STOP THE BOASTS: Those celebrating the end of Malaysian solution ought hang their heads in shame

ChrisbowenThe federal government’s generally occurring agony reached a new level of wincing yesterday after an outrageous High Court decision that took unto the court the power to decide who comes to Australia and the circumstances in which they come.

Essentially, while acknowledging Malaysia is a perfectly safe place to process asylum seekers, the Court ruled that because it hadn’t signed a treaty (the signatories of which aren’t always safe places to send anyone) that the Minister Chris Bowen wasn’t legally able to send them there.

It is an example of silly judicial over-reach of a kind that will no doubt be celebrated in the salons of Canberra and dinner parties of across the inner-cities of our land.

But the majority judgments appeared to be a desperate search to nobble the policy, using a pretty silly technicality to do so that ignored the prevailing facts of circumstances in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the government is left looking inept on an area of policy that concerns many Australians.

Some of us worry about the plight of those who take such a big risk to come here in unauthorised fashion, exploited by people smuggling gangsters who are also involved in other high-risk high-profit opportunities like prostitution, arms smuggling and drugs.

Some of us worry about the apparent inability of the Commonwealth – which is meant to defend us from foreign invasion and an increasing number of other ills – to control the borders. This is not just the concern of rednecks and angry Fairfax radio hosts formerly of One Nation. It’s a legitimate worry even if we do keep it in perspective.

The government ought be congratulated not condemned for the “Malaysian solution.” It was lateral and bold thinking from a generally very cautious and sometimes uninspiring lot. Putting our unauthorised arrivals at the back of a pre-existing Malaysian queue of some quite deserving refugees there in return for increasing our humanitarian intake made good sense. It was and remains – as Chris Bowen described it – “elegant” policy and in our view a classic modern Labor solution that showed compassion, decency but addressed the political issue of the federal government needing to stay firmly in control of our national borders.

It’s a terrible shame for the government that it ran into a meddling Court full of formerly prosperous barristers who don’t share the concerns of many Australians on border security or much else. (The government would do well to consider that the dissenting judge in this case Justice Heydon would be extremely unlikely to be appointed to any court by this government. He seems to be the sole voice of reason on the court at the moment.)

But much more troubling is the fact that more people will die as a result of the High Court’s erroneous majority decisions.

More people smugglers will get richer.

More kids will drown. Or be thrown overboard.

More Australians will be whipped up into a frenzy against immigration and immigrants by seeing worrying images on the front-pages of our tabloids and leading the news bulletins of asylum seekers entering our territory without permission, facilitated by gangsters.

It’s a worry.

The Greens party’s cynical and sinister approach to the issue is to actually be firmly opposed to immigration because we’re running out of land and water while saying they really want more asylum seekers. It is a classic example of how they get away with the most extraordinary and egregious self-contradictions without proper scrutiny. They are as we once liked to pen in our predecessor publication truly lying liars who lie.

And the Coalition’s approach on the issue is not much better.

It’s true that their policy on Nauru was effective. Not pretty. But pretty effective.

They were lashed by Labor on it, including by PM Gillard, for its supposed cruelty and viciousness.

Now they are engaged in a form of payback by opposing rather than embracing the government’s proposed Malaysian solution and insisting that it reinstate their Nauruan one.

It’s petty.

Their position on this important area of public policy is totally governed by a desire to use PM Gillard’s own quotes condemning the Pacific solution against her should she adopt it herself. Or even worse by an unstated desire to have the boats keep coming on her watch, regardless of the potential loss of life.

It’s politics at its worst and most depressing.

The Opposition is almost certain to win the next election.

At the heart of that is a brave decision made by conservatives in the Liberal Party room in the aftermath of the dismal Copenhagen climate conference to oppose taxes on carbon emissions and to put up a then most improbable leader to implement their will when his predecessor stubbornly refused.

They don’t need the boats to keep coming to win. Their political damage is done anyway. Labor is variously seen as too soft, too hard or just totally inept on this issue despite the elegance of what Bowen has crafted.

That’s why the Coalition should support it and any other reasonable measure that will “break the business model” of the gangsters who smuggle people on dangerous craft across treacherous seas for as much as ten grand a head. Oscar Schindler they aint.

The Coalition’s support is necessary for changes to the Migration Act to prevent the High Court from continuing to meddle in what are clearly political questions best resolved by those willing to subject themselves to the vulgarities of democratic contest.

It won’t happen, of course. Extracting the government from a political mess is not considered a desirable pursuit for any Opposition and Labor’s frenemies in the Greens.

And because of all these political games, some very desperate men and women, girls and boys, will die at sea, spend years in captivity, be separated from loved ones because they craved a better, safer life.

The debacle that will almost certainly follow this decision should haunt the judges responsible for it and the politicians so irresponsible that they’ll gladly trade on misery for votes.

The false piety of Hanson-Young, the arrogant presumption of six High Court posers and the horrid opportunism of the Coalition on this issue makes the battered and bowed Chris Bowen look pretty good by comparison.

We hope he doesn’t wave the white flag to political pirates.

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44 Comments

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44 responses to “STOP THE BOASTS: Those celebrating the end of Malaysian solution ought hang their heads in shame

  1. Lucius Sulla

    You’re a damn fool, take your rose tinted glasses off. Do you honestly believe that this would have stopped people smugglers? Has a tougher line on immigrants & people smugglers worked in Europe or the USA?

    Maybe if the Commonwealth Govt did their homework in the first place it would never have got to the High Court.

    Far from being lateral and bold it was nothing short of pandering to the lowest common denominator and was rightly dismissed.

  2. Brisfem

    You think that paying millions of dollars for 800 of ours to 4000 of theirs was a good idea?…I don’t think so.

  3. Pot Stirrer

    There goes his chances at the top job. I guess that now only leaves Simon Crean

  4. Marian Rumens

    I totally agree. I just hope that Labor can bring in the carbon tax and finalize all it’s other forward looking programs before the LNP take over and take us all back to the 50’s.

  5. Didvid.S

    Hmm. It would seem that Bowen was wrong.

    He spent a lot of effort preparing that sh-t sandwich, it’s only right that he eats it.

  6. Giuseppe De Simone

    I don’t know Tony Abbott personally but I did bump into him when I was involved in student politics. It was shortly before I bumped into Julia Gillard in the same forum.

    I can tell you that both struck me as reasonable and fair people who had to posture (Abbott a bit, Gillard a lot) to retain the support of their constituency.

    They are both intelligent and thoughtful. Both have tended to become parodies of themselves under the constant gaze of the media.

    I know Abbott cares a lot about the disenfranchised and underprivileged – it comes from a great sense of personal obligation because of his faith which is deep and genuine. While he is excoriated by feminists and gay rights activists for his conservative values in relation to moral issues, these are matters that traditionally and appropriately have been left to the conscience vote of politicians of most persuasions. Australians tend to adopt a middle road on these matters – the polling support for gay marriage is steady but it tends to be soft; Australians tend to support abortion but when shown a picture of a late term fetus, they say the woman should carry the child to birth and adopt the child out if she really doesn’t want it etc. These difficult questions are best answered from a strong moral foundation that can balance the conflicting emotions with a strong dose of principle and values.

    Gillard appears to have been outmanoeuvred by the wily Greens Party on most issues, to the detriment of the ALP’s support base – which seems to have shifted on the left to the Greens and on the right to the Liberals.

    Anyone who looks at the asylum seeker issue knows that the strategy of discouraging boat arrivals is morally right and proper. We are fortunate in one way that there is no land link between us and the rest of the world (look at the much larger problem in Europe with the walk ins via the Middle East and Eastern Europe) so we can monitor the smaller number of arrivals to our shore. However, these desperate people seeking a better life take correspondingly greater risks of being lost at sea or attacked by pirates (raped, robbed and killed) or ripped off by smugglers.

    The government seems more interested in excoriating the victims of smugglers than in working firmly with our neighbours to put an end to the vile trade. I have no doubt that it is the corruption of public officials in Asian transit countries by the people at the top of the people smuggler organisations that allows this to occur.

    We haven’t dealt with the current arrivals with compassion and decency going back to the Vietnamese refugees of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Some of the responses of government have pandered to the irrational but deeply held fears of the disempowered and financially stressed in our own society – the Western Sydney vote as it is now called – and in the process have flamed racist sentiments.

    Anyway, I just wish our politicans from the mainstream parties expressed forcefully more of the moral courage they have within them and took actions based on principles they believed in. We would find that the links that bind us together as liberally minded, freedom loving, justice seeking people are much stronger than the few disagreements at the edges.

    The best political decisions are the brave ones that require support from the Opposition. I recall those few times in Australia’s history (such as the reforming Hawke government supported by Howard and Peacock) where important national decisions were decided by consensus. The self-interested rent seekers were blind-sided and the majority benefited from good policy and competent implementation.

  7. Harry Lime

    What did Bowen do so bad in life that he deserved being made immigration minister? Was it Gillard setting up a future leadership contender for a fall.

  8. Booyakasha

    Errors of fact, law and logic.

    The merits or flaws of the policy itself aside, your deeming of statutory interpretation to be “judicial activism” is drawing a very long bow.

    You don’t blame your doctor when he tests your blood and lets you know you have cancer. The minister’s decision failed to stand up to the test. It’s not the court’s fault the migration act did not empower Bowen to make the decision that he did. All parliament has to do is change the Act.

    I’ve read some nonsense on this site but have kept coming back, but I think this article has killed my interest in your PoV Andrew. Just rubbish.

  9. The Truth

    Any day that the courts whack the Executive or Parliament into line is a good day.

  10. Stop the Dopes

    bullshit.
    anyone who lands in australia should be processed here. we are little cowards if we can’t manage a few hundred asylum seekers. the laughing stock of the world on matters of immigration.

  11. Anonymous

    Chris Bowen is the legal guardian of refugees who are minors. If nothing else, he was never (morally or legally) in a position to send children off to another country without express written consent (not unlike a parent might sign off a school field excursion, except this one is somewhat longer).

  12. Kate

    I really needed someone to put how I feel into words – agree with everything you write

  13. Anonymous

    Sending people to the back of a queue they were trying to jump was the political way of selling it. For politicians they don’t know much about politics.

  14. Leigh Lowe

    Marian … “I just hope that Labor can bring in the carbon tax and finalize all it’s other forward looking programs before the LNP take over and take us all back to the 50′s”

    How very democratic of you. Push through legislation using the flimsiest (and illegitimate) majority and try to block any will of a majority to reverse it.

    That born-to-rule arrogance is partially why the ALP are up for a mother of a hiding at the next General Election followed by the Greens in the Senate at the subsequent Double Dissolution election.

  15. Adrian Jackson

    The Immigration Minister and the opposition spokesman on Immigration are the real Laurel & Hardy in the Parliament. They both have painted themselves into a corner over very little, a few thousand assylumists (my new English word), and they both deserve to be put away into a loony asylum

  16. Adrian Jackson

    The Immigration Minister and the opposition spokesman on Immigration are the real Laurel & Hardy in the Parliament. They both have painted themselves into a corner over very little, a few thousand assylumists (my new English word), and they both deserve to be put away into a loony asylum for their incompetence

  17. CRASH!

    Very disappointed in those independents who gave the keys to the redhead who acts like a two year old and castigates the umpire! So the news is that the redhead is seeing red and has just crashed the family car big time! Damage repair bIll is enormous,as the car is a total wreck so get a new car driver or better still a new car!

  18. Anon

    If carbon tax is introduced, Labor will be demolished as a political force for the next 20 years.

  19. Judicial inconsistencies

    I am interested in the claim made by Gillard that some judges held a different point of view when they were on the Federal Court. could theses judges be tampering with the interpretation of the law to meet a political agenda?

  20. Warpig

    When Howard lost power, he and the head of Immigration knew the names of every single person in detention. How? Because there was only five of them…

  21. Peoples Electives OR Appointed High Court ?!?!

    The issue here isnt about illegal immigrants. Its about who makes laws for the country: the government of the day elected by the people OR appointed judges. That’s the real story.

  22. the scribe

    What a totally inept and useless Govt we have.Surely Bowen would have taken Legal advice but then again when you have an albatross like Gillard looking over your shoulder anything goes.
    When will she do the right thing and call an election? After she completely fuks the country

  23. Byron in Wahroonga

    ***because of all these political games, some very desperate men and women, girls and boys, will die at sea, spend years in captivity, be separated from loved ones because they craved a better, safer life***

    Exactly. And none of those horrid scenarios would be happening if the Labor-Green Coalition would adopt the policy of the previous government. But they’d rather see kids floating face-down in the Christmas Island surf, than admit their plan doesn’t work.

  24. I agree with your sentiment. Chris Bowen did have an ‘elegant’ solution there. It would have moved attitudes and treatment of refugees/asylum seekers forward in this region. It would have been great to have made progress towards shared humanitarian ideas as well as economic interests.

    Julia Gillard’s government along with the Greens (yes!) and the Independents has achieved a lot more in its first year than Howard’s Coalition did. Let’s hope that with her skills and their common sense they can find a way through this mess and carry on their good work to date, particularly with carbon pricing.

  25. Bowen
    Was
    Wrong.

    The
    High
    Court
    Ruling
    Was
    Right

  26. Shambles

    I am a respected strategist. This is one of many achievements I have delivered for the NSW Liberals. Ask Alex Hawke.

  27. Anonymous

    The definition of ‘elegant’ must have changed.

  28. Right F*ck Up..............Again

    You’re Right and Bowen’s Right and you’re all wrong on this issue. Stop pandering to Bowen and Gillard’s Western Sydney bogans. Onshore processing now and be quick about it. Stop this bloody low brow nonsense. The bogans will get used to it.

  29. Cardinal Pell

    Brother Abbott don’t forget sunday school 8am on Sunday at St Chesters.
    We can participate in some joyfull acts, with those fiesty young boys from the Choir.

  30. Shambles

    I am a respected political strategist.

    I recommend that Ms Gillard adopt a strategy of cutting and running from her position of responsibility. Just as I did last year.

    When the going gets tough, the respected strategists get going.

  31. Byron in Wahroonga

    ****the arrogant presumption of six High Court posers and the horrid opportunism of the Coalition on this issue***

    Just wow. The most incompetent government in the history of Australia, without one single success to their credit. The misery they have brought to millions of Australians – concern about job security, collapse in home and retirement fund values, small business bankruptcies and the associated depression and divorce rates that goes with financial pressure. And just like with the Pink Batts of Death, they were warned by their own overpaid experts. Then, when it all falls apart, like everything else has fallen apart, it’s someone else’s fault. In this case, the High Court and the Opposition – both of whom, unlike Labor, are simply doing their job.

  32. Ben

    I’m against the “Malaysia Solution” but at the same time should the High Court be trying to run our great country? I don’t remember voting for judges to rule over us either.

  33. Gerry of Mentone.

    Ben, if [like me] you don’t want judges usurping our legislatures, then you’d better elect parties who will appoint real judges, not “judicial activists”.

  34. anon

    Christopher Pyne is really the ‘Bernard King’ of Australian politics.

  35. Sir Lesley Twentytonneguts HRH

    Fart phew ah that’s better out than in!!!
    Fill hurry up and get here and drive me to Walters I’ve just had another donation to 20th Man Fund we can spend on me piss intake.

  36. Rabid

    Andy,

    You are becoming increasingly mad! Pyne, Pell, Abbott and Twentyman. STOP libelling them and write a real blog.

  37. Orkopoulos

    None of my ALP maaates visit me in prison!

    I can’t understand. All I did was……………

  38. Ben

    Gerry of Mentone: Noted. Good point.

  39. Christopher Pyne

    All you did Orkopolous was wanted a rear end bender. I can do that for you anytime when you get out of prison.

  40. HETO "jack merridew"

    again we see another example of the worst governance of the aust people since federation.
    In fact the three graphs, rate of consumption our money ,rate of stupidity of the policies of the alp,
    naivety of the nsw and vic alp retards. all three have risen exponentially since “kevin 07” a man who should have worn a “track suit” into the sitting of the 43 rd parliament of aust.
    Again we have become as laughing stock of asia, cant you see that ya back-woods defective gened eastern state “tards ” ruled by english inbred union stooges.
    And to think you retards hold 48 seats in nsw and 37 in vic. you are disgusting to me and 93.7% of the west aust vote pop.
    We want blood on the hse of reps floor THE PIG IS THE ALP
    “KILL THE PIG RUN HIM THROUGH ”

    OH BY THE WAY the new parliament house building from the outside looks absolutely disgusting it looks like a cheese grater in front of a retaining wall
    with a grass roof, but again you freaking es tards choose that design. It does not look like or represent any of our history or the heritage or atmosphere of even the old p house.
    You es labour tards perhaps you mow the grass on top of new p hse roll that up and smoke it for all the change it would do to your intelligence.
    GET THE OUT OF OUR HOUSE and take the homos the avocados the lesbos and the retards with you
    thankyou “HETO”

  41. HETO "jack merridew"

    oh good on ya heto thats another one

  42. Michael

    Hey Marian

    When you say Smarmy Maggot will take us back to the 50s which 50s did you exactly mean. My guessing is that you meant the 1750s. Right?

  43. THE CHOIR BOYS

    a perfect example of the moral impropriety , a complete lack of enthusiasm ,an inability to ask any intelligent perceptive or relevant questions was given last night on abc’s Q&A. 5.9.2011
    Gen alphabet looked like rabbits caught in the spotlights, with unblinking eyes you could almost see them aimlessly staring into space repeating the word “DER ….DER…DER ”

    GEN ALPHABET where are you ? the world is an unforgiving place outside of our resource rich cocoon . Remember we don’t produce anything in this country
    un -learn what your drug addled teachers have taught you ,yell, shout, your questions at the labour tards who are ruining your country’s future for you “paul whoose”and “greg combination “combination retard more likely a man who would have destroyed this country’s water-front.

    the eastern states of aust is being destroyed by the mongoloid marriage of julia billboard and bob”what is it” green brown another one who stews in the juices of senility.
    To the Tasmanian white english(masonic) inbreeds and the corrupt money grubbing union stooges please,please, don’t step foot across the west aust border least you be fed to the sharks of green island, Jurien bay.
    which is perhaps a good place to leave your metaphorical heads,on the ends of sticks sharpened at both ends.

    quelle heure est-il?;what time is it ? ” NOW! “NOW GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE” you es mongoloid married “tards”

    “THE CHOIR BOYS” jack merridew

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