'We should be ashamed'

26 Nov, 2012 05:57 AM
Tony Windsor. Photo: Andrew Meares.
Tony Windsor. Photo: Andrew Meares.

THE asylum seeker debate is laced with ''veiled racism'' and should leave all parliamentarians ashamed, key crossbencher Tony Windsor says.

After the major parties both announced last week tough new policies to deter asylum seekers arriving by boat, Mr Windsor said Labor was futilely competing to be as tough as the Coalition and this would backfire.

''I reckon we should all be ashamed to even be in the Parliament, the way in which this debate has carried on,'' he said. ''The politics of the dog whistle, the veiled racism - it's great stuff if you want to create the politics of fear and division in the community.''

The tough policies of the former prime minister John Howard produced scandals such as the 2005 case of Cornelia Rau, a German citizen and Australian permanent resident unlawfully detained for 10 months, Mr Windsor said.

''People started to think why are we doing this? What about kids in razor wire and all that? That imagery can turn around - Australians are basically compassionate. They don't live in this suit they've been put into very comfortably.''

The government announced last week it would release into the community thousands of people on bridging visas as they overflowed from the offshore processing system, but would not let them work.

The Coalition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, will now introduce a private member's bill to repeat the Howard-era temporary protection visas under which refugees would be sent home if the situation in their country improves.

The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, admitted on Sunday that the government's new policies were ''very harsh'' but said they were necessary to stop asylum seekers drowning at sea.

Border protection picked up another boat on Saturday night, carrying 87 people.

The Greens immigration spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, said there was no difference between Labor's bridging visas and temporary protection visas. ''It's a race to the bottom on who can be the nastiest,'' she said.

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Bushie Bill
26/11/2012 6:48:37 AM

Tony Windsor is absolutely correct, and is one of a very small group of politicians prepared to stand up to an ignorant, racist and fearful small -minded rednecks voters. There is not one recognised political party that currently has the courage or leadership qualities to lead this country rather than follow the lowest common denominator of ignorance, intelligence and selfishness. Poor fellow my country.
26/11/2012 7:15:49 AM

Lets get something straight Windsor! These boat people are illegal immigrants who have tried leap frog over thousands of other poor refugees who are trying to get into Australia by the official procedures! Send them back and tell them to get inline like everbody else!
26/11/2012 7:48:53 AM

1000 known drowning deaths and counting. Asylum seekers swamping charity outlets in Melbourne and Sydney. Reduced capacity for genuine asylum seekers following procedure. All governed by a cesspit of union sycophants and failed lawyers. Yep, good on you Windsor, and good on you Bushie. You should both be indeed ashamed.
26/11/2012 7:48:59 AM

Tiger, it is NOT illegal to seek asylum. It IS illegal to overstay a legitimate visa, and most of those immigrants arrive by plane. Repeat, NOT ILLEGAL TO SEEK ASYLUM, just cause Tony Abbott says it does not make it so! Tony A. needs to re-read both our consitution and the UN Charter.
Ian Mott
26/11/2012 9:18:16 AM

The real shame is the fact that only 9% of Afgans end up in employment, Iraqis not much better. The reason is simple. Afgan GDP/Capita in AU$ purchasing power parity is only $1,200 a year while the single dole is $12,000 a year. The cost to the taxpayer of each boat person is $80,000 and climbing. But worst of all, Windsor can t think of anything else his electorate might want to spend the $2 billion a year these people are costing us. And spare us the racist smears you scumbags. My kids are half Scott/half Chinese, we hate waste and bludgers above all.
Bill Pounder
26/11/2012 10:25:41 AM

"It's a race to the bottom.." sez SHY. Hello. Literally, how many boats are on the bottom ... with their cargo. Anyone who encourages this stinking trade is totally complicit and deserves no quarter in the washup. Besides, it's a bit rich of Windsor saying, "we should be ashamed", when he's one of the bathplugs that has sided with a govt that owns this problem and who has, additionally, gone contrary to the wishes of his own electorate. Just go now before you endeepen the crap you've landed us all in. There's a good boy.
Bushie Bill
26/11/2012 10:31:56 AM

Scott? I thought your name was Mutt! You always claim it is.
David Harrison
26/11/2012 10:38:53 AM

I don't believe there is a single fair minded person in Australia who has a problem with asylum seekers wanting refuge in our country, so long as they don't jump the queue. There are plenty of people who apply through the right channels. What have these others got to hide? Don't muddy the waters by accusing us of racism. In my opinion, Australians would be the least racist people in the world. Have a look at what is going on in the world at this moment. We accept people from all over the world. What we don't like, are people who try to cheat the system, that we all have to operate under.
Ian Mott
26/11/2012 3:19:39 PM

Another 33 people drowned just recently. Only 1 survived but apparently it doesn't rate as newsworthy. And these sick leftard journos have the gall to call conservative blogs the "hate media". Talk about culpable selective myopia.
27/11/2012 4:48:25 AM

Firstly: There is nothing compassionate about encouraging people to risk their lives, in small boats on the open ocean. Secondly: Queue jumping is queue jumping regardless of what race you are. Go through the proper channels like everyone else. Thirdly: At the very least put them to work, even if is just sweeping streets. Perhaps if they realised you will spend 3 or 4 years sweeping streets before you can do anything else, they may not be so keen to get here. Sweeping streets might be demeaning, but if your life is in danger at home then you’ll be glad to do it
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