Mike's Minute: Is now the time to accept the Manus Island refugees?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Jun 2021, 9:50AM

Mike's Minute: Is now the time to accept the Manus Island refugees?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Jun 2021, 9:50AM

Do you think it's good timing to be negotiating with Australia over the Manus Island refugees?

The original offer, of course, was made pre-Covid. Those who arrived illegally in Australia got shipped off to Manus Island and Nauru, Jacinda Ardern decided that was our problem so offered to have some here.

There is a medical aspect. Those who needed help were moved to the mainland where security became a problem, and the usual suspects kicked up the usual fuss about human rights and so on.

Part of the government's defence is that the people concerned are genuine refugees and have been deemed so by the United Nations.

But what is conveniently forgotten is that they still jumped the queue, they still hired the boat, paid the money to the crooks, and took the chance of being able to turn up, in this case in Australia, toss away the passport and basically hoped everyone would find it a bit hard to deal with.

To Australia's credit, they were having none of it. What had become an epidemic of boat arrivals stopped overnight when the crooks running these operations in places like Indonesia and Sri Lanka saw they had no hope of success.

That is one of a number of reasons the liberals are still in power. The stance started with John Howard, got tipped up by Gillard and Rudd, flipped by Turnbull and Morrison, and each time a tough line was taken, Australia applauded.

So back to us, why you would want to reward illegal activity? I have no idea.

Although you can have sympathy for the plight that drove the desperation, surely you must have more sympathy for the desperation of those who don’t try to jump the queue, or don’t have the where-with-all to try. Why aren't those people, the people with the same plight but the honest intention, given the support they deserve over those who would trample over them in a bid for freedom?

We are now negotiating officially. But and here's what's changed, at a time the borders are closed. We are desperately short of workers who are refused entry. We have family members of visa holders who are refused entry. We have highly skilled professionals who we desperately need who are refused entry.

But we've got room for queue jumpers, do we?

For everyone who couldn't get a chef, an RSE worker, or a family member in, and have suffered because of it, how galling is it going to be to watch illegal boat people given a free pass?

Talk about failing to read the room.