Today seems as good a day as any to remind everyone what Sydney Morning Herald columnist David Marr had to say about Petro Georgiou and the asylum seeker issue, in a valedictory piece written on the occasion of Petro’s farewell speech to the Parliament (see Marr’s original piece, Last hurrah with a liberal dose of passion, published in the 4 June 2010 edition, here).
On Georgiou’s approach to asylum seekers Marr wrote:
After 35 years in politics, Georgiou had come to see he was wrong to believe in the inevitability of progress.
"The reality has been that many of the things that I believed were embedded parts of our polity - multiculturalism, inclusive Australian citizenship, the protections of civil rights - have been rolled back. Also rolled back has been a more decent treatment of asylum seekers," he said.
"This chapter had seen men, women and children seeking refuge in our country incarcerated; innocent people imprisoned for periods longer than convicted rapists, robbers and kidnappers. Escapees from persecution were demonised. Detention centres traumatised not just detainees but their guards. That chapter has been reopened. Regression has become the order of the day."Hasn’t it just.