[Editor’s Note: Syria took over a million refugees after US army’s ‘Shock and Awe’ invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Lebanon has taken over 60,000 refugees during the civil war in Syria in the past few months. In comparison Australia has taken only a few refugees in the past year.
Even Malcolm Fraser who supported war in Vietnam and as the Minister for the Army sent 18 year old boys (who his government had conscripted) to their deaths in Vietnam has a more humane policy on refugees than this bunch of Labor and Liberal politicians. Neither Abbott nor Gillard deserves to govern! Bring back Whitlam and Fraser as a cabinet of two to overturn this mess. Even poor old Gough would make more sense than this government’s solution.
Perhaps the horrors of that war made Fraser reconsider the Tory approach to refugees that Labor adopted this week by backing Howard’s Pacific Solution. Don’t they remember that Howard was so hated that not only did he lose government but he lost his own safe liberal seat?
”The minister will no longer be guardian of children, so the convention on the rights of the child, which we’ve agreed to, suddenly means nothing.”
Mr Fraser said the amendments would not stop the boats and that more people would be at risk of drowning.
”The Liberals and others say that Howard stopped the boats, but if you look overall at what happened, the Taliban fell. The numbers of refugees going to Europe fell just as dramatically at the same time and no country in Europe had yet introduced the punitive measures that Australia introduced.”
Mr Fraser said the sensible alternative was to have large processing centres, in Malaysia or Indonesia, with the commitment that those recognised as genuine refugees would come to Australia.
More than 246,000 refugees, mostly from IndoChina, came to Australia under the Fraser government. The current humanitarian intake is 13,750 per year.
Mr Fraser said that very few boats landed in Australia during his time because there was an organised alternative.
Just 30 boats arrived in the last four years of his prime ministership.
Mr Fraser said the Houston panel’s recommendations were racist because if white farmers from Zimbabwe had fled persecution to Australia via boat, they would be accepted.
He said he hoped the amendments would be challenged in the High Court.
”I would be delighted to think it might be open to a High Court challenge but they will obviously be trying to cover their tracks.”
He accused the Labor and Liberal parties of ”behaving disgracefully and damaging Australia’s reputation, not just in our own part of the world, but right around the world”.