Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Julia's new policy on illegal immigrants sounds completely useless so far
Processing them offshore is all well and good but what is the result of the processing going to be? How is it going to stop the flow and what is she going to do about sending these sham refugees back whence they came? So far she sounds like Rudd all over again to me. Abbott sums it up very well below and Andrew Bolt has a detailed fisking
JULIA Gillard will "relentlessly" pursue the creation of a regional processing centre, claiming it would be a "durable solution" to the asylum-seeker problem.
The Prime Minister defended her proposal today as Tony Abbott hit the airwaves to attack the policy as insufficient to stop boat arrivals and to accuse Labor as hypocritical on border protection.
“It would be a better solution and a more durable solution to have a regional processing centre where asylum seeker claims are processed and a fair sharing then of the refugees who are found to be genuine through that process,” Ms Gillard told ABC radio.
She also defended her credentials as a manager of strategic regional partnerships and indicated she would take a co-operative approach to discussing her proposal with Australia's neighbours.
“I have had some foreign policy experiences including representing this nation in the United States and in other countries,” she said. “But I believe I do bring to the job a perspective about co-operation about getting things done, about the remarkable things that can flow when you get people around a table working together. “I'm going to take that same perspective to talking about the regional processing centre.” [She sounds like Obama in drag]
Mr Abbott said the proposal was a vindication of Opposition support for offshore processing. “It certainly makes a mockery of the ferocious criticism which the Labor party has made of the Coalition on this issue,” he told ABC radio. “It really does make a mockery of all of that moral rectitude that we saw in abundance from the Labor Party for years. “But look, it's good that she's accepted that the Coalition was right all along.”
The opposition leader said the centre would not prevent boats from coming without the introduction of other measures such as temporary protection visas. “All that would happen under Labor is that East Timor would become a way station. People would not be allowed to stay in East Timor. It would just be, if you like, an East Timorese vacation before finally coming to Australia.” “You aren't going to stop the boats just by negotiating with foreign countries. You've got to make changes here in Australia.”
But Immigration Minister Chris Evans disagreed, saying the regional processing centre would reduce the number of arrivals. “The international regional processing centre should see, we think, the number of arrivals to Australia reduced,” he told ABC radio.
“There'll certainly be strong deterrence about getting on a boat to Australia. If you get on a boat to Australia and you end up in a processing centre in East Timor or anywhere else as a result, why would you do it? Why would you pay a people smuggler?”
However, Mr Evans conceded further discussion was needed with East Timor about the construction of such a centre given Ms Gillard's announcement was met with surprise and scepticism by many in the country. East Timor has not yet committed itself to the concept and President Ramos-Horta revealed yesterday he had told Ms Gillard he would first need to discuss the idea with the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Mr Abbott attacked the government over the level of consultation that had occurred before the announcement yesterday. “There's no evidence there was any serious talks with the New Zealanders, with the East Timorese,” he told ABC radio. “There is no chance whatsoever of a Gillard government ever building a processing centre in East Timor.”
Mr Abbott described Ms Gillard as a “late convert panicked by the polls and with an election imminent”.
Tough talk Julia, now walk the walk
On immigration the PM is caught in a classic Labor wedge
If Julia Gillard's gait starts to look a little awkward over the coming weeks, put it down to her feeling the discomfort of the classic Labor wedgie. It's hard walking the line between the inner-city white-collar Labor voters who favour soft borders because they don't have to deal with the consequences of immigration and the battlers in the outer suburban seats who favour stronger borders because they do.
When, on the weekend, the new Prime Minister called for an end to political correctness stifling an open debate about immigration, it was immediately denounced as dog whistle politics. The Gillard government was taking the "low road", said Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
What will the reaction be to Gillard's even stronger rhetoric yesterday as she set out new immigration measures at the Lowy Institute? After all, Gillard's long-term goal to pursue a regional processing centre through co-operation with East Timor and New Zealand sounds like Labor's version of John Howard's Pacific Solution. Well, just watch the Labor wedge go to work on Gillard.
Cleverly, yesterday she spoke directly to living rooms of middle Australia, to the people who determine elections. They will be receptive to the Prime Minister's call for a real debate about immigration, for strong borders, an orderly immigration process and "wrecking" the people smuggling business.
But then these same voters believed Kevin Rudd when, before the 2007, election, he said he would be tough about border protection. Then he changed tack, loosening up immigration policy and boats started arriving at record levels: the number of boat people rose from 161 in 2008 to 3000 in 2009 and almost 5000 by the time Rudd left office. And middle Australia duly turned away from Labor.
Given that concerns over asylum-seekers are hurting Labor in key marginal seats, Gillard has said she will ignore the self-appointed moral guardians of the Australian conscience.
People such as Julian Burnside, who said this week that Labor should forget about the marginal seats, those that house a "redneck contingent" who "would love to send [the boats] back at gunpoint". Burnside, who loves the limelight, will enjoy his moment in the sun by being mentioned by Gillard but the special mention signalled his irrelevance in this debate.
The question is not what Gillard says. The consummate political communicator is very good at talking. The question is what she does. And when it comes to implementing stronger border protection policies, Gillard will confront Labor's familiar political wedge.
Last year when head of the Australian Workers Union Paul Howes questioned whether tougher border protection discouraged boat arrivals and suggested "we should put out the red carpet" for illegal immigrants, he summed up Gillard's problem.
Remember that Howes is a vocal and very public Gillard backer. He relished his role in installing the new PM. And while, in a predictably neat twist of irony, the union leader doesn't speak for his blue-collar members about border protection, he does echo the inner-city sophisticates who are so disconnected from the rest of Australia.
Urban elites never understood the significance of Howard's assertion in 2001 that we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come. For them, assertions of national sovereignty about border control are just the ravings of Burnside's marginal seat rednecks.
Alas empty moral posturing about open borders is not compassionate policy. As Gillard said yesterday, compassionate policy means shutting down the ghastly trade that leads to tragedies on the open seas. It means recognising that softer borders bolster the risk-reward trade-off for canny people smugglers who respond to lax immigration policies in the same way any savvy businessman looks for regulatory arbitrage. Compassionate policy recognises the competing claims of the voiceless refugees waiting in camps with no access to salivating activists in the media.
More importantly, compassion means encouraging higher immigration. Accordingly, if Gillard is as smart as she sounds, she will ignore the likes of Howes and instead follow the long tradition where prime ministers dating back to Ben Chifley understood that encouraging increased immigration depended on a well-managed and controlled immigration policy. The moment voters think a government has lost control of the country's borders and immigration is being determined by industrious people smugglers, voter support for immigration dips.
Indeed, when members of the so-called progressive Left talk about compassion and red carpet open borders for boat people, they forget their own complicity in the rise of hot-headed Hansonism. The arrival of some 8000 people aboard boats in the late 1990s - not to mention the stifling political correctness that rejected an open debate about immigration - undermined support for increased numbers of immigrants. Enter Pauline Hanson.
For all the emotional hysterics directed at Howard about immigration, it was never founded on facts. The former Liberal prime minister defused Hanson with a sensible, non-discriminatory policy that allowed Australia's immigration intake to double from 70,000 in 1996 to almost 140,000 by 2007. But that increase depended on an orderly immigration process and strong border protection measures: the Pacific Solution and temporary protection visas drastically reduced the number of boats arriving on Australian shores.
Gillard is a smart political operator busily defusing Labor's hot button issues in the lead-up to the election. Solve mining tax dispute? Tick. Deal with simmering immigration concerns? It's too early to tick that box. Gillard may have delivered a polished, nuanced speech yesterday but she was just tinkering at the edges of Labor's existing policy with her announcement that Labor will lift the suspension of processing claims for Sri Lankan refugees, work on a return home policy for Afghan asylum-seekers and increase penalties for people smugglers.
Gillard's bigger policy - her Timor Solution - is a long way off. No quick fix, as she said. The question is whether Gillard, unlike Rudd, has the guts to buy into a real fight with deluded human rights activists and misnamed progressives within her own party by adopting a sensible, controlled immigration policy demanded by middle Australia, a policy that lasts longer than an election campaign.
Bleeding woman shooed away by the animals at a Victorian public hospital
Only the availability of private medicine saved her life
A WOMAN says a hospital emergency department told her it was too busy to treat her for life-threatening internal bleeding. The dangerously sick woman was later saved by doctors at a private hospital who realised how grave her condition was and rushed her for emergency surgery after a neighbour persuaded her to try another hospital.
But after recovering from the ectopic pregnancy the outraged woman is desperate for answers from Casey Hospital about why it refused to believe how sick she was in the early hours of June 14. "I was bleeding internally and had more than a litre of blood floating around in my insides, which is why I had pains up to my shoulders," she said.
"The time I spent standing there asking to see a doctor she (the triage nurse) could have taken me through, checked my blood pressure and, if I was that bad, they probably would have thrown me in an ambulance and sent me to another hospital.
"I was going to just go home because I thought I had gastro, but my neighbour insisted I go to Dandenong Valley Private Hospital. "I don't want to think about what could have happened."
The woman - who did not know she was seven weeks pregnant and asked not to be identified - said she was told to visit a nearby GP or take a seat in the waiting room.
Fortunately her neighbour instead drove her to Dandenong Valley, where doctors immediately performed blood and blood pressure tests, realised she was in danger and called an ambulance to rush her to Dandenong Hospital for surgery. Her ruptured left fallopian tube was removed and the bleeding caused by the failed pregnancy was stopped.
Deaths from ectopic pregnancies - where the fertilised egg grows outside the womb - are rare.
Figures obtained by the state opposition reveal 720 people walked out of Casey Hospital's emergency department without treatment in just three months last year, or 6.3 per cent of all patients asking for treatment.
Southern Health spokesman Philsy Blackman said the hospital was arranging to meet the woman to discuss her concerns. [One would have thought that an immediate investigation would have been launched]
Another vicious gang attack by Africans in Melbourne
Rather amazing that race is mentioned for once. Has it got too bad to cover up any longer?
POLICE have called for up to five men involved in a brawl at Noble Park railway station to hand themselves in. Footage of a fight on Saturday night involving the group and two caucasian men has been released in an effort to identify two of the culprits.
The fight, about 11.10pm, broke out after four caucasian men began talking to one of the African men as they waited for a train on the platform. After being told they were on the wrong platform to get a train to the city, they all moved to platform two where they were joined by more African men.
Det Sen Constable Daniel Petrou said an argument broke out which escalated into a fight. The two victims, one of whom appears to walk towards his attacker even after being punched, suffered serious head injuries.
Police have not released all footage because it would identify the victims. They were punched and kicked to the head by at least three of their attackers. One victim, taken to the Alfred Hospital, had his cheekbone and his nose broken while his friend, who was treated at Dandenong Hospital, had his jaw broken.
Their friends, who were younger, feared becoming involved in the violence.
Police say the men, aged 21 and 22, are too afraid to speak about their ordeal. "The victim remains at home and is scared to catch public transport," Sen Det Petrou said. "The motivation is unknown (for the fight)."
He said he did not know if alcohol was a factor that led to the fight and no weapons were used.
Investigators are urging the public to call police if they recognise the African men captured on security cameras.
Victorian girl in care of sex offender dad will now be monitored by child protection officers
How good of them! It should have been automatic. Amazing what publicity will do. Think of all the cases that don't get publicized, though
THE Department of Human Services yesterday did a U-turn and now says it will monitor a young girl placed in the care of her father, a drug addict and sex offender.
The Herald Sun revealed yesterday that the girl, who has a history of being abused, had been placed in the care of her dad after the Federal Court last month ruled that her mum, a drug-abusing prostitute, was too unreliable.
On Sunday, despite numerous reports to authorities, the Department of Human Services said it no longer had any involvement with the family. This is despite the girl - now aged about five - having a history of injuries including an unexplained burn, and her mother's continuing drug abuse.
The father, who is unemployed, was deemed to be a better carer despite concerns he had used drugs as recently as late last year.
But yesterday the State Government said it had ordered child safety workers to visit the family, after our report. Deputy Premier Rob Hulls said: "My understanding is that the minister, Lisa Neville, on hearing of this decision, has asked her department to make inquiries to ensure that everything is done appropriately and to ensure that the best interests of the child are being met. But I don't want to comment on a Federal Court decision.
"The court has made its decision, and the minister has asked her department to ensure that everything is being done appropriately."
But the Opposition said the case showed child safety in Victoria was in crisis. Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said: "You would like to think that the child wouldn't be put in those circumstances, but in Victoria we have a crisis in child protection."
Ms Neville yesterday said the girl was receiving "appropriate care" from a paediatrican and specialist.