Monday, June 10, 2002

ROBERT “MANNE” HAS FOUND OUT HOW TO “USE” THE “ KEY

Robert Manne would like us to thank him for his magnanimous concession to the blindingly obvious, that is: deterrence works. Having admitted his error, Manne would also like the Government he actively despises to then undermine the policy by reversing several layers of administrative and judicial review, and release every rejected refugee held in detention.

Military deterrence used to be wrong because it wasn’t going to work, then because it wasn’t working, then too expensive, then it wasn’t the boat season. Now it’s wrong because it

appears to have succeeded

Bust a gut there, Bob. A few grafs later, this is downgraded to “worked”, using those nifty inverted commas that are the crappy writer’s version of a wink. Same goes for the “problem” of asylum seekers, the nature of “unauthorised” arrivals, The Tampa “crisis”, and the “successful” result of deterrence.

And since Manne is generous enough to concede that which is manifestly true, supporters of the government should in return admit this policy is

The most brutal anti-asylum seeker policy edifice found anywhere in the Western world.

Yeah. That follows.

As far as can be determined by only using the actual words written down, Manne gives absolutely no justification for altering the status of almost 8000 asylum seekers, a big chunk of whom Manne is pleased to admit

have been rejected by the system.

So it doesn’t matter to ol’ Bob if you’re a genuine refugee or not. Let ‘em out! Does it matter that every day Australian immigration officials defer qualified asylum seekers in reeking, cholera-infested camps outside of Australia? Not to Bob! But hey, Achmed and his family aren’t here to complain, are they? Because they lacked the wealth to get here under their own power. That’s what Professor Manne is effectively advocating: a refugee system that uses personal wealth as a sorting mechanism. Nobody with a brain thinks boat people are wealthy by Australian standards. But plenty of people who claim to have brains can’t understand that wealth is relative, both here and at home.

This is one of my favourite bits

if the Left is willing to concede that the Government strategy has achieved its objectives, and the Right is willing to concede the depth of suffering which its first deterrent strategy has caused

where Manne tries to make it into the old Left-Right battle (helps rally the troops), and sets himself up to drag out the tired line about

Hanson-inspired policy

I’m sure many supporters of the system as it stands would be surprised to learn they were both Hansonites, and keen to increase the depth of suffering in detention.

So, the message? Prime Minister, look how generous he is being in admitting he totally misread the policy, its effectiveness and timing. Forget that he called you a poison dwarf, or even now that he says that unless you adopt his ideas, you take

personal pleasure in inflicting in the process pointless suffering on innocent human beings

Tell you what Bob: how about you write publicly that those asylum seekers in detention who don’t meet YOUR criterion for release can stay in detention permanently, and that you will publicly oppose anyone who seeks their release;

How about you share with the rest of us how many refugees we should take. Then tell us what we do when that quota is exceeded.

When you lay out an alternative, instead of bitching about present policy. When you can be honest with us poor Then perhaps I won’t consider you a policy retard at best, or an opportunistic hypocrite at worst.


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