Taken from a grassroots refugee campaigners' perspective, this week has certainly been an eventful one. Firstly, the PNG supreme court (Constitutional court) had delivered the verdict that PNG government's detention of Australia's asylum seekers found to be illegal. Subsequent to the court rulings, the Prime Minister of PNG requesting Australian Government to take immediate measures on the fate of an 800 or so detainees held on Manus Island.
Undoubtedly, this PNG supreme court decision has created a policy crisis for both LNP Government and Labor Opposition. The usual rhetoric from both the LNP and Labor parties, at least in last 3 years, has been that those asylum-seekers detained offshore will never be brought to Australia. The Australian public was being fed by the major parties' rhetoric of "illegals will never set foot on Australia", along with the wily Press' "imaginary 55+ millions" resettlement deals with Cambodia. Cutting through all those lies and spins, the PNG decision is making the truth come home to roost, so to speak.
Early this year, I've put a question out to the Labor Party, exactly what was their plan for those asylum-seekers detained offshore. I've got no answer -- meaning the Labor have no answer ( http://www.netipr.org/saorg/node/11 ). Now, we can carefully look at the interviews on both Mr Dutton and Mr Marles responses on PNG detainees. Delightfully, we can see that all major arguments by the Political Establishment (LNP/Labor/Mainstream Press) have now crumbled. My friends -- take this from a 20+ years-long grassroots refugee campaigner -- this kind of crucial political moments are so few and far between. Enjoy the moment whilst you can!
It goes without saying, all credit must have to go to those Lawyer groups who working tirelessly and tenaciously, on this long and arduous years. They are the true champions and heroes and we are very much delighted to be the cheering squads. Shine the Lady Justice! Shine.
It would be best for the "Political Establishment" in Australia to stop rhetoric about "illegals" and to just get on with the task of bringing those detained offshore. Sure there are facilities in SA for transit purpose. There is no use in making fuss, just bring then here -- i.e. message to both LNP and Labor.
My friends, in Australia, the public opinion on refugees arriving by boat can swings like a pendulum. At this moment, we must also seek out for proper policy alternatives and viable regional solutions. When searching for alternative policy on refugees, we must taken into account of both Australia's weaknesses and strengths, along with ever changing and increasingly globalized world. Without proper policy alternatives, the vicious circles on heartache and pains of refugee detention would come back again. -- In Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Sydney.