Blogging Senate Estimates (Feb 2014) (Part 2)

As we endure the Refugee and Migration Review Tribunals and the Office of the MARA, here are a few bits and pieces broadly relating to immigration:

Excellent content from New Matilda. A round up of #LighttheDark and a short comparison between the European court system and the Australian courts in relation to asylum seeker riots.

Another turned back boat lands in Indonesia: Great report from Fairfax on another orange boat found on the Indonesian coast. 26 people were on board. I wonder how many of these boats there are?

Tony Wright on Scott Morrison and Richard Marles: “Minister No Wimp Morrison was able to get away – Scott free, you might say – with the daily double on Monday: offering few words and almost no insight on his amazing slow-motion reversal last week on the matter of who did what within or without the Manus Island detention centre on the night one man died and scores were injured. Mr Morrison’s great good fortune was that his inquisitor – Richard Marles of the Labor Party – didn’t seem to have his heart in it.”

An interesting take on the Indonesian relationship via the Navy from Dr Alan Stephens: “When the Timor Leste crisis was breaking in 1999, senior Australian commanders were able to make contact with colleagues in Indonesia as they worked behind the scenes – successfully as it transpired – to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. And it has been the legacy of soft power that has enabled Australia’s current chief of navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, to talk to his Indonesian counterpart about the recent naval incursions and to personally brief him “on the outcomes of the [official Australian] inquiry”. It’s not possible to overstate the value of such personal connections during testing times. In short, Australians are being well-served by the ADF, and it’s unlikely that relations with the Indonesian military will suffer unduly for the moment.”

Amnesty International says Australia’s refugee stance hurts its international reputation: It’s easy to dismiss such reporting but there was certainly a Tampa effect in the wake of the 2001 policy debate. However I don’t think governments of either persuasion are overly concerned about the view of the international left or the major UN bodies which govern this area.

Morrison has blood on his hands – Senator: I think calls like this from the Opposition are extremely ill-advised. It is true Minister Morrison has made multiple mistakes in the past couple of months, but calls designed to attract attention as opposed to further advance our knowledge only harden the resolve of the government. The Prime Minister obviously has full faith in his Immigration minister and ‘blood on his hands’ comment, for me, only draws attention to how this policy space has failed over the past 15 years, not just the past 6 months.

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