Friday, November 23, 2012


Sent to the SMH 22.11.12, not yet published.

The Editor,



The Gillard Bowen Government is in an real mess on asylum seekers now. Having walked away from their own party to making policy on the run to appease the ever more right wing calls of Tony “the No Man” Abbott, they have now walked themselves right in to Howard territory from which it is going to be hard for them to retreat.


We now have mass hunger strikes on Nauru and at least one asylum seeker close to death. There will no doubt be mass hunger strikes on Manus Island soon as the people placed there realise they may be there for up to 5 years. Immigration goon squads are raiding houses in Australia again, Gestapo style, to pick up asylum seekers whose poor English in their application to stay here (because they didn’t have any interpreter assistance with making a proper application), has not passed some DIAC officers assessment for being allowed to stay in Australia.


Now we are to release new arrivals into the community while their legitimate claims are lodged and processed but they will not be allowed to work, and so reliant on the kindness of churches, charities and strangers, none of whom having seen these people’s need will ever vote Labor again. What a terrible mess! And none of it is stopping the boats because none of it addresses the push factors.


What is needed now is leadership and sadly I don’t think it is there on either side of parliament. Minister Bowen is now totally captive by his department . Where are the Greens and Independents? I did hear Oakeshott say that there are no short term solutions here and that we need to concentrate on a longer term regional solution. We can’t do that with 2 major parties running short term, short sighted agendas up to the next election only.


Jenny Haines