The Gillard Government has been revealed to be organising the reopening of the detention centre on Manus Island, to be used for the purposes of
incarcerating processing offshore refugee claimants. More than anything else, this is about pushing the asylum seeker issue, and all the hysteria that surrounds it, further away from our backyards.
The result of this is less compassion for asylum seekers and an inflammation of already-existing hostilities towards them on the mainland. Not content for asylum seekers to just be faceless Others behind a wired fence, they have to be faceless Others thousands of kilometres away with their singularity fully stripped of them. This is not the primary purpose of the soon-to-be policy, but it will be the result.
There’s not much to say about the issue that hasn’t been said. All I want to re-iterate is my bewilderment at ALP apologists who claim these policies are the consequence of them “ceding their ground” to the Liberals or (slightly more persuasively) allowing issues to be “fought on conservative turf”. People on the left need to begin to ask themselves how long they’re going to pretend the ALP are just weak-willed submissives bowing to conservative and suburban pressure.
That thesis might be more palatable to them, but it’s not borne out by the ALP’s policy or public position (across a range of matters, but particularly this). No, perhaps this is just what most people in the ALP want and believe. The left needs to stop blaming the media and the ALP’s media bozos for policies the ALP writes.