Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Media nasties getting warmed up on carbon tax and asylum seekers

Occasionally I wander off the reservation into hostile territory to see how the restless are behaving. Today’s sojourn was Ackerman’s blog on the Daily Telegraph, with the catchy title, “Carbon tax is like a stink bomb in a very small car”, a nasty little polemic which can be read at:


The comments section were like a tea party picnic convention, with the only thing missing being confederate flags, pit bulls and attack rifles. I left the following comment & withdrew to higher ground:

“Wow, what a grizzle fest.! This should be called Ackerman and his acolytes. Hey, you all trying to out do each other in the ‘who can be the most gratuitously vacuous and obnoxious’ stakes, you are no doubt frothing with excitement at the prospect of a political shock-jock like Abbott break dancing his way into office. Be careful what you wish for.

We get a daily diet of reactionary, simple minded drivel on issues such as immigration & asylum seekers and important areas of public policy are ‘spun’ through the lens of media pamphleteers like this author, who knows how to pitch to a well-worn prejudice and who survives on a dumbed-down strategy of sound-bites, ‘gotcha’ moments and limpid sensationalism. This is political analysis reduced to talk-show patter and infotainment for a presumed audience with a knowledge base and the concentration span of a distracted gnat. Oh, that’s right, I forgot, its a conspiracy of latte-sipping left wingers in inner city suburbs – spare me!! If you believe that drivel you and this author are made for each other.

Under the ‘great con’ Abbott has replaced the biking lycra with reflective lime industrial tops & roams bloke dominated small businesses and mining enterprises, filleting fish, carrying cartons of stuff, digging up stuff, butchering meat, rolling in oats and wheat, etc etc etc, pretending to care about working people and announcing the end of civilization as we know it. A true ‘man of the people’ with an eye to the big end of town (nudge, wink) …Howard battlers should be checking their back pockets because they’re being shafted again.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Asylum seekers in Australia - can Australia 'grow up' and confront its past failings in this area of human rights?

The Howard govt turned itself inside out to excise huge slices of the migration zone as part of its manic determination to repel 'boat people'. The Pacific Solution fiasco underpinned the 'illegal boat people' wedge Howard launched in 2001. I was part of the PM's task force that worked on these issues.

Sadly, the 'dog whistle' has been sounded loud and clear by Abbott and his conga line of wing nut mates, and the 'xenophobe' crowd have responded with alacrity. Within their simple-minded construct it's all the Gillard government's fault! Labor instigated a more humane approach to refugees, although it would have been improved by taking the Christmas Island stopover out of the equation and emphasising community processing. Rudd abolished the egregious TPV regime, which was a violation of refugee rights and a nasty scar on our human rights landscape. Having explored regional offshore processing options to negate the people smuggling trade, Gillard is now flagging a shift toward a more reasoned approach, having failed to get bi-partisanship on offshore processing!

The Coalition's constant vilification of Labor for being weak on border protection has now morphed into a hypocritical concern for the rights of refugees. These of course - yes, you guessed it - will be protected on Nauru.

But how can anyone forget the Libs' response to Tampa and kids overboard? Blame the victims for their own plight, extract as much sensationalism out of the role of people smugglers, put words in the mouth of ADF personnel who cannot answer for themselves, and then whip up public sentiment against refugees. Throw in dollops of confected outrage over your political opponents complete lack of preparedness to face down the 'threat' and you have your stock in trade 'dog whistle' response to the terrible plight of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

Oh, I forgot - then you can set about making weak neighbouring countries complicit in policies that violate human rights! Sadly, the Labor government fell in behind this construct too easily!

The cruel stupidity of processing asylum seekers in excised areas (unable to access the same legal rights as those who reach our migration zone by air) or in countries unwilling to treat people humanely, must end. Either by default or Machiavellian manoeuvring, Labor can now align our Migration Act with international law and refugee conventions and kick the Howard construct to the 'shit house' of history.

Asylum seekers in Australia - New approaches to onshore processing

Cabinet ministers have begun discussing whether to send asylum seekers to regional areas in need of workers.

Anyone who reads this blog (at least 5 people) will know I put a number of points to the PM recently on ways and means of managing onshore processing. Trawling through Poll Bludger this morning I stumbled across a comment that quotes Misha Schubert's piece in The Age, entitled 'Off the boat, into the bush'.

It seems these ideas are percolating around policy makers in the immigration area!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Asylum seekers in Australia - PM moves to treat asylum seekers more humanely

Writing in The Age, Michael Gordon, reports on the sharp shift in the Gillard Government's approach to asylum seekers:

"PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has conceded defeat on her asylum seeker policy, forcing her to signal a shift to more community-based processing of people who arrive in Australia by boat.

In a humiliating admission of failure, Ms Gillard finally conceded last night her asylum seeker legislation had collapsed - but insisted she remained committed to the Malaysia people-swap plan that the bill aimed to legalise.

In the meantime, the government says it will process more asylum seekers arriving by boat in the community to stop an expected increase in numbers overloading the immigration detention system."