August 9, 2006

Petro Georgiou’s speech on the Migration Bill

Posted in politics, refugees at 7:09 am by thelawthoughts

The Australian runs the full text of Petro Georgiou’s speech to Parliament today on the Migration reforms proposed by our government.

Please, people, read it. I promise it is worth it, if only to be shocked at how far these reforms really do go.

Petro, you are a good, good man.

Latest on the Asylum changes (updated)

Posted in politics, refugees at 12:52 am by thelawthoughts

Well, not that I have any news the ABC doesn’t.

However, some quick observations. Backbenchers are not taking the moral high ground? No, they are ‘looking at us from the ditch’. Get real, Mr. Thompson.

Good on Petro. If you are going to spend 10 years in Parliament doing nothing, this is as good a law as you could get to stand up against.

Good on you Barny. Instead of dismissing backbench protests, Uncle Barnaby is prepared to listen. He says ‘I think the people who advocate the position for greater breadth in the asylum laws are not moral bankrupts, nor are they stupid people…I think they have a valid position and you should give them the dignity of listening to them.”

Well, yeah. Newsflash, John Winston. If you try and pass crap, badly thought out, morally bankrupt laws which flout your international obligations, without listening to protest from within your party, you get floor-crossers. This is not a case of a few people holding the party hostage. It is a case of not taking into account the view of the party room in a democratic way. They keep saying what they are saying; their position is not new.

Migration laws in this country are about as tight as they ever need to be. It is not as if the country is baying for more restrictions on migrants. So, the latest backbench revolt cannot even be quelled by the argument that these laws are politically expedient. My argument would be that the tighter the law gets, the more angry the electorate is getting.

UPDATE: Charles Richardson, in today’s Crikey.com newsletter, argues as follows:

“[P]erhaps it’s time to turn the spotlight the other way, and look at the 120-odd Coalition MPs and senators who are going to vote for the legislation. Instead of asking “why are there dissidents?”, we should be asking “why are there so few of them?”.

After all, this legislation proposes to tear up Australia’s international obligations more comprehensively than anything that was done in the immediate post-Tampa period. And at that time the government had the excuse of a number of refugee boats arriving in a short period, plus desperate political imperatives at home.

Now it has neither. Moreover, the legislation was transparently drafted in response to Indonesian pressure – normally not a vote-winner in either the party room or the electorate.”

June 8, 2006

Refugee Detention Legislation

Posted in politics, refugees at 7:45 am by thelawthoughts

Andrew Bartlett, as usual, provides a comprehensive inside view of the possible defeat of the newest piece of keep them out legislation.

It is interesting to note that finally cracks are starting to appear in the Howard government. Pieces of legislation are being put back because of backbench murmurings. Privatisations are put on hold. The winds are changing?