Media reports of the new refugee exchange program with the US underline the bizarre nature of the Howard government's refugee policy. The use of aid money to elicit the cooperation of Nauru, which was on the verge of economic collapse at the time of the first PS agreement, to detain asylum seekers was bad enough.
This latest move will be condemned by fair thinking Australians. The PS is bad policy for many reasons. This iteration will further highlight the Howard government's illogical approach to refugee issues. Put aside the ongoing failure to observe international human rights law and refugee conventions, the idea of swapping Cuban refugees with Nauru detention facility incumbents reeks of a political fix on a par with the Hicks' fiasco. It suggests the government considers the ranks of the permanently credulous are still brimming.
It is up there with the plan to excise the whole of Australia from the migration zone on the 'what were they thinking?' meter. The government appears to have lost the plot but the Ministry of silly walks is flourishing.
Doubtless we will see further blatant violations of multilateral agreements on human rights and cruel and unusual punishment meted out to asylum seekers in a bid to shore up flagging political stocks.