Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Solution That Never Was

The so called Pacific Solution is finally coming to an end. From the beginning, it sounded like the name of some fascist pogrom from a past era, and that in itself should have alerted all of us to the massive con that it was.

The only asylum-seeker crisis that ever existed was the manufactured crisis peddled by the previous government for its own political purposes. Having manufactured the crisis in the first place, it became politically useful to escalate it by creating the Pacific Solution. The sheer audacity of the deception involved now becomes apparent with the realization that the last remaining asylum-seekers on Nauru have now all been recognized as genuine refugees. Not only that, but they have been approved for resettlement…. Guess where! In Australia.

What was it the previous Prime Minister said about who will determine who comes into this country? Not only was the Pacific Solution an enormous con job, but it ultimately turned out to be an expensive exercise in complete futility. There was never any reason why asylum seekers could not be detained and assessed at our existing facilities here in Australia.

There remains of course the problem of Nauru, and the other Pacific Islands which were part of the program. They have benefited from the money spent by Australian taxpayers in their countries. Nauru in particular is a nation almost entirely bereft of economic opportunity. And now the money from the Australian detention centre will stop.

Australia has a regional responsibility to contribute towards the economic development of our Pacific neighbours, and that responsibility is now all the greater as the Pacific Solution comes to an end.

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