About 10 days ago Foxtel’s A-PAC Channel, Channel 648, broadcast a lengthy panel discussion of Australia’s growing refugee problem. Their collective observations and comments are even more pertinent today following the drowning of more asylum seekers near Christmas Island in the past few days.
A concrete suggestion during the discussion was the processing of refugees at or nearer their point of origin. Processing in Indonesia was raised as a possibility.
Even better, could we not in concert with other countries, prioritize individuals in or near the refugee camps from whence the majority of our refugees flee. At least we could provide them with a waiting list timetable for attention.
The mandatory detention policy is just punitive. It is a policy which needs re-evaluation. Why incarcerate desperate individuals, be it on Nauru or in Malaysia?
There is no thornier problem in Australian politics than this. Surely both sides could avoid trying to make political mileage from the plight of refugees!