Why can’t our government get it right with asylum seekers who arrive by boat?
The lawfulness of the disgraceful Malaysia deal is being tested before the full bench of the High Court today.
This morning’s headlines in the West Australian were like a breeze of fresh air through the stench of indifference and acrimony that usually surrounds this issue. A group of eminent Australians representing, among other professions, business and the arts, have called for a rethink of the detention strategies, advocating minimum holding for security and health checks and release into the community while asylum claims are ascertained. More humane, less expensive, win-win. They echo recent representations made by senior officials in Immigration to their political masters.
But how does our government respond ? “Let’s build floating detention centres.” Have they completely lost the plot? What kind of blinkered thinking seeks to take us back to the time Britain used floating hulks to imprison its burgeoning underclass. The irony is that when this strategy became unwieldy transportation to the great south land was deemed the solution. That’s right – they were sent out here as “boat people.” Go figure! Granted these $150 million vessels are intended to deliver intercepted asylum seekers swiftly to unnamed off-shore locations – but really?
I guess things have to reach the zenith of the point of ridiculous before uncommon common sense can break through.