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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.

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!

What’s Your opinion?


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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 ?

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