Prime Minister Rudd has struck a deal with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to take asylum seekers [those coming here by boat without a visa] and in effect abnegating asylum seekers settlement in Australia.
I then ask, is this a bandaid approach for the moment [it’s a one year agreement with PNG] and a smart political strategy to clean up our backyard before the election?
The average Australian will say ‘great, no more boats’, however, they will not understand the ramifications, reasoning and motives. This latest decision will be a financial burden for all fellow
Mr Rudd stated (the Age, July 20) in regard the cost, “will not be inexpensive”, let’s make the PMs statement clearer, the meaning is actually ‘will be expensive.’ Yet no comment was made as to how
much, it would be nice to see a comparison between what we pay now and the budget forecast. I hope Mr Abbot will investigate further.
Could the expense be the same as processing and settlement in Australia? If so, then the agreement with PNG is arguably not necessary. Furthermore, does PNG have the ability to resource the action in
the policy agreement?
Funding Foreign Nations In Education and Other Areas
Here is the kicker: the interesting fact is that part of the enticement to PNG is for Australians to subsidise health, administration and university costs in PNG. The last point is interesting,
considering that earlier this year our Government initiated cuts of $2.3 billion to higher education – the outcome arguably helping some Australians to a Dickensian future. We cannot afford our
own education, yet we are now funding university costs for a foreign nation.
My contention with this latest government decision [in a nutshell] is:
1. Arguably, this will not stop the boats and will not save asylum seeker lives (there must be a better way).
2. Concern for PNGs ability to resource, support and uphold the human rights of the asylum seekers. Is there a monitoring process established?
3. This will be a financial impost to all Australians, how much? We don’t know (this is the scary part).
4. There may be legal challenges to the validity of the policy and possible ramifications (watch this space)
5. How will Australia fund this latest quick-fix? Will there be another levy on each worker? Will further cuts to education in Australia result? Will taxes/rates go up? All good questions, can we
have an answer please Mr Rudd?
In closing, I do not believe this political manoeuvre is of any benefit to Australia, nor do I believe it will stop the people smugglers from transporting asylum seekers here on unsafe boats.