Labor, Liberal and Mandatory Detention Policy: Recently, we -- the general public -- were "educated" by the mass media here in Australia that the Labor party was the initiator of mandatory detention policy . True, Paul Keating's Labor government had started mandatory detention policy for boatpeople. I can still remember the 'heat' about asylum-seekers debate at that time in 1990s. For the record, I applied for (onshore) refugee status in 1992, which was granted in 1993. As we all know, the Rat's Liberal Government had succeeded Keating's Labor (If you still don't know who the Rat is, find out here ) and has retained the mandatory detention policy for the boatpeople.
Although both Labor and Liberal had adopted the same mandatory detention policy, which in itself constitute violation of human rights, there are differences in practice of these parties. For a start, the Liberal party under the Rat's leadership, together with racist media, had created mass hysteria about the boatpeople. They vilified and portrayed the boatpeople as queue-jumpers and linked with criminals and terrorists. Children Overboard scandal was just one such example. At the policy level, the Rat introduced offshore detention policy.
I am thinking that the Liberal party necessarily need to have a 'targeted minority group' or 'scapegoat' so as to sustain its political support base. Under the Rat's leadership, we have seen the victimization on the Aborigines, boatpeople and Muslims. It is a scenario of 'crisis creation and power maintenance'. The Tampa incident in 2001 was one such example.
The Liberal party under Tony Abbott had gone one step further in this direction. Being an average politician, Tony Abbott appeared to have lost the political direction in the second-half of his tenure as the Prime Minister. The Liberal Party replaced such a void in political intellect with the agendas for targeting, especially, Muslim religious minority group and that of suppressing asylum seekers.
Whilst observing Labor party under Keating, Rudd and Gillard leaderships, I haven't seen deliberately targeting and scapegoating of minority groups. Though this may give us a little comfort, the offshore mandatory detention and, of recent, boat turn-back policies were to have been adopted by the Labor party. -- In Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Sydney.