Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No hope for Australia

Australia's policy of imprisoning refugees in offshore concentration camps has long had bipartisan support, but recently there's been some hope that that support was fading and the policy of cruelty might be able to be ended by electoral means. Sadly, that hope has been dashed, with the Australian Labor Party pledging to keep torturing refugees in camps forever, just as Tony Abbott did:

Australia's opposition Labor Party will maintain the offshore processing of asylum seekers if it forms government.

Leader Bill Shorten has told the Lowy Institute that Operation Sovereign Borders would be "fully resourced".

Under the programme, asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat since 2013 have been sent to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Mr Shorten says his government would look to appoint an Ambassador for Refugees and boost efforts to find resettlement countries.

"Stopping the boats was never meant to leave people languishing in indefinite detention," Mr Shorten said in his speech.

In other words, the ALP's big "solution" is to look for other countries to dump the problem on - a quest which ignores their moral and legal responsibilities to their victims. Meanwhile, the ALP's position combined with Australia's use of full preferential voting (an establishment rort requiring voters or parties to preference every candidate for their vote to be valid) means that voters and parties who oppose concentration camps cannot effectively threaten to withhold their electoral support from the parties who support this cruelty - meaning that there is no electoral pressure for change. The Greens might oppose concentration camps, but unless they win, their preferences will ultimately flow to Labor, who support them. The only hope of change is for a change in the leadership and direction of the ALP.

Meanwhile, if you're outside Australia, remember: don't buy Australian. Buying Australian goods means supplying the Australian government with tax revenue - tax revenue it spends on the torture and abuse of refugees. If you support refugees, you should boycott Australia until its policy changes.