Thousands of innocent people seeking asylum in Australia will be sentenced to a life of horror, thanks to PUP, Ricky Muir and Nick Xenophon.
People who have committed no crime will drown at sea because of the stupidity and cowardice of a few shamefully incompetent senators. Men, women and children will be forcibly returned to the countries they fled and will be tortured, raped and killed. Others will take their own lives when the bleakness of a meaningless future becomes too much to bear.
This is what our Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill is designed to do. This is what a handful of disgraceful senators have allowed to occur.
Nick Xenophon, Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang passed Morrison’s new laws because Morrison threatened to keep children in detention if they didn’t. The despicable thing is, Morrison always had the power to release these children at any time. He has consistently chosen not to despite claims of medical neglect, sexual assault and severe psychological harm. They were his bargaining chip to try to force the hand of the Senate. The ALP and the Greens looked upon the ransoming of children with disgust and turned their backs on it.
Xenophon and the other fools fell for it, deciding it was the lesser of two evils and the most “compassionate” option available.
This is what these senators have allowed to happen in the name of compassion:
- Boatloads of asylum seekers can now be turned around and left in the middle of the ocean. We don’t even have to make sure they are within sailing distance of land. The Bill simply says that we can drag the boats to a “geographic location” and leave them there. Considering that most of these boats are barely seaworthy, some will sink and people will drown. You and I will never know about it unless someone from within the Navy turns whistleblower. Innocent human beings will sink silently to the ocean floor.
- We can now return people to the countries they have fled, even if that means they will be tortured, raped or killed. This is because the legislation allows for a ‘Fast Track’ process. This means there is no longer a meaningful assessment of an asylum seeker’s claim. Instead, there will be a cursory decision based on as little information as possible. The asylum seeker will have no right to challenge the decision and no right to provide further evidence that they are in real danger.
- Even if the asylum seeker did manage to pass such a ridiculous and unfair process, Morrison can deny their claim and keep his reasoning for doing so secret. Morrison now has complete authority to return people to face their deaths and the Australian courts can’t stop him. If you think Morrison wouldn’t do something so callous, think again. This is a man who oversaw conditions in a detention camp that led to a man dying from a cut in his foot.
- The legislation now makes it possible for twenty-five babies born on Australian soil to be sent to Nauru. While the senators are claiming they’ve “saved” children, they have sentenced 25 babies to hell and there are still another 167 children in detention who will not be released under the deal.
The Senators have also guaranteed that kids who arrive in the future will never gain permanent protection in Australia.
There were 5000 submissions to the Senate inquiry on this Bill.
A scathing article written by human rights lawyer Daniel Webb, said only one of those submissions was in favour of it, and that came from Morrison’s own department. Nevertheless, 4999 submissions carefully spelling out the damage this Bill would do weren’t enough to convince Xenophon, PUP and Muir to stand up to Morrison’s bullying.
Since coming to office, the Liberal Government has shown itself to be callous and cruel. That this government would put forward such an appalling Bill fits with its contempt for vulnerable people. Senators Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm also happily voted “yes” and that should come as no surprise. These two men are well known for their disregard for those not lucky enough to be able to fend for themselves.
But what of the others?
If the Senate is to be a bulwark against the tyranny of Abbott and his flying monkeys, why did it fail so spectacularly this time?
Muir was clearly discombobulated by the whole situation. He says he was swayed by speaking to distressed case workers on staff on Christmas Island. If the stakes had been lower, perhaps Muir would have earned my compassion for being emotionally blackmailed. As it stands, it appears that staff have been exploited as part of a political game and people will perish because Muir lacked the guts to stand up to Morrison.
The PUP senators vote the way their idiot leader tells them to. They deserve nothing but contempt. Considering Clive Palmer claimed in a press conference last Thursday that the Fast Track process would mean asylum seekers would now be given a work visa more quickly, it appears the conceited, attention-seeking dickhead didn’t even read the legislation.
And Xenophon? Xenophon did what Xenophon does best. He made it about himself.
He led the charge for convincing the reluctant Senators to support the Bill, claiming he had won some meaningful amendments. In reality, all he did was fiddle with the edges of an appalling piece of legislation and then claimed he was far more influential and powerful than he really was.
Two days later, riding his latest wave of media attention, he announced the formation of his very own political party. There’s acting like a self-serving player, and then there’s being a grasping opportunist.
Xenophon has earned his party the lowest place possible whenever I vote in the future.
Little kids will perish and those that don’t will be forced to endure a life of uncertainty, anguish and pain, either living in filthy detention centres, or stuck on Temporary Protection Visas, never knowing what will happen to them from day to day.
Xenophon will always be last on my list.
*Corinne Grant is a stand-up comedian, MC, presenter, writer and broadcaster and has performed both nationally and internationally. In addition to her years on Rove Live and The Glasshouse, she has appeared on everything from Spicks and Specks to Dancing With The Stars to Good News Week. She has co-hosted successful national radio shows, performed countless solo live shows and appeared everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre. Corinne’s first book, Lessons In Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder (Allen and Unwin) was released in September 2010 and went into reprint just months after its release. You can follow her on Twitter @corinne_grant.