Malcolm Turnbull is copping some flack on his statement that he wants to change the policy on refugees illegally entering the country by reintroducing temporary protection visas. Unlike those entering by legal channels, boat people would receive a "safe haven" visa would face having to return home to their country of origin if conditions there are deemed as safe. They would be able to work, but would not have family reunion rights and would not be able to claim welfare payments.
Rudd labeled the move as a "return to Howard government temporary protection visas" and said the visas did not stop asylum seekers coming to Australia. "Nearly 90 per cent of those people granted temporary protection visas under the Howard government were subsequently granted a permanent visa.”
He seems to have forgotten that under the Howard policy the boats stopped coming. Under the new enlightened Rudd policy we are witnessing an embarrassing four-week standoff in Indonesia where a boatload of ‘refugees’ is dictating to Australian authorities the terms under which they will accept refuge here.
Turnbull has a number of problems, not the least of which is his own incompetence, but is refreshing to see that he as leader isn’t the dumbest member of the party. That honor must surely go to Liberal backbencher Judith Troeth who insists the visa inflicts mental anguish on asylum seekers and is a backward step for Coalition policy.
"I'm sad and disappointed that we're going back to that style of visa because I believe it punishes the victims of people smuggling and not the perpetrators," she said.
Just why these people are victims in her mind is not explained. The people smugglers don’t kidnap these people and force them to get on the boats. The fact seems to be that the refugees seem to actually seek these people out and pay them substantial sums of money to join the voyage. Refugees are not the victims of people smugglers, they may be victims of oppression or whatever in their own countries, but the smugglers are to them simply people they enter into a commercial arrangement with to do something that is dangerous and illegal.