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THE HUMANITARIAN NATION March 14, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The question arises in relation to the treatment of refugees: What lead to this?

Evoked images form of barely sea worthy boats carrying their hopeful passengers at times to their death as sea, or on the rocks of the ironically named Christmas Island, of children behind bars, of a young man brutally and unaccountably murdered, among others brutally assaulted in the Manus Island confinement camp. Was the former Government responsible for setting up the conducive conditions for what happened. In some sense that might be possible.

The Abbott Government, punching the walls, has no remorse. Proudly they proclaim, we stopped the boats. The detail is kept away from sight. The General went into retreat; the Press Conferences aborted. The Minister apparently untroubled and confident of the path to better things, with the support of the Shire. The Attorney General seems bereft of compassion or concern. Neither, inclined to a prison visit to see for themselves. Dark corners are best unlit.

The “gated Australia” mentality is an atavistic response to a changed world, which might accurately describe conservatism. The Government is unlikely to spin that “Australia is a compassionate nation”, or to aspire to lifting the refugee intake to 20,000 people a year. Inhumanity has its own logic and its’ own larger causes.

In August 2013, my Federal member of the House of Representatives in response to a letter responded that the new arrangements means:

. . . refugees will have claims for asylum processed in either PNG or Nauru, and if found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, Nauru, or another participating country.

. . . Those not assessed as refugees will be returned to their home country or a country where they had a right of residence”.

While proclaiming the efficacy of a regional solution, now disdained, the wider context was acknowledged:

The issue of the movement of people across the world is a difficult one, and is constantly changing”.


While planning for an annual intake of an extra 20,000 people is better than no increase, it is dwarfed the magnitude of global numbers which are claimed to be 40 million people. The problems at source, principally include persecution of minorities and violent conflict. In the same way it would be wise in addressing these problems, so it would be advisable to confront climate change, with the potential of massive population displacement.

Public policy should be informed by the recognition of social and economic realities, and for some violence in various expression is understood as inescapable and concrete ingredient. Means are ends in the making.

The Minister, described as “under fire” was providing clarification subject to a departmental review. The problem and the related issues are sure to go away:

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