Following on from controversially limiting his relationship with the world’s media to weekly set-piece press conferences at which he steadfastly refused to offer any information anyway, “Stop the boats” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has now indicated he will no longer even do that to update journalists about the Government’s “border protection” operations.
The Government has not held a briefing on Operation Sovereign Borders since December 20, after previously holding them on a weekly basis.
Mr Morrison, who held a briefing this morning, told the ABC’s 7.30 program that his weekly briefings will now be held on an “as-needs basis”. The briefings will be replaced by a written statement unless there is something significant to report.
“We will issue a statement on the numbers of arrivals and the transfers, and we will hold operational briefings – like we will [on Wednesday] – when we have something to say and when we have something to report,” Mr Morrison said. “We will do them on an as-needs basis to detail operational matters that are able to be released and we’ll respond to questions there.”
However, tellingly, Morrison declined to comment on reports of a protest on Christmas Island in which six people engaged in a hunger strike are thought to have sewn their mouths shut.
Astonishingly for a Minister in a so-called democracy, he offered the following nonsenical reasoning:
“We don’t comment on protest activity.”
Why, you may wonder, Dear Reader?
“We don’t publicise it because publicisation (sic) of that sort of behaviour, if it occurs, is exactly what the perpetrators want. That’s in the best interests of everybody – those who are the allegedly taking those actions and those who are seeking to manage those centres – it’s in all of their best interests and not to engage in that game.”
So let’s just unpick that. Publicisation (we think he meant “publishing”) is “exactly what the perpetrators want” but then contrarywise, its in the best interests of those “allegedly taking those actions” for them not to get that publicity. Curiouser and curiouser, you might think, and you’d be right.
We know what you mean, Minister.
Don’t think you are fooling us for one moment.
You think it is in your Government’s best interest to suppress news of disquiet, protests or riots in case the Australian people become so concerned by the concentration camp approach to legal asylum seekers that they start to question your outrageous policy settings. That is the one and only reason you are doing this. Shame on you.
At Wellthisiswhatithink we will make our attitudes perfectly clear.
- Despite the Government’s desperate attempt to pretend it is so, there is no difference between asylum seekers arriving by boat or any other means. They are exercising a legal right to seek refuge under United Nations rules drafted, in part, by our very own country.
- Asylum seekers who are not assessed to offer any threat to security can and should be housed in the community, not in camps. To do anything else offends for so many reasons they hardly need enunciating. Especially when so many of the asylum seekers are families, including children.
- The appropriate response to this situation, (which by world standards of trauma-induced population movement hardly rates mentioning), and which craven politicians from both sides fail to insist upon, is to demand (not politely request) that the “way station” countries between Australia and the source countries sign the relevant conventions so migrants can stay there – for example, Indonesia. South East Asia has the lowest density of Refugee Convention signatory countries. Australia was among the first to ratify this 60 years ago but very few of our neighbours have followed our example. There is no reason whatsoever that these countries cannot offer safe haven to refugees, thereby obviating their need to riskily attempt to reach Australia by boat at all. If those countries need financial support to enable this, so be it. We are rich, we will offer it.
- Last but not least, our refugee intake is pitifully small anyway. It could easily be doubled or trebled without anyone even noticing. The only reason it is not is fear of public angst. What we are witnessing is a total lack of compassion, of Christian values, of generosity, and of political courage. Given that senior members of the current Government parade their Christian beliefs in public, this is a disgrace. And for a nation built on immigration – built, indeed, on a policy open arms for those needing asylum – it is a disgrace that strikes a cold blow deep into the very heart of what it means to be Australian.
And now, it is a disgrace that increasingly takes place in secret.
And the level of double-speak on the topic, and not just from the Government but also from the Opposition, is so obvious and so rank that it would not disgrace Goebbels.