The Herald reports:
The politics of the Australian Government’s decision to reopen offshore processing facilities for asylum seekers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island will not be silenced despite the Opposition’s indication it will support new migration laws.
As Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday moved amendments to allow the measures proposed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s expert panel on boat people, the Opposition tried to exploit her move as “capitulation” and to blame the Government for the deaths of 1000 people at sea.
Its attack was given force by the news that 67 more asylum seekers are feared to have perished in the Indian Ocean after the departure of their boat in late June and no evidence of their arrival in Australia.
Since Friday Australian patrol boats have intercepted seven vessels with more than 350 people on board.
The Howard era policy worked. It was effective, and as the message got out that boat people would not make it to Australia, the number of boats dwindled to almost nothing. Labor’s solution has been an unmitigated disaster, and their eventual capitulation shows this.
More than 22,000 people have sought asylum since Labor came to power in 2007, opening Gillard’s struggling minority Government to a debilitating attack from the Opposition and all efforts at reaching compromise blocked by both Liberals and Greens.
They only have themselves to blame.