Sunday, July 22, 2012


This weekend I've been watching the June 25 episode of Q and A.

One of the subjects was asylum seekers coming via boats.

It's so incredibly frustrating to watch.

I'd love to believe that both the Labor and Liberal party care about saving lives. But that's nearly impossible for me. 

One of the show's panelist's was George Brandis from the Liberal Party.  

He and the others had a discussion about the possibility of compromise. 

The Liberal party had the Nauru plan.  The Labor party came in, and they weren't too fond of the plan.  So they came up with the Malaysia plan.

The Labor Party never got to try out the Malaysian plan because it couldn't get passed in Parliament.

The Labor party says they're willing to negotiate with the opposition.

George Brandis from the opposition says they won't compromise. Why?  Because their plan had been so perfectly wonderful. If they agree to compromise, it would show they didn't have 100% faith in their plan.  It would show a lack of integrity.

Since when is showing a willingness to compromise a sign of a lack of integrity?

Okay.  Now that I think of it.  There are probably situations where we shouldn't compromise.   Like, I'm going to kill your family, but if you cooperate I'll just torture them.  Then you should probably fight for the full win. If you can.

I'm not an expert on all this asylum stuff, but from what I do know....Well, I don't think the asylum seeker situation was super happy and wonderful during the Howard years.

I may be wrong, but I think the Labor party had a reason for wanting to change things.   I don't think they were thinking, Well, this Nauru thing is working wonderfully, but it came from the other party, so let's scrap it. 

Or maybe they did.  I do think political parties are capable of that game.

I can, however, sort of give the Labor Party the benefit of the doubt.

I'm having a harder time doing that for the Liberal Party. It seems to me that they're standing against the Malaysia plan simply because they want to make things difficult for the Labor Party. I feel they don't want the Labor Party to have any successes, and if innocent people are hurt in the process, so be it.



I was just reminded by Lord Wiki that Australia's High Court was also against the Malaysia plan.   Then I guess Gillard was trying to make some changes to the plan, SO the High Court would be okay with it.  But the Liberal Party is making it difficult.

Tim Freedman, the Whitlam singer was one of the Q and A panelists.  He said some smart things that I liked. One of them:  But Senator Brandis, how on earth can you say that Labor’s policies aren’t working when you won’t let them actually legislate them and put them into practice? 


This is in response to Brandais saying:  Everybody wants the problem solved, so the question is what suite of policies are most likely to solve the problem and when the choice is between a suite of policies that demonstrably worked and a suite of policies that have demonstrably failed, I don't think it is a very difficult choice.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to question the Malaysian Solution, and I think it's fine speak out against it.  It's NOT rational to say something has failed when it hasn't even been tried yet.

Sadly there are millions of displaced people in the world.  We can't save all of them.  But if people could put the betterment of the world as a higher priority than political competition, I think we'd all be better off.

I will leap with joy (maybe literally) if I ever see someone from the Liberal Party praise a policy or idea from the Labor Party.  Or vice-versa.  And of course that goes for Republicans and Democrats too.  Maybe it DOES happen occasionally, and I just don't pay attention enough. 

On another note: During the program, George Brandis blamed the Hawke government for introducing the mandatory detention of children. I thought it was done under Keating's government.

I just looked again.  Lord Wiki says Keating started mandatory detention. I figured he could be wrong, so I checked another website: Amnesty International's.  They said the legislation was introduced in May 1992.

Keating was Prime Minister at that time.

But maybe the idea was in the pot before that?  Maybe Hawke came up with the idea, but it wasn't built up until Keating?

Or did Brandis make a mistake? 


  1. They are morally bankrupt... the lot of 'em. I would respect them more if they had a solution I didn't like but were sincere about it.

    We can't do any more than our best, but we 'should' do the best we can. If I am right on this, the greens should hang their heads in shame. As the best they could hope for was a compromise, that would be better than the result they got by refusing to budge, now they have left a lot of people worse off.

    The Liberals have exactly the same approach but with a different 'solution'.

    Labor are just as bad - it all comes down to the marketing principle of minimal differentiation: Be different but as close to the competition brand as possible. Keating's phrase "a conga line of suckholes" springs to mind.
    The game plan of both Lib and Lab is to continue vilifying asylum seekers who arrive by boat and pretend to know the best way of stopping them... for the protection of those who risk their lives on leaky boats. Naturally there is a noble ideal at stake.

    The focus is on the traditional role of opposition as an alternative government i.e. what you see is what you get instead of a focus on a group of people of varying viewpoints cooperating to achieve any kind of consensus. It's a system dependent on unresolvable conflict.

    Just because it is a tradition, does that make it right? The best?

  2. Fruitcake: You know....I was going to say the same about the Greens, and was looking up info to back me up. That's when I came across the High Court stuff, and I got sidetracked.

    But yeah. I agree with you. I think their unwillingness to compromise is harmful as well.

    They're reasons may be more noble. I think the coalition just wants to make the labor party look back. I believe the Green party wants to do good. They're just too idealistic.

    It's like the animal rights movement. For some, their goal is to stop the use of all animal products and to end all animal exploitation. This is much less productive than legislation that lessens animal cruelty.

    It's not helpful to have an all or nothing attitude.

    Are there government systems that don't have an opposition type?

    I wonder if it works better.

    I guess with any democracy, you'd have some level of opposition, at least in terms of campaigning and elections. But what if the opposition had had no power in legislation?

    What if the Labor party could do what they wanted without being blocked by the other parties? Then if people didn't like them, they could vote them out in the next election.

    Maybe I'm being ignorant here....but I feel it WOULD work better.

    I'm trying to imagine an America without congress and the House of Representatives. What if everyone in Federal had been Republican during the Bush years and was now Democratic?