Malcolm Turnbull’s dangerously seductively and simplistic message on European asylum seekers.

Malcolm Turnbull has urged world leaders to look to Australia’s uncompromising border protection policies as a model for holding their own political systems together while regaining control of irregular international refugee flows.

Urged on by Pauline Hanson, who declared Australia was “landlocked” on Monday despite boasting one of the longer maritime borders in the world, the Australian Prime Minister told a United Nations summit on refugees and migrants in New York.. that addressing irregular migration, through secure borders had a direct impact on our ability to provide generous and effective support to refugees… the world’s third-largest permanent resettlement program.

And we would not have been able to commit to welcoming 12,000 additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of this.

The ongoing humanitarian disaster of indefinite detention in refugee centres branded as hell-holes on Manus Island and Nauru, has been glossed over.”

Mr Turnbull attracted Senator Pauline Hansons’ full support on Monday.

In a surprise statement the geographically challenged Senator Pauline Hanson told Seven’s David Koch.”Twelve hundred had perished(at sea) Although we are landlocked.”

Turnbull is wrong and he is wrong on a number of counts.

His comparison of the European situation with Australia is a dangerously wrong oversimplification. Australia is an island contrary to Pauline Hanson who apparently thinks Australia is “landlocked”.

It is relatively easy to control access to Australia, at least by sea, especially now that the option of landing on Christmas Island has been closed off. The situation is not so simple in the Mediterranean, both physically and politically, where refugees are coming from northern Africa as well as from Turkey and coming in numbers not seen in Australia. Italy alone has had 400,000 arrive.

Turnbull is also wrong in his highly selective presentation of the situation. He is right that his government did “secure the borders”and this was due to the policy to the boat turn backs. What he does not explain is that the draconian incarceration of asylum seekers (not as he would suggest “illegal immigrants”) has served as a massive deterrent to other people seeking asylum.

Nor does he detail the inhumane conditions under which numbers of women and children are forced to endure on Nauru and Manus Island.

He is also wrong when he justifies these policies by saying they saved people drowning at sea. They certainly did that. But they also denied many more people the opportunity to settle in Australia. Providing safer and quicker passage to Australia would have avoided the deaths at sea and also avoided the suffering of many thousands of people in Indonesia.

It’s a pity that Turnbull’s statements appeared one day after Abbott’s appeared in an an address to the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists in Prague on Saturday night where he urged world leaders to look a Australia’s uncompromising border protection policies as a model for holding their own political systems together while regaining control of irregular international refugee flows.

Abbott effectively upstaged Turnbull who made a statement very similar to Abbott’s. You can’t help thinking that everything Tony Abbott does is aimed at only one thing:   portraying himself as a viable alternative to Malcolm Turnbull and ultimately replacing  him.

Footnote: Why is it that my spellchecker always writes Malcolm terminal instead of Malcolm Turnbull.

 The problem being a Christian and a politician

Jan_Wijnants_-_Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan.jpg

The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670)

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

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