Which is worse: locking them up or paying them off? 453



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Australia is facing scrutiny both internally and on the world stage for our asylum seeker policy, with the Senate passing a motion calling on the government to produce documents relating to the alleged handing over of $US30,000 to people smugglers by 3pm today.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is “absolutely confident” Australian agencies acted within the law. Meanwhile, Bill Shorten says Labor governments never paid people smugglers to turn boats around, but could not to say whether the practice was used on land in Indonesia.

An editorial in the Herald Sun today says if Australia has been paying off boats, we should just admit it: “It is the responsibility of the Abbott Government to be upfront with the Australian people for whatever is being done in their name”.

The editorial goes on to say “a righteous Bill Shorten” pointed out the Labor government did no pay people smugglers to turn boats around, but that this is because previous labor governments did not turn back any boats. It argues that during six years of Labor governance 50,000 asylum seekers arrived.

“Nearly half of these asylum seekers are still waiting to be processed, only adding to their distress”.

It is also suggested that $30,000 might be a more cost effective way to process a boat full of people, and asks whether previous measures such as buying boats to stop people smugglers from getting hold of them, and providing lifeboats were “wrong” too.

In the coming days, we are sure to learn more about the situation and details that led to the paying off of people smugglers, if that is what occurred.

But on a day when a second petition of 65,000 people calling for the closure of offshore processing centres has been tabled in the Senate, we have to ask ourselves, what are the options?

Either way, Australia is in a tight spot and is being watched on the global stage.

Leonard Doyle, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told CNN, “Clearly helping people smugglers is not something that is supported by international conventions. Indeed if they’re traffickers by this point then that is something that would not be supported by anybody but we have to see what the facts are”.

Indonesian authorities are investigating the alleged payments.

If Australian authorities did pay off the boats, do you think they should just come clean and explain why? 

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  1. My personal opinion I don’t comfortable about paying them, probably because we have had years of being told people smugglers are bad people. Now we have become people smugglers ourselves, paying people to get in boats and head in the other direction. At the least its a mixed message

    6 REPLY
    • That is ok, your allowed to not agree as I said this is my opinion and I gave you my reasoning for it. but far worse than anything I have said.. it sounds like it is illegal, there must be reasons for the USA to be involved

    • As I said before if the interview was done in Indonesia by Indonesia then how do we know it was true, and they said they only saw anenvelope handed over, it could have contained anything, are we sure it was money. After all Indonesia ia one of the most corrupt counties in this area. You sure we can believe them.

    • Agree with you libbi,
      I wonder how long it will take before we have hundreds of boats lining up for their cash from abbotts atm

  2. We need a regional cooperative approach. Our government has an out of sight out of mind approach. It won’t solve this world wide problem and Australia needs to do its part.

    1 REPLY
    • Thank you Kathleen Petrik for your comment. Despite all the self-centred fascists, I do think the majority in this country would like to see this state of affairs handled correctly. Won’t be long before someone suggests firing missiles (probably already have!).

  3. Well they had better comply with the USA the last thing we want is problems with them, but if USA is demanding answers it must be illegal and they paid them in USA currency

  4. I don’t mind my Tax payers money going to keep them out. Much better than going to welfare cheats

    2 REPLY
    • your tax money my dear is going to the politicians like Joe with a million dollar property portfolio that gets paid $1000 a month newstart just because he is entitled, and the likes of the old and the unemployed that have been put of work, get nothing, sick of the whole lot of them in their ivory castles laughing a us, lets get rid of these guys and not pay them anything once they leave government and get some honest people in there and get Australia back on its feet. As far as boat people there are laws abide by them including the politicians.

      1 REPLY
  5. It is clear that both parties are prepared to break both local and international law just to grab votes at an election so how can anyone in tbeir right mind vote for such stupidity? Yes, we want to see the endless influx of illegal immigrants that the country simply can’t handle but we have more than enough crime in this country which these two openly ignore & committing more crime is not a good example to all our kids. There aee already too many messages telling them that crime will bring them a fortune instead of working hard to get there! Lets not lend any support to such foolish conduct?

    1 REPLY
  6. All I saw was US dollars could have come from anywhere we know the integrity of that nation is questionable?

    7 REPLY

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