On ABC Radio National’s morning and evening current affairs programs Radio National Breakfast and PM we have been treated today to Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison breathlessly obsessing about the transfer of a number of asylum seekers from Christmas Island, which is outside the migration zone, to Villawood Detention Centre in the suburbs of Sydney. This, he fears, could result in a change in the asylum seekers’ legal rights, and enhance their access to our legal system.
Needless to say, Morrison is highly critical of the Government for the recent level of boat arrivals. This, it would appear, is entirely a function of the Government’s limp-wristed approach to asylum seekers. To Morrison there is nothing in the world outside Australia that influences the number of arrivals, it is entirely due to the “signal” that the Government sends to the people smugglers. All we need is a sufficiently brutal approach to asylum seekers to deter people from trying to enter Australia, and the boats will stop coming.
For my part, my only criticisms of the Government’s approach in this particular matter are that it has chosen to continue the Howard Government’s excision of parts of our sovereign territory from the migration zone, and that it still mouths the rhetoric of taking a tough line on “border protection”. I would like to see a Government which recognises all of our sovereign territory as a part of Australia in every sense, and which does not feel the need to be apologetic or defensive about adopting a humane approach to asylum seekers.