A friend rang yesterday to tell me something Australian Green’s Senator Christine Milne just said in Parliament.
“Sue,” he said, “Remember your suggestion about stopping Indonesian people smugglers?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Well, I mulled over what you said and then I spoke to a representative at Christine Milne’s office who promised to pass it on to her.”
“Guess what? Milne made a reference to it during a speech today.”
“Good grief. What did she say?”
“She said that Australia could offer to run the boats themselves.”
I started laughing.
“So you never know,” he said. “You might have just helped to change the thinking in Parliament.”
Change the thinking?
Or maybe, like most Australians, I’m sick of the issue going round in circles.
Australia is unable to halt the influx of sea-borne asylum seekers. Every day the media reports on failed Government policies to ‘Stop the boats’.
In the meantime, Indonesian people smugglers profit from refugees who are crammed onto leaky boats which sink or are detained by the Australian Navy.
All asylum seekers are sent to detention centres where their claims are processed over several years.
Clearly, people smugglers need to be put out of business and the Australian Government can do it.
Why not offer an Australian transportation alternative?
If Australia offered a cheap service, with a guarantee of safe passage, this could put the smugglers out of business. Personally, I’d rather board a well maintained boat with a competent crew than one with a high risk of sinking.
There’s no guarantee the Australian Government would grant asylum, but it’s a better option than being exploited by people smugglers.
And I know this is a wacky idea but the current approach isn’t working.
At least there’s one politician prepared to think about it.
What about you?