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Administrator Stanhope soon to be returned to us

By johnboy - 23 September 2013 93

The ABC has news on Jon Stanhope’s stand against the Government out on Christmas Island:

Christmas Island’s administrator Jon Stanhope says he will have to reconsider his position if told not to speak publicly about boat arrivals.

His comments come a day after the first asylum seeker vessel since the Federal Government implemented its new border protection policy arrived on Christmas Island, carrying about 30 people.

The Government is not providing any details of the boat, but the ABC has been told by people on Christmas Island that the passengers include men, women and children from the Middle East.

Under the previous Labor government, media outlets were notified each time a boat was intercepted.

However, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison imposed new restrictions on the flow of information about asylum seeker boats, saying he will only provide weekly briefings – the first of which will be today.

One imagines that if Administrator Stanhope doesn’t stick to his knitting the Abbott Government will not hesitate for a second to sack him.

It is also worth noting that the decision to announce via media release every single boat arrival is largely what made this stupid non-issue into the maker and breaker of Governments.

We do not announce every 747 arriving at Sydney Airport with asylum seekers onboard (they are never, ever announced, nor are British backpackers overstaying their visas).

Ceasing to bother with the feverish announcement of boat arrivals is the best thing we can do to de-politicise the issue and stop worrying about them in the much bigger picture of the huge migrant inflows to Australia that continue under both parties.

But Jon Stanhope has never been one to let pragmatism or even his own ideals get in the way of a chance to play the martyr.

What’s Your opinion?


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93 Responses to
Administrator Stanhope soon to be returned to us
howeph 4:13 pm 23 Sep 13

Johnboy said: “It is also worth noting that the decision to announce via media release every single boat arrival is largely what made this stupid non-issue into the maker and breaker of Governments.”

No, it was the shrill overreaction to this simple factual information by the conservative sections of the media and the dog whistling of the Liberal party (both in government and opposition) that debased an important ethical issue into the national disgrace that it has become.

Saying it was largely because of too frequent publication of information is a gross oversimplification that completely misses the real story of this issue.

P.S. Stanhope isn’t concerned about the frequency of information; he’s worried that he and/or the residents of Christmas Island may be gagged with respect to talking about asylum seeker movements. This is understandable given the language being used by Scott Morrison: “Taking control of how that information is released denies people smugglers the opportunity to exploit such information”; especially it is combined by the fact that this is now being turned into a military operation under “Operation Sovereign Borders”.

54-11 3:42 pm 23 Sep 13

So now Christmas Islanders can’t tell us what is happening on their doorstep? I thought this sort of mind control of people in a democracy during peace-time was confined to science fiction. But no, the Abbott thought-control juggernaut is already swinging into action.

I suppose all those boats appearing on the horizon will just be figments of Christmas Islanders’ imaginations.

It’s lucky that the troglodyte Abbott won’t let the NBN lose any time soon. Good God, people might start using it to tell each other what is going on.

What a turkey Morrison is.

peitab 3:13 pm 23 Sep 13

Robertson said :

While I agree with what you are saying, JB, I think that in all this frenetic complaining/defensiveness about the actions of the Liberals on this issue in this, their first week of government, we are losing sight of the very real fact that the ALP had its chance, and it produced a fail on this issue of absolutely epic proportions.

When the ALP came into power, boat arrivals were infrequent (100-or-so arriving per year) and detention was virtually empty.

Fast-forward 6 years, and we’ve seen boat arrivals in the 5-figures per year, over 4,000 deaths at sea, detention centres full to the brim and experiencing regular assaults, rapes and riots, all of this at a cost impost on the taxpayer of over 10 billion dollars, not to mention this problem having unnecessarily hijacked the real issues.

Let’s give the Libs 3 years (hopefully that’s all they get). It is inconceivable that they should do a worse job (on this issue) than the ALP did. Let’s reserve judgment until there are some concrete results on which to base an analysis.

On the whole I tend to agree with your sentiment – I only hope Libs do better than Labor in ultimately helping refugees – but we should put the problem in the right perspective. The numbers of boat arrivals in the last few years are comparable to the numbers of arrivals in the middle years of Howard’s PM-ship. And the numbers are nowhere near ‘5-figures’ per year.

johnboy 3:06 pm 23 Sep 13

caf said :

Excuse me if I raise an arched eyebrow at the sudden concern with “de-polticising the issue” when the current mob in power spent the last six years at least politicising it as hard as they could!

I’m not saying they’re doing it out of the goodness of their lily white hearts.

But a monthly report of all (not just boats) asylum claims, visa overstays, and other entries to immigration detention, would be just fine.

caf 2:20 pm 23 Sep 13

Excuse me if I raise an arched eyebrow at the sudden concern with “de-polticising the issue” when the current mob in power spent the last six years at least politicising it as hard as they could!

MERC600 2:01 pm 23 Sep 13

Mr Evil said :

Tony, please send him back to Canberra so we can nail his worthless carcass to the giant penis (owl) in Belcompton.

No no.. Hells bells we don’t want him back. Took bloody years to get rid of him.
Don’t we own some other rocks in the middle of the sea that he could lord over. What about Xmas Island, do we own that ? Norfolk island perhaps.

HiddenDragon 1:38 pm 23 Sep 13

Our cup (truly) runneth over. Aside from the inevitable adjunct professorship, I am seeing a guest spot on local ABC radio, from whence he will be able to keep the flame alive, and prod his successors for not being sufficiently left wing.

harvyk1 1:32 pm 23 Sep 13

Dilandach said :

I’m sure de-politicising the arrivals is part of the motivation behind the new policy of not announcing arrivals. The cynic in me sees this as more of a move to hide policy failure and embarrassment to the new government.

I’m no liberal shill, but perhaps we need to give them more than 5 days from meeting the GG before we decry their policies a failure… You know perhaps a sitting day or two might also be a good thing for them to do as well…

Just a thought…

As for instant notification whenever a boat arrived, well it did completely overshadow the real issues, and even overshadowed real immigration issues.

Mr Evil 1:00 pm 23 Sep 13

Tony, please send him back to Canberra so we can nail his worthless carcass to the giant penis (owl) in Belcompton.

Robertson 12:48 pm 23 Sep 13

Dilandach said :

The cynic in me sees this as more of a move to hide policy failure and embarrassment to the new government.

Policy failure?

I what possible way could the Liberals end up with any more embarrassing failure than the last governments’ on this issue?

I do think that politically-motivated anti-Libs will have to direct their attentions onto other issues than illegal boat arrivals – because this is one issue the Libs really can’t #@$% up any worse than the last lot did.

Dilandach 12:17 pm 23 Sep 13

I’m sure de-politicising the arrivals is part of the motivation behind the new policy of not announcing arrivals. The cynic in me sees this as more of a move to hide policy failure and embarrassment to the new government.

How far does the blackout extend? If a boat breaks up on the rocks of christmas island and dozens drown, do they advise the media? If the navy physically forces or turns back a boat which later sinks and again causes deaths, are the media going to be advised?

Robertson 12:12 pm 23 Sep 13

While I agree with what you are saying, JB, I think that in all this frenetic complaining/defensiveness about the actions of the Liberals on this issue in this, their first week of government, we are losing sight of the very real fact that the ALP had its chance, and it produced a fail on this issue of absolutely epic proportions.

When the ALP came into power, boat arrivals were infrequent (100-or-so arriving per year) and detention was virtually empty.

Fast-forward 6 years, and we’ve seen boat arrivals in the 5-figures per year, over 4,000 deaths at sea, detention centres full to the brim and experiencing regular assaults, rapes and riots, all of this at a cost impost on the taxpayer of over 10 billion dollars, not to mention this problem having unnecessarily hijacked the real issues.

Let’s give the Libs 3 years (hopefully that’s all they get). It is inconceivable that they should do a worse job (on this issue) than the ALP did. Let’s reserve judgment until there are some concrete results on which to base an analysis.

magiccar9 12:03 pm 23 Sep 13

Firstly let me say “Christmas Island… you can keep him!”
Secondly, does it matter if we’re getting told or not? All these ‘media releases’ are is a cheap headline in the paper or on the news.

johnboy 11:56 am 23 Sep 13

Boat arrivals as small as 3 people have warranted media releases under the previous policy.

I bet not a day goes by where Sydney Airport doesn’t have more people going to Villawood?

dks00k 11:54 am 23 Sep 13

“We do not announce every 747 arriving at Sydney Airport with asylum seekers onboard (they are never, ever announced, nor are British backpackers overstaying their visas).”

Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying, the analogy is probably not the best one to use.

We dont report on every visa overstay or asylum seeker that gets off a plane, cruise ship or freighter, however I’m sure a chartered 747 full of refugees landing at Sydney with no clearance sure as hell would make front page news.

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