaving. Refugees will have a choice, and there will be pressure for the vessels to be safer.

And the upshot would be more people arriving safely.

Which is what I want. It’s what those weeping genuine tears for drowned refugees want too, isn’t it?

Or is their real fear the refugees who aren’t drowning and who are getting here safely? Are they actually glad the journey is dangerous because they want it to be a deterrent?

Because that would explain how they’re voting. But it makes their tears incredibly fake.

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34 thoughts on “Emotional parliament fears for lives of people on boats; refuses to address the actual safety of those boats

  1. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    B.Tolputt @31,

    I think that the Greens supporting the bill could have been as disastrous for them as when the Democrats supported the GST.

    And I don’t think it would stop the boats. So Green voters would not only rightly blame the Greens for selling out but would blame the Greens for doing so for no benefit.

    I also fail to understand why it is The Greens fault when Labor could have suggested many different options that would have stopped the boats more effectively which could have got Greens support (sending seaworthy empty boats back, processing people in Asia, etc).

    And if you think the terrible Labor solution could have worked, then surely the Liberals deserve most of the blame for not compromising with Labor.

    Given that you disagree with me about the effectiveness of Labor’s solution, I can see why you are upset with the Greens. But how you can both decide to vote for either Labor or Liberal above the Greens on this issue still defies my comprehension.

  2. SHV

    [even human rights organisations are expressing the vote as a Greens failure]



  3. Sammy Jankis

    Today’s comic in The Age sums up the Coalition’s approach to this issue beautifully.

  4. B.Tolputt

    MWH @ 29
    The answer to you question is because what was being proposed and what the Greens could have amended the law to provided they agreed to pass it if the amendments were accepted is better than the current situation. The legislation is woeful, the current policy is worse. A small improvement is better than no improvement.

    The reason the Greens lost my (and from recent discussions, my wife’s) vote is because they failed to do anything by deciding to preach from the moral high ground rather than act to improve people’s lives. The political pressure to get something done has not been higher for a very, very long time and I doubt it will be again for some time. The Greens didn’t fumble the opportunity, they deliberately dropped the ball and said they’re not going to play.

    In politics you don’t get everything your way. Compromise is how the system works because, whether we’d like to admit it or not, approximately half of Australians support people that don’t want to do anything. More people could have been saved and more refugees taken into Australia… if only the Greens acted reasonably rather than as zealots. I’m disappointed, my wife is devastated, and even human rights organisations are expressing the vote as a Greens failure. I’m still a leftie, it’s just the Greens have shown they are not the vehicle for achieving progress on those ideals.

  5. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    Moi @28,

    AND WITH serious longer-term consideration for proposals along the lines mooted by the Greens.

    It’s maybe worth noting that the Oakeshott bill would seem to some degree complementary of the above in relation to…

    The Bali Process — codifying in domestic law the good bipartisan work started by the former Howard Government in 2002, which provides a border protection and humanitarian framework on people smuggling, people trafficking and related transnational crime. This process is co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia and involves nearly 50 countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

  6. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    B. Tolputt,

    I’m not sure why you want the Greens to support something which you agree is woeful. I’m a Green supporter who would be shocked if the Greens had voted for such a woeful solution.

    In fact knowing that there was pressure on the Greens to sell out, this afternoon I sent a one-line email of support to Adam Bandt.

    My feeling is that if the Greens had sold out that there would be many more tears throughout Australia, and the Greens would suffer a justified massive loss in one of their main assets – their integrity.

    I think there are other more effective ways of preventing drownings at see. As suggested here by Jeremy, just let the empty boats return would do the trick. Another solution is to take in a few thousand refugees from Indonesia. (GetUp says that in the 10 months to April this year, Australia granted only 97 refugee visas out of Indonesia).

    A myth promoted by Labor is that the Greens must always be perfect and snow-clean. So if there is one thing you disagree with the Greens on that this proves that they should not get your vote (and so you should vote Labor even though there are LOTs of things you disagree with Labor on). A nonsense argument which unfortunately a few people get fooled by.

  7. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    I’m actually struggling with this a bit.

    Quite right, too. ‘Something’ needs to be done. But not anything.

    I’d have liked to see Oakeshott’s bill get up; BUT WITH the Coalition’s amendment to drown the rotten Malaysia swap deal; AND WITH Wilkie’s ‘sunset’ clause BUT for no more than 6 months rather than 12; AND WITH some rigorous monitoring of outcomes in the interim (we could conscript Houston et al or whoever for that); AND WITH serious longer-term consideration for proposals along the lines mooted by the Greens.

    Of course, that’s all with 20/20 hindsight of the last couple of days in the comfort of my own armchair. And unencumbered with the partisan obstruction of Abbott and (to a somewhat lesser degree) Gillard. Forget the ‘purist’ Greens, they’re not the real power here.

    All in all, it’s a collective failure and a crying shame.

  8. B.Tolputt

    SHV @ 25

    I would have them agree to support the legislation if their amendments were accepted. There is no point to making the amendments otherwise. The Greens were very vocal on social media all day answering questions left, right, & centre… right up until my wife, amongst many others, asked if they would support the legislation should their amendments be accepted. Funnily enough, they clammed up about that and my wife caught someone with the permission to do so removing comments on their FaceBook page asking the question.

    I’m not an avid Greens supporter having had the feeling they were more a protest party than one ready to make real-world compromises. I supported them in the Senate as a check against the shift to the right we’ve been seeing Labor try on over the last six years. My wife, on the other hand, supported them in the house & senate in the federal, state, and local council levels. We’ve had many a tiff where our beliefs clashed about the Greens. We’re both lefties, it’s just I’m a cynical one and she’s an optimist.

    Today she was tuned into APAC whilst monitoring Twitter + FaceBook all day (I was working in the office downstairs) and while she started out elated that the Greens & ALP might come together and improve the woeful state of Australia’s refugee policy, if only a little, she wound up crying twice as she realised that they were more interested in standing on moral high ground than giving Aussie ground to refugees who otherwise wouldn’t live to see it.

    I am not saying that the legislation is good, it’s woeful. It is, however, better than the status quo. Read something earlier about Whitlam saying “Only the impotent can remain pure” (or something like that). I think politicians should work to get something better than before rather than stand firm on principle and achieve nothing in practice.

    And before people start throwing the “concern troll” argument around – go back and look at my posts. I am not the most left-wing person on the blog, but I am not right-wing and have argued the real trolls here enough to prove it.

  9. jules

    I did three google searches for “Stop the Boats”

    One from 1/1/1999 to 1/1/2009.

    967 results, one related to Australia and asylum seekers on the first page of results. (wikipedia on the siev x)

    One from 1/1/2009 till now.

    33, 400 results all on the first 2 pages relating to Australia’s supposed problem with asylum seekers.

    Doing the search with no time restrictions return 31, 800 results. First 2 pages all refer to Australia and asylum seekers on boats.

    So even tho its a continuation of the Howard mentality the actual slogan belongs to Abbott and has infected our discourse like a really bad virus. (Abbott’s entire thing is 2 slogans “Stop the boats” and “Great big new tax”. Neither are reasonable sayings given the reality, but do push political buttons.) Its been incredibly effective cos every day now we hear the saying “stop the boats”, either “this will” or “they must” stop the boats. Or as part of a question “will this?” stop the boats – thats the worst part of it. The saying has infected our language and the way we think about and talk about stuff.

  10. SHV

    B.Tolputt @ 17,

    What compromise (beyond the additional 6000 – which you & your wife would see from Jack’s link above is still available right now to the ALP) do you believe the ALP did or should have offered to get Greens support? And, apologies in your time of grief, how far would you have the Greens go?

    As a Greens voter at the last election, I can say that today they still have my vote. If they had sold out to this bogus ‘purist’ argument that would not be the case.

    I find that I increasingly have time and respect for those our mainstream deride as ‘purists’. I have neither time nor respect for our ‘pragmatist’ mainstream media and political parties.

  11. shepherdmarilyn

    I note Bowen reckons drowning is the worst way ever to die. What about the 173 Australians burnt to death in Victoria, or the 214 Afghans bombed to bits last week, or the 148 Nigerians blown up, the 1 million Iraqis blown up or gunned down, the almost 3,000 people slaughtered on September 11, the 202 blown to bits in Bali, or the 192 on the Madrid train, the tens of thousands of Lebanese blasted off the face of the earth by Israel or the 30,000 kids who die wheening and girning as they starve.

    Drowning is the worst? If he believed that why did it take 41 hours of calls for help to send any.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    Natural justice only applies to those who ask us though Howard. Whining that other people who have not asked for help don’t get help so we must punish those who have asked us is ridiculous.

    We only have an obligation to those who arrive here and ask for help – you might as well claim hospitals shouldn’t help the sick people who arrive for help because other people who did not arrive might be sick too.

  13. SHV

    Unfortunately, for me, ‘Eureka Street’ will always be tainted by the output of its prodigy James Masola (especially the fact that he now does Rupert’s work and, particularly, the job he did on ‘Grog’).

    I found this piece to nail the issue about refugees:

    [I am with the Greens in opposing offshore processing, but like many of the ‘burning issues’ during these interminable disputes (detention v community processing, children in or out of detention, push v pull factors, refugees v skilled migrants, international obligations v border security, the effectiveness of deterrents, how to deal with people smugglers, etc) even if the policy is stalled it leaves unchallenged the reasons the refugee debate proceeds in the first place.

    Those reasons are defined primarily by the political needs of elites to create scapegoats and distractions for their failure to provide security to ordinary people already living here – not of borders, but of a social kind. That is, they seek to displace social insecurity into a defence of national integrity, here in the form of ‘border security’, in the process shifting blame for social ills onto an external ‘other’ that is threatening to invade and disrupt our livelihoods and cohesion. While previously the natural territory of the Right, the mainstream Left has been drawn into playing this game the more it has abandoned its traditional support base in favour of pro-corporate neoliberal policies.]

  14. Matthew of Canberra

    Hmm. Yes. Let’s all say sorry for the things we’ve been wrong about. You go first, andrew:

    I’m actually struggling with this a bit. I don’t like what we’re seeing any more than bolta does. I feel sorry for the people on those boats, I particularly feel sorry for children who aren’t able to make the choice, and I REALLY feel sorry for our navy and emergency services who’re battling to find and rescue people after the boats sink.

    But I actually can’t actually quite bring myself to see australia as actually positively responsible for these deaths. They’re tragic, absolutely. But people take these boat rides with some understanding of the risks. Anyone who has paid a people smuggler since that boat hit the rocks at christmas island surely knows what they’re doing. And the ones who are going to do the same in the next few weeks (now that they know the clock is ticking) will also know that there is a chance that they will end up in the water. People are doing this all over the world. Boats sink on their way from cuba, from africa, from sri lanka, from libya and morocco. It’s not a phenomenon limited to the waters north of christmas island. It sucks, absolutely. It’s a shitty deal. But are we to blame for being a place that people WANT to live?

    They’ll keep doing it as long as they think there’s a chance at a better life for an outsider here than there is in indonesia. Notice that it’s not indonesians making the trip – it’s people in transit from other countries. Outsiders. They’re painted as opportunists … but they’re apparently opportunists who’re willing to risk their lives to get here. Maybe we can swap a few of them for citizens who take our country for granted.

    Suppose we were talking about people swimming across a river to get to our side of it, where things are awesome, the economy works, minorities aren’t villified (much) or persecuted (yet). We don’t like them doing it, because they cost us money to integrate when they arrive. But what REALLY irks us is when they drown trying, or get eaten by crocodiles. But they just keep trying anyway. Our solution is to build a wall so big that there’s no point making the journey. Then we can congratulate ourselves on stopping the drownings. But they’re still stuck there on the other side of that river.

    I’m all for this “let’s all apologise” thing, but first let’s all be honest about who needs to apologise for what.

  15. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    The basic details of the Greens’ proposals are here.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the group headed by Angus Houston proposes some very similar options, among others. But they won’t get up, of course, because they can’t be condensed into the precise three word formulation: STOP THE BOATS.

    Of late it’s supposedly been all about “saving lives”. But STOP THE BOATS had potent electoral appeal way before the pivotal Christmas Island tragedy of 2010. It was crystallised in Howard’s “We Will Decide” mantra from the 2001 Tampa election. And it didn’t shift to being about “saving lives” even after the 2001 SIEV-X tragedy with the loss of 353 lives.

    “Saving lives” is a cloak of respectability for what both major parties are now agreed upon: Wiggling out of our obligations under the Refugee Convention.

    From playing Alice-in-Wonderland croquet with our “migration zone”, to a Pacific or a Malaysia ‘solution’, it is and always has been about that.

    Because the piddling arrivals at our borders (compared to say Europe or even the US) makes tough, resourceful Aussies fall apart and wee into our little soft cock knickers.

  16. Matthew of Canberra

    The result is … no outcome.

    Now we have a problem. We’ve just telegraphed to the world that we intend to do something to stop boat people … but not for 6 weeks. So anyone who wanted to make that last 300nm trip will have an incentive to get on with it.

    I hope this doesn’t lead to a flood of doomed attempts.

    Both major parties, for all their serious words and posturing, are apparently far more concerned about scoring a point on where the offshoring is to take place than doing what they say they’d really like to do – the labs could reopen nauru if they wanted to – those guys will do anything for the cash. And the libs don’t _really_ care all that much about refugee rights … I mean, honestly, look at their record.

    Now, before I damn the greens along with the rest of them … does anyone know if the greens put forward any proposals?

    I still think TPVs and incentives/assistance for indonesia are worth a shot. Much cheaper and less cretinous than so-called “offshore” processing, and we can make sure our guests are looked after.

  17. Howard,B.


    You appeared to have missed the point, and the question it raises.

    In the event of the creation of your posited parallel humanitarian intake of unlimited capacity for onshore arrivals, those without the money or means to make such a trip will still be subject to quotas and the reality that they may never be resettled. Those with such money and means will be able to avoid this uncertainty and languishment and guarantee themselves a place by virtue of their relative ‘privilege’, as you would call it.

    This raises no questions for heartless right-wingers, such as myself, who are quite inured to the idea of the strong doing what they can whilst the weak suffer what they must. It does however raise a very serious ideological contradiction for yourself, Jeremy, and all the other self-identified ‘lefties’ forever banging-on about ‘privilege’.

    You’ve long asserted in your general musings the belief that those with more money and means should not hold some advantage, or capacity to ‘buy their way’, over those with comparatively less money and means. Yet here you are apparently comfortable with the idea of just that. How do you reconcile this?

    I would note, that as you and the ever-to-the-point Marilyn Shepherd have pointed out, we have a legal obligation regarding onshore arrivals, and this is so. However, in my previous discussions with you (your loose usage of the term “tax evasion”, for one), you have rejected legalist arguments in favour of a more ‘natural justice’ approach to determining what is right and proper.

  18. B.Tolputt

    As far as I can tell, the Greens have cemented their position as idealogical purists divorced from the practise of compromise that the rest of the world (political or otherwise) has recognised as necessary to actually achieve outcomes.

    I’m more centre-left than my wife who was a Greens supporter (financially & volunteering her time), Greens voter, and was cheering the fact they could use their position to make the ALP compromise on something that was far from perfect, but would include among other things an increase of 6000 refugees. She is literally in tears that they decided to claim the moral high ground whilst refusing to actually work towards some good from the situation.

    They’ve had my vote in the Senate since I could vote. They’ve had hers in both houses since we were married. They’ve lost that and it is a crying shame there is no-one to the left of the ALP to give that vote to. Personally, I think if Brown were still in charge, they would have made the deal.

  19. jules

    Zoot Australia did establish an “office” in Indonesia years ago – it helped fund a UNHCR presence in Jakarta – however I don’t now when Australia last took refugees via that office. There are conflicting claims about how many (if any) we have taken.

  20. zoot

    Surely, if we are truly serious about processing asylum claims offshore we need to establish offices in Indonesia and Malaysia (and Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and Iraq and …) where these claims can be processed.

    It won’t stop the boats.

  21. jules

    Mephistopheles, i believe Howie meant “steaming refuse” and was referring to his own comments on the refugee/asylum seeker debacle.

  22. shepherdmarilyn

    The media are playing their own filthy game of who will die and who won’t.

    None of them understand what Oakeshott wants.

    Independent Rob Oakeshott has introduced to the House of Representatives his own Migration Legislation Amendment (The Bali Process) Bill 2012. If passed, this bill would amend the Migration Act removing the peg on which the High Court was able to hang the Malaysia solution out to dry. Under the unamended law, the Minister for Immigration is required to declare in writing that any country to be used for offshore processing provides access to effective procedures for asylum claims, provides protection for asylum seekers while their claims are processed, and meets relevant human rights standards in providing that protection. In August last year, the High Court of Australia ruled that the Minister could not make a valid declaration in relation to Malaysia as it was not a signatory to the Refugees Convention, and the Arrangement between the two governments was not legally binding.

    Oakeshott is proposing that a new peg replace the old one, and that the new one be designed such that Malaysia could pass muster without High Court interference. His bill would permit the Minister to designate Malaysia as an offshore assessment country because it is a party to the Bali Process which at its last meeting a year ago included 32 countries working on a Regional Cooperation Framework. If Oakeshott intended meaningful public decision making by the Executive government and appropriate parliamentary scrutiny, he has failed. Participation in the Bali process could not be reckoned a sufficient precondition for a country to pass muster with human rights protection and appropriate asylum procedures. For example, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran are all participants in the Bali process.

    The only other precondition in the Oakeshott bill is that “the Minister thinks it is in the national interest” to designate a country as an offshore assessment country. Anxious to avoid any further High Court scrutiny, his drafters have stipulated that the international obligations and domestic laws of a country are irrelevant to the process of designation. In considering whether designation of another country would be in Australia’s national interest, the Minister is required to have regard to the assurances offered by that country’s government about the assessment of asylum claims and the non-refoulement of asylum seekers whose claims have not yet been decided. These assurances need not be legally binding. The Minister is required to place a statement of reasons before Parliament within 2 sitting days of making a designation. He is also required within 14 days to make a request of UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) seeking a formal statement of their views about the arrangements proposed in the designated country. It would make more sense if the minister were required to make the requests and receive the statements before making his decision to designate a country, and before tabling the decision in Parliament. That way the UNHCR and IOM positions could help to inform both the Minster’s decision and Parliament’s assessment of the decision. The bill provides that “the sole purpose of laying the documents before the Parliament is to inform the Parliament of the matters referred to in the documents and nothing in the documents affects the validity of the designation”. Parliament has no power to disallow the designation and a failure to table the documents would not affect the validity of the designation. So the Oakeshott peg is designed to ensure that neither Parliament nor the High Court could hang a designated country out to dry, ever again. The bill is simply a convoluted means for allowing the Executive government to declare an offshore processing country without any meaningful scrutiny by Parliament or the High Court. It does nothing to advance the cause of public scrutiny of government decisions to provide offshore processing of asylum claims.

    A completely toothless tiger, the bill still provides the opportunity for Parliament to agitate again the debate about Nauru, Malaysia and onshore processing.

  23. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    It’s been several hours since Christine Milne for the Greens proposed legislation for a constructive long-term solution to humanitarian refugee flows, but strangely none of the MSM have picked it up.

  24. Jeremy Sear

    So a fixed and finite amount of places for the teeming refuse withering away in refugee camps and an infinite amount of places for those with the money and means to get here?

    Is this what you have in mind, Jeremy?

    I like what you did there making them sound like rich lucky people we should envy.

    Shameless, but apparently effective.

    It’s not a crime to seek asylum. We might prefer they wait in camps, but that’s no reason why we can avoid our obligation to assess their claims if they apply here.

    There is no logical reason why for every boat or plane arrival we need to say to someone in the formal program “sorry, your place has been taken”. No, it hasn’t. Playing one refugee off against the other is monstrously inhumane.

  25. Mephistopheles

    @Howard,B. The fact that you refer to those in refugee camps as “teeming refuse” speaks volumes about your character.

  26. shepherdmarilyn

    Howard and the media and pollies don’t get it. The only people we have an obligation to is those who seek asylum, those who have refugee status already in other countries have no right to move on again.

    Which is why we have them jailed in INdonesia and pretend they are safe while they are tortured to death or forcibly deported for us.

  27. Brizben

    [But of course Joe supports Abbott’s policy to tow’em back to Indonesia, which has no refugee protections.]
    The crocodile tears of Joe Hockey could drown a boat full of refugees. Can they just end the debate now?

  28. Jack Sparraaggghhh


    But of course Joe supports Abbott’s policy to tow’em back to Indonesia, which has no refugee protections.

    Will Joe go blubbering to PM Abbott’s office saying he won’t support any kind of push-back legislation without clear guarantees for protection of the minors who’ll inevitably be on board?


    the readers are more than welcome to engage in conjecture and speculation

    It’s almost as if Mister Most-Read has a material interest in keeping the boats coming; which just happens to coincide with his preferred leader’s political interests (as suggested in Peter van Onselen’s Wednesday column, reinforced by Abbott’s partisan obstructionism yesterday) — and, hence, his own as he’s virtually a member of the Liberal’s right faction.

  29. Howard,B.

    [No one is talking about decoupling the zero-sum game between refugees settled from offshore, and onshore arrival numbers (in which as arrivals increase, offshore resettlement places go down). This is a policy change that could end the mindless pitching of one group of refugees against another.]

    So a fixed and finite amount of places for the teeming refuse withering away in refugee camps and an infinite amount of places for those with the money and means to get here?

    Is this what you have in mind, Jeremy?

  30. Lola

    Our pollies are not so concerned about refugees dying, they just get very emotional when they have the ill manners of doing it our waters in an attempt to save themselves.

  31. gtpfb13

    Cross posted from weekly thread:

    The Herald Sun’s resident Shipping and Watercraft Expert has cleverly deduced from a photograph “taken from what is clearly a ship”, but looks much more like an arial shot, that the boat involved with yesterday’s sinking must have been scuttled by those on board.

    It takes a very special skill to live life deliberately searching for only the negatives. Evil mindedness? Certainly there must have been some massive and chaotic rewiring of that mind in its formative years. Trauma or drugs?

  32. Ross Sharp

    Oh, for f**k’s sake …

    Boat didn’t sink!1!1!!#*(!)

    It was scu … no, that would be a scurrilous suggestion, so the writer will not suggest it, although the readers are more than welcome to engage in conjecture and speculation to their heart’s content, despite the fact they wouldn’t know f**k all either.

  33. Eric Sykes

    “Are they actually glad the journey is dangerous because they want it to be a deterrent? Because that would explain how they’re voting. But it makes their tears incredibly fake.”


  34. NiceLittleUnit

    You’ve got an issue with the quote/indent setting of the last part of your article. (Everything after the bullet list.)

    {Cheers! Fixed. -Jeremy}

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