Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Final Solution to the Problem of the Boat People

I've been listening to Gillard, Abbot et al arguing about how best to come up with a final solution to the problem of the boat people, and while I can believe they're acting like this, it still totally disgusts me how partisan the Australian parliament is, at the expense of the human rights of those already at risk.

I was saying as soon as the High Court decision came down about the Malaysian solution that Labor would probably try to change the Migration Act. If Liberal were in power, they'd be doing the same thing, human rights be damned. The only reason Liberal are trying to block it is because they're not in power.

I don't know if I've blogged about it already, but this is an almost perfect example of how democracy can be abused by partisanship and factionalism:

  1. Gillard is in control of a bloc within her caucus. It has a slight majority in favour of Gillard's approach to the boat-people non-problem.
  2. That slight majority, meaning about one quarter of the parliament, is able to bind the rest of her party, or about another quarter of the parliament.
  3. If Labor had a slight, outright majority, then instead of having Gillard's Malaysian proposal for hiding refugees shot down, she would be able to force it through the parliament.
This means it looks like we've just avoided having a quarter of parliament get to pass legislation. Now what if Gillard's bloc is controlled by just over a half of that bloc? The house of reps could be controlled by one eighth of the house, or less than 20 MPs.

This corruption of democracy is not on!

It's one thing to be a member of a party because they are the closest thing to representing your beliefs, and you want to share costs and branding, but it's another thing entirely to abdicate one's responsibility to representational democracy. Gillard does not primarily represent all of Australia. She represents the bogans of Altona first, and hopefully gives thought to the rest of her state and country when working with her MP colleagues. Every MP should represent their constituency the same way.

Every vote should be a conscience vote giving thought to the constituency. If the constituents don't like their MP's conscience, then they shouldn't vote for the MP. If the party doesn't like the MP's conscience, then the MP should go it as an independent or find a party more closely aligned to their conscience.

How on earth have we ended up with what we currently have? It's not democracy.

And back to this faux immigration problem.

We're (almost) all either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. We're all just people. Immigrants aren't "tekin er jerbs". On average, every person in Australian society, independent of how they got here, creates exactly one job in society, and fills one. People don't seem to notice that as our population increases, unemployment doesn't increase. Each new person here needs food to eat, a place to live, education, utilities etc. Who provides all that? Tiny fractions of other people who all add up to one person.

So why not take a page out of Google's book and just try a policy on a "fail fast" basis?:
Let's try just letting all the boat people in so they can be processed here. There probably won't be that many. Sure, there'll be an increase in arrivals. But we're talking about tens of thousands per year, tops, not millions. So let's just give it a go, and we can always choose a new approach or revert to an old approach if it doesn't work.

This post has probably been even more ranty than my normal level of rantiness, but the corruption and cynicism of mainstream politicians in Australia just shit me to tears.

1 comment:

  1. While you can believe Gillard's proposal, I am still in disbelief! The High Court has told her that the Malaysia deal goes against human rights conventions that Australia is party to and told her she can't do it, so what's her response? Change the law that doesn't fit in with her party's policy on immigration. Both Liberal and Labour have completely the wrong attitude to "problem" of the boat people. I totally agree with you that Abbott is only opposing because he's not in power. Put him in tomorrow and he'll be trying to change the Migration Act too. I think it shits me to tears more than it does you!