So the panel have handed down a report. And already people are not pleased. Not even the coalition which reckon that this is some how a vindication that John Howard should be made a saint. Andrew Bolt did what Andrew Bolt does. Within minutes of a 160 page report being actually released, he had already printed his summary. Excuse me? Did you even read the report Andrew?
But do not worry Andrew! You were joined in the stupidity by other so called respected journalists and their sub editors. I was keenly interested this morning on seeing a link entitled “At last! People before politics” in The Australian. But when I clicked on it, I was disappointed. And I didn’t have to go long into the article
LABOR will today legislate to reinstate offshore asylum-seeker processing in Nauru and PNG, signalling a return to the Howard-era Pacific Solution.
Now the article goes on and discusses the political sides. It even mentions some of the recommendations. Somehow they saw the word Nauru and did not read anymore. The Prime Minister was VERY clear. This is something totally different. Sure its in Nauru, but it is NOT Howard’s Nauru.
And it was not until LATELINE that anyone actually bothered to ask.
STEVE CANNANE: So just to clarify that, it wouldn’t be like Nauru and Manus Island was before with fences around it and people being detained?
PARIS ARISTOTLE: No. There would have to be accommodation established for them. They may have to return to that accommodation each evening, but it’s not intended that it would be a detention centre in any of the proposed transfer arrangements.
The other thing that’s different to the past is that there were no independent monitoring and oversight mechanisms of what was happening. We’ve recommended that there be oversight and monitoring mechanisms through high-level groups comprising of cross-party membership, experts from the non-government sector or academia, senior officials who would monitor and oversight the adherence to the conditions of any transfer arrangement and international obligations.
Yes. That’s right. The report recommends off shore processing and a move to a regional processing agreements. But they do NOT recommend fences around camps. They do not recommend detainment.
Asylum seekers that are ‘fleeing’ for their lives will be made safe, processed, but given no advantage for getting on the boat. In other words, do not risk your lives as it will not get you to Australia, or any other country in the region faster.
The report also advises an increase in refugee intakes to again take away a disincentive and lessen waits in UN processing and regional processing arrangements. It advises that boat turning can not be done if the country you sent them back to did not want them.
And it insists that the Malaysian arrangement should be made to work and any points of contention be addressed as it is VITAL part of regional agreements.
Yet all we are seeing in the media is the political scoring. And no one is even using the report for factual evidence of this scoring.
Paris makes it clear.
STEVE CANNANE: OK. Just to deal with that principle, the panel came to the conclusion that a no-advantage principle should apply to people arriving here by boat so that they’d gain no benefit by choosing to circumvent regular migration mechanisms.
Does that mean that Philip Ruddock was right to say all those years ago that those coming by boat were queue jumpers?
PARIS ARISTOTLE: No, I don’t believe in the queue jumping argument. You have got to remember, back then there was no regional arrangement. There wasn’t an enhanced humanitarian program. There were no adequate processing structures across the region for people to actually apply into.
So there wasn’t really a queue. And this isn’t talking about establishing a queue, but it is talking about establishing a credible system that people now can apply through. That didn’t exist previously, and so what was occurring historically was there was more of a deterrence base which had more of a punitive element to it in order to dissuade people.
And that is the key. Under the Howard arrangement, there was NO REGIONAL arrangement. This was totally a solution for Australia. Bugger our neighbours. THIS plan’s main plank is the regional arrangements, particularly the deal signed in 2009 that strengthened the Bali Process. And it is crucial that the plan they outline remains regional.
So will this plan be the Jesus miracle Australia need’s to cure its leprosy? Or will it be yet another case of ‘no pleasing some people’?
A. Ghebranious 2012