Monday, 28th April 2014

MEANS AND ENDS

Tonight's Four Corners will air an interview with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, during which he backs down from a guarantee he had previously given for the safety of asylum seekers inside the Manus Island Detention Centre.

He'd made the guarantee the day after 23-year-old Reza Barati – an Iranian Kurd – had been beaten to death. At the time, Morrison declared that Barati was outside the centre. That was quickly shown to be false.

All along, Morrison and the government have defended all aspects of their policy of detention and deterrence – including its notorious secrecy – with reference to just one criterion: have the boats stopped? The government came to office after more than 1000 people died at sea during the Rudd and Gillard administrations. "We will do what is necessary to stop the boats," Abbott said in November 2013.

Meanwhile, 3.5 million people languish in refugee camps in south and southeast Asia. For them, stopping the boats has removed one of the few ways out. Is that single measure – stopping the boats – enough to justify our treatment of people seeking asylum? Morrison and the government continue to bet that it is.

Russell Marks
Politicoz Editor

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