In a major reversal, the Government has said it would accept the findings of the Houston Report and process asylum seekers in Naura and PNG. Bob Ellis comments.
The Fairfax press reported the following this morning about the move to begin Nauru II.
THE federal government will rush legislation into Parliament today to process asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea after accepting proposals that take Australia back to the harsh offshore mandatory detention of John Howard's Pacific Solution.
In a major backdown from her earlier insistence on the Malaysia ''people swap'', Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared: ''If people want to put up banners that this is a compromise from the government: dead right - in order to start saving lives.''
Ms Gillard said she wanted the legislation through Parliament by the end of the week.
It should now be explained why incompetent Chinese waitresses are let in and persecuted Hazara peasant farmers fleeing decapitation by the Taliban kept out.
Who is at the head of the queue? And why?
Why is every Syrian not automatically let in? How can he/she not be said to be a ‘genuine refugee’? How?
That said, it is a good chess move, and Abbott has nowhere to go now, and other things will be talked of, in arguments he will mostly lose, and he will fall because of it, all of his moral eggs having been in this basket.
The Prime Minister’s utterance about ‘I tell you what’s harder, it’s watching people drown’ is idiotic. This could equally be said when banning the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race or gaoling teenage girls for sailing small craft round the world. Or travelling on any ferry in Bangla Desh. Or evacuating Dunkirk.
The Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia came here on a leaky boat on which some of his relatives in big storms died. And he should not have come — is that the argument? He should not have come? Please say yes or no — so he can sue some of you.
The true solution is to let in a hundred thousand fewer incompetent Chinese waitresses next year and instead let in a hundred thousand Hazara and Tamil refugees and thus abolish the queue, and twenty thousand a year thereafter, flying them here on their last hop at government expense, a far far less expensive destination than Nauru, whose time frame amounts to child abuse, and save our taxpayers a lot of money.
What a stupid, stupid episode.
And a vile stain on our name.
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