A few weeks ago two of Australia’s leading critics of successive governments’ asylum seeker policies have republished their contentious views on how to change the seemingly intractable position held by both the Government and the Opposition. Robert Manne, Emeritus Professor of Politics, La Trobe University and John Medadue, Former Secretary, Department of Immigration together with Frank Brennan SJ, Professor of Law, Australian Catholic University and Tim Costello, CEO World Vision Australia put forward their position in 2016.

BMRSG is posting these articles for discussion and does not endorse any position.

This pains me, but it’s time to compromise on Australia’s cruel asylum seeker policy

by Robert Manne  23 September 2018

In the past 30 years Australia has crafted an almost uniquely cruel asylum seeker policy. Our only competitor is the proudly illiberal Hungary. When Malcolm Turnbull outlined our current policy to Donald Trump in their notorious telephone conversation, the US president was mightily impressed. “You are worse than I am.” No more evidence about the character of Australia’s asylum seeker policy is required.

I wear two hats and have done so since the mid-1980s, one as a social scientist cum political historian, the other as what is almost universally now called a public intellectual. As a social scientist, I have attempted to explain Australia’s remorselessly cruel asylum seeker policy. Here’s a concise summary.      Read the full article

Wentworth, Bill Shorten and refugees

by John Menadue 20 September 2018

What a boost it would be for humanity and decency if Bill Shorten  broke with the government’s  refugees policy and told us during the Wentworth by-election that the ALP would no longer support the  cruel and crippling policies that leave refugees and asylum seekers  stranded and abused on Nauru and Manus. 

What is happening is not on Planet Nauru or Planet Manus. It is happening in our neighbourhood to people it is our duty to protect. 

There is no risk of more boat arrivals that we saw in earlier years.  The boats have stopped and will stay stopped if the government and the opposition continue to  support the turn back policy. I reluctantly support that approach.   Read the full article.

Close the camps now and stop the posturing

by Frank Brennan       25 May 2018

Both the Turnbull government and the Shorten opposition are committed to ‘stopping the boats’. Tony Abbott’s mantra is now the political orthodoxy on both sides of the political aisle in Canberra. Labor knows it has no chance of winning an election unless its commitment to keeping the boats stopped is as firm as the government’s.

The political difference is no longer over stopping the boats. Both sides are committed to takebacks and turnbacks, usually to Indonesia, provided the practices of the Australian Border Force and defence forces are safe, legal and transparent. The political brawl is about keeping refugees on Nauru and Manus Island without a permanent solution, and the claim that this is a necessary precondition for keeping the boats stopped.

Read the full article.

A solution to our refugee crisis

The original article, A solution to our refugee crisis by Frank Brennan, Tim Costello, Robert Manne, John Menadue
SMH Updated 12 August 2016

READ: A solution to our refugee crisis

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