This photo comes one of the refugee groups via Paul Barratt. The caption reads:
Another Australian Government anti-boat campaign billboard (see the circled sign) over Hazara massacre, Quetta 2011:"Don't come by boat; it's too dangerous"
Further comments follow the the photo.
I have no idea whether this photo is accurate. But in those circumstances, the billboard would actually seem like an advertisement for people smugglers.
As I write, Mr Abbott has unveiled his military solution. Admiral Abbott read one headline. Meantime, Minister Burke has rushed off to Manus island for an on-ground investigation and to defend the Rudd solution.
This is all silly stuff, like something out of Gilbert & Sullivan. How have we let the debate get to this point?
There are no easy solutions on the refugee question. Our options really involve picking between the least bad solutions. The political refugee arms race is costing us a fortune, is twisting our foreign policy and is actually damaging our society. There is no rational debate anymore, just responses.
Refugees and the people smuggler subset is a global problem that has domestic implications. It is one of those hard problems that cannot be solved at domestic level. The only thing thing that we can control is our response.
I have this dream where one of our political leaders gets up and says we can't solve this problem, we can only respond as best we can. Here are the issues as we see them. This is what we are going to do. I know its not perfect, we will listen to arguments, we will change our approach as new evidence emerges, but that's where we stand.
In the meantime, we are driven back to Gilbert and Sullivan and H. M. S. Pinafore.
When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
Marshall Rudd and Admiral Abbott should bear that in mind. In the end on something like this, ridicule is the only answer.
The debate rolls on. The Lowy Institute blog has useful coverage from the PNG side: What the PNG asylum seeker deal really means for Australia's aid program provides an entry point. The story has received a degree of international coverage. This is the Wall Street Journal take. The UNHRCR has expressed concern.
Quickly reading across what coverage I could, the Australian popular response measured by comments is, as you might expect, very polarised. A key issue is will it work?
This is the Economist's take on recent developments.