Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mr Rudd's shame

No posts Thursday, Friday because I was in Broken Hill. Came back to Mr Rudd's PNG refugee solution. We have entered uncharted territory here.

At a policy level, it's a very Ruddian solution, expensive and (I think) only partially thought through. I have no idea how its going work in practice. There are just too many variables involved. I think that it's possible to identify the risks in the policy.

I may be wrong, I don't know enough about PNG politics, but I would have thought that it was a highly unstable solution. It may just create a festering sore on our immediate borders. If I was in the people smuggling business, I guess that my new message would be we will get you to PNG and then it will be easier for you to get into Australia. We can do that too.

At a political level, I find it equally confusing.

Intuitively, its a a bit of a godsend to the Greens who were in diabolical trouble. They now have a new cause. The Green's don't need mass votes, they just need  a few percentage points to hold their Senate numbers. So the big voting mass being targeted by the majors was never a real Green concern. All they need is to attract three people in a hundred who feel wedged by the issue.

So far as the opposition is concerned, I do not share the view that Mr Rudd has neutralised this issue. All the opposition has to do is to argue that this is another example of a half-baked Rudd, another example of a Rudd swinging in the political wind. This policy, they could say, won't work. They don't even need a convincing case. They only need to be vaguely credible while hammering the costs and risks of the Rudd solution.

At a purely personal level, I feel deeply shamed. I know that many of my friends disagree with my views on refugee issue issues. I accept that. I believe that any nation or group actually has a right to determine who should belong. I have been attacked for that view on the other side. I accept that. But this is just inhumane and shameful.

This is modern New South Walesism, politics without principle whose sole role, the only judgment, is to to stay in power now. I feel deeply shamed.  


Anonymous said...

But what makes a good blogger?

* - consistent (every day or so for a long stretch of time)
* - insightful (bringing something new to the table either in ideas or phrasing that help others understand a situation or issue)
* - succinct (able to say much in a short amount of space)
* - communal (involving others through either links or comments or both)
* - specialist in something (provides an initial hook for new readers and a place to show expertise to regular readers)
* - right place, right time (clear voice in the midst of a crisis, key expert in a niche that needs an expert, early on the stage with a new approach, happens to get the notice of a gatekeeper)

- to which I'd add a couple of attributes without which a blog loses interest for me:

* good manners
* sense of humour (particularly of the self-deprecatory sort)
* honesty, and willingness to accept correction

Jim, the italicised section is a shameless copy from another place, but I just thought I'd try to brighten your day by noting for the record that you 'tick all these boxes', and for that you have my thanks and my respect.

- now, what were we discussing?...

Legal Eagle said...

Agreed, you totally tick all those boxes, Jim.

I feel the same as you about the Rudd thing. Utterly ashamed. It is no "solution". It is something that is fraught with legal and ethical problems. I hope it is challenged before the High Court.

I have not liked Kevin Rudd for a long time. I preferred Gillard to him, even though I had problems with some of her policies and her responses to certain issues (as you'd know). I see him as a man who just comes up with ideas to get votes without thinking through the consequences. He is a narcissist without vision or ethics. This confirms my view.

Rummuser said...

I too believe that any nation or group actually has a right to determine who should belong. We have a refugee problem as well and apart from nationalities involved, religion is also involved and it is a complex problem.

I do not wish to get involved in the politics of Australia, but this solution will create more problems than solutions. The long term impact of such a settlement can have disastrous or beneficial results in the long run and only time will tell.

Overall, I would say that it is a gamble worth taking.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that nobody seems to hold those risking the lives of their kids responsible? I mean surely any parent who willingly embarks on this type of a voyage with their children is guilty of endangering their lives or at the least serious neglect.

A friend of mine was recently fined $400 for having his child in the wrong restraint, not unrestrained but apparently the restraint was not fitted to the highway patrol's liking. And yet here we have these people embarking on a voyage with their children in a reckless disregard for their safety and what do we do. We blame the government.

And let me go even further. It's not Rudd's fault they keep coming (I don't like him)and it's not Abbott's fault (I also don't like him) and it sure as hell isn't my fault. So lets place the blame squarely where it belongs. There would be no people smugglers without parents willing to risk their lives and the lives of loved ones. And no Ms Hanson-Young I am not ashamed to be Australian, I did not create this situation and I will not apologise for something over which I have no control.

And yes anyone who disagrees with the politically correct view of open the flood gates come one, come all is seen by the PC brigade as cruel and inhuman and yet those who who risk the lives of their children are okay and apparently are victims of the cruel regime from which they fled.

And as far as the PNG solution. It's just to get him (Rudd) through the next election - I don't think anyone is taking this too seriously. It's about as credible as the opposition's turn back the boats non policy. Still it shuts the door on further boat arrivals to Australia and that may have an impact and get him just over the line.

Finally here's a thought. Some may see this as cruel and inhuman but I bet it would stop the boats. Why not make it that the only way to be granted residency in this country is to arrive through the proper channels. If you arrive by boat or overstay your visa you will not be granted residency..ever. Increase the intake if that's what you want but send out the message that nobody gets to stay unless they apply like many thousands of others have. The only thing I am ashamed about is the lack of bottle shown by the government on this issue.

So Jim that's my rant and having spoken to a lot of people who don't get a say in this debate it is, I believe a fairly popular view.


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, kvd and LE.

I am not quite as hard on Mr Rudd as you LE! Leaving aside ethical issues, and this bears upon Ramana's comment,
I would have thought that the PNG side is absolutely fraught with risks, including considerable potential damage to Oz/PNG relations.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi anon. This blog is always open to structured rants! I will come back to you on the specific points you raise after I've had tea.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I hope you enjoy your tea!

But if you are willing, I'd like you to expand upon your I believe that any nation or group actually has a right to determine who should belong comment?

And then I'd like Anon to explain how use of terms such as 'politically correct' and 'floodgates' and 'proper channels' do not arbitrarily consign the entire comment (rant? - you're welcome!) to the level of the nonsense more usually heard on talkback radio?

It is a very hard problem, with no quick and easy solution (looking at you both Messrs Rudd and Abbott) but that is no excuse for our uncritical abandonment of basic human decency. Or as Jim said: 'shame'.

A couple of other things:

1) I've never seen - anywhere - any comment by any writer upon the wearing of rubber gloves by Border Protection when intercepting/assisting these boats. You'd think at least one of these deep thinkers would stop and think about why our personnel have such protection, and how that might possibly modify their gung-ho statements about how easily our Navy could provide for 'stopping the boats'.

2) A quote for you:

We do not know this person's name and we never will.

We do not know where he was born, nor precisely how and when he died. We do not know where he had made his home or when he left it. We do not know his age or his circumstances; what occupation he left; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this person was.

He is all of them. And he is one of us.

With acknowledgement (and humble apologies) to Don Watson, and to Paul Keating - for "hacking about" Mr Keating's 1993 Rememberance Day, 1993, speech.


Anonymous said...

Well okay KVD, anon is more than happy to explain the terms such as 'politically correct' and 'floodgates' and 'proper channels'

Politically Correct refers to that train of thought which espouses the proposition that somehow ones view is correct. This applies to political, policy and social debate. All other views are therefore plainly just wrong.

Floodgates is a term used if an action or a decision allows something to happen with increased frequency or allows many people to do something that was not previously allowed. Interestingly the example given in the Cambridge dictionary from which the definition was paraphrased refers to refugees.

And (as if you didn't already know) Proper Channels means to use the proper procedure, working through the correct people and offices to get something done, It's also a rock band from LA, whatever floats your boat.

KVD you may wish to arbitrarily consign the entire comment (rant) to the level of the nonsense more usually heard on talkback (talk back is actually two words) radio.

However, the flow of this debate is so predetermined-lest we step out of line on this, one sided - only the intelligentsia get a say and littered with preconceived ideals that I felt someone should show the other side of the coin.

Pardon me if I don't go with the flow on this but maybe a more rational policy could be formulated if all sides of the argument were heard rather than badging views that differ to yours as worthy of "nonsense more usually heard on talkback radio?"

Why not try spinning the dial KVD and instead of listening to talk back radio tune into something else. Who knows you might catch an LA rock band called Proper Channels.


Neil said...

Just thought I'd register without any direct link to previous comments how much I appreciate your post Jim, but how disillusioned and pissed off I am, but I am sure you noticed. Also had a Facebook chat with Tikno in Indonesia who is now working for himself and no longer in Samarinda, I gather. Nice to contact him.

And my pissed-off-ness:

Jim Belshaw said...

I'm sorry all for the length of my tea! I got sidetracked! Anon, I agree that a more rational debate requires all sides to be heard. Without that, you cannot work through the issues involved.

I am going to use this comments thread as a base for this morning's post just to clarify things in my own mind.

Jim Belshaw said...

Neil, nice to know that Tikno is okay. I still get some information from Niar via Facebook as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon thank you for your definitions. I assessed your use of them within the context of your comment. They seem to me (in that context) to be applied as pejoratives. That was my comment.

This is not to say they are never expressed; more that where they are employed in discussion of an issue such as 'asylum seekers', or 'boat people, or 'unauthorised maritime arrivals' they tend to telegraph the possible/probable? mindset of the person employing such terminology.

And if 'proper channels' is not a classic political dog whistle then I don't understand that term either. There's a (an oldie but a goodie) discussion paper on this, which quite by chance has a whole section on "Border Protection, National Security, and the politics of race".

It's not homework, but I'd recommend a read...‎

Finally we differ on the use of 'talkback' or 'talk back' with reference to radio. While it seems Our ABC is quite happy to employ the conjuncted term, it is probably, as you say, just more PC nonsense :)


Evan said...

I don't have the words to express the depth of disgust I feel at this 'solution'.

Jim Belshaw said...

Understand your position, Evan.