Now the government has removed income support of about $200 per fortnight for about several hundred asylum seekers including children and babies. These people were transferred to Australia from offshore detention because they needed medical assistance. They will be issued with a Final Departure Bridging E Visa, a new type of visa developed just for this purpose. The people will be given three weeks to find their own accommodation in preparation for leaving Australia, and will be expected to find another source of income, or a job, despite not knowing when they will be forced to leave the country. This will also apply to children who are already attending Australian schools.
The poor Immigration Minister Peter Dutton moaned to the parrot (Alan Jones) on radio station 2GB, that the government were frustrated by their constitutional duty to asylum seekers. It seems the government often has trouble with their constitutional responsibility. I was under the misapprehension that part of being in government was actually working within the parameters of the constitution, and to even defend it against those who would transgress it.
The parrot asked Dutton whether he couldn’t simply pass legislation to force to force asylum seekers back to Nauru or Manus after their medical treatment. Dutton replied by going Trumpesque in his reply by mangling the English: “Well, there’s constitutional issues involved as you well know we can’t pass legislation to dispel with that difficulty of the constitution – so we defend these matters, we fight them in the courts, and it is incredibly frustrating.” The parrot then asked if Dutton thought the lawyers acting for the asylum seekers, were un-Australian, and Dutton agreed that they were.
The Human Rights Law Centre acts for these people, and they do it based on the personal vulnerability of the asylum seekers, as some of the women needed medical assistance because they had been raped on Manus. It includes children who have been so traumatised in offshore detention that they actually need urgent psychiatric care. These people were evacuated because they had suffered serious harm, and would likely again if they were sent back. So, now Dutton is attempting to effectively starve them out by making them destitute, in the hope that they will feel they have no option but to go back to Nauru or Manus.
This behaviour of Dutton is shameful and just shows how disgraceful the behaviour of people in this government would be if it were unconstrained by the constitution or the courts. It also demonstrates that Turnbull is Prime Minister in name only. He is beholden to the far right of his party. It is they who will not countenance same-sex marriage, voluntary euthanasia, or allow people into Australia who may not be Christian, or who are a little bit too brown.
It is much like the Howard era; when Howard felt threatened by One Nation siphoning off the bogan vote, he simply adopted many of their policies, and brought out the dogwhistle. The Liberals are in such a parlous state that the dogwhistle will be brought out regularly. The funny thing is that it is precisely those people on the right who are destroying the Liberal Party, which is not a bad thing. They are stuck in the past, both socially2,3 and economically4. Fortunately, most of the younger generation aren’t, and it will be they who oversee the demise of the ‘punishers and straighteners’5 of the right.