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Federal Government

BOWEN STANDS UP: Labor’s Immigration minister wins applause from across aisle

As a Liberal, I heart Chris Bowen.

With great aplomb, Chris Bowen, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, has taken advantage of multiple maritime tragedies and High Court meddling to dramatically alter the approach that has led to the Government’s dismal record on asylum seekers.

He has convinced the wider world he is a tough nugget and is trying to meet community standards about immigration.

While the press gallery luvvies have attributed the Federal Government’s primary vote improvement to Abbott’s negativity and an anti-ETS campaign and a range of other self-serving myths about Abbott-the-unelectable, none have dared linked the poll boost to Labor’s toughening stance against the irregular (read: illegal) maritime arrivals.

Labor insiders know Bowen’s audacity of pragmatism has decoupled Labor from its ill-advised agreement with the Greens in the public’s mind. This, in turn, has marginalised the Greens further and seen the evil minor party’s own primary vote tank.

The groupthink in the Canberra Press Gallery has concluded that the Gillard Government’s decision to withhold working rights on bridging visas for asylum seekers is worse than the Coalition’s policy to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visas.

To prove the point, feel free to watch ABC’s Insiders as some of Canberra’s more notable Gallery types try to overcome wanker’s cramp all agreeing about the horrors of Bowen’s notionally tough stance being tougher than Abbott’s which is axiomatically a negative development.

It is a good example about how little journos know about the complexities of the migration laws and regulations and how easily suggestible they are to the propaganda of advocate groups.

This is what and why Bowen is actually implementing:

The onshore and offshore detention centres are bursting at the seams. Labor has been forced to release asylum seekers into the community while their applications for formal refugee status takes place.

In order to make this work within the Migration Act, applicants are first provided bridging or ‘unsubstantive’ visas. The applicants, as part of their visas’ conditions, must apply formally for protection through the Immigration Advice And Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) within five or six weeks of being in the community.

(NB: IAAAS contracts law firms and advocate groups to lodge tailored Protection Visa applications with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. It cost the Commonwealth in the last year of the Howard Government about $1 million; in the last financial year, the outlaw was $17 million. This is a lawyers’ picnic with the polished silverware included.)

Once the applications for protection are lodged making claims about persecution, subsequent bridging visas are generated. These will be the bridging visas that will not include conditions permitting paid employment.

Conditions on visas restricting the hours of work or make it illegal altogether exist for many visas. Quite appropriately these include most tourist and student visas.

Bridging visas, as the name suggests, allow the Department to assess the subsequent substantive visas. The turnaround is supposed to be ninety days, but often there are extenuating circumstances, ie administrative delays from the dirth of available officials.

If claimants are found to be genuine refugees in that relatively tight timeframe, then the visa holders will have unrestricted work rights, unrestricted access to Medicare, income support from Centrelink and employment assistance from Jobs Services Australia on permanent visas.

Yes, permanent visas for which migrant businesspeople, skilled workers and professionals are expected to fork out thousands to access while paying taxes and meeting our workforce requirements. Yes, a permanent visa that many refugees have to wait for after years in dusty, unsanitary and dangerous refugee camps through the offshore humanitarian program, including women at risk.

Of course, those who on bridging visas are rejected by the Department will continue to have appeal rights, which may include the High Court.

In the meantime, taxpayers will provide a modest $220 a fortnight to applicants and other services through the Asylum Seekers Assistance Scheme.

Bowen’s supposed cruelty remains incredibly generous when compared to Temporary Protection Visas (TPV).

Howard-era TPVs found the irregular maritime arrival to be genuine refugees. Although successful, TPV holders had to wait several years before applying for permanent residency. The idea being that if conditions in your home country had sufficiently improved and you were an irregular maritime arrival would return.

TPVs also had not work conditions attached to them, meaning that applicants were indeed both facing uncertainty and idleness.

Unfortunately for Bowen, Rudd’s and Evan’s inhumane legacy of asylum seekers as shark bait means it is very difficult for Bowen to slow down the powerful momentum the smugglers, dripping in their furs and diamonds, have gathered in the cities most Australian know nothing about, such as Quetta, Ghazni and Jaffna.

Smugglers, who largely go unpunished, continue to wag the immigration policy tail with impunity.

Bowen’s policy of releasing as many as 6,000 into the community also has a number of self-improvised explosives attached, namely absconding.

With as many as 60 per cent of applicants rejected by the Department and going to review, hundreds of asylum seekers who either know their claims are vexatious or are pessimistic about their outcomes, will melt into the wider society.

This public relations snafu will begin to be unfold in the first of half of 2013.

It is also only a matter of time asylum seekers on bridging visas will be found to be exploited as illegal workers or to have committed criminal acts in the community.

Furthermore, people-smugglers will continue to portray Australia as a soft touch. They will be able to argue that if you avoid overcrowded Nauru and Manus Island, you will only spend three months in detention before being released into the community.

Expecting the vast majority of Australians to risk the integrity of its migration and border protection policies with more community detention is not just risky.

Bowen’s policies are moving in several directions at once. On the one hand, he has adopted a Pacific Solution and is trying to implement a no-advantage test for irregular maritime arrivals.

On the other, Bowen is facilitating the slow dismantling of mandatory detention. This is a milestone for the Australian far left who have been aiming to dismantle this policy when introduced by Gerry Hand during the Keating years.

When the Howard Government continued the policy, the broader left disingenuously mobilised around this issue. The Woomera detention centre in outback SA, opened in 1999, became the flashpoint. Built for 400, it overcrowded quickly, peaking with 1500 unauthorised arrivals. Protests and hunger strikes ensued.

In 2002, 1000 metropolitan leftwards with a litany of personal hygiene issues, converged on Woomera, helping 40 asylum seekers flee into the desert. It was a small but significant salvo in Australia’s asylum seeker debate, which remains a proxy for the broader culture war within Western nations.

The Pacific Solution and TPVs mothballed the detention centres over subsequent years until the arrival of Rudd and Senator Chris Evans.

The left and the Greens remain unperturbed about their convergence of their ideology with the criminality of global people trafficking, No amount of avoidable drownings seems to shame them.

When Rudd lost the top job in 2010, he warned Gillard’s leadership would lurch to the right (read: towards the sunlight). Rudd had in mind Gillard’s approach to immigration.

Rudd did not foresee one of his own supporters from the NSW Right would be assuring this lurch.

Bowen’s approach, a more effective and politically savvy policy than the one he inherited, could be enough to help the woman who deposed Rudd save some of the Party’s furniture come the federal election next year. If only he could take more of the sugar from the table.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Bowen has clearly taken lessons from the Phillip Ruddock school of dehumanising refugees. The man is a sociopath – he doesn’t give a flying fig about their suffering or about the fact that he is the cause of it. He has no morals, no conscience, no soul. No wonder he has risen high in the modern Labor Party.

    Posted by Gefelter | November 27, 2012, 18:21
  2. Bowen has clearly taken lessons from the Phillip Ruddock school of stopping fee paying queue jumpers. The man is a labor stooge – he doesn’t have a clue as he is Labor minister, somewhat lacking in brain cells. He has no morals, like Gillard, Albasleazy and SHY. no conscience, no soul. No wonder he will be booted out of his electorate in 2013 for being a member of the Labor Party.

    There fixed your post

    Posted by Futureproof | November 27, 2012, 19:15
  3. What crap those two comments above. If it is so dangerous from where they come from, why do they leave their Families behind? Also if they have the Money to come here, why do we have to give them more and all the other things like free Phones so that they can ring home and put their Families in danger? They just give us bullshit sopstories and those weak dogooders like the Watermelons suck it all up. Next thing you know Australia will be like a lot of Europenations and have nothing but trouble from those freeloaders.

    Posted by Taliban fan | November 27, 2012, 23:17
  4. Bowen rocks … boats…. and lefties who think it is right to be ripped off by traffickers then drown as mandated by the United Nations

    Posted by wtf | November 28, 2012, 11:03
  5. We do not have aisles in Australian politics. Just as we do not have ‘beltways’.

    Posted by John | November 28, 2012, 18:11
  6. YOu sound like the fucking taliban.

    Bowen is wrong, you are wrong and the parliament is wrong to punish innocent people.

    Where do you racist fuckwits come from.

    Posted by Marilyn | November 28, 2012, 18:15
  7. Marilyn do you have them live in your Street? Do you like be second class? Do you like to buy more tax, as most of them have no skills for any job and will collect your hard earned Money every two weeks? Are you in favor of sharia law as being pushed in Europe? Will you put up your Hand to look after them? I can go on, but I can tell you now that they will never become Australians. What happened in Sydney is the future.

    Posted by Taliban fan | November 28, 2012, 22:02
  8. To Marilyn the Green, 800 plus avoidable deaths at sea …. it is your humanitarian deficit that is in question. Throwing around racist racist racist is not an argument

    Posted by wtf? | November 28, 2012, 22:43
  9. Marilyn – the swearing, I’m shocked. When nothing else can be thought of for a decent reply, the ALP/Green toadies always resort to swearing. Swearing is an indication of a less than 100 word vocabulary, low IQ and a redneck

    Posted by Futureproof | November 29, 2012, 16:54
  10. Grow up, the moron is wasting $5 billion of our money to break the fucking law, are you cretins?

    Are you so sure that torture is legal and tolerable you are willing to pay $5 billion to do it and then face deaths and compensation claims galore in the process.

    Look at the facts – over 8,000 people have arrived since Bowen decided to break the law, he has sent less than 400 to Nauru, he has now sent 35 to Manus Island in breach of the law.

    The rest will be released into the Australian community on starvation rations.

    These are people who have broken not one law in any corner of the globe.

    Is that seriously what you fuckwits think is a sensible way to spend billions while every day 20,000 kids die of starvation and Australian families are being sent into poverty to pay for Bowen’s lunatic waffling?

    He is a pathetic criminal disgrace.

    Posted by Marilyn | November 30, 2012, 17:07
  11. And seriously, low IQ and redneck, me? Try yourself Future because this is an example of what you idiots think is wonderful.


    And for what? Bowen knows that he is the only one breaking the law but he has to appease the ranga racist PM.

    Posted by Marilyn | November 30, 2012, 17:09
  12. I always thought that we picked who comes here, not who demands to be let in, then carry on like two pop watches because we will not cave in to there demands. Looking young and healthy it does not suprise me that they are undercover Agents. The question also is, will they respect us and our way of life? From what I have heard, NO. Just talk to the People who are on Chrismas Island working there. Of cause it is all hush, hush, but privatly the demands made by those Invaders will blow your mind, getting better service that a lot of Australians are getting. They got the Money to come here, so why should they get anything else. I spend some time in a Camp here, a long time ago and all we got was a Roof over our Heads and three square Meals, no Money, but there was no protest from anyone there. Thats life and if you love them so much Marilyn why dont you put your Hand up and have them live with you.

    Posted by Taliban fan | December 1, 2012, 3:35
  13. Serco and their shareholders must break out the bubbly every time a boat arrives, which is currently one a day.
    Each individual person who arrives is worth one million dollars to the coffers of Serco. Taxpayer dollars is just monopoly money to the politicians though of course.
    It would not surprise me if Serco are actively encouraging/funding the smugglers and their customers.

    Posted by chris | December 1, 2012, 3:48
  14. I wonder if the navy patrol boat that had its armoury pinched was one of the patrol boats run for the ADF by Serco?
    The UK are privitising the police force so we can look forward to Serco police here soon too!
    I for one welcome our Serco overlords.

    Posted by chris | December 1, 2012, 4:03
  15. Julia Gillards socialist broom will drive out the best talent from Australia. We use the broom to sweep the dirt inside our house, collect it together, and throw it outside. Australia, similarly, applies its broom to find GEMS, and throw them outside the country, far away: so they never return.
    While most countries diligently work on programmes to attract and retain the best talent in the world, Australia does the opposite
    Gillard and Swan are not true Economic leaders but cult leaders
    When you go to a magic show you will be taken for a big ride unless you are very alert. That’s the specialisation of magicians: to fool you.
    The distinguishing feature of a cult is a pre-conceived conclusion. The cult leader either sees himself (or herself) as God or messenger of God or some sort of a “BIG DEAL.”The leader ASSUMES a particular kind of God in advance of all further discussion. With the outcome so pre-determined, all that remains is finding a justification for why this is so. (if you have been watching Gillard and swan you would have noticed this pattern)
    Gillard,swan and the GANG, have derailed the discipline of economics entirely from its scientific roots, and converted it into a cult. The ALP GANG together with their looney sidekicks, detest AUSTRALIAN values entirely. This is their pre-determined conclusion.
    They had determined in advance that they want centralized (governmemt) intervention, redistribution, and socialisation of investment. (in other words the communist way of LIFE)
    They have a HIDDEN AGENDA and have begun unleashing their fury at such force that even the most foolish and gullible reader have now picked up their intent and can see clearly that the ALP is TRULY leading us down the sinkhole to hell.
    And so these “clever” people created complex rationalisation to fool the intelligentsia. If you can fool the “intelligent” then you can readily fool the others. That is how magicians operate.
    Gillard and GANG have now begun their focus on the (deductive, not inductive) labour theory of value, and built up a massive mathematical edifice to “prove” that federal intervention is therefore “inevitable”.(JUST LOOK AT HER latest TALK on ELECTRICITY)
    Remember By hiding the obvious, and diverting our attention to the irrelevant, Gillared is proving her “General Theory” (grandiose terms come naturally to cultists) of unemployment and general DESPAIR.Remember again that this is necessary to create anxiety among the people and to MAKE the people depend on the state (for welfare and the dole etc.)and in this way the people will become obligated to vote this GANG in again with a large majority after which the GILLARD government will immediately proceed with bringing about the changes that she has in her HIDDEN AGENDA (some of it will be in line with the UNITED NATIONS AGENDA 21.) Remember also GILLARD ‘s MAIN aim is to RULE THE WORLD and she has set in motion her intentions by charming the main players like OH BAAMA.
    Remember, the moment you overcome the maths (which is often trivial and a mere extension of arithmetic and basic calculus), and ask “What’s going on here?”, “Where’s the science?”, you can pick up on the fraud being perpetrated.
    These deductive theories, based on false pretexts, have taken economics further and further away from the truth.
    We ARE BEING LED BY FOOLS…..We need to take urgent action NOW and STOP this CULT from further eroding our true AUSTRALIAN VALUES: everyone should now begin to inform as many people as possible about the CUNNING LEADER and take every step to ensure that this DANGEROUS GANG NEVER EVER get elected to any position ever.

    Posted by Patterson | December 3, 2012, 21:57
  16. dude, you gots to chill. Julia’s main aim is not to rule the world, she is simply a useful idiot puppet for those that do rule the world, such as David Rockefeller and his CFR/NATO globalist army.

    Posted by chris | December 4, 2012, 0:08
  17. The use of the term ‘shark bait’ in this article shows the lack of humanity in our National political debate. Would such a vile and callous term be used in relation to the carnage on our roads?

    Posted by Vile truth about us | December 6, 2012, 7:17
  18. To Vile Truth About US … yes I can imagine ‘road kill’ being used about the carnage on our roads and I don’t think it is callous or vile, just evocative. The author is clear – It is not he/she who believes drowned a/seekers are shark bait, but it is the callousness of pro-refugee lobby that creates the effective outcome that losses at sea are shark bait because they are so callous about the impact of their policies. Was the article too close to the bone?

    Posted by wtf | December 17, 2012, 9:33


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