The decrepit asylum seeker debate continues to drag on in Australia and everyone has an opinion on what to should or should not be done with asylum seekers. The 90 to 95 per cent that are found to be genuine refugees fleeing persecution from countries that Australia has had direct involvement in or turned a blind to. I’m talking countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka etc.
We’ve had onshore processing and attempts at the pacific solution, the Nauru solution, the East Timorese solution and the Malaysian solution. So the question has to be asked how long before we have the final solution? Hmm provocative yes, but bureaucrats from the Department of Immigration have briefed the leader of the opposition and the prime minister, two politicians who lack of leadership and political expediency has lead politics and national discourse to a new low, that asylum seekers are basically do anything people who will tear at the social fabric of Australian society.
It has been reported that on shore processing of asylum seekers would lead to social unrest as has occurred in Europe and most recently Britian.
There has been debate as to whether the sentiment attributed to the Secretary of the Immigration Department, Andrew Metcalfe have been accurately reported. Whether the reports were accurate or not the opposition and the government have done little to nothing to quell the reports. The sentiment plays to the policy position of both sides of politics and more importantly plays to the fears held by the community in several key electorates particularly those in western Sydney.
The media, apart from crikey.com, have done very little to dispel the fear mongering with in any real inquisition. It’s a sad fact that fear sells newspapers and attracts ratings in the Australian market but I guess we’re not alone on that front.
Now it looks like the opposition and the government may miraculously join forces to contrive legislation to weasel out of Australia’s obligations under the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention of which it is a signatory. This of course would allow the government to export asylum seekers to other countries and get around the high court’s ruling that prevented the Malaysia solution from being implemented and most likely any other off shore processing as well.
I think it’s fair to say that the Australian public is skeptical about the two major parties coming together with any credible solution to the asylum seeker issue. It may indeed turn out the final solution may be for Australian to meet its humanitarian obligations and process people on shore. Shock horror!
In the meantime while this debate continues to suck all the political oxygen out of the air there is a number of other pressing social and economic issues that are reduced to irrelevancy in the current climate. The plight of the first Australians where the gap across almost every social and life indicator continues to be behind that of non-Aboriginal Australians, the two speed economy that is dividing the country, the pending crisis in manufacturing and of course the challenges of climate change.
Australia is a tolerant and accepting nation and deserves better that the tripe that is being served by its politicians and aided by its media.