When ‘Compassion’ Means Death

The real tragedy about the tragic loss of life at Christmas Island yesterday is that it need not have occurred. And one of the best means we have of testing such a claim is to simply study the following graph: blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/blood_on_their_hands/

A quick look at this graph explains why Labor’s so-called compassionate policy toward boat people has been a remarkable failure, and has simply resulted in the needless death of more people. While the chart shows the number of people in immigration detention, it is of course closely related to the number of boat people arriving on our shores.

It makes it quite clear that these numbers were steadily rising, until former Prime Minister John Howard intervened with his Pacific Solution. This was almost at the apex of the chart. But notice how the numbers went down dramatically after this.

It was only when Labor scrapped Howard’s laws – and Howard’s laws really were the compassionate ones here – that the graph sharply and steeply climbs upwards. Indeed, the line goes right off the chart – literally. From a low of just around 300 people when the Coalition plan was still in operation, to now over 5,500 people in detention, the graph speaks volumes.

The Howard plan greatly decreased the number of people coming here, and thus greatly decreased the number of people who would either die trying to get here, or end up in detention centres. And now with at least another 28 deaths, in my books it is quite clear which policy was the correct one, and which policy was really the compassionate one.

As Miranda Devine says, “The Howard government’s initial crackdown on the boats after 2001 may have seemed severe at the time. But it worked – people smugglers got the message and the boats stopped coming – from 43 in 2001 to an average of three a year.

“Former Howard immigration minister Philip Ruddock has likened his policies to castor oil, something you have to take a dose of to deal with the problem. ‘The first thing to do is to stop the boats,’ he told me this year. ‘Stopping the boats stopped people losing their lives. Humane decisions along the way are good public policies’.”

She continues, “But Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard thought they knew better. They weakened the deterrents to asylum-seeker boats, using a policy paper authored by Gillard when she was in opposition. They thought they could satisfy their Howard-hating supporters while pretending to maintain tough border protection. But you can’t do both.”

Devine concludes, “It is good that the Prime Minister has interrupted her holiday to deal with the tragedy, but she will need to do more than show sympathy to the bereaved. There is nothing compassionate about policies that lure people to their deaths.”

Andrew Bolt also blames Labor for this debacle. “These tragic drownings at Christmas Island are a direct result of her reckless boat people policies. Again and again she was warned those policies – fatally relaxed in 2008 – would result in exactly this loss of life. Indeed, she was warned people were already dying at sea, as people smugglers resumed the trade the Howard government had all but stopped in 2002.

“Even before yesterday, up to 170 people had been lured to their deaths by the Government’s dismantling of John Howard’s ‘Pacific Solution’, scrapping temporary protection visas and softening mandatory detention rules. In January last year, for instance, at least nine boat people drowned off Indonesia as they tried to sail here.

“That April another nine died, in the South China Sea. Also that month, five Afghans died when they blew up their boat at Ashmore Reef. A month later, 19 more died off Halang Island. I could go on.”

He continues, “So who drew up its deadly laws? ‘I was the substantive author of a policy paper which became Labor’s policy,’ Gillard has boasted. Who ignored the warnings it was costing lives? ‘There is no evidence,’ said Gillard.

“Who, since her election, not only failed to stop luring people to their deaths, but even increased the incentive, promising to rush more people out of detention? Gillard again. Judge a policy by its effects, not intent. The bodies in the sea are the verdict on Gillard’s. Morally, she must go.”

Can I suggest that if a tragedy such as this had happened under Coalition governance, the mainstream media would be crying out for blood. But because the MSM so strongly supports Labor and Gillard, we are barely hearing a peep from them.

And then there are all the rather gullible and naive Christians, who seem to think an open slather policy is the way to go. Hopefully this most recent tragic episode will result in a bit of realism amongst some of these folks. Inviting people to come here with a very real possibility of dying in the process is hardly an act of compassion.

www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad-application/gillard-to-blame-for-deaths/story-fn6bn88w-1225971781505
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/gillard-goverment-has-blood-on-its-hands-says-andrew-bolt/story-e6frf7l6-1225971793016

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19 Replies to “When ‘Compassion’ Means Death”

  1. And more commentary:

    “There is no escape for Gillard from this tragedy. The paper trail leads directly from the asylum seeker policy Gillard boasted of crafting in 2001. In an interview with Laurie Oakes on June 27, 2007, Gillard said: ‘I was the substantive author of a policy paper which became Labor’s policy. It was called Protecting Australia, Protecting the Australian Way.’ That paper, she said, contained ‘the underpinnings’ of the asylum seeker policies adopted by the Rudd Labor government. Those policies, which rolled back the tougher measures favoured by the previous Howard government, subsequently triggered an historic surge in the number of people-smuggler craft setting off from Indonesia to Australia. A continuing stream of such vessels, usually unseaworthy, have delivered a record number of asylum seekers to Australia this year – with increasing numbers also killed in fierce ocean waters.”

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/gillard_rues_day_her_ship_came_in/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  2. Bill, thank you for this summary – when ‘compassion’ means death. The Left is looking like the Death party.
    Stan Fishley

  3. Thanks, Bill.
    I am outraged by this tragedy, and I echo Devine and Bolt in calling for the resignation of the principal architect of this ultimately murderous policy, Julia Gillard. She should resign in disgrace and go away and hide from the wrath of the Australian public. But alas, that is the last thing that will happen.

    Let me remind you of her own words in her Lowy Institute speech on 6th July this year:
    “I am also making the Government’s policy goal clear: it is to wreck the people smuggling trade by removing the incentive for boats to leave their port of origin in the first place; to remove both the profitability of the trade and the danger of the voyage.”
    And again,
    “Today let me say one thing loud and clear: our nation would not leave children to drown. We are Australians and our values will never allow us to embrace this kind of evil.”
    She has miserably failed on both counts!

    Her response?
    The usual Labor stratagem of holding an inquiry; four of them in fact. Strange that such inquiries are only held when the tragedy plays out on our television screens when people on the spot recorded live video footage. But none of these inquiries will deal with the real issue, viz. government policy which lured these people to their deaths on the high seas. Bill, you are so right: if this had happened under the watch of a Coalition govt there would be such howls of outraged political sense that the government might well fall. But Gillard basically just shrugs her shoulders and deflects any criticism, and a compliant MSM lets her get away with it.

    The hard left, e.g. David Marr, has come out with their now-familiar tactic: blame the navy (a la blame the police or other authorities when leftist agitators provoke them on the streets). There has been a force-5 gale blowing in the Christmas Island area for the last several days, making it dangerous – and ultimate useless – for the navy to scout for asylum boats in such conditions. These armchair yokels know nothing, repeat NOTHING – about matters nautical.

    Then we have the asinine Bob Brown with one of the most ridiculous arguments I have seen in a long time, in the Herald-Sun letter columns today (17/12):
    “Andrew Bolt has blood on his hands. He stridently insisted on the invasion and killings in Iraq which led to millions fleeing. Some of those millions ended up in the ocean off Christmas Island on Wednesday.
    Andrew Bolt’s call, while bodies were still in the ocean, for Julia Gillard’s resignation (but the Labor Party opposed the war in Iraq) lacked human decency. He should resign.
    Senator Bob Brown”
    Rarely have I seen such convoluted logic, such non-sequiturs, such red-herring tactics, all to “prove” such a stupid conclusion. But that is what we have come to expect from the green-left.

    I urge all readers of this blog to express their outrage by contacting their local MP, and don’t be brushed away with standard replies. Let them know that you care more about people’s lives than saving the government’s face! I for one could not give a hoot about the government’s face in such circumstances.

    Murray R Adamthwaite

  4. Thanks Bill

    If Gillard and her government do not care about babe’s in the womb, attempting to make euthanasia, the killing of old and confused people, legal, nothing will disturb her conscience, certainly not strangers on a boat.

    Afterall, it is votes she is after, not saving people lives!

    Anne Van Tilburg

  5. Thanks guys

    Bolt has another piece today, and he points out that incredibly the lefties are now saying its all our fault! “In fact, it is not too soon for the Left to blame every single one of us. Here’s the Courier Mail’s Dennis Atkins: ‘We are all responsible for this event . . . As long as Australians refuse to say to people who risk the harsh ocean they are welcome and there is a majority saying they are not these outcomes are inevitable . . .If they are that determined to come to Australia, we should welcome them and celebrate their bravery.’ Yes, you read that rightly. Unless we encourage yet more people to take to the boats, we’ll get more deaths. The very reverse of the truth.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/dont-blame-me-blame-julia-gillard/story-e6frfhqf-1225972446085

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. I can remember as a first year undergraduate taking a Intro to Politics course and the lecturer compared Howard’s pacific solution to the ‘Final Solution’.

    Such is the vile morality of the left. They call evil good and good evil.

    It is worth listening to Andrew Bolt on MTR here. He really takes it to Julia Bishop for the Liberal Party’s spinelessness on this issue for not attacking the government’s policies immediately. I tend to think he’s right they are playing into Labor’s/Green’s hands on this

    http://www.mtr1377.com.au/index2.php?option=com_newsmanager&task=view&id=7490

    Thanks guys

    Bolt has another piece today, and he points out that incredibly the lefties are now saying its all our fault! “In fact, it is not too soon for the Left to blame every single one of us. Here’s the Courier Mail’s Dennis Atkins: ‘We are all responsible for this event . . . As long as Australians refuse to say to people who risk the harsh ocean they are welcome and there is a majority saying they are not these outcomes are inevitable . . .If they are that determined to come to Australia, we should welcome them and celebrate their bravery.’ Yes, you read that rightly. Unless we encourage yet more people to take to the boats, we’ll get more deaths. The very reverse of the truth.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/dont-blame-me-blame-julia-gillard/story-e6frfhqf-1225972446085

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  7. Thanks Bill

    This shows you how times have changed, or politics has changed. In the 50’s before my family came to Australia, we had to have a medical check, dad had to have a job waiting for him, criminal records were checked and of course if there was just the slightest hint of any criminal activity, entrance into Australia was denied.

    We came here on an immigration scheme, but dad still had to pay more than half for the trip here by boat. When we arrived in Australia, (my parents and six children), all we received was 10 dollars total. For the first six weeks we slept on straw in an empty house as our possesions did not arive untill six weeks later. Friends, not the government, gave us the essentials as much as they could afford.

    We all had to work hard to make ends meet, but do you know, I think it made us appreciate all the more the little we had. Also I would like to think that we as immigrants contributed to this wonderful country of ours. As far as I am concerned there is no better place. We still have freedom of religion, job opportunities, and if you really want to work, there are jobs available.

    I cannot understand that anyone with a bit of brains and common sense would want to change this. Our country is great because of great families, not because of the trees, or the environment, although they do help. It is great because of the hard work which our parents and grandparents performed, and because at that time God was still number One!

    Anne Van Tilburg

  8. Can we for just one moment stop pointing the finger at the politicians, and focus in attending to the care of the people who have been traumatised because of this tragic circumstance? Most refugees are forced to leave their homes without warning and cannot even bring basic necessities with them. We need to remind ourselves that many of these people are desperate and deeply wounded and in most cases have come from a worn-torn country. They are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear harsh persecution or death, based on race, religion, political opinions or belonging to some other social group. These asylum seekers are willing to risk their own and children’s lives only to seek a more prosperous life.

    Don’t get me wrong I understand and do not disagree the risks involve with illegal people smuggling and the cheap vessels they use to transport them in, like the recent tragedy on Christmas Island. And yes the Australian government needs to make appropriate and wise decisions in regards to these issues. But, as representatives of God’s people, we are to love one another, and not be hypocrites by rejecting or sending those in need back home, whilst facing severe consequences.

    Panage Kontos

  9. Thanks Bill,

    Unfortunately, these are a difficult and tragic issues. And desperately need to be addressed by both political sides.

    I appreciate you articles and input.

    Cheers & Blessings
    Panage Kontos

  10. Unfortunately this is a complicated issue where many Christians simply have not done enough thinking through the consequences of various policy alternatives, and have gravitated to the simplistic position that Christian “love” and “compassion” equals “open the doors wide to anyone who wishes to come here on a boat”.

    It is true that Australia is a relatively privileged country, and that many people are escaping difficult lives in countries affected by war. It is also true that privileged countries have a moral obligation to accept genuine refugees and to process and resettle them in a timely manner.

    However, simply opening the door wide is unpragmatic. It is difficult to see how a soft border policy will curb the people smuggling trade, and prevent further disasters like this. It also does not take account of the fact that not all boat people are legitimate refugees, and uncontrolled immigration can be harmful for a nation. The Left is quite naive about human nature.

    I think that TPVs were a very fair and compassionate policy. Despite much railing against TPVs, I have never heard anyone sensibly and adequately explain exactly what about TPVs is objectionable.

    Jereth Kok

  11. Panage, you said:

    “Most refugees are forced to leave their homes without warning and cannot even bring basic necessities with them. We need to remind ourselves that many of these people are desperate and deeply wounded and in most cases have come from a worn-torn country.”

    However, we also have to add the corrective that the people who pay large sums of money to be herded onto leaky boats, are departing from Indonesia, which is not war-torn, is not persecuting them, and is in fact the largest Muslim nation in this region.

    Radio MTR today reported on investigations by journalist Barney Clooney (not sure of the name) who has written a book tracing the Mr Bigs of the people smuggling rackets and they do not reside in Indonesia.

    They organise people to come via Kuala Lumpur (no papers required) to Indonesia, to be ferried from a point about 300 miles from Ashmore/Christmas Islands, a sea journey taking only a couple of days, even in a leaky wooden fishing boat (10 knots for 30 hours would do it).

    There is much more to this than meets the eye, especially what isn’t written up in the daily media.

    John Angelico

  12. I’m with you on the ‘open border policy’, as many christian’s I work with state that to stop the asylum seekers/refugees/queue jumper’s from coming is un-christ-like and lacks compassion. BUT how can a country of 23 million take in over 30 million people? Also, look at the costs – taxpayer monies wasted, when budgets cannot be balanced now, when we are at our wealthiest?? Let alone the subversive social engineering of the powers that be and what will Bob Brown do? People or gaia? Brown will be in a bind! I answer my christian critics with, how many people will you take personally into your homes and how much of your wages will you devote to the care of the asylum seekers? – I get a muted response and then I realise myself how we have been conditioned to believe that it is the Government who must take on all the responsibilities & solve problems – socialism by stealth!
    Neil Innes, NT

  13. “Let alone the subversive social engineering of the powers that be and what will Bob Brown do? People or gaia? Brown will be in a bind!”

    Answer: Bob Brown will compensate by pushing a one child policy or something similar.

    Damien Spillane

  14. I answer my christian critics with, how many people will you take personally into your homes and how much of your wages will you devote to the care of the asylum seekers? – I get a muted response and then I realise myself how we have been conditioned to believe that it is the Government who must take on all the responsibilities & solve problems

    Yes, this simply does not make sense. People generally wouldn’t be prepared to take some asylum seekers into their own homes; instead they say “let the Government house them, and feed them, and provide medicine and clothing for them, etc.”

    So where does the Government get the money from to do all this?

    At this point we have 2 alternatives. Either (a) raise taxes by 30% across the board, or (b) cut spending — which means: no more subsidised medicines, no more baby bonus, no more medicare, double the waiting lists at all hospitals, start charging fees at state schools, halve the size of the police force, halve the aged pension, scrap all carers allowances, allow roads and trains to fall into disrepair, etc.

    If either of these things happen, the whole nation will be screaming blue murder. Then we will be asking where all the “compassion” has suddenly gone.

    The Government (on either side) are not stupid — they know the harsh reality of it, that there are a limited number of asylum seekers that Australians will accept, and their policies will reflect this.

    Jereth Kok

  15. Dear Bill, Your article echoes my sentiments exactly. You don’t use evil means to achieve good and people smuggling is an evil trade.The sadness of this is that the immigrants themselves are complicit in the trade helping it to prosper. Some will be desperate but that still doesn’t make it right.Secularised Australians are blissfully unaware that Christians are being religiously persecuted in Iraq [the cradle of Christianity]by militant Islam and are leaving their homeland in droves.It is also happening in other Islamic counties. The MSM being mostly anti -Christian and left wing doesn’t think that is an important subject to report on.Even Andrew Bolt who is on the right and whom I agree with about the Gillard government’s irresponsible role seemed indifferent to the religious persecution of Christians in the Middle East by the answer I heard him give to a talk back caller who brought it up. This might tempt some of them to flee via the boats if they have the money. Whilst it is not right you can understand it and sympathise because it takes a real act of courage to practise one’s Christian faith in Iraq today. It is only the religious press and TV that reports the persecution and they haven’t such big readerships or audiences as the MSM. They did briefly mention the bomb that went off in a Church in Baghdad during Mass where some Christians were killed and injured but it was soon forgotten and there are many more incidents on a daily basis which never get reported. I would be interested in knowing what percentage of Christians there are on these boats but no-one seems to think that is important enough to find out. They are all lumped together as illegal immigrants and many Australians think they must all be Muslims but quite possibly they are not. Christians should be actively lobbying the government to make it easier for persecuted Christians to come here by legal means but I am sure that the secular left and the politically correct would oppose that. Christians who have been persecuted for their faith in their homelands would only serve to strengthen Christianity here and we would all benefit from their experience.
    Patricia Halligan

  16. Let me say this up front – I am against these boat people as I see them as queue jumpers and this makes me suspicious of their so called “asylum seeker” status. In a lot of cases we have absolutely no idea who these people are or anything about them really. If they are fleeing persecution like they claim, then why do they not stop at the first country that they know will not persecute them? Why do they not, for example, stay in Malaysia where I hear a lot of them are using as a launching pad to come here? As a Christian, I am all for helping genuine refugees who are fleeing real persecution and God knows that there are plenty of them. But we need to see the big picture here and not just open the doors for any and every person who claims to be fleeing persecution. A lot of these people who come here will eventually end up on welfare and we will be paying for it and I have a very big problem with that! I think we need to be very selective about who we have coming here as I would be more inclined to accept Christians who we know are being persecuted, there is a mountain of evidence to support widespread persecution of Christians so ascertaining the validity of their claim would be a lot easier. I would expect that anyone we allow to stay here would get their backside into gear and get a job and start making a life for them and their family and abide by our laws and ways. I do not want people from other countries who are simply going to sponge off the people who work to keep this country going and I think Christians have to see this big picture instead of being all syrupy and talking about compassion when compassion is only a part of the whole equation here.
    Steve Davis

  17. Thanks guys

    Janet Albrechtsen has a great commentary on this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/drowning-in-compassion/story-e6frg6zo-1225974667373

    Here is part of it:

    Recently, that human-rights poster boy, Julian Burnside, popped up on the front cover of a glossy magazine extolling the virtues of being a human-rights “do-gooder” and wondering aloud “what’s wrong with doing good”. In fact, there is plenty wrong with “doing good” if all it means is offering up syrupy, feel-good rhetoric about human rights. Indeed, the tragic events of last week expose the egregious and positively dangerous intellectual laziness that defines the modern human-rights movement.

    Bill Muehlenberg

  18. An asylum seeker who lost relatives in the Christmas Island tradgedy tells it like it is:

    “Mr John Howard has stopped the boats at his time. I don’t know why they allowed back again. If they don’t want them you either stop the boats or if you want them and let them come you have to accept them.”

    Hope Gillard and the bleeding-heart lefties are listening.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/are_we_really_that_desperate_for_a_dollar/

    Mansel Rogerson

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