According to Cameron Stewart in the Weekend Australian:
“Since the day the Alvarez case broke, refugee welfare groups have drawn what they see as a link between the mistreatment of Rau and Alvarez to other immigration debates, including mandatory detention, the Tampa stand-off and Pacific solution, and the deaths of 353 asylum-seekers on the doomed vessel Siev X.
This argument is based on the proposition that the mistreatment of these women is more than a bureaucratic bungle; it is part of a broader culture of racism that originates in federal cabinet and permeates down to the immigration department officials who dealt with Rau and Alvarez…
The prominence given in the media to the views of refugee welfare groups in the coverage of the Rau and Alvarez cases has also frustrated the Government, with staff members muttering darkly that some groups are merely fronts for the loony Left and that to quote them so prominently is a distortion of their importance.”
Bill Leak cartoon
Yes, an effective way to counter Government critics who stand up for human rights and the dignity of all individuals is to demonize them as ‘loony’.
However, I reiterate an earlier observation: When authorities fail to ensure non-Australians held in detention facilities are afforded the same basic protection and duty of care we expect for ourselves then we are all diminished.
That noted spokesperson for the loony left, Robert Manne, sums it up well:
“Howard sang a song until the people believed him. It was a horrible song, and it allowed hateful things to happen in a democracy in a way that no one would ever have believed Australia would allow” (cited in Caroline Moorehead, Human Cargo).