Perhaps the year 2011 should be marked as the period where the political discourse about asylum seekers reached new depths of rhetorical opportunism under the "old parties".
The Liberal/National Conservatives led by Tony Abbott and the Labor government under Julia Gillard engaged in a war of rhetoric and presented callous, risk-taking proposals.
With the introduction of the failed "Malaysia Refugee Swap Deal" Solution, a calculated and nasty bidding war about who's better at "stopping the boats" became permanently established.
The underlying moderation notion that the passengers of those boats are asylum seekers just seeking Australia's help under their UN Charter rights has now entirely suffocated in the political cacaphony.
The Malaysia Refugee Swap Deal
On Saturday May 7, 2011 the Gillard government announced its "Malaysian refugee swap deal". Under this agreement all boat arrivals, starting with the first 800 asylum seekers arriving from midnight July 26 2011 would be "deported" to Malaysia. The government intended quarantining all maritime arrivals for this purpose - starting with the July 31 vessel.
However, a successful High Court challenge saw this agreement scuttled on 31 August 2011. The government responded by drafting amendments to the 1958 Migration Act to circumvent the High Court ruling so it could proceed with its original agreement.
This Bill however was not brought to a vote following fierce opposition by the Greens, the Liberal-National Coalition and Independent MP Tony Crook (Pearce). On 13 October 2011, the Gillard government accepted its defeat by stopping progress of its legislation in the House of Representatives. Instead, it announced that all maritime asylum seekers would now be processed "onshore" in Australia while insisting its plans for the refugee swap deal would be maintained.
Gillard govt offshore policy
The website pages dealing with Labor's "lurching to the right" and its swing to offshore processing were constructed during the calendar year 2013, but they really belong to this page. That's why the links to these pages are (also) below.
1 November 2013: Malaysia's response to Gillard's refugee swap plans - Not only proved Gillard's Malaysia refugee swap deal unpopular, legally condemned and fruitless in Australia, within weeks of its announcement it also came unstuck and was heavily criticised in Malaysia. Until the end of the Gillard government it was only Labor that kept harping on about it against better knowing. Australian reporters too shone a light on the prospects of asylum seekers under Malaysian rule, that was damning on all levels.
31 August 2013: The Gillard government's offshore dumping policy (1) - Under Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Labor kept lurching sharply to and fro before finally settling on leaving asylum seeker cruelty of John Howard well behind in its wake - creating its own newly ALP-constructed asylum seeker cruelty policy, from offshore detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to an international refugee trade deal with Malaysia.
31 August 2013: The Gillard government's offshore dumping policy (2) - Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on May 7, 2011, that all boat arrivals could well be subject to deportation to Manus Island on PNG for detention and processing purposes. The announcement and the announcement of a Malaysian 'refugee swap deal' started a heightened media interest in every single boat arrival, and ongoing speculation about the fate of these passengers resulted in a virtual media frenzy following boat arrivals.
What's on this page?
Below are all pages added to the website during the calendar year 2010, followed by our 2010 press releases.
16 December 2011: Evil Smugglers or Extreme Rhetoric? - The Political Origins and Development of Australia's People Smuggling Legislation. Jack Smit's Masters Thesis - The research findings indicate that the increasingly harsh measures imposed by successive Australian governments targeting smugglers and passengers represents an increasingly punitive and continuous series of policy proposals and parliamentary discourse...
12 December 2011: When Canberra neuters the courts - When asylum policies are unlawful, Australian politicians manipulate the law and make it legal. With the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011, the Gillard government responded just within the nick of time: one day before the courtcase was to come before the Victorian Court of Appeal, the measures were rammed through the House of Representatives within 54 minutes. Its sole purpose was to stymie the courtcase.
12 November 2011: A Suicide Bomber in Quetta and an Australian Poster - For Hazaras, it's bad enough being stuck in Quetta, Pakistan, when staying home in Afghanistan is too dangerous. Things get worse if you then get targeted in Quetta. Three recent photos of one such incident in Quetta show people are cleaning up the bodies against the backdrop of an Australian Government poster, depicting "a leaky boat" and warning people not to try to come to Australia in "the illegal way".
7 November 2011: Julia Gillard and Labor's factional warlords - The Gillard government's asylum politics in pictures. The raid on Kevin Rudd was not orchestrated by Julia Gillard, although she was a willing pawn in the ruthless raiding minds of the foolish apparatchiks in the right-wing factions of the Labor Party. Some members of these factions are known to have applauded John Howard and Philip Ruddock's merciless vilification of asylum seekers. A series of cartoons depicting the increasingly desperate political development vis-a-vis asylum seekers by the Gillard government.
6 November 2011: Australia's extra-judicial jailing of Indonesian children - We avoid the Criminal Code, because that would prevent us from jailing children without charges; we use discredited wrist X-ray testing to determine their ages without getting results in due time; while this goes on, our Immigration Department cowboys collude with Australian Federal Police in order to jail more than a hundred kids in adult Australian prisons. And barely anyone stirs this hornet's nest of Australia's medieval lock-em-up mentality.
5 November 2011: We're terrified of the boat people - We're terrified of the boat people: Children and boys are depicted as smugglers in Australia's psychotic war against boat arrivals. This is a page containing a number of media reports about the fate of those who sail asylum seeker boats to our shore.
16 April 2011: Island boys and Indonesian smuggling laws - Why did Indonesia formulate their anti-people smuggling laws? A massive political campaign has long told Australians that people smugglers are evil, that they are the scum of the earth, that they run a vile industry. That campaign has run in tandem with one convincing us that those sailing to Australia are 'illegal immigrants', 'queue jumpers' or 'economic forumshoppers'.
10 March 2011: Malcolm Fraser and 'commercial' refugee voyages - A published academic paper about Malcolm Fraser and refugee boats. Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was not the great humanitarian of Australian refugee policy many people have claimed in recent years. Such claims are held especially when painting a contrast with the hardline policies implemented by Prime Minister John Howard from 2001 onwards.
2 January 2011: The SIEV-221 drama: lessons from a disaster - Will anything be learnt from the wreckage of the SIEV-221 off Rocky Point? If anywhere Australian politics is broken and bankrupt, it is around maritime asylum seekers arriving on its shores. Labor is still captured in a fatal strangehold of its perpetual neurosis since the 2001 'Tampa election', while conservative-radical politician Tony Abbott and his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison continue with their brazen and opportunistic baiting of Labor with a continuous 'stop the boats' howling.
Media Releases 2011
|18 December 2011||United Nations needs to regulate international smuggling industry|
|1 December 2011||Boats 600 and 601 arrive safely in Australia - and they should be welcomed|
|23 November 2011||New 'Stuff You Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans' Deterring People Smuggling Bill ranks Australia amongst pariah nations|
|26 October 2011||Autocratic, arrogant, nasty, secretive and unanswerable ASIO has blood on its hands over Tamil detainee suicide|
|24 October 2011||Mass Hazara killings at Shia Muslim Rally took place in front of Australian Leaky Boat Billboard|
|26 September 2011||Windsor and Oakeshott should be wary of government "briefings" over Malaysia Amendments|
|8 September 2011||Immigration Chief Metcalfe should be sacked over xenophobic boat-phobia scaremongering|
|5 September 2011||Metcalfe Dreaming: Malaysia Swap success claims based on 1990's Immigration protection breaches|
|5 August 2011||Courts should remove Chris Bowen's Guardianship status|
|31 July 2011||Contravening all non-ALP parliamentarians, Bowen and Gillard confirm Australia's xenophobic boat neurosis|
|23 July 2011||No UNHCR Signature: Australia's political boat hypocrisy reaches its Historic Malaysia Summit next week|
|5 July 2011||Jailing of Child Smuggling accused exposes arrogant and lawless Immigration Department|
|12 June 2011||Promote Nauru at your own peril, Tony Abbott!|
|10 June 2011||Canberra's UNHCR Representative undermines "duty to protect" in Malaysian deal|
|9 May 2011||Boat arrives, and Gillard Labor's deliberately chosen human rights crimes are about to commence|
|7 May 2011||Prime Minister transforms into International Misery Trader and Queue Builder|
|6 May 2011||Colonial chiefdom Australia finds another slave nation to wipe its dirty arse|
|26 April 2011||Bowen "more extreme than Ruddock" in proposed Migration Act changes|
|14 March 2011||Claims of extreme police brutality on Christmas Island|
|27 February 2011||Scott Morrison's boat size bleating not supported by facts|
|23 February 2011||WA Liberal Senator makes her name as "racist rumour troll" in Senate Estimates|
|22 January 2011||Serious fuel supply and food crisis looms on Christmas Island|
|20 January 2011||Immigration Department hunger strike spin is callous and bankrupt|