Waleed Aly has taken to the NY Times to tear shreds into Australia’s offshore detention, using the world stage to claim we are responsible for lowering global standards on refugee policy.
He paints a picture of the everyday Australian, as people who just don’t care, that are sedated by Australian political rhetoric.
It seems that these bleeding hearts seem to conveniently forget that over 1200 lives were lost under the Rudd & Gillard Labor governments. Waleed’s attempt to label Australians as unintelligent people who simply swallow whatever sedative the Australian Government feeds us is downright offensive. Many Australians are concerned about the loss of life of refugees in detention, many are especially concerned about the children in detention. But the majority of Australians are able to recognise the truth, in Waleed’s eyes the “inconvenient truth”.
In a statement from Senator George Brandis to the Australian Human Rights Commission, George wrote “The Rudd Government’s dismantling of the Howard Government’s successful border protection policies directly resulted in more than 51,000 illegal maritime arrivals, including more than 8,400 children, while it has been estimated that at least 1,200 people (including hundreds of children) perished at sea.”
Waleed seems to completely reject the lives that have been saved “So Australia’s detention regime becomes virtuous, brutality repackaged as compassion.” Waleed wrote.
Waleed continues in the article raising concerns of the deaths in custody and claiming we have inadequate medical care “Those languishing in detention centres, even the people who die there thanks to violence or woefully inadequate medical care for simple afflictions, they’re just a warning to others who might be tempted onto a boat.” Waleed wrote.
We can acknowledge that since 2010 there have been 33 recorded deaths of asylum seekers in immigration detention facilities, this pales in comparison to the 1200 that died over a few years under the Rudd & Gillard government. But of course that doesn’t fit the narrative or agenda being pushed by Waleed. If he really cared about the welfare of refugees then he would back the very strong deterrent we have in place that has potentially stopped thousands of deaths.
Surprisingly enough Waleed didn’t really touch on the number of children in detention, maybe he knew that if he did, then some damaging statistics would come out. Currently there are fewer than 5 children in detention, whilst astonishingly Labor actually had nearly 2,000 children in detention at its peak in July 2013. So why under the Labor government were there so many children in custody? The answer is simple, with no deterrent in place large numbers of boat people made the journey to Australia. All of these asylum seekers can’t simply walk on shore and suddenly be an Australian citizen, no they need to be placed into an onshore detention centre, where they are assessed before either being sent back home or granted refugee status. This is to ensure that there is a fair and orderly queue in Australia’s refugee program and also to ensure the security of Australia is protected. There is no doubt that the humane option for all involved is to continue with offshore processing. Lives are saved on the sea and we don’t have to see large number of children stuck in detention.
Waleed, next time you decide to attack a nation that has given you so much, at least have the stats to back up your claims.