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.