JOHN MENADUE. Drownings at sea and ‘the more boats that come the better’

Mar 1, 2019

 To divert attention from the politicking and cruel treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, Scott Morrison tells us that  Coalition policy is designed  to stop drownings at sea. That is rank hypocrisy. It is nothing of the sort.  Its ‘boats policy’ is crass  and cruel party  politics.

It is self-deception or worse for Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton to suggest that its policies towards asylum seekers  have been motivated by humanitarian concerns and not political advantage. Perhaps with guilty consciences self-deception is essential.

In Opposition the Coalition was not interested in stopping the boats to save people drowning at sea. Its political objective was to stop the Labor Government stopping the boats. That is why the Coalition with cooperation from the populist Greens voted in the  House of Representatives against amendments to the Migration Act which would have allowed the Malaysian Arrangement to proceed and curb boat arrivals, in cooperation with UNHCR. By frustrating the government, the Coalition showed no interest in stopping drownings at sea. Scott Morrison voted against the Malaysian Arrangement

On 10 December 2010 the SMH reported from Wikileaks that ‘A key Liberal Party strategist’ had told a US diplomat in Canberra in November 2009 that the issue of asylum seekers was ‘fantastic’ for the Coalition and ‘that the more boats that come the better’. Scott Morrison was the ‘strategy director’ for the 2007 NSW election campaign.

With such a cynical approach, it’s hard to see much concern for innocent asylum seekers who might drown at sea.

Scott Morrison told us on many occasions that asylum seekers bring disease, everything from TB to Hepatitis C, to Chlamydia and Syphilis. He told talk-back radio that he had seen asylum seekers bring wads of cash and large displays of jewellery. He urged the Coalition to ramp up its questioning … to capitalise on anti-Muslim sentiment.

Does that sound like genuine concern for the lives of asylum seekers? Does the cruelty and denial of medical support for the souls on Manus and Nauru suggest genuine concern about lives lost at sea?

Scott Morrison and Senator Abetz both called for the registration of asylum seekers moving into residential areas on bridging visas, just like paedophiles. Does that sound like genuine concern for asylum seekers?

To provoke hostility to asylum seekers,  Scott Morrison  and Peter Dutton both continue to call asylum seekers ‘illegals’. They hope that we would think that asylum seekers were akin to criminals. That doesn’t  show much concern for the rights of asylum seekers.

The Coalition’s campaign to demonise asylum seekers is overwhelmingly for political reasons.

So  please spare us the propaganda of suggesting that the Coalition’ policy on refugees is to stop drownings at sea.  It is not. It is crass and cruel  party politics.

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