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Christmas and Cocos Islands – WTF?

By John Hargreaves - 10 October 2014 28

christmas-island-stock-071014

I read with some dismay in the Canberra Times of 2 October about the appointment of Jon Stanhope’s successor to the positon of Administrator of Christmas and Cocos Islands.

What I read sent shivers down my spine.

The Administrator jobs in those Islands and Norfolk Island are quasi- gubernatorial positions. They are akin to the Administrator of the Northern Territory.

Governors and Administrators are generally, representatives of the Crown, and thus should be above commenting on the policies of the government which recommended their appointment to the Governor General who, on behalf of the severing, makes the appointment.

Whilst agreeing with what Jon Stanhope was saying about the treatment of asylum seekers on Christmas Island, I had some difficulty in his saying his piece whilst occupying the office of Administrator. I would have preferred him to have ended his tenure and then spoken out.

His words gave us all, or should have, concern for the welfare of ordinary people incarcerated illegally in appalling conditions for the crime of trying to save their own and their children’s lives.

Whilst I had difficulty in the timing of Mr Stanhope’s comments, I had a chill when I read the words of his successor, Barry Haase. Let me refresh you.

He said:
”Look , I am neutral on government policy, regardless of what shade the government of the day happens to be” – fair enough so far….

”Well, there would be no self-harm in the centre, if they hadn’t gotten on a leaky boat and paid thousands of dollars to be there.” And when asked whether it was the asylum seeker’s fault they were being kept in the detention centre, he said “Well, it’s no one else’s fault”… not good now…

On the issue of self-harm his attitude was “Well, buyer beware is my motto and … if one accepts an offer of a product you need to look at it from all angles and if you pay in excess of $US12,000, I would want to know what my destiny was going to be and how sea worthy the vessel was”… sensitive eh?

What about desperation? What about fear from persecution? What about being so scared you are willing to risk your own life and that of your kids to run away? What is it that he is missing?

His appointment was made by the PM only a year after he left politics. Forgive me if I am cynical about this appointment. The insensitivity displayed so far mirrors that of Scott Morrison to such a degree that it scares the life out of me and we should all be ashamed!

What’s Your opinion?


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28 Responses to
Christmas and Cocos Islands – WTF?
justin heywood 5:28 pm 13 Oct 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As for Mr Haase’s comments, I find them frightening, disgusting, red-necked and totally out of step with the general Oz population….

I doubt that you find his comments anything of the sort. It’s pure politics. You are using the asylum seeker issue to score political points just as much as the Libs ever did.

As pointed out above, more than a thousand people died en route to Australia during your team’s ‘more humane’ policy.

Now these deaths have virtually stopped. How you can still claim the moral high ground baffles me.

HenryBG 5:10 pm 13 Oct 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As for Mr Haase’s comments, I find them frightening, disgusting, red-necked and totally out of step with the general Oz population. It is more in line with the hard line approaches in totalitarian regimes, religious or otherwise.

We have today a Tony Abbott-led government as a direct result of the ALP’s shocking mismanagament of the issue of asylum-shoppers.
No single other issue had more influence on the outcome of the last election.

The general Oz population knows full well when it is being scammed, and we are certainly well aware that the asylum-shopping industry is a monstruous scam that is reducing Australia’s commitment to helping genuine refugees.

HenryBG 5:08 pm 13 Oct 14

“ordinary people incarcerated illegally in appalling conditions for the crime of trying to save their own and their children’s lives.”

Ordinary people don’t attempt to illegally enter another country.

They aren’t incarcerated “illegally”.

They aren’t being housed (at enormous expense to the taxpayer) in “appalling conditions” – they have access to facilities and services that any geniune refugee would give their right arm for.

They haven’t committed any “crime”, they have breached Australia’s Migration Act by attempting to enter our country illegally.

As for saving lives – the vast majority of them are simply economic refugees trying to better their economic position instead of following their “responsibilities” under the UN Convention on Refugees, which is to declare themselves to the government of the *first* country they enter after they flee whatever they are fleeing – not the 3rd or 4th or 5th country as these dishonest people are doing.

But apart from those minor points, Hargreaves seems to be right across this issue.

neanderthalsis 5:07 pm 13 Oct 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

As for Mr Haase’s comments, I find them frightening, disgusting, red-necked and totally out of step with the general Oz population. It is more in line with the hard line approaches in totalitarian regimes, religious or otherwise.

Given that the last election was won rather convincingly by the blue team on a Stop The Boats platform and also gave us Jackie Lambie, I think that perhaps you, John, are out of step with that part of the Australian population that lives somewhere other than Canberra…

And as for your comments regarding hardline totalitarian regimes, it was your lot that wanted to send people to Malaysia.

John Hargreaves Ex M 3:56 pm 13 Oct 14

Just a reminder of what I said. I agreed with Mr Stanhope’s positton, but would have preferred that he made them after finishing as Administrator. Mr Haase should not have made the comments he did after accepting the job because Administrators are supposed to be like Governors, ie above political expression.

Dame Marie Bashir is the best example.

As for Mr Haase’s comments, I find them frightening, disgusting, red-necked and totally out of step with the general Oz population. It is more in line with the hard line approaches in totalitarian regimes, religious or otherwise.

I’ll bet Mr Haase, that retired WA pollie, hasn’t suffered fear and deprivation in his life. I’ll bet he has never feared for the future of his kids and has never been so desperate that he would risk all of their lives at any time.

dungfungus 9:50 pm 11 Oct 14

MERC600 said :

I didn’t come across one of Jons comments about the island until a little while ago.
He was picking up 750K for his time on the island, so I guess it was around his 600K mark that I first came across one of his comments. I do wonder why there were no earlier comments, say around the 50K mark.

Is that what the law of diminishing returns is?
That’s a good little earner for someone who champions social equity.

TonyMikinos 8:58 pm 11 Oct 14

justin heywood said :

But maybe it’s easier to talk about what is said than what is done. Especially when the actions of your team resulted in more boats, more misery and more deaths.

+1 to that.

Number of asylum seeker deaths en rote over the period of the Rudd and Gillard Governments: 1091

Number of asylum seeker deaths en route since the election of the Abbott Government to Feb = 6 persons

(source: Australian Border Deaths Database).

MERC600 12:49 pm 11 Oct 14

I didn’t come across one of Jons comments about the island until a little while ago.
He was picking up 750K for his time on the island, so I guess it was around his 600K mark that I first came across one of his comments. I do wonder why there were no earlier comments, say around the 50K mark.

TFarquahar 6:39 am 11 Oct 14

Mr Hargreaves, John, the comments made by Barry Haase are just as valid as those made by Jon Stanhope. What sets Labor up as the keepers of moral goodness and ethics? How is preventing people from taking a risky journey across the ocean to our shores a bad thing? What is wrong with an orderly migration system? How could an uncontrolled flood of people entering Australia benefit Australia?

Labor had years to implement their system of dealing with migrants, refugees, illegal arrivals whatever you wish to name them.

And what did we end up with? Something that looked exactly like what the evil Liberals had implemented. In some cases worse.

Now I would imagine that a person with an intellect as sharp as yours would be asking ‘Why?”

But no. We continue to hear the Sarah Hanson-Young style trumpeting about goodness, ethics, moral high ground and that all too often repeated word ‘Shame’

justin heywood 8:23 pm 10 Oct 14

So John, your team appoints a superannuated stooge who fails to remain neutral. You have ‘some difficulty’ with that but agree with him anyway.

The other team then appoints a stooge of its own, who also fails to remain neutral, but now you are ‘cynical’ and ‘we all should be ashamed’.

If you want to debate asylum seeker policy, why not just post about that? Why dress up the argument with such absolutely transparent partisanship.

But maybe it’s easier to talk about what is said than what is done. Especially when the actions of your team resulted in more boats, more misery and more deaths.

dungfungus 8:14 pm 10 Oct 14

HiddenDragon said :

Well, there is a certain symmetry to this appointment, and we can look forward, with anticipation, to the next Labor government appointment to the position – should be interesting……

At least the sitting ACT Labor senator (sorry, I have forgotten her name as it’s so long since I’ve heard anything from her) will have to wait until the next Senate election to find out if she has to step aside for pre-selection of JS as Senators in the ACT have different rules to those in the states (otherwise Bob Carr wouldn’t have got a guernsey).
In the meantime, I am sure there is a job for him at CU, Glassworks, Arboretum etc.

dungfungus 8:08 pm 10 Oct 14

sepi said :

I’ve been a bit horrified by the new governor’s comments too.

Some people seem to have no empathy whatsoever.

We are not supposed to allow harm to come to those who come to us for help.

For years Labor banged on about changing the people smugglers’ business model was the only way to stop the SIEVs.
Well, all Barry Hasse is doing is commenting on the absence of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) by the asylum seekers.
Obviously the people smugglers were not requested to give their customers a Product Disclosure Statement so it is the asylum seekers’ problem alone. These people haven’t got a clue – they even lose their passports and forget their names.

HiddenDragon 7:05 pm 10 Oct 14

Well, there is a certain symmetry to this appointment, and we can look forward, with anticipation, to the next Labor government appointment to the position – should be interesting……

sepi 5:12 pm 10 Oct 14

I’ve been a bit horrified by the new governor’s comments too.

Some people seem to have no empathy whatsoever.

We are not supposed to allow harm to come to those who come to us for help.

neanderthalsis 2:31 pm 10 Oct 14

So it is perfectly fine for Labor stooges to accept cushy post political career positions and speak their minds but not ok for Liberal stooges to do the same?

And as for the plight of asylum seekers being detained, he has a point. The IMAs could have chosen to remain in the largest Islamic democracy in the world, living free from persecution in Indonesia or come to Australia without a valid visa to do so. The mandatory detention policy has been in place for a great many years now under governments of both stamps, the IMAs knew what they were heading to. They made their choice and are now living with the consequences of that choice.

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