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Jul 23, 2013

Vaunted PNG refugee deal, a two page spin driven election stunt

 Images (L) Nauru Detention Centre aftermath of riot and arson attack
(R) Villawood Detention Centre blaze
(Lower left) Christmas Island Detention Centre on fire.
Australia’s ‘obligation’ to ‘asylum seekers’ is taken seriously, beginning with detention centres to house them while health and background checks are carried out to ensure that the detainees are genuinely seeking to avoid persecution.  It appears that many of these people are genuinely seeking to flee persecution in their countries of origin owing to the oppressive arson laws there.
 Kevin Rudd’s back of an envelope refugee deal with PNG appears in the cold light of day to be little more than two pages of Labor spin contained in what is essentially a Prime Ministerial election pronouncement co-signed by the PNG leader.  There is no substance, no costings, no projections of effectiveness, and no details of how it is supposed to work. 
Just for starters, it is not a permanent arrangement.  There is no guarantee that it will come into effect at all with news that there is significant opposition to the agreement from a large section of the population.  If it were to do so, it is up for review on an annual basis, which means that if there is trouble it will most likely be canned by PNG.
Despite the suggestions that this will stem the flow of illegal entries, the document seems to expect that there will be sufficient arrivals to create the need for significant infrastructure expenditure.  This is sold as a benefit to communities in which transferees are placed.
It also appears to saddle Australia with the ongoing cost of supporting all of those who are resettled in PNG or any other Pacific nation for the rest of time.  This will include housing, medical costs, and Centre link benefits as well as any requirement for additional facilities.
The price of the additional detention centre needs will possibly be in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on how many times the quests burn them down.
In addition to this is what appears to be the buy-off costs.  So far we have heard of a possible university, international airport, as well as a major highway.  At this stage though, this is just the start of an extended wish list.
Still, its good enough for the government to spend millions on advertising the deal, some of it overseas, but extensively here, warning us not to attempt to board a boat to enter our country illegally as we have no chance of being resettled here.  This will most likely cease after the election is decided.

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