Australia, Nauru and PNG: who has whom over a barrel? And other thoughts

by Dom on July 20, 2013

A few events of the last two days have had me thinking. This is something of a brain dump.

The general thrust of the first is that people seeking asylum in Australia, if they arrive by boat, will be resettled in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The second is that there was a riot/disturbance/unrest/event/venting of pent-up emotion at a detention facility on Nauru.

And here is the brain dump:

  • There is a great irony in Australia having Nauru over a barrel, while now being over a barrel itself at the hands of PNG.
  • If you lock people up indefinitely, with no recourse, what the hell do you expect will happen?
  • With PNG being one of the most (practically undisputedly) culturally diverse, and most conflicted regions on the planet, what good can come from settling asylum seekers there?
  • Scott Morrison’s spiel to the media conflating pink batts-related fires with events on Nauru shows how pathetic Australian politics and political discourse and political critique happen to be.
  • The Labor party is using government funds to advertise recent policy changes, so is effectively managing to have free electoral advertising.
  • And why advertise these changes domestically? We all already live here! Again, misuse of funds?
  • There is a song by Redgum called Long Run, and I wonder how different it would be were it rehashed today.
  • As the Australian public is so outraged by the thought of someone arriving without “documents”, perhaps we should set up a separate channel for processing for those who have “documents”. (Tongue very much in cheek now) Then we could impose the mental-health-blood-sport approach to the rest; this could please all sides, or at least some of the most rabid on all sides….
  • Australians’ outrage and surprise at the activation/enlisting/recruiting of Nauruan ‘deputies’ shows they have limited understanding of the nature of rural/regional/remote/isolated law enforcement; we do something very similar in Australia, but we call them “special constables”. In fact, I remember them being activated as a child when we had events on Christmas Island. While the system used on Nauru seems unpalatable, and ad hoc, how do you propose they deal with it? This is a basket case country with basket case government, so be glad they can still afford a phone system.
  • For all the outrage and angst, we still have not seen a solution proposed that allows a degree of decency in the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia.
  • What happened to the ideal of Advance Australia? We seem to have conveniently removed it form our daily considerations.

Questions, comments, thoughts, retorts?

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