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Christmas and Cocos Islands – WTF?

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.

The States have a Governor and the NT has an Administrator. Fortunately the ACT doesn’t have either. I rather like the republican bit, myself.

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!


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Christmas and Cocos Islands – WTF?
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dungfungus 1:39 pm 15 Oct 14

chewy14 said :

HenryBG said :

chewy14 said :

If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

If you compare the numbers in detention as a result of Labor policy compared with the numbers in detention under Howard, you can see the Liberals’ policies clearly result in less detention.

Not detaining people who enter the country illegally is simply not an option.
Illegal entrants are in detention because of their choice of entering the country illegally, and their continued choice to remain in detention rather than go home.

Yes, the former Labor policy clearly led to more people being in detention due to pull factors. It was a massive policy mistake. The opening of Manus and rejection of Australian resettlement for any arrivals has clearly dropped that number to previous low levels. Labor implemented that policy and the Liberals have continued it. Labor fixed a problem of their own making and Abbott is now taking all the credit. Funny game politics.

My point with regards to mandatory detention and processing however is the only reason it is necessary is because of our obligations under the Refugee Convention which is completely out of date. If we amended the refugee convention or removed ourselves as a signatory nation then their would be no need for the long term mandatory detention of asylum seekers because we would have no obligations to those arriving illegally by boat. It would remove all of the pull factors for those coming from multiple countries and transiting through Indonesia to Australia.

” Labor fixed a problem of their own making ……..”
Sorry, I must have missed how many boats Labor turned back. Could you tell me again please?

chewy14 12:31 pm 15 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

chewy14 said :

If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

If you compare the numbers in detention as a result of Labor policy compared with the numbers in detention under Howard, you can see the Liberals’ policies clearly result in less detention.

Not detaining people who enter the country illegally is simply not an option.
Illegal entrants are in detention because of their choice of entering the country illegally, and their continued choice to remain in detention rather than go home.

Yes, the former Labor policy clearly led to more people being in detention due to pull factors. It was a massive policy mistake. The opening of Manus and rejection of Australian resettlement for any arrivals has clearly dropped that number to previous low levels. Labor implemented that policy and the Liberals have continued it. Labor fixed a problem of their own making and Abbott is now taking all the credit. Funny game politics.

My point with regards to mandatory detention and processing however is the only reason it is necessary is because of our obligations under the Refugee Convention which is completely out of date. If we amended the refugee convention or removed ourselves as a signatory nation then their would be no need for the long term mandatory detention of asylum seekers because we would have no obligations to those arriving illegally by boat. It would remove all of the pull factors for those coming from multiple countries and transiting through Indonesia to Australia.

dungfungus 12:11 pm 15 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

chewy14 said :

If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

If you compare the numbers in detention as a result of Labor policy compared with the numbers in detention under Howard, you can see the Liberals’ policies clearly result in less detention.

Not detaining people who enter the country illegally is simply not an option.
Illegal entrants are in detention because of their choice of entering the country illegally, and their continued choice to remain in detention rather than go home.

On Foreign Correspondent last night there was a segment on the plight of asylum seekers from North Africa and Syria who use people smugglers to get them to Italy where most choose to move on to Western Europe (Germany, Netherlands etc.) even though the refugee convention says that they seek asylum in the first country they arrive in. Italy does not stand in their way because they don’y have the facilities to detain and process them (there are thousands every week).
The efforts of the Italian Navy in rescuing and caring for these unfortunate people are outstanding as no doubt the efforts of the Australian Navy personnel are as well.
While it wasn’t highlighted, the cost to Italy is becoming too much so they are now going to limit search and rescue to their coastal region so unless the UN can muster some search and rescue vessels, thousands of these refugees are going to perish in the Mediterranean.
It was suggested elsewhere that Australia will be the next destination for the people from these failed Muslim states however there is little likelihood that many would survive an ocean journey from that region.

HenryBG 10:55 am 15 Oct 14

chewy14 said :

If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

If you compare the numbers in detention as a result of Labor policy compared with the numbers in detention under Howard, you can see the Liberals’ policies clearly result in less detention.

Not detaining people who enter the country illegally is simply not an option.
Illegal entrants are in detention because of their choice of entering the country illegally, and their continued choice to remain in detention rather than go home.

dungfungus 3:06 pm 14 Oct 14

chewy14 said :

HenryBG said :

chewy14 said :

To be fair, the main reason why the boats have stopped is the opening of Manus island as a detention facility and the fact that all future arrivals who were found to be refugees would be given protection there in PNG. And that happened under Rudd.

I’m not across exactly how effective this part of current policy has been at deterring illegal migrants, but let me ask you a simple question:
How much credit should a government receive for solving a problem it created itself?

The ALP’s failure to have a coherent policy led the incoming Rudd government to make very poor decisions in the Immigration portfolio with no apparent regard to the consequences.

Tony Abbott is incredibly unpopular, he is divisive, dishonest, and peddles the most mind-numbingly regressive attitudes towards science as well as social policy, and he could never win an election in his own right.
If the ALP/Greens want more Tony Abbott, all they have to do is ignore their own policy failure on illegal immigration, a policy failure that is very much in the public eye.
In virtually *every* other area, the ALP/Greens are on a winner – they are the better economic managers (by a country mile), they support investment in Australia’s future, they support the development of our energy industry, they support education, health, and workers’ rights. They conduct far better international diplomacy and generally enhance our country’s reputation (except when they try to score political points off the back of illegal immigrants).
The vast majority of Australians will be far better off under an ALP/Greens government, and most of us know it.
We also know when we’re being scammed, and Tony Abbott is the pain we’ve chosen in order to oppose the asylum-shopping industry.

They should get zero credit really and neither should the Libs. Both parties have been using this issue as a political point scoring football for years. If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

The policy we currently have is also only half a solution. Mandatory detention should be discontinued. It’s costly and results in enormous harm to asylum seekers. Instead Australia should lobby for the refugee convention to be updated or remove ourselves as a signatory nation.

We could then proactively choose the most in need asylum seekers from overseas camps for resettlement in Australia whilst denying protection to anyone who arrives here illegally by boat. We could help a greater amount of the most at-risk people for a lower cost whilst causing less damage to people seeking our help. Surely that would be a win-win solution for both the left and right of politics?

The Malaysian solution would have sent the country broke – it was never going to work.
You make some good points, especially giving the dated UN convention the flick.
The best way to abolish mandatory detention is for it not to be used (no more asylum seekers).
Perhaps our biggest threat to stopping asylum seekers are the so-called human rights lawyers who are constantly dreaming up ways to beat the system so we can not only open the gates but give them compensation (less fees). There is one such action in the High Court today concerning children who were born in detention who have told one lawyer they will be persecuted if they are returned to Sri Lanka. Amazing.

chewy14 2:25 pm 14 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

chewy14 said :

To be fair, the main reason why the boats have stopped is the opening of Manus island as a detention facility and the fact that all future arrivals who were found to be refugees would be given protection there in PNG. And that happened under Rudd.

I’m not across exactly how effective this part of current policy has been at deterring illegal migrants, but let me ask you a simple question:
How much credit should a government receive for solving a problem it created itself?

The ALP’s failure to have a coherent policy led the incoming Rudd government to make very poor decisions in the Immigration portfolio with no apparent regard to the consequences.

Tony Abbott is incredibly unpopular, he is divisive, dishonest, and peddles the most mind-numbingly regressive attitudes towards science as well as social policy, and he could never win an election in his own right.
If the ALP/Greens want more Tony Abbott, all they have to do is ignore their own policy failure on illegal immigration, a policy failure that is very much in the public eye.
In virtually *every* other area, the ALP/Greens are on a winner – they are the better economic managers (by a country mile), they support investment in Australia’s future, they support the development of our energy industry, they support education, health, and workers’ rights. They conduct far better international diplomacy and generally enhance our country’s reputation (except when they try to score political points off the back of illegal immigrants).
The vast majority of Australians will be far better off under an ALP/Greens government, and most of us know it.
We also know when we’re being scammed, and Tony Abbott is the pain we’ve chosen in order to oppose the asylum-shopping industry.

They should get zero credit really and neither should the Libs. Both parties have been using this issue as a political point scoring football for years. If the Liberals really cared about stopping the boats they would have supported the Malaysian solution when Labor proposed it but rejected it for political reasons.

The policy we currently have is also only half a solution. Mandatory detention should be discontinued. It’s costly and results in enormous harm to asylum seekers. Instead Australia should lobby for the refugee convention to be updated or remove ourselves as a signatory nation.

We could then proactively choose the most in need asylum seekers from overseas camps for resettlement in Australia whilst denying protection to anyone who arrives here illegally by boat. We could help a greater amount of the most at-risk people for a lower cost whilst causing less damage to people seeking our help. Surely that would be a win-win solution for both the left and right of politics?

HenryBG 12:23 pm 14 Oct 14

chewy14 said :

To be fair, the main reason why the boats have stopped is the opening of Manus island as a detention facility and the fact that all future arrivals who were found to be refugees would be given protection there in PNG. And that happened under Rudd.

I’m not across exactly how effective this part of current policy has been at deterring illegal migrants, but let me ask you a simple question:
How much credit should a government receive for solving a problem it created itself?

The ALP’s failure to have a coherent policy led the incoming Rudd government to make very poor decisions in the Immigration portfolio with no apparent regard to the consequences.

Tony Abbott is incredibly unpopular, he is divisive, dishonest, and peddles the most mind-numbingly regressive attitudes towards science as well as social policy, and he could never win an election in his own right.
If the ALP/Greens want more Tony Abbott, all they have to do is ignore their own policy failure on illegal immigration, a policy failure that is very much in the public eye.
In virtually *every* other area, the ALP/Greens are on a winner – they are the better economic managers (by a country mile), they support investment in Australia’s future, they support the development of our energy industry, they support education, health, and workers’ rights. They conduct far better international diplomacy and generally enhance our country’s reputation (except when they try to score political points off the back of illegal immigrants).
The vast majority of Australians will be far better off under an ALP/Greens government, and most of us know it.
We also know when we’re being scammed, and Tony Abbott is the pain we’ve chosen in order to oppose the asylum-shopping industry.

gazket 10:16 am 14 Oct 14

what about lefties encouraging asylum seekers to self harm and other abhorrent allegations . Strangely quiet on the subject John ?

dungfungus 9:19 am 14 Oct 14

chewy14 said :

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

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.

“No single other issue had more influence on the outcome of the last election”.
Spot on.
Sorting out Labor’s asylum seeker mess was one of Abbott’s election promises and Scott Morrison has delivered with military precision.
It’s ironic that the media and the opposition has given no credit to Abbott/Morrison for this but they won’t let Abbott’s “broken promises” be forgotten.
Fortunately, the people that will give Abbott the credit he deserves are the voters at the next election so the media and others can whinge all they like.

To be fair, the main reason why the boats have stopped is the opening of Manus island as a detention facility and the fact that all future arrivals who were found to be refugees would be given protection there in PNG. And that happened under Rudd.

It certainly was one of the reasons but not the main one which was physically stopping the boats and towing them back, something that Labor would never have done.
Sarah Sea-Patrol had this to say when Labor announced the Manus Island/PNG re-settlement plan last year: “The government is storming ahead with this cruel policy that is an attack on Australia’s generous heart and our global reputation,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young told the Herald Sun.
Imagine what she would have said if Labor started to actually turn people back?

chewy14 7:51 am 14 Oct 14

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

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.

“No single other issue had more influence on the outcome of the last election”.
Spot on.
Sorting out Labor’s asylum seeker mess was one of Abbott’s election promises and Scott Morrison has delivered with military precision.
It’s ironic that the media and the opposition has given no credit to Abbott/Morrison for this but they won’t let Abbott’s “broken promises” be forgotten.
Fortunately, the people that will give Abbott the credit he deserves are the voters at the next election so the media and others can whinge all they like.

To be fair, the main reason why the boats have stopped is the opening of Manus island as a detention facility and the fact that all future arrivals who were found to be refugees would be given protection there in PNG. And that happened under Rudd.

dungfungus 10:32 pm 13 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

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.

“No single other issue had more influence on the outcome of the last election”.
Spot on.
Sorting out Labor’s asylum seeker mess was one of Abbott’s election promises and Scott Morrison has delivered with military precision.
It’s ironic that the media and the opposition has given no credit to Abbott/Morrison for this but they won’t let Abbott’s “broken promises” be forgotten.
Fortunately, the people that will give Abbott the credit he deserves are the voters at the next election so the media and others can whinge all they like.

chewy14 7:55 pm 13 Oct 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

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.

So you disagree with your own party’s stated policy on asylum seekers? A policy that they enacted to great effect just before losing the last election?

I await your post claiming how the Labor party are a disgrace and should be thoroughly ashamed by their policy.

*crickets*

dungfungus 7:44 pm 13 Oct 14

John, I just watched the ABC TV news.
Your government is going to force cat owners to lock up their cats.
This is not very humane is it.
Are cats into self-harm?
They may also need the services of cat psychiatrists if they are incarcerated.
Looking forward to your response.

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 MLA 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).

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