A possie in Aussie

May 26, 2009

Expensive, inefficient, stupid and unfair system: that’s what the Coalition wants

The West Australian reports that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Migration chair Michael Danby said the Rudd government had already taken steps to improve the detention system, like removing debts accrued by detainees in detention.

“The committee acknowledges that this is one of many welcome changes to government policy…however…we can and must do better,” Mr Danby said. Detainees should be allowed to work: report

Mr Danby seems to be speaking a little prematurely, however.

Andrew Bartlett reports on the change of course of the Coalition that may imperil the passing of the bill. Charging people for locking them up

Andrew notes that the recommendation was supported by Liberal MPs at the time, but that a report in the Brisbane Times shows a u-turn:

“The Opposition immigration spokeswoman, Sharman Stone, took a submission to shadow cabinet recommending the Coalition support the bill. She was rolled.

“It was argued that the Opposition could not blame Labor’s “softening” of policy for the latest surge in boat arrivals, and then support such a bill. Furthermore, the Coalition believed philosophically that taxpayers should not bear the full cost of illegal arrivals. The party room ratified the decision on budget day and only a few moderates, including Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan, complained.” Abbott foray will highlight tussle within Coalition

Andrew Bartlett comments:

“It seems that a system which:

•    hinders the effective settlement of many migrants;

•    does not deter a single asylum seeker;

•    is expensive and inefficient to administer;

•    treats people in administrative detention who have not been convicted of anything worse than criminals in jails by charging them the cost of their imprisonment might be being retained, and

•    was unanimously recommended to be abolished “as a priority” by all members of a parliamentary Inquiry that examined the issue thoroughly;

may now end up being retained – presumably because it suits the Opposition to paint it as an example of the government allegedly being ‘soft’.”

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