Australia’s Gulag Archipelago Further Enhanced

by Dom on August 3, 2013

One of my favourite political analyses is Essence of Decision. If you don’t know it, the basic premise is that any situation can be analysed from multiple positions. The book uses the Cuban Missile Crisis to illustrate this.

At the risk of losing friends, being abused online and generally starting an indignant shit-storm over making suggestions contrary to hard-held views, I have had a go at seeing things from another angle in relation to the recent Australian Government decision to send people arriving by boat without a visa to this country settled in Papua New Guinea (PNG). And Now Nauru (I started this before the Nauru announcement).

If you want to have a look at my earlier ramblings on Australia’s Gulag Archipelago, have a hunt through the site. And it is here that I hate the use of the word solution, as in “Pacific solution”, as it reminds me too much of the “final solution”. Seems those in power use “solution” to conjuring support for a created “problem”, allowing them to punish the vulnerable, vilified, marginalised and misunderstood.

Like many others, I’m a slacktivist; full of position, rage and vitriol, but limited to retweeting other peoples’ ideas and arguing with people who I think are ill-informed, I don’t do too much by way of actually changing the world. I’ a lefty, and I don’t have the silver bullet.

So, to outline some of the issue people have with Australia’s deal with PNG, I have a non-exhaustive list:

–          You can’t discriminate against people  seeking asylum by the method of arrival in your country;

–          PNG is a dangerous country, and our own Government’s travel advice is to exercise extreme caution if there;

–          We are punishing the victim;

–          With no clan or lineage, those settled in PNG will not be able to own land;

–          It is not illegal to seek asylum;

–          Nauru is too small;

–          See the rest of this site for more reasons Nauru isn’t suitable for resettling anyone!

And now some of my own concerns:

–          PNG is probably the most culturally diverse state on the planet, and even among its own people, there is trouble a plenty;

–          PNG can’t even successfully resettle its own people from the Carteret Islands, who would we thing they will be able to handle this?

–          If they arrive by plane, will they be welcome?

–          What if they arrive by plane without a visa?

–          Nauru is politically unstable;

–          Nauru could well be turned into a prison island (which is a concern I once held for Christmas Island)

–          Nauru and PNG will continue to be vassal states of Australia.

And now, to my recent thinking on what possible good could come settling people in PNG. Yes, I know this is unpalatable. No, I’m not justifying it (see paragraphs one and two).

–          We have a problem in Australia with asylum seekers/refugees with qualifications and experience being unable to work, refused the right to work, and having their qualifications dismissed. If it possible this situation could be reversed in PNG and on Nauru?

–          PNG is a struggling country. I can’t be bothered finding evidence, but I’m sure it has been called a shithole more than once. Nauru similarly. But, could the largesse being labelled “aid” actually help in some way?

–          If this hurts Labor in the polls, the Greens may get some votes, and so will the Liberals. Could the lefty backlash against this hurt Labor and help the Liberal Party win the upcoming election?

–          Could this actually be a good thing for Nauru? Skilled migrants to a country devoid of any apparent administrative talent.

–          If Australia wants to stop people coming to Australia by boat, Australia needs to assist refugees and asylum seekers to bypass the boat journey. How do you think we could do this? Processing in Indonesia and Malaysia?

–          If you were a Nauruan or PNG politician, what would you do?

–          If you were Christmas Island, what would you be thinking about al this?

–          How many people are going to become virtual prisoners on Nauru or in PNG?

But, beside all this, do we think this proposal will actually last?

And now is the controversial part: what do you think is a “solution”? And what is the “problem”?

If you dislike a contravention of international law, I respect that. If you think people would be better off resettled in Australia than PNG or Nauru, I understand that. If for you the most important point is dissuading people form dying at sea, how would you have that happen? And now, is there any good that could come from these agreements?

Maybe this didn’t end up as much like Essence as I thought when I started writing, but I hope you get the point I’m making.

Questions, comments, thoughts, retorts?

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