Tuesday, August 20, 2013

reason for voting green #7: liberal party policies are unconscionable and labor aren't much better

To be honest, I've pretty well zoned out of the 24/7 political news cycle.  My facebook feed keeps me up to date with policy announcements via a range of groups, and when I feel like it, I check in with twitter.  The daily policy announcements of the various political parties is little more than a dull hum in the background.

That being said, I am aware of the policies Labor and the LNP have been announcing lately.  One that stands out in my mind is LNP's policy on asylum seekers.  Here is their policy (as taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Establish a military-led response to border protection called Operation Sovereign Borders
  • Direct Navy to turn boats back when safe to do so
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island
  • Reintroduce temporary protection visas
  • Boost capacity on Nauru to house 2,000 people, eventually up to 5,000
  • Impose behaviour protocols on asylum seekers on bridging visas
  • Prioritise claims of asylum seekers in refugee camps over claims of boat arrivals
  • Maintain refugee intake at 13,750 per year
The temporary protection visas the Coalition intends to issue would last for three years, after which a refugee would have to have their situation reassessed (so much for cutting red tape).  If the security situation in their home country is assessed as having improved - back they go.  Family reunions will not be allowed, and refugees will not be allowed to work - except they may work for the dole.

Labor policy isn't much better.  They will do this (again taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • All asylum seekers arriving by boat will be sent to PNG for processing and settlement
  • No asylum seekers arriving by boat will ever be settled in Australia
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island and possibly other sites within PNG
  • Expand Manus Island detention centre to accommodate up to 3000 people
  • Increase refugee intake to 20,000 per year
  • Excise the mainland from Australia's migration zone
These policies make me unspeakably mad.  Both claim to be based on 'compassion' - they want to stop the asylum seekers coming to Australia in dangerous boats.  Well that must be the first time anyone in the western world takes responsibility for someone else's actions. Usually we try and worm our way out of taking responsibility for anything... but here, suddenly we feel so responsible for these people's lives we try and stop them taking a risky journey to our fair shores.  I smell a rat.  Both parties are telling big, stinking lies.  Their main motivation is not stopping people dying at sea - they just want to appeal to the red neck voter who is scared of asylum seekers.  The whole 'ethical' argument is ridiculous.  "Oh, we're so worried about them we're going to treat them like second class citizens, keeping their lives in never ending limbo, settling them in third world countries.  We can treat them badly, because what we really want is their safety."  What a load of codswallup!  The end does not justify the means, maleficence is maleficence whether the goal is beneficence or not.  (And I'm sorry - I've never walked in these people's shoes.  What gives me the right to tell them they are better off staying where they are, rather than jumping on a leaky boat and risking a perilous journey to safe shores?  We really have no idea what their every day life must be like!)

Here's some bible verses about the topic:

Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner...

Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 24:17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice...

Deuteronomy 27:19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

I've scratched the surface of verses relating to the way a foreigner should be treated.  The whole bible is a story of sharing goodness with the many. Way back when, God spoke to Abraham and said all nations would be blessed through him (Genesis 18:18).  We are not meant to hold our blessings close to our chest just for ourselves.  They are to be shared with those who are in need, including foreigners who come to us.  And it isn't just an Old Testament deal... Jesus made it pretty clear he wasn't just interested in serving his own people.  He healed a Canaanite woman's daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), threw demons out of a Gerasene (Mark 5), and healed a Roman soldier's servant (Luke 7:1-9).  Jesus was into sharing blessings.

LNP policies on asylum seekers make me want to weep.  They are cruel and heartless.  They appeal to all that is wrong in our society.  They go against biblical values.  Labor policies are little better. I absolutely cannot vote for a political party that takes the stance of these two parties.

So, another reason I'll be voting Green is because Labor and LNP policies on asylum seekers are unconscionable.  

(And I haven't even touched on the whole issue of push factors, international people movement, our contribution to war in the countries asylum seekers are coming from... the Greens policy on asylum seekers sees the bigger picture and seeks to address many of these issues.)


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