One group of people claim that Australia is really good at accepting refugees. Another group of people claim that we are really bad at accepting refugees. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Let’s get every single news outlet to do it’s own ‘analysis’.
This is where we need public intellectuals, people who can guide public discussion and help the public to develop the language to discuss political debates. If we leave it up to the Professors of Everythingology in Australia’s commentariat, we are going to get the second rate garbage that results in erroneous ‘explainers’.
Let’s go through this slowly.
Bill Shorten has had some kind of brain snap. After years of accurately standing by the position that turning back asylum seeker boats is an ineffective policy, he has announced that the ALP will go to the next election with a ‘turn back policy’.
Because everything in politics has an equal and opposite reaction, the Broekns on the Left have been going apeshit. Nothing new to see here: the asylum seeker advocates have long been trolling the public discussion with half-truths and misleading slogans. If we’re going to be serious about asylum seeker policy, we’re going to need sharper analysis of Shorten’s error.
English: Kevin Rudd on Novembre 2005. Français : Kevin Rudd en novembre 2005. (Image découpée à partir Image:Rudd4.jpg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday, I quickly knocked out a preliminary analysis of the agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea. As predicted, there hasn’t been much analysis of the new policy, but lots of gnashing of teeth. Since then, the content of the agreement has been released and we have got a better picture of what’s going on.
Needless to say, the agreement shows that this is really a fourth- or fifth-best option. We should continue to ask whether this approach perverts something important in the unwritten understanding of what a Regional Cooperative Approach (also called a Regional Protection Arrangement, also called a Regional Protection Framework) would be.
Papua New Guinea (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)
As was largely predicted in policy circles, Kevin Rudd has announced a new agreement with the Government of Papua New Guinea regarding asylum seekers. From today, any irregular maritime arrival seeking asylum will be resettled in Papua New Guinea instead of Australia.
Commentators from both sides of the political divide have done an excellent job of polarising the debate. Over the next 48 hours, expect to see a raft of articles published which criticise the Government for deciding to implement some strategy at odds with the author’s preferred option. Partisan conservatives will say the measures are just window dressing and won’t work because John Howard’s scheme involved temporary protection visas, and the usual groups will say that the only solution is no solution because there isn’t a solution and nothing to be solved, &c., &c.
Which is a shame because this policy is interesting and should be analysed thoroughly.
Refugees from DR Congo board a UNHCR truck in Rwanda (Photo credit: noodlepie)
You have spent time volunteering with refugees. Kafei (not his real name) has told you all about the horrible things that happens in his country. How could Kafei not deserve a protection visa in Australia? His story sounds so sad.
Take pains to note how Kafei now lives. Mattress on the floor? Bugs everywhere? Shared with others? You don’t want the reader to compare Kafei’s experience to other people living in the same area; you want the reader to compare Kafei’s living condition with their own. How could Kafei not deserve a protection visa? This is so sad.
There’s nothing illegal about Kafei. There is no ‘border protection problem’. We’ve excised the Australian mainland. Offshore processing is cruel. Detention centres are factories for mental illness. Everything is Orwellian and/or Kafkaesque. Why does Tony Abbott only discuss the issue in slogans?