With a facade of calm purpose, Scott Morrison announced that today is 99th consecutive day since “a successful people smuggling venture to Australia”.Hurrah! Yes?
Well, no. Not if your sole purpose in life is to advance the Open Borders cause, no. So the attention must shift to ‘what ifs’ instead:
The language in Morrison’s releases is careful. There is no mention of how many boats have actually attempted to reach Australia in 99 days (nine according to some reports), nor how many made it as far as Australian territorial waters. No mention either this week, of a boat reportedly heading to Christmas Island two days ago, nor what befell the 50 people on board.So, Australia can be blamed for their attempts regardless of success! And then there’s always those ‘awful conditions’ in the camps to focus on:
A contractor on Manus told me today that the mental health caseload has at least doubled since the night of Barati’s death. Just a few weeks ago Morrison began transferring unaccompanied minors to detention on Nauru. The minister, who as the children’s legal guardian is mandated to act in their best interests, offered assurances that facilities are adequate, despite damning revelations to the contrary. And in late December, just a days after the start of this successful run, Morrison was silent on a letter sent from 15 doctors describing in chilling detail a raft of medical failings in detention centres on Christmas Island.People who ‘flee unsafe conditions in their country of origin’ via a hugely dangerous method seem to become delicate little snowflakes the minute their feet hit dry land, don’t they? They complain about the food, the accommodation, the medical assistance…
Should things go the Coalition’s way, Saturday will mark the 100th day without a boat arriving on Christmas Island. But there has been a terrible human cost to this achievement – and one day the full extent of that cost will be revealed.Given the alternative, I think Australia will be happy to pay that so-called cost. I know I would.