Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Asylum Seeker Laws Defeated

I was itching to get onto the net shortly after Barnaby Joyce's intriguing interview on this morning's particularly good episode of Insiders, which largely concerned the future of the amendments to the Migration Act that are due to be debated in the Senate this week. Joyce was playing his hand fairly close to his chest, refusing to declare he would vote one way or the other, and implying that he was ready to cross the floor, but only if his extra vote was needed to sink the bill.

Over on Channel 9's Sunday, Family First senator Steven Fielding was providing the second part of the answer to Barnaby's puzzle, declaring that his vote would be the one that, along with the vote of Liberal senator Judith Troeth, would see the legislation fail in the Upper House.

Fielding's and Joyce's arguments were quite different, and are worth reading in their full at the links above. I was particularly interested in Joyce's comments about the beliefs on asylum seekers now held in the bush. According to Joyce, many are now balancing their fear of Paris-style riots in Australia with a genuine concern for the welfare of legitimate refugees. That many people are now taking that second part of the equation into account is a significant step forward from where the nation was in 2001.

This is a tremendous win for all who support the rights of asylum seekers - not to mention asylum seekers themselves - but it is also an enormous slap in the face for John Howard and the leadership of the Federal Liberal Party. It makes you wonder how many MPs and Senators have, in the past, swallowed their pride, girded their loins, and walked into the House to cast a vote for something they did not believe in; or on the other hand, whether the government's leadership has simply become so out of touch - relaxed and comfortable, if you will - that it makes policies without realising that its own MPs will react so violently against them as to sink them.

What more to say, than ...

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'


Nah. I might save that one for the next election.

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