Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Rudd toughens boat stand

As I predicted -- JR

The federal government is exploring ways to send home asylum seekers deemed "economic migrants" as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd toughens approval processes in an attempt to harden Labor's credentials on boat arrivals.

As Mr Rudd announced his new cabinet, including Tony Burke as a new broom in the politically sensitive Immigration portfolio, the government was believed to be moving quickly on cutting the number of boat arrivals.

Fairfax Media understands that Australia is speaking to Iran and the UNHCR about how failed asylum seekers can be returned to that country.

At present, the Iranian government refuses to take them back, although hopes have been raised by the recent election of a more moderate regime after the rule of the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr told the ABC on Monday: "The fact is, these people are middle-class Iranians. They're leaving their country because of the economic pressures - much of it produced, I guess, by the sanctions that apply to Iran because of the nuclear ambitions of its Supreme Leader and its Guardianship Council."

Of the 12,936 people who arrived by boat in the past six months, 4271 - nearly one-third - claim to have come from Iran, according to the latest Immigration Department figures. Among the others, 1765 said they were Afghan, 1706 Sri Lankan, 853 Pakistani and 644 Iraqi.

Mr Rudd plans to travel to Jakarta this week to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Asylum seekers are expected to be among the top issues discussed at the talks.

The changes under Mr Rudd also include having Australian diplomatic missions gather detailed, up-to-the-minute information on conditions for potentially persecuted groups.

This is aimed at tackling concerns within government that the Refugee Review Tribunal is waving through applications from people

of particular ethnic and religious groups even though they come from regions where those groups are not persecuted.

Confidential government briefings are understood to cite numerous examples of economic migrants such as Sri Lankans who have been living in India for years before seeking asylum in Australia - although this doesn't rule them out as refugees.

The new cabinet was also expected to consider tightening the actual process for assessing people's' claims, called the refugee status determination system.

Senator Carr warned on Friday that Australia needed to be "more hard-edged" about how it assessed asylum claims and added that the government's changes meant the tribunal and courts would have less discretion.

Since he toppled Julia Gillard to reclaim the Labor leadership last week, Mr Rudd has come out swinging on the asylum-seeker issue, which along with the carbon tax is the Coalition's main point of attack against the government.

On Friday he accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of risking conflict with Indonesia over the Coalition's vow to turn back asylum-seeker boats - sparking outrage from the opposition.

The changes flagged by the government have been condemned by refugee advocates.

David Manne, the lawyer who sank the government's Malaysia "solution" in the High Court, said the government would "run the real risk of violating our fundamental obligations" under the Refugee Convention. "This suggestion all of a sudden that they're overly generous is a bolt from the blue," he said.

"It's contrary to the evidence and it's very serious for the government to be making these unsourced, unsubstantiated assertions about it's own, independent, statutory tribunal."

He criticised Senator Carr's claim that people of ethnic and religious majorities couldn't generally claim to be persecuted.

Iraqis fleeing Saddam Hussein were mostly Shiites - the majority religious group in that country.

A spokesman for the UNHCR said the organisation welcomed a review of the refugee status determination system if it ensured "the quality of decision making and adequacy of procedural safeguards".

"The integrity of the international protection system requires that protection be provided for those who are found to be refugees or otherwise in need of international protection, and ensuring that those who are not can return home in safety and dignity," he said.



The scathing LARRY PICKERING comments:

The mastermind of our broken borders, one K. Rudd, is not the most diplomatic of diplomats, yet on Thursday he will take Julia’s VIP jet to Indonesia in an attempt fix a problem that is, to him, no more than an electoral liability.

On the flight to Jakarta he will recharge his hairdryer, order two lightly toasted cerumen and avocado sandwiches and gaze out on a sparkling sea where thousands lie drowned by his own hand.
But Kevin is unrepentant, and back in his element. He nestles his pudgy frame into a fluffy leather recliner, flicks a forelock, adjusts his glasses and orders a video of his latest foray into a shopping mall of backslappers.

He momentarily closes his eyes to relive the past week of a devastatingly glorious victory over a hated foe.

He is awoken by a hostess on crosswind to Soekarno-Hatt Airport and sits up to find he has ejaculated in his new grey trackies. He utters the f word 25 times and rushes to the bathroom.

On the tarmac he is greeted by two Indonesian underlings and their wives. None speaks English and Kev isn’t game to try another foreign language. The last time he tried Mandarin in Beijing and asked for the nearest toilet they fetched him pie floater.

But seriously, Kevin sending himself to Jakarta to fix the boat problem is tantamount to sending an arsonist to fix a bush fire.
Gillard was ideologically driven, Kevin is Kevin driven and he can do no more than offer the Indonesians more patrol boats and more money. They will take it of course and Kev will return triumphant, proclaiming an electoral victory.

A few weeks later familiar looking patrol boats will turn up at Christmas Island full of more queue jumpers.

But Kevin never understood this boat disaster and he doesn’t now. His vanity won’t allow him to accept that he is responsible for it.

The people smugglers, up through the military to the Government itself, all profit from the insidious trade and it will demand a greater intellect than Kevin’s to stop it.
Between now and the election some will think Julia wasn’t so bad.


Nile bill to ignite debate over abortion

Good ol' Fred.  He never gives up

A controversial bill giving legal rights to an unborn child will be supported by the O'Farrell government under a deal with Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile in exchange for his support for crucial state budget legislation to privatise Newcastle Port.

The Reverend Nile said the government had promised to pass through the upper house "Zoe's Law", which creates a separate criminal offence for causing harm to or the destruction of a foetus and stemmed from the deaths of unborn children in driving accidents.

The government told Mr Nile it reserved the right to amend the bill in the lower house.  Upper house MPs were caught by surprise when the government supported an urgency motion to debate Zoe's Law on Thursday.

The day before, the government won Mr Nile's support for its ports bill, with the privatisation of Newcastle Port worth at least $700 million.

Mr Nile's bill is already creating disquiet in the O'Farrell government. Liberal MP Marie Ficarra told Parliament that, although she personally supported the bill, "government members are in a quandary about this bill."

She said no one expected to be debating it, and MPs were "deeply concerned" by it. "It is about valuing the life of a woman and her unborn child and the life of the foetus at all stages," Ms Ficarra said.

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi said the bill was "extremely worrying" and a step in the wrong direction for the right of women to control their bodies.

"This bill clearly gives the foetus a personhood status and seems to be a wedge for the anti-abortion lobby," Ms Faruqi said. "It creates a distinct criminal offence that relates to the foetus and is unrelated to the woman."

Current law deals with vehicle accidents involving pregnant women by recognising the crime of aggravated injury to the woman if her foetus is harmed or dies.

The government refused to comment on any deal with Mr Nile.

Mr Nile said the government had not given him details of the amendments it might make in the lower house but said he would not accept changes to the bill's essence.  "The essence is to grant legal status to the unborn child in the womb," Mr Nile said.

He denied the bill was about abortion. "Some Labor women are nervous and saying I am trying to ban abortion, but I have put in an exemption to all medical procedures."

The bill was targeting vehicle accidents and "all violent acts" such as attacks on women by violent partners, he said.

A quarter of the O'Farrell cabinet is comprised of women, and the issue is likely to be highly contentious among Liberal moderates.

Brodie Donegan, the mother of Zoe, for whom the bill is named, previously told Fairfax Media she did not support Mr Nile's bill and he had not spoken to her about it.

Ms Donegan was eight months pregnant when she was run down by a drug-affected driver in 2009, and Zoe was stillborn.

The Labor government in 2005 amended the Crimes Act to expand the definition of grievous bodily harm to a woman to include the destruction of a foetus, after earlier rejecting a proposal to create a new criminal offence of killing an unborn child.


Freedom and smaller government

The size and role of government is at the heart of many problems that society is facing. From attacks on free speech to illegal immigration, from overzealous environmentalism to uncompetitive project and labour costs – all of these issues arise because government has moved away from its core roles.

Government’s primary responsibilities include things like defending our country, providing sufficient levels of public infrastructure and looking after those who cannot look after themselves.

Instead the government now provides us with electricity and internet services (filtered if that is your speed), fact checks politicians (allegedly impartially), and tells us when we can water our plants. Government funds inflatable rubber breasts to celebrate Canberra.

Was that what they had in mind at Federation? Government as a massive 10 breasted rubber whale balloon draped across everything?

The UK’s Institute of Economic Affairs looked at the impact of big government on economic growth and estimated that Australia’s GDP would be more than 120% higher than it is today but for the increases in the size of government since 1960.

In current terms that is more than $1.6 trillion dollars lost, not even spent and wasted, but never created at all, because of big government. Forget about increasing Newstart by $50 a week, can you imagine what $1.6 trillion could have done for our country?

This is why our TARGET30 campaign to reduce the size of government is so important. We don’t want to lose another $1.6 trillion dollars.

Certain tributes for the recently deposed Prime Minister Julia Gillard (axed by the deposed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd before her) mentioned how ‘productive’ the parliament had been at passing legislation.

532 new laws have been passed yet politicians have been rushing to pass more of them before parliament breaks for the election.

Does anyone think that Australia was dangerously under-governed before 2010?

If the legislation doesn’t pass before the election will the country descend into anarchy?

It’s as simple as this: our freedom requires small government.


No comments: