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EYE-BALL Opinion on – Immigration and Asylum Seekers Part IV – The Bill and the Debate…

The-EYE-BALL-Opinion-Header-2
Title:
Immigration and Asylum Seekers
… Part IV …
… The Bill and the debate …
28th June 2012.

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Links to the – The Migration Legislation Amendment (The Bali Process) Bill 2012:

– currently before the Australian Senate – 28th June 2012:

Links to United Nations Refugee Links:

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Copies of Selected Members of the House of Representatives and their speeches to this Bill: – extracted from Hansard records 27th June 2012 – linked here..

Malcolm Turnbull:

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:47):

| Speaker – Malcolm Turnbull | 27th June 2012 | Link to Hansard Record 27th June 2012. Page 57. |

There are no measures deployed by governments in the battle against people-smuggling which are particularly palatable. All of them have great difficulties, contradictions and painful choices associated with them. They all have aspects which are cruel, but it is our jobs as legislators and it is the Prime Minister’s job as the head of our government to reach a balance between ensuring that there is a complete end to people-smuggling on the one hand, which could obviously be achieved with the cruellest imaginable measures, and on the other hand for Australia to maintain its duty as a compassionate and generous country respecting its obligations under the convention.

Finding that balance is very hard. There was a time after the election of the Labor government in 2007 when there was a view—and I do not suggest that view as anything other than sincerely held—on the part of the government that the rate of people-smuggling, the rate of asylum seeker arrivals, was entirely a function of push factors and that Australian domestic policy was irrelevant.

I recall, as Leader of the Opposition at the time, saying again and again that the push factors varied, certainly. Sometimes they were immense; sometimes they were even more immense, but they were always immense and therefore the factor that impacted on the rate of arrival was Australia’s domestic policy. Well, we had an experiment. Australia’s domestic policies were changed and the arrivals increased and increased and increased. As a consequence, given the nature of the vessels that these desperate people embark upon, the nature of the seas and, all too often, the inexperience of the captains, the deaths are increasing as well. And so we have come full circle and we are back here seeking to find a way to stop the people-smuggling trade.

The government wants the opposition to agree to the Malaysian solution. It states in its defence the testimony of Andrew Metcalfe, the head of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, a very experienced man, no doubt. He says that the Malaysian solution will be effective. He recognises there are problems with it but he says it will be effective. Our objection to it is not whether it will be effective or not, because only time would tell, were it to be implemented, but because it fails to reach the right balance of protecting human rights. It abandons any human rights protection, the human rights protection contained in the convention.

Politics is the art of the possible. This nation, this parliament, needs to make a decision on this this week. The coalition has resolved not to support the Malaysia solution. That decision has been taken. The consequence of that is that even if this bill is passed in this chamber—and I do not doubt it may well be passed—it cannot possibly pass the Senate, so it can never be law. So what is this about, other than an effort to embarrass the coalition and to put pressure on the coalition?

I appeal to the Prime Minister to do this: to agree to the amendment. Let us pass the legislation so that Nauru can be reinstated. Let us do that; let us effectively reinstate not all but the bulk of the Howard government’s policy. If that does not work—because you will never know until you try these policies—then the Prime Minister has a basis to come back and argue that the balance between the humanitarian part of the equation and the desire to ensure border security should be re-examined. What the Prime Minister is doing is allowing her conception of the perfect to be the enemy of the good. There is something that can be achieved today. Nauru should be achieved. If it does not succeed then she has the opportunity to ask for stronger measures. (Time expired)

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Joe Hockey:

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (19:17):

| Speaker – Joe Hockey | 27th June 2012 | Link to Hansard Record 27th June 2012. Page 94. |

I am always reluctant to speak early in these debates. For a whole lot of personal reasons, the emotions run very deep in me in relation to refugees. The member for Kennedy said that his forebears came here in the 1870s. My father came here as a refugee on 3 September 1948. He came from a country where there was war. He had to wait his turn, but he was desperate to come here. The member for Kennedy is right: there is a great deal of hypocrisy from time to time in these debates. But I will say one thing deliberately to this parliament. I will never ever support a people swap where you can send a 13-year-old child unaccompanied to a country without supervision—never. It will be over my dead body. How dare people?

Some people say they are wrestling with their conscience. I am not; I know exactly what I want to do. The compromise that the Leader of the Opposition offered today went some way forward to offering a solution, be it Nauru, Manus Island or somewhere else. I fought with the previous Prime Minister, my Prime Minister, about Nauru. I opposed it until the moment he assured me that at all times Australians would be able to supervise the people who were sent there, that they would be protected, that they would have health care and education support—until he could assure me that those most vulnerable would be protected. That was when I agreed with him. I was prepared to cross the floor in a previous government with an absolute majority in this place because I disagreed with the treatment of those most vulnerable by my Prime Minister. Until he assured me personally, together with the minister for immigration, that no child would ever be abandoned in another country once they had come under the guardian protection of Australia—until he assured me of that I would not support it. But he did.

This government is now asking us to support a situation where a 13-year-old child could be sent to another nation without any regard for their welfare after that moment. Even if we have words from the immigration minister about it being a case-by-case basis, it is the threat of it and from time to time the enactment of it that is the most damning thing for our conscience. That is why I feel entirely consistent. That is why I was so angry about being gagged before. I have wrestled, like many others, with their conscience on this debate but I am entirely consistent with my soul. I will sleep easy because I know from my own background and from what I have done in the past that I am going to be consistent no matter how painful it might be in the electorate, no matter how hard it might be explaining it to my constituents. I rest easy on this because I can be entirely consistent with what beats within my soul.

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These two MP’s outshone everybody else in this House debate … Mr Hockey showed his emotive side in his deliverance, and Mr Turnbull who spoke without aid or script, gave an indication why he would make a PM of stature given another opportunity.  

The context of the above speeches was replicated by many other MP’s as well – all with the same intent … the debate on this Bill continues in the Senate and is expected to be defeated along party lines.

This makes the events over the last two days worth reviewing – the media and public outcry has been appeased – the tragic loss of like is no longer the media focus, and the ‘indulgence’ of having seen to be trying to do something has ben accomplished.  SO in summary terms and as the parliament heads to a six week Winter recess, the Government seems to have placated all vested interests except for the continuing stream of ‘asylum seekers’, and the future people who will die in seeking to pursue their challenge.

Let us for a moment review all the comments made by the Politicians – who I would be willing to bet have all not read the material provided via the above UNHCR links … they have all expressed empathy for the loss of life, and for the people who have lost loved ones, they have extended congratulations and condolences to the Australian Maritime and Military services who made the rescues – they have spoken about the off-shore processing, the UNHCR Refugee Convention – the Malaysian solution and yet – the three parties, GREENS, ALP, and the COALITION, along with the five Independents, Katter, Windsor, Wilkie, Thompson and Slipper,  have not found the common ground to move to a Bill that will pass the Senate.

The HOR Debate: 27th June 2012

From 2:00pm the debate on Mr Oakeshott’s bill proceeded with an Amendment Bill put forward by the Opposition (Sponsored by Mr Morrison) –  to exclude the Malaysian solution from the Oakeshott Bill.  Debate went on for almost 5 hours before a vote on whether to vote on the Morrison Amendment was introduced – at 18:42pm the House voted on whether to put the Morrison Amendments to the House –  – that was defeated 73-72 – The GREENS Member Brant did not vote, Slipper was not in the House, there was pairing for ALP Member Rowland, and the Speaker can not vote – and that accounts for the 150 HOR numbers.

Immediately after a new division at 18:48pm happened – the House went to a vote on whether to accept the Morrison Amendments – this was defeated 74-72 with The GREENS Member Brant voting with the Government.

immediately after 18:52pm – the Member for Denison, Independent Wilkie sought leave to introduce his ‘Sunset Bill’ amendment – this went to a vote – 19:00pm as to whether Wilkie’s Amendment could be presented – it was successful 75-71 – with Independent Bob Katter voting with the Government – he had voted with the Opposition on the previous two votes.

Debate ensured and at 19:36pm the vote to have the Amendment voted upon was put and won by the Government 75-71 along the same lines as the previous vote.  The debate ensured and when the vote on the Wilkie Amendment to the bill happened at 19:52pm – the vote was again won with a 74-72 result – the Greens Brant voting for the Opposition.

In all that five odd hours of emotive crapola – Brandt and Katter were the only ones who flip-flopped between both sides.  It achieved nothing – deals were done to ensure the vote and when the Wilkie vote was in division – Pyne and Bishop were up with the Independents out of camera shot, but with the eyes of the whole House gazing in that direction – you knew that lobbying was happening.

The days proceedings was engaging – yet the outcome was yet again extremely disappointing.  If RUDD wants to again be leader – and had  he crossed the floor on the Morrison Bill vote – that would have been an outcome.  RUDD would have defined himself and Gillard would now be an afterthought.  The media would have run with Rudd’s decision on humanitarian grounds, the electorate would have championed his decision and the ALP would have been forced to accept what fucking dickheads they have been.

Look – I don’t support any off-shore processing.  I think with the demand for off-shore workers, skilled and unskilled to help with the mining industry – there was an opportunity to open up the immigration numbers.

In the previous Part I of this series of posts I advocated a 2 million immigrant policy.  I further expand on that now to suggest that the current 150,000 a year policy be increased to 500,000 a year over the next four years.   Have Australia visit the Refugee camps to lobby the refugees with skills and the want to resettle in Australia after a vetting process to determine their status.   There is obviously a lot more to this than explained hereto – but the general point is that we can accommodate more refugees if we want to grow this Nation.

After WWII the World open its arms – why is there now reluctance to do so – not just by Australia – but by most western democracies?  Is it a ‘muslim’ problem – if that has some connection then drafting an Australian Entry declaration is an easy solution – remember the separation of ‘church and state’ debate … if it’s racial motivated then those responsible need to be exposed.

It is time that Leadership took responsibility as opposed to lawyers acting as Leaders advocating debate and more debate that only gives ego merchants in Gillard and Abbott a platform to sell their sloth.

Wake up Australia.

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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Link to Previous EYE-BALL Posts.

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The EYE-BALL Opinion …

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  1. Gerry Hatrick
    June 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    As this debate continues ad nauseum, where only politics matters rather than morality Christine Milne and Sarah Hanson Young are on the airwaves trying to differentiate between on shore and off shore processing, while Andrew Wilkie is trying to justify recalling parliament, Lee Rhiannon has sent out the Green’s Daily digest with topics of;
    Today’s Topics:

    1. Media Release: Greens highlight plight of WA endangered
    species – Hon Giz Watson MLC – 28 June 2012 (Jurak, Nina)
    2. Dalton gas power proposal lacks solid justification (John Kaye)
    3. Dangerous dog bites drown out Local Govt Ministers bark
    (David Shoebridge)

    There has been chatter that the Marrickville Branch of the Greens is at odds with the Federal leadership. Good on you Lee. A touch of comic relief.

  1. July 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm
  2. July 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  3. July 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm
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