Prai Minista Em Bin Brukim Promis Austrelia

Traditional PNG welcoming ceremony: a well-fed Rudd being paraded before hungry locals, as the drums roll faster and louder…

Is anyone really surprised?

Last Friday’s announcement by Prime Minister Redux Rudd, that as of now, all illegal boat arrivals would be sent to Papua New Guinea and, if assessed as genuine refugees, would be permanently resettled there, is an exercise as patently hollow as it is hopelessly flawed and contemptuous of the citizens he presumes to rule.

It’s true: the illegal people smuggling trade to Australia has now reached a level where, to do nothing, to merely continue to defend the existing policies of the Rudd/Gillard government, was no longer an option. From the negligible 50-odd arrivals per year under the Howard government’s “Pacific Solution” policy of temporary protection visas and mandatory detention offshore on Nauru, the arrivals have now snowballed to over one hundred per day.

It’s also true that the alarm felt by many ordinary Australians, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, at the very real and increasing level of violence directly attributable to gangs of young, male recent arrivals, could no longer be covered up by a politically correct media, or dismissed as simple racism by the public, or those tasked to clean up the mess. All of which can be the only explanation for our Dear Leader’s sudden epiphany:

Essentially, Rudd is now bribing the PNG government to take the asylum seeker problem off our hands. I’ll explain exactly how cynical and hypocritical this move actually is, and why it cannot possibly work, shortly. But to put it in context, especially for those of you unfamiliar with the country, a potted history first.

The modern Independent State of Papua New Guinea covers the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western half forming two Indonesian provinces collectively known as Irian Jaya, or West Irian), plus numerous island possessions in the Torres Strait and the Solomon, Bismarck and Coral Seas, of which more anon. It has a particularly complicated, and occasionally comical, political history. The south-east quarter of the island was first formally colonized in 1884, by Britain, as British New Guinea. Only, the colony of Queensland, in the person of shady Premier Sir Thomas McIlwraith, had already gone ahead and done so the year before on his own authority—in the name of Her Majesty, of course. The British government, dismissive of the impertinence of the Antipodean colonials and presumably invoking the principle of delegata potestas non potest delegari, repudiated McIlwraith’s actions (near-instantaneous communications with London having been established only eleven years previously), but having received financial guarantees from Down Under, did so themselves several months later anyway.

The north-east corner of the island, meanwhile, was colonized in the same year by Germany as Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, being part of their wider South Pacific colony of the same name (Deutsch-Neuguinea), to which were added several island possessions bought from Spain in 1899. PNG’s highest mountain still bears the old spikehead’s name. The western half, having been occupied by the Dutch for centuries, was formally colonized as (you guessed it) Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea, prior to annexation by Indonesia in 1962.

In 1905, to reduce confusion, the south-eastern possession was re-named the Territory of Papua and control formally passed to the newly-formed Commonwealth Dominion of Australia. In 1914, Australian troops attacked and defeated the small German military detachment, taking over German New Guinea (whose small European population consisted principally of copra plantation owners, traders and Christian missionaries) for the duration of the war. In 1919 this was formalized when Australia was granted a League of Nations Mandate over the territory, which it merged as the territory of Papua and New Guinea. For legal purposes, however, they remained as separate jurisdictions, both administered out of Brisbane. Those of you educated in the British Empire prior to 1975 may remember old classroom maps of the area looking something like this:

New Guinea, pre-independenceIn 1942, following the fall of Singapore, the Imperial Japanese Army attacked Rabaul and Buna, prior to a southerly advance towards Port Moresby, preparatory to a planned invasion of the Northern Australian mainland. They were repelled by Australian forces in the Kokoda Track Campaign of 1942-3, in which native recruits played invaluable rôles as scouts, spies and porters; the tying-up and loss of Japanese troops in land battles of this period was partly responsible for allowing the United States Navy to re-group following the Battle of the Coral Sea and continue its northerly assault upon Yamamoto’s naval forces northwards to the Philippines. New Guinea’s land-based military engagements thus played a pivotal part in the turn of fortunes in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War.

Christmas Day 1942: wounded Australian soldier being aided during Buna campaign

In 1949, the Chifley government passed the Papua and New Guinea Act, providing a structure for economic development of the combined territory and paving the way for self-rule. The House of Assembly was established in 1963, and independence formally granted on 16th September, 1975. Secessionists on Bougainville Island (geographically and culturally closer to the Solomon Islands than PNG), fearful of being ruled from Port Moresby, wasted no time in declaring independence, sparking an on-again-off-again civil war that lasted twenty years and claimed an estimated 20,000 lives, before Australia and New Zealand were compelled to provide logistical support, and afterwards a so-called “peace monitoring group”, to put a stop to it.

Today, PNG’s seven-million-odd population is a Babylonian mix of indigenous Papuans from thousands of tribes, plus Europeans (many descended from the original colonists), Chinese, Polynesians and Melanesians. Many modern Papua New Guineans have mixed ancestry, as have former Prime Ministers Julius Chan and Bill Skate, as well as the incumbent.

Tok Pisin is the official national language of PNG (along with Standard English and Hiri Motu, which are less widely spoken). As the name suggests, it’s a pidgin, basically a version of English with stripped-down spelling, vocabulary, syntax and grammar, and a lot of local words thrown in. It enables inhabitants of the linguistically most diverse nation on earth (anthropologists estimate some 800 of the original 4,500 native languages are still extant) to communicate with one another, in peace and war. Listen to it for a while and you get the gist of it. Most people educated in Australia prior to 1975 have at least a passing familiarity with it, due to it being taught, formally or informally, or for no other reason that many teachers had worked there as employees of the Queensland Education Department. I’m not particularly fluent myself, but I know plenty of people who have spent large chunks of their careers there and are so. The thread’s title, as I’m sure you’ve worked out, translates loosely as the Ruddbot’s been bullshitting us yet again.

Which brings me back to last Friday’s announcement. From the official government press release, all illegal boat arrivals henceforward will be detained on Manus Island, a PNG possession about 300 kilometres off the mainland coast north-east from Wewak, and the largest member of the Admiralty Islands chain. Those who are found to be genuine refugees will be re-settled in PNG, with no hope of being offered residency in Australia. Rudd came to the bargaining table with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill with plenty of sweeteners, the implications of which are only slowly becoming apparent.

In a more than usually mixed message, typical of Rudd’s policy-on-the-run, it appears that Rudd has surrendered control of Australia’s $500 million annual aid budget (the bulk of all foreign aid received by PNG), to a man himself facing the polls, the legitimacy of his incumbency in serious question, and in desperate need of an electoral war chest. From this article:

The Coalition has also attacked Mr Rudd for telling the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, that he could now control how PNG’s foreign aid budget was spent.

In a press conference on Monday, Mr O’Neill boasted that after striking his deal with Mr Rudd, the PNG government would “now set all the priorities under which Australian aid program will now be directed towards”.

“We will set the priorities on what sort of projects it will go to, where our priorities are, and where we need those projects most,” Mr O’Neill said. This deal would apply to the “entire” aid budget, he said.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said that Australia retained “normal control over the spending of its aid money in Papua New Guinea” but he suggested some control had been surrendered in the negotiations.

The list of reasons why this half-baked scheme cannot possibly work is longer than my own knowledge of the country; many commentators have articulated them at length (read the comments below this story for a feel of them), but here are a few that become obvious after even the most cursory examination:

Legality. It appears that, rather than being taken directly from waters off the Javanese coast (the usual intercept point for illegal people-smuggler boats for the Royal Australian Navy), to Manus Island, the immigrants will first be taken for processing, health checks and the like, to Australian territory. This provides the perfect loophole for human rights and refugee advocates in Australia, who have indicated they will use any means at their disposal, including appeals to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to keep them right here. This could potentially tie up the transfer of an individual detainee for years – a bonanza for lawyers.

This is even before the expected High Court challenge to the constitutionality of the move, on the grounds that it violates Australia’s international treaty obligations, specifically the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which I discussed back here.

Cost. Rudd’s financial commitment to O’Neill is uncapped in size and open-ended in duration. Arrivals dealt with in Australia, using the most cost-efficient means sought in open tender currently cost us billions of dollars per year, and is rising at an alarming rate. How much more is the PNG government going to slug us to do the same job?

Unenforceability. Once these asylum seekers have been re-settled on the PNG mainland, with local passports, what’s to stop them making the further trip southwards to Australia? Will the PNG government try to stop them? Having already received their payola, they have every reason not to, and be rid of them. The Torres Strait, which separates Australia from PNG, is dotted with tiny islands; there are only a couple of channels fit for navigation by any vessel larger than a shallow-draught fishing trawler, pilotage is mandatory, and elsewhere can be navigated only by motorized dinghy or outrigger canoe. As Queensland Premier Campbell Newman pointed out immediately following Rudd’s announcement, the sea distance between PNG and Australian territorial landfall is only four kilometres, much of which can even be waded at low tide! So what’s to stop an enterprising band of PNG locals from setting up their own people smuggling business to Cape York at the northern tip of Queensland, where the whole merry-go-round will start all over again? But by then, of course, the election, and all Rudd’s guarantees, having served their purpose, will be but a distant memory.

Cultural incompatibility. The majority of the illegal arrivals whom Rudd now proposes to re-settle in PNG are middle-class, highly-educated professionals from the cities of Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Where’s a peasant going to come up with thousands of U.S. dollars to pay a people smuggler? A resident photographer on Christmas Island has sent Michael Smith these pictures of boat arrivals from Iran, the women with boutique hairstyles (those not covered by head scarves anyway), laptop computers, designer clothing and luggage, including Louis Vuitton handbags, the men looking like they spend at least five days a week working out in the gym. Rudd thinks he’s putting up a deterrent by proposing to re-settle them in one of the poorest nations in the region, with a per capita GDP of just US$2800 and an (official) adult literacy rate of about 50%. A nation whose religion is a mixture of Christianity and various forms of black magic, where the very few resident Muslims keep their faith very much to themselves, and where language fluency runs mainly to very narrowly-dispersed tribal dialects, plus the local lingua franca, and have little or no desire to accommodate newcomers.

On the subject of Tok Pisin, you can hear a good sample of the spoken language (actually, a continuum between Tok Pisin and Standard English) in the EMTV news report below, including some very good questions being raised; questions which any self-respecting people would naturally ask, before agreeing to accept huge numbers of new citizens from another culture, and questions Australians have long been forbidden to ask themselves out loud:

Cannibalism, which it is often claimed has been eradicated from PNG, still exists in remote parts of the highlands, where it is said to persist as part of ritualistic celebrations arising from clan warfare (WARNING: do not google “cannibalism in PNG” unless you are prepared for some truly horrific imagery). Their term for human beings cooked and eaten as meat is “tall pig” (kukim long pik), and I do wonder how that bit of information might go down among the new New Guineans. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent; AusAID estimates at least 2% of the population is now HIV-positive (up from 1.5% in 2007), a figure that is the highest in the region and continues to rise at an alarming rate. Cholera is regarded as endemic, even by the Australian government’s own travel advisory service. It’s impossible to believe Rudd and whoever is advising him have actually thought this through.

Unpreparedness. Using Manus Island as a detention centre for illegal boat arrivals in Australia has one other tiny little problem: There are currently only 300 beds available, 120 or so of which are currently filled. Taking the rate of arrivals since Rudd’s announcement, Manus’ carrying capacity should be reached by, uhh…


No problem, smiles Immigration Minister Tony Burke. We’ll just send over tents! Oh, really, Minister? With tens of thousands of arrivals per year, do you really want pictures like this one, of a refugee camp in Africa, beamed around the world as evidence of your humanitarian asylum seeker policy?

I didn’t think so.

Even the facilities currently on Manus are woefully inadequate, and a national disgrace; this story, aired on SBS television the other night, detailing rampant disease and sexual assault occurring among detainees, has sparked outrage, and has led to Manus being branded as Australia’s own “Devil’s Island”. Burke assures us that new facilities to accommodate up to 3,000 detainees have been ordered (and I’ll have more to say about that in a second), to be ready sometime next year. Or maybe the year after. But what is three thousand, next to ten times that number which have arrived in Australia in just the past twelve months? Half-baked, slapdash, back-of-an-envelope, thought-bubble: choose your own descriptor: a mess by any name.

Corruption. Transparency International ranks Papua New Guinea as one of the most corrupt nations on the planet; 37% of PNG survey respondents report having paid a bribe to the police, and a staggering 20% to the judiciary. The new arrivals have already paid thousands in bribes to people smugglers, and so will think nothing of throwing a few kina the way of some local judge, bureaucrat or cop to look the other way, while they get on making their way to their real destination—Australia. And given the corruption of petty officials, who can guess in whose pockets large chunks of Australia’s half-billion-dollar annual aid budget will end up courtesy of senior government officials, now that O’Neill has been gifted by Rudd this vast, personal slush fund?

The corruption on the PNG side, tawdry and venal as it is, isn’t even the worst of it, by a long way. Michael Smith has done an excellent bit of investigative journalism here and here, in reporting on the highly unusual circumstances surrounding the awarding of the tender for construction of the new expanded facilities on Manus to industrial infrastructure provider Decmil, and the market trading in Decmil shares in the days prior to the public announcement of the winning tenderer. It has the makings of possibly one of the worst insider-trading scandals in Australian securities history. I’m sure Michael will have more on this as it develops.

Hypocrisy. Rudd is clearly banking on the rest of us having an extremely short memory. As Opposition Leader, he continually lambasted the inhumanity of Howard’s Pacific Solution, while piously asserting the Christian underpinnings of his own approach, based upon the teachings of his hero, WW2-era German theologian Deitrich Bonhoeffer. In a 2006 essay in The Monthly, he wrote:

Another great challenge of our age is asylum seekers. The biblical injunction to care for the stranger in our midst is clear. The parable of the Good Samaritan is but one of many which deal with the matter of how we should respond to a vulnerable stranger in our midst. That is why the government’s proposal to excise the Australian mainland from the entire Australian migration zone and to rely almost exclusively on the so-called Pacific Solution should be the cause of great ethical concern to all the Christian churches. We should never forget that the reason we have a UN convention on the protection of refugees is in large part because of the horror of the Holocaust, when the West (including Australia) turned its back on the Jewish people of Germany and the other occupied countries of Europe who sought asylum during the ’30s.

See? Calling into question Rudd’s asylum seeker policy makes you a…

So how come now, he’s advocating a solution far harsher than anything Howard dared imagine? What does that make Rudd? Hard to believe it’s the same Kevin Rudd who last week wrote:

Arriving in Australia by boat will no longer mean settlement in Australia.

Australians have had enough of seeing people drowning in the waters to our north.

Our country has had enough of people smugglers exploiting asylum seekers and seeing them drown on the high seas.

We are sick of watching our servicemen and women risking their lives in rescues in dangerous conditions on the high seas.

Regional processing arrangements in Papua New Guinea will be significantly expanded and people will be sent to Manus Island as soon as health checks are complete and appropriate accommodation is identified.


As I write this, today’s papers—even the Labor-friendly Fairfax Media—are reporting that the PNG solution is in tatters. Having announced it, so recently and with such fanfare and high-handedness, the government cannot back away from it now, before the election—which, one assumes, can no longer be held any time soon, lest the backlash hit Labor; late September at the earliest, most commentators are agreed, and possibly as late as 30 November, the last possible date permitted by the Constitution—which would leave Rudd accused of “being dragged kicking and screaming to the polls”. We’ll see.

Or maybe, the backdown is starting already—only six days after the policy was announced! SBS is reporting this morning that 70 asylum seekers already on Manus will be returned to Australia, to make way for more, fresh arrivals. Is that how the back-down will operate—as a refugee shell game? Moral high ground, my arse.

Four more months of this make-it-up-as-we-go-along government—let alone three more years—our country does not need. Or want. Call the election today.

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36 Responses to Prai Minista Em Bin Brukim Promis Austrelia

  1. Ozboy says:

    Some excellent points raised by Piers Akerman in his column in the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning. Akerman, who was born in PNG, has spoken to many eminent citizens there about the Rudd-O’Neill deal; all believe it’s a crock, which will cause PNG massive problems down the track.

    Akerman points out that Christianity is formally recognized in PNG’s constitution. I wasn’t aware of that, so I looked it up; sure enough, it’s right there in the preamble – along with “the memory of our ancestors”, “our noble traditions”, “the family unit”, and “the Melanesian family”. The point here is that importing large numbers of Muslim refugees could conceivably be subject to constitutional challenge in the PNG Supreme Court; though confusingly, the constitution also goes on to assert equality of citizens regardless of (among other things) religion. We’ll see – if it ever gets that far.

    Andrew Bolt points out this morning that if the PNG solution was designed as a deterrent, one week after the announcement, it hasn’t worked so far. 700 arrivals since the announcement – 100 per day, business as usual.

  2. izen says:

    The various proposal on how to deal with immigrants before an election are not meant to be functional methods of dealing with any sort of immigration. They are tribal solidarity appeals in which those competing for leadership of a tribe try and convince voters they are a more devoted member of the tribe, worthy of their trust, by competing in how aggressive they can be in attacking the chosen ‘outsider’ group.

    This is not a new political strategy.

    One side claims all boat people will be escorted to a convenient nearby client state that will, for a fee, enact a process that will prevent any foreign immigrant foot from reaching the mainland.
    This is only superficially plausible, but no more than that is required to enable the stance of taking a hard line on immigration to be presented.
    The other side then claims they will treat immigrants on boats as a quasi-military campaign, turning away boats, ‘when safe’.
    A clear case of upping the anti in the how strongly they support the tribe against the enemy.
    Obviously this approach would prompt boats to be scuttled as soon as the Australian flotilla caught them.

    Its that least attractive aspect of political theatre, jingoism.
    Directed at people who look, talk and believe differently than the ‘proper members of the tribe’

    Like the UK, Australia has the advantage of being an island. Passengers on boats and planes can be blocked by sanctioning the businesses who sell transport to immigrants who are not government approved.

    But it means those that try to gain unauthorised access end up in illegally run boats. You can only sink and drown so many women and children before it becomes politically unacceptable. Or at least you cannot do it too often, or blatantly. Look up Italy’s record on dealing with boat immigrants from the African coast.

    It would probably be much more effective to target the people smuggling networks and their links to boats and harbour facilities.
    But that would not play as well as a tribal machismo sign in a vote capture contest.

    It’s certainly about politicians’ interest, and not the national interest. Appeal to tribal instincts is not a new technique of demagogues, nor is it confined to any one side of politics – Oz

  3. Ozboy says:

    Andrew Bolt finally gets to interview KRudd. Unable to provide straightforward answers to straightforward questions, either on PNG or the Carbon Tax, Rudd is reduced to calling Bolt a “denier”:

  4. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Oz

    I see the pre election competition is on

    the competition to see which one can earn the title of the NASTY party

    Of course we’re all so free, now that the Berlin Wall has gone, anyone is free to take their skills and labour where it is most highly valued, and such innovations as state funded sit down money, state funded health care and labour union membership, are essential parts of civil the civil society which guarantee us those freedoms

  5. Luton Ian says:

    Damn, the HTML tags for [sarcasm] gon buggaup

    chances are some poor sod will think I actually believe what I wrote

  6. Luton Ian says:

    paging Kitler
    Microsoft just asked for permission to update “Security Essentials”

    In light of “prism” their “privacy statement” is more interesting for what it doesn’t say than for what it does

    I’m tired of having MS spyware installed to protect me from windaz vulnerabilities. interested in your thoughts on this:

  7. farmerbraun says:

    In response to an interesting video from the West Island of Godzone (filmed on a bus), OZ asserted that there was absolutely no xenophobia in evidence on the Mainland.
    He was wrong:-)

    We’ve visited this already.

    A nation state – leviathan or not – that cannot control its own borders is unworkable, if it offers comprehensive welfare to all residents, as opposed to only citizens. Take away that universal welfare, and the boat arrivals would make no difference (in any case, they’d stop). Nor does the ethnicity of the arrivals have any bearing either; otherwise the concerns of PNG locals would be racism too – Oz

    On the subject of xenophobia, you might get a chuckle out of this – it’s being dubbed “the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done”.

    Just goes to show ya – never send an ex-beauty pageant queen out to interview a professor 😆

  8. Ozboy says:

    Fijian Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola made the same point today as the PNG locals about the Rudd solution.

    Meanwhile, KRudd popped by Afghanistan yesterday for a pre-election photo op. Paul Zanetti’s take (click through to the Pickering blog):

  9. izen says:

    @- A nation state – leviathan or not – that cannot control its own borders is unworkable, if it offers comprehensive welfare to all residents, as opposed to only citizens. Take away that universal welfare, and the boat arrivals would make no difference (in any case, they’d stop).

    Part of the requirement of modern global capitalism is that products are allowed to move unfettered across borders, but the workers that make them are not. This allows products, and services, to be provided by workers in a poor country with very low wages and then sold in another country with much higher wages for much more than the indigenous population of the producing country could pay. The result is that the business {which is probably based in a third tax-haven} makes money from the inability of the poor in one country to travel to another with better wages while the products and services they provide can travel across national boundaries.

    I am unconvinced that immigration would stop if the welfare system was not available for new immigrants. There may be a small percentage who intend to exploit the welfare system, but most are intending to exploit the higher standard of living that is in part a consequence of a first world society welfare system, to improve their standard of living by earning a much higher wage than they could in their country of origin. As has often been revealed by census studies new immigrants are more likely to be young, fit, working and paying more tax than the average compared to the general population. They are a net gain for a society finacially, not a drain.

    Issues of cultural compatibility or conflict have more to do with the ability of the host society to absorb diversity and the flexibility of the incomers to adapt to change.

    Your first paragraph echoes my own arguments back here concerning Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage. It’s true, in an ideal world there would be no impediment to free movement of labour across borders. Freedom of movement is a fundamental tenet of Liberty. But in the less-than-ideal world we have at the moment, for one developed nation to change its laws unilaterally to allow this, would be to its own destruction. Which is why they don’t.

    Re the issue of economic gain for society, it is quite ironic that, as I said at the top, the majority of those currently arriving illegally in Australia are educated, wealthy and probably religiously moderate. Just the sort of people that in other circumstances we’d be happy to have settle here and yes, almost certainly would become productive members of society. But it shifts the power to dictate immigration policy into the hands of the people smugglers, rather than politicians we elect ourselves – Oz

  10. Ozboy says:

    Locals on Manus Island today echo the sentiments of their mainland countrymen. The social problems this will cause the population of Manus are immense.

    PNG’s elder statesman, Sir Michael Somare, condemns the Rudd solution:

    Hard to find anyone outside Rudd’s own claque who thinks it’s a good idea.

  11. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Oz

    quick disaggreement on two of the points you make in your reply to Izen.

    First your explicit point that to remove immigration restrictions in today’s world would bring bad results.
    -Only if you consider any change from the status quo of the present day land down under a bad thing…

    You’ll have more people doing productive things and increasing the material prosperity of everyone. Hong Kong, and Singapore were subject to big inflows of people from all sorts of backgrounds – with a bit of economic freedom, look at what they’ve done.

    I know that any big place with economic and social freedom is likely to be viewed as a threat and a target for “democratization” by the big satan, but I don’t see that as reason not to have those freedoms, including freedom of movement.

    Your implicit point that liberty is trumped by an imperfect world…

    that is the excuse used by all tyrannies.

    Liberty is for all of the hard questions as well as the few easy ones – and it has a way of working itself through the restrictions –
    what proportion of boats are intercepted?
    of those which are not – how many hundreds of thousands of people have got onto whatever “underground railroads” have developed and serve to move them into the wider australian society?
    The policy of impounding or sinking of intercepted boats – does that incentivize the smugglers to use more, or less, sea worthy craft?

    The more I think this through, the more I think that some good honest libertarian help to frustrate the border controls and help individual migrants, will be to the benefit of both those people and liberty in general

    sure it will hurt the bureaucracy and its attempts to buy votes with special privilege and OPM

    is that bad?

    It’s only disagreement if you overlook my comments re welfare; which you appear to have. So I’ll state it again: abolish comprehensive, universal welfare for everyone resident, extorted from the citizenry (which is part of what I was referring to by today’s “less than ideal world”), and boat arrivals a) are no longer a concern, and b) would stop anyway- at any rate from the populations where, five years after arrival in Australia, their dependency on welfare is still over 80%. Why else do you think these “refugees” have bypassed a dozen other, closer countries where they could have claimed safe haven, en route to Australia?

    Perhaps you might like to listen to this podcast by Michael Smith, who has actually been to the source of the problem, for a graphic picture of the sort of people we are really talking about here. Definitely not Libertarian-minded!

    I might also add a few points, such as abolishing the red tape surrounding new land releases, so housing can be built to accommodate the new arrivals (Australia currently has a housing shortage for this reason), and getting rid of restrictive employment legislation, thus freeing up the job market; the closer we are to a truly Libertarian society and free-market economy, the less of an issue new arrivals present – Oz

  12. Ozboy says:

    Another of PNG’s leaders, Oro Province Governor Garry Juffa, joins the condemnation of the Rudd policy. I suspect that after Tony Abbott takes office this year (and that is no longer certain) a formal apology to PNG may be in order.

  13. Luton Ian says:

    Apologies Oz
    My bad, mis read and comment in haste; cringe and repent at leisure.

    No worries.

    BTW arrivals in July hit a record 4309; annualized to almost 50,000 (taking into account the monsoon lull). To put it in context, that’s 0.25% of Australia’s population, arriving illegally in just one year – Oz

  14. izen says:

    @- “So I’ll state it again: abolish comprehensive, universal welfare for everyone resident, extorted from the citizenry”

    I understand this is an ideological principle, but it runs counter to all empirical evidence. I can think of no advanced civilised society that has avoided providing some sort of welfare system. All complex urban societies have found it necessary to provide a redistributive system of welfare just as they have found it unavoidable to provide health, transport and water management systems. They are the defining characteristic of societies that have gone beyond simple tribal pastoralism.
    Can you name any society, extant or historical that did not provide welfare that you would want to live in?

    @- “five years after arrival in Australia, their dependency on welfare is still over 80%.”

    I have seen this claim, or others in a similar vein, made before, but with no evidence to support it. Or at least it turns out to apply only to a very specific and extremely small subset of all immigrants. Do you have any better evidence for such an assertion or like so many other anti-immigrant polemic is it a very partial reading of the reality?

    You’ve misread me a couple of times in this comment.

    Firstly, (and, I hope, for the last time) I am not against any and all welfare for citizens; there is a societal bargain here, and I made my own position clear back here, three years ago next Monday as it happens. Welfare for anyone who happens to manage to land on our shores is quite another matter. Beyond not allowing illegal, economic immigrants to starve, the less the better.

    Secondly, I was hoping not to have to spell it out, but there are overwhelmingly conclusive statistics in academia and government (take it as read that I’ve seen them and their provenance, but I’m not going to dig them up right now) showing high levels of unemployment, as I’ve outlined, in certain ethnic groups who have made their way to Australia illegally, and for one reason or another been allowed to say. These certain ethnic groups are similarly over-represented in crime statistics; it has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the toxic cultures from which they came, and which they refuse to relinquish.

    I hasten to add that every such negative generalization has its glowing exceptions, and this is the case in Australia as well – Oz

  15. Ozboy says:

    Just as I predicted… from this morning’s PNG Post-Courier (H/T Andrew Bolt):

    Opposition Leader Belden Namah has resurrected his court challenge on the Government’s decision on Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island.

    The Opposition’s court challenge was filed yesterday as the first group of asylum seekers numbering 40 arrived on the island with the new resettlement policy agreed between Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Australia’s Kevin Rudd coming in to play.

    The new policy denies asylum seeker boat arrivals entry to Australia and they are sent to Manus Island for processing and potential resettlement here in the country.

    The Opposition’s first constitutional challenge was thrown out on technicalities in that it did not use the correct mode to apply for a Constitutional Reference.

    The Constitutional Reference is basically asking the court to rule that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries is unconstitutional and should be scraped.

    In the application that was filed yesterday, the Opposition leader is requesting the Court to declare that the proper interpretation or application of Section 42 of the Constitution is that transferees brought to Papua New Guinea by Australian Government and detained at the relocation centre on Manus Island is contrary to the constitutional rights of the transferees to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 42 of the Constitution; and that Section 42(i)(g) of the Constitution does not apply to transferees under the MoU.

    Lawyer for Namah and a very senior Constitutional Lawyer Loani Henao told Post-Courier that this was the same application that they had tried to prosecute earlier.

    He said: “We will be arguing that all persons coming into the country are guaranteed their personal liberty except in the case where they come to the country without a visa or proper work permit”.

    When asked about the new resettlement policy, Mr Henao said he will have to seek instructions from his client but if the need arises than there may be some amendment to the application. The matter will go to court on Monday for directional hearing.

    That can be the only reason Rudd today was reduced to the humiliating position of resurrecting John Howard’s Nauru solution – you remember, the one that in 2006 as Opposition Leader, he denounced as cruel, inhumane and un-Christian.

    He must think we all have a very short memory indeed.

  16. Ozboy says:

    The Sydney Sunday Telegraph today reports Rudd is planning to expand Manus even further, to house up to 10,000 illegal immigrants.

    Kevin Rudd will warn people smugglers he stands ready to create an island from hell in Papua New Guinea housing 10,000 asylum seekers.

    Put into context, that’s about 100 days’ worth of arrivals at the current rate, which shows no signs of slowing.

    A permanent fix it isn’t. Rudd is flailing about wildly for a solution, amid reports that the PM will visit the Governor-General today or tomorrow, to ask her to issue the writs for an election on 7 September.

  17. Ozboy says:

    Rudd has just entered Government House (the Governor-General’s residence in Canberra). so we should hear an announcement of an election date within the hour.

    More shortly.

  18. Ozboy says:

    PM left Government house, on his way to Parliament House for a press conference. Souldn’t be more than a few minutes away.

  19. Ozboy says:

    Press conference scheduled for 4pm AEST. (30 mins time)

    Tony Abbott is en route to Canberra right now, should hear from him later this evening.

  20. Ozboy says:

    The ugly side (actually, one of several ugly sides) of the PNG solution.

  21. Ozboy says:

    Rudd’s posted it on Facebook, so now it’s official: 7 September.

  22. Kitler says:

    I hope you don’t use Diebold voting machines they can er be somewhat interesting when it comes to registering peoples votes, like exactly opposite of whom they thought they were voting for party wise. They also allow over 105% of the total of potential voters in a district to vote.

    We’re a bit backward down here, we use paper and pencil – Oz

  23. Ozboy says:

    Rudd’s holding his press conference as I type this, has announced 7 September election, and somehow didn’t mention Julia Gillard once.

  24. Ozboy says:

    Constantly bagged Tony Abbott for his “negativity”. Rudd’s got a pair, I’ll say that for him. This is the same Rudd who spent three years doing little else than undermining Gillard’s leadership.What a guy!

  25. Ozboy says:

    Started to get extremely nervous when bombarded with questions about his government’s track record on the economy. Kept harping on about Abbott, then terminated the press conference and fled. Not a good look for a national leader.

  26. Ozboy says:

    Fairfax has posted the full text of Rudd’s speech here.

  27. Ozboy says:

    No word as yet when Tony Abbott will make a formal reply. Will keep you posted.

  28. Ozboy says:

    Greens Leader Christine Milne currently giving a press conference in Hobart. Tony Abbott said to be speaking to camera in a few minutes.

    Milne is distancing the Greens from Labor, clever since another hung parliament is unlikely.

  29. Ozboy says:

    Abbott holding a press conference in Canberra, talking about devolving control over hospitals and schools to local authorities, less centralized control. Subsidiarity – love it!

    Says he will stop illegal immigration using the same, proven methods of the Howard government.

  30. Kitler says:

    “We’re a bit backward down here, we use paper and pencil – Oz”
    Be thankful for that one all you have to look forward to is amazingly found stuffed ballot boxes in the backs of cars in Chicago like areas.

  31. Ozboy says:

    Abbott rules out leading a minority government in the event of another hung parliament. Have to think that one through. Worth three more years of Labor for standing on ceremony?

  32. Ozboy says:

    The betting market is probably the best indicator – people participating in opinion polls aren’t putting down any of their own hard-earned. Centrebet has the Coalition shortening from $1.30 to $1.27, the ALP blowing out from $3.50 to $3.60. Sportsbet still has them at $1.30 and $3.50. Shortest odds are on a Coalition government with 91-100 seats in the 150-seat Lower House ($4.80), the longest odds on Labor winning 101+ seats ($34.00). That’s a bit rude – worth a better price than that, surely?

  33. Ozboy says:

    One of the more interesting twists of the upcoming poll surrounds the half-Senate election which will take place on the same day. Julian Assange, whose newly-formed Wikileaks Party will be fielding Senate candidates in each state (or so they say – only NSW, Vic and WA candidates have been announced), is himself running for a Senate seat in Victoria, despite currently being holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In this interview, he claims the ALP’s own internal polling has Assange’s party garnering up to 40% of the under-30s vote. If translated nationwide, it would give Wikileaks the balance of power in the Senate, obliterate the Greens’ influence, and make Assange himself potentially the most powerful man in Australia.

    And what a diplomatic nightmare! The United States, which wants Assange extradited to Sweden to face a sexual assault charge there, wants him then taken to U.S. territory where he could be charged with a number of espionage offences, some of which carry the death penalty. But what if Assange becomes on 8 September, the holder of the balance of power in the parliament of its closest ally in the southern hemisphere? I don’t know how that would pan out, but it seems the U.S. would have no option but to grit their teeth and cut some sort of deal before June 2014 (when the newly-elected Senators take their seats) to allow Assange to return to Australia.

  34. Luton Ian says:

    Having one of the world’s most urbanized populations would make you rather convenient for “democtratization” if no deal is forthcoming on Assange.

    I’m sure that the administrations petroleum cronies would be very interested in a slice of the action at Coobar Peddy too

    Coca-colonization? Already happened – Oz

  35. farmerbraun says:

    “I don’t know how that would pan out, but it seems the U.S. would have no option but to grit their teeth and cut some sort of deal before June 2014 (when the newly-elected Senators take their seats) to allow Assange to return to Australia.”

    Whistling Dixie? Don’cha just love dat chune?

    Like I said, I don’t know how it would pan out. They’ve let worse than Assange off the hook, for all sorts of reasons. A lot will depend on Tony Abbott’s viewpoint, once he’s PM – Oz

  36. Luton Ian says:

    The big street gang called the United state freddyguv has an unforgiving hardman reputation to maintain. In the past it has nuked two cities which had zero military importance in a war that was already won, it has backed military coups and murderous dictatorships around the globe, and gassed then roasted children as it demolished the buildings they were in with armoured personnel carriers – then claimed to be saving them from abuse…

    Would the Rainbow Warrior bomb have received publicity if it were planted by Yanks instead of by frogs who no one is frightened of? I doubt it.

    I’d love every individual in the whole world to see states for what they are, but I don’t wish anyone to loose their life for that – even Assange.

    Good luck to the Assange party, but expect violent retribution from the big satan.

    ps, has anyone any links corroborating the story that Assange’s [rather disappointing] shag in Sweden, was a mossad agent?

    I have no doubt Uncle Sam would love Assange to be “disappeared”, but only in such a way that they couldn’t be fingered for it. Anyway, Assange can’t be called a “traitor”, as he isn’t a U.S. citizen. What’s Brucker Bummer’s excuse? Oz

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