Regular Features Sandpit November 20, 2017 John Quiggin19 Comments A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
19 thoughts on “Sandpit”
John having listened to your excellent contribution on ABC radio at about 4 am. on Thursday the 16/11/17, I must alert you I have just heard a “debate” between Mary Crawford[ex-ALP Federal member] and a Cam Young on Mornings on ABC 612 in which they are each arguing over the efficacy and use of AEMO figures used as a basis for a report released by [ex-LNP executive] Young’s business organisation concluding apparently to achieve emissions goals power stations will have to be shut down by the ALP. I found Young not convincing.
My great concern is the LNP’s attack on the Rule of Law as evidenced in Newman/Nichols/ Bleijie tyring to gut the Supreme Court by appointing a Magistrate as the Chief Justice which person still draws a Chief Justice’s salary whilst being relegated to adjudicating menial QCAAT tasks. What a disgrace ! This the same judge who was talking to Hetty Johnson whilst he was considering [Daniel Morcombe’s killer] Cowan’s appeal and had to disqualify himself !
Bleijie and Newman defamed wilfully 2 Gold Coast lawyers by their own admissions and costing us $500,000 excluding their costs. This arrogance verging on Fascism has not yet been proved to be gone in the current LNP apologists.
The Liberal corruption in the Gold Coast, Logan and Moreton Councils has not been addressed in the campaign yet. Sunshine Coast voters do not think corruption stops at the Caboolture River. Candidates should be sked if they support banning developer’s donations.
10 years ago tomorrow, 24 November 2007, the ALP under Kevin Rudd won a landslide federal election promising to end the Howard government’s widely despised offshore processing of refugees known as the “Pacific Solution”.
Howard lost his own seat in the election.
Watching the inevitable brutality unfolding on Manus in 2017 (never forgetting the ongoing inhumanity Australia is also perpetrating against refugees we have exiled to Nauru).
In 2010 the “Faceless Men” led by one Bill Shorten knifed Rudd largely because of his ending that policy (see Rudd’s “I will not lurch to the right on refugees” speech at the time), and installed Julia Gillard who proceeded to attempt alternatives that looked like a duck, quacked like a duck but wasn’t really a duck. When that failed, in 2011, Gillard reopened the Pacific Solution concentration camps.
In 2013 Shorten allowed Rudd back into the job by knifing Gillard – one of the most memorable things about Rudd’s brief return was his monumental “lurch to the right” on refugees even outdoing the worst of Howard’s Liberals. It was a gift to the incoming Abbott government.
Labor has not won a federal election outright since 2007 – and yet this same Bill Shorten, still maintaining his anti-refugee policies, expects to win power.
The ALP is suffering immensely from Shorten’s right wing machine, but its ‘rusted on’ supporters don’t seem to care.
The “lurch to the right” press conference on the night of the Shorten putsch.
It was the first point Rudd made, very deliberately so, before referring to climate change or the mining tax (the usual argument put forward for his toppling).
They don’t seem to care much either for what drives this global refugee crisis, estimated to be 6o million – the global disparity of wealth, famine and war.
It still seems to me that concern about the potential numbers is reasonable and whilst Shorten and Turnbull and most Australian politicians are responsible for helping to perpetuate this unequal situation, Australians, in general, have been given no choice in this. Still, the vast numbers of just refugees who would attempt to get here, let alone economic migrants, are surely concerns.
I think that only people who have applied for refugee status at refugee camps should be allowed to enter. People who attempt to reach Australia by other means should be stopped.
Don’t you think that if the rules were applied and enforced strictly, then the motive for desperate people to pay people smugglers and risk death by drowning and detention when they reach Australia’s shores would disappear?
If the concern is the potential numbers of refugees who might end up coming to Australia, it is useful to note that we already take in about 200,000 new people from overseas every year.
We could start by allocating those places to refugees instead. Unfortunately, people who would just like to move here from countries that are already safe for them to live in would have to wait for a while – we have an emergency.
Your last point is a summary of the “deterrence” theory.
If we were to divide into two groups: those who find the indefinite detention of humans in concentration camps unacceptable under any circumstances; and those who don’t – I’m in the former group.
The people who use drownings or hordes of foreigners or people smugglers as justification for the current “deterrence” policy are firmly in the second group.
Why do you think that?
No, I don’t think that. Why do you think that?
I agree, but each refugee should first apply for refugee status in the country he/she now is and not just pay a people smuggler to jump the queue and risk drowning in doing so.
If you look at Europe, particularly Germany and Sweden, since 2015, when Angela Merkel suddenly announced that all refugees would be welcome to stay you can see the chaos that ensued.
At the risk of restating the obvious for the umpteenth time there is no queue. If there were a queue, it could not be in the jurisdictions from which they were fleeing. If Australia cared about mortality, it might form said queues here, or in other equally interested jurisdictions.
‘People smuggler’ is not an apt term for those facilitating a legally protected right — the right to asylum.
The vast majority of those vociferously shouting about drownings are unconcerned with mortality amongst putative asylum applicants — but would strongly prefer that their suffering and/or death occur some place else, ideally without them hearing about it — which helps explain their support for offshore prisons and their brutality. None pf them mentions, in my recollection, the contribution to drownings made by excising of islands from Australia’s migration zone, or the scuttling of craft used for irregular passage or of the gsoling of those operating the craft. QED.
The truth may be unpleasant, or not, but it should neither be ignored nor corrupted. Your post does both.
Realistic solutions to the world refugee crisis are possible. It would however take a democratic socialist and internationalist approach to implement them.
(1) Stop the wars that we (the West) made and make, especially but not only in the Middle East. These wars push the refugee crises.
(2) Stop climate change if we can. This will soon push further refugee crises.
(3) In Australia’s case, our emigration rate must now be about 100,000 per annum. I don’t have recent figures. This indicates we could take say 50,000 immigrants and 50,000 asylum seekers per annum with no net effect on total population. (I am not a fan of population increase but leave that aside for the moment.) Our current net immigration is 180,000. This indicates we could take (100,000 plus 180,000) 280,000, apportioned as 140,000 immigrants and 140,000 refugees and asylum seekers without changing our net position over current immigration and population increase. The refugees and asylum seekers might be harder to absorb than ordinary immigrants. Even if we rated them 3 times harder to absorb we could take 210,000 immigrants and 70,000 refugees and asylum seekers. If we wanted a ZPG policy we could take at least 50,000 refugees and asylum seekers. I hazard a guess this is a lot more than we take currently.
Removing the detention centers and processing claims rapidly and legally in Australia would cost far less and be far more humane. I can never understand why people want to spend 100 times the cost of humane treatment to mete out inhumane treatment. It makes neither economic nor moral sense.
If the “game” changes totally, as it could with rapid, extreme climate change then so many bets are off it would be a new system entirely. One can’t imagine much more than total regional conventional war and closed borders in such a case. That’s still one for the dystopian novelists at this stage.
Oops, one mistake in my calculations above. It should read. “Even if we rated them (refugees and asylum seekers) 3 times harder to absorb then we could still take 70,000 immigrants and 70,000 refugees and asylum seekers.”
I counted over 180 countries which had UNHCR offices where refugees could apply for asylum.
So, why not look at the places where they come from – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – and try to treat the cause? As I have shown above, attempting to treat the symptom here and in Europe only causes social chaos as well as numerous drownings.
“I counted over 180 countries which had UNHCR offices where refugees could apply for asylum.”
Could you please supply a link to that list?
Near the bottom of the “Contact Us” page at http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a324fcc6.html , you will find “To contact a UNHCR Field Office, please select the country below:”. Beneath that is a drop down list of countries.
@Nick OK, so how many offices are there in say…Syria?
Nick seems otherwise preoccupied so I could help Nick a bit and say “zero”.
Previously Nick asked that we look to the source country and try to fix the cause. We did Nick, we went there and we fixed it. Good and proper.
Not entirely rog.
We were wrecking it (Syria, in this case) but “our” plans didn’t quite work out as designed and the wrecking might have been halted. Even reversed to some extent.
More than 600,000 refugees from Syria have recently returned, now that “our” plans for its destruction have been stymied.
On the other hand, Libya – where the planned destruction is still carrying on as planned – is still a humanitarian disaster and the only people returning are those being forced back across the Mediterranean at gunpoint (thanks Australia for that idea!).
How should I know from the above link whether there is only one UNHCR office in each of Syria and Iraq – or two, three, four or ten?
What is your point?
That 600,000 refugees have returned to Syria is news to me. Would this have happened if the United States had won in Syria? Judging by what happened after they overthrew the dictators in Libya and Iraq, this seems unlikely.
No, it seems unlikely (as per Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan and various African countries etc..).
If we stop destroying other countries and fix the ones we have destroyed and leave them alone to decide their own direction without the US empire’s interference (such as deciding who will be the president “Yats is the guy”), then there will be lots fewer refugees.
However, in the interim we have no right to put the refugees we have created into concentration camps as a “deterrence” to other refugees who are attempting to pursue their legal right to claim asylum in another country, i.e. Australia.
There is no queue. There are vast numbers of refugees a handful of who each year might get an assessment from the UNHCR but that is all it is, just a piece of paper saying the UNHCR considers them to be refugees. After that it is even worse than a lottery as to when or where they may be able to go.
Many of the refugees who have come here by boat had already been assessed by the UNHCR.