Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Vote informal?

I haven't commented as yet on Mr Rudd's latest political masterstroke, aka the PNG solution, because I've been so appalled I've just been hoping that it might all fall apart.

Maybe it yet will, but all the signs are it will be a winner with the voters which is all that counts these days.

The compassion deficit

So why be appalled?

My local member, Andrew Leigh (who lost his job as a Parliamentary Secretary following the Rudd coup) , has come out publicly to admit his 'discomfort' with pretty much any of the solutions on offer for asylum seekers.

Unfortunately, he then reportedly goes on to say that the news polices are about "being as compassionate as we can."


It is certainly more compassionate than attempting to 'tow back the boats' as Tony Abbott advocates, I guess, since that will inevitably lead to more sinkings and deaths, but that is not saying much.

But is it really 'as compassionate as we can be' for the, as Mungo McCullum points out, tenth richest nation in the world to shuffle off its numerically tiny (albeit politically huge) refugee problem onto one of the poorest (PMG is 139th ranked nation in wealth), an unstable country (witness the recent political coup) with major social and economic problems, not to mention its own significant refugee problems?

Indeed the official Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisory warns of endemic cholera; high levels of serious crimes, including violent armed attacks even in well-attended shopping centres; a high risk of car-jacking; a tendency of crowds to turn violent; ethnic disputes which promote an atmosphere of lawlessness; and the targeted gang rape of foreigners.

Frankly, the Malaysian solution was a much better option: PNG doesn't need an influx of Muslims, Malaysia is an Islamic nation.  It is outrageous that the Coalition (and Greens) voted it down.

Dr Kev and Mr Rudd!

As a number of commentators have pointed out, there are other options that could have been explored.

But of course none have the quick fix, populist appeal of this one.

A nice piece by Nicholas Stuart (The Strange Case of Dr Kev) argues that Labor are counting on Labor voters preferences:

"Politically, Rudd's on a winner. The only way anything can go wrong is if people who find these ideals repugnant - natural Labor voters - vote informal. The party's gambling that as long as someone casts a valid ballot, the preferences will eventually flow back. The idea is luminous in its audacity. If you want to protest, you'll have to allow Abbott to be elected."

Interesting argument.

But if appalled Labor voters vote informal, doesn't that amount to a vote for Abbott anyway?

Personally I'm contemplating supporting Mr Palmer's Party, who plan to undercut the people smuggler business model by simply buying a plane ticket for all genuine refugees and processing them here, hence saving all of the misdirected resources currently devoted to border patrols, (less than successful) concentration camp maintenance and refugee processing.

Personally I'd tweak it: a free ticket for any Christians fleeing Jihad to Australia; a ticket to some suitable rich country like Dubai for anyone else... 

1 comment:

Nicholas Stuart said...

"But if appalled Labor voters vote informal, doesn't that amount to a vote for Abbott anyway?"
Dear Kate, I think this is exactly the point. Kevvie has left people who are appalled by the PNG 'Solution' no-where to run . . .
Regards, Nic