Sir Kevin the Saviour has delivered us from the teeming hordes of infidels! Really! He has outsourced our soul! No longer will we have to worry about dirty foreign refugees making perilous journeys to our shores because he has made a deal with Papua New Guinea so all people coming to Australia by boat without a visa will now be sent to PNG for processing, and if found to be genuine refugees they will be settled there instead of here. Now you might think that this might possibly violate some parts of the UNHCR refugee convention. Fear not. For his next trick Sir Kevin will attempt to change it. Really. Because he is second in power to God (he’s working on that too).
I like to think the best of people. I know I’m over-generous in that way. I actually believe that most Labor politicians are actually there because they want to make a positive difference in Australia. I think most of them are going along with Sir Kev on this issue for two reasons: because this extreme action might possibly stop deaths at sea, and because it undermines Tony Abbott’s facile “stop the boats” mantra. Oh and also because they’ve made their bed by putting King Kev back on the throne and now they have to lie in it.
So will this action stop the boats? Well that remains to be seen. There are a few hurdles to be jumped in the legal arena first. And it is very difficult to see how PNG could actually provide safe refuge for middle-eastern refugees. Even if Australia was to build new accommodation to house the new refugees, it would likely be of a better standard than most ordinary PNG homes. That’s hardly likely to make the new citizens safe in their new homeland. I suspect most of the Labor politicians are hoping we don’t have to find out, and that no-one will have to be settled in PNG because the boats will stop. I hope they are right.
What worries me most about all this is – what does this say about Australia? Land of the fair go. Why does chanting “stop the boats” get votes? Do we really want Australia to be a giant gated community? A castle surrounded by a big moat. A sanctuary from the rest of the world where we can swan around like Marie Antoinette in her finery and decadence and tell the rest of the world they can eat cake. Because that worked out well for her.