Sydney, August 28: Peter Dutton is again causing consternation among asylum seekers and their families and sympathisers. This time perhaps some or the gurus and commentators it is pure economics versus social responsibility while human beings and their families are at stake. At least some say that. While supporters of Peter Dutton most of whom are mostly reticent all the time and immersed in their either intellectual discourse or others who are busy making their both ends meet, those on the left are up in arms claiming Australia was shirking its social responsibility to those in need, the asylum seekers.
“What about government’s responsibility to us Australians? asks an angry elder Australian who lives in an aged care at the age of 89 and does not want to be named. “I was born here, worked all my life here, paid my taxes never doing anything wrong by the system and now when it is for me to be looked after, all the sudden the government does not seem to have enough money for people like me – while some idiots are fighting to keep those other nationals here – who have not qualified to be here… Charity begins at home. Government’s first responsibility is us – Australians”, he angrily added.
Asylum seekers, at least 200 hundred of them as reported in the media, are receiving $200-a-fortnight as welfare payments and government-supported housing.
“That is a shocker, that is highway robbery… I am 79, having come to Australia 60 years ago from Germany and while all my life here, paid my dues. And now, while I live in this aged care, because government has been cutting most of its assistance, I am left with no more than $100-a-fortnight in my pocket”, says Bob (not his real name). “How is the system being fair to me? Do I come last in their list of people who the government owes social responsibility to?” an irate ‘Bob’ asks.
Of those 200, at least 60 of them have had their medical treatment completed and Peter Dutton has decided to strip them of this entitlement and asked them to be deported.
Both of these gentlemen are pleased that Peter Dutton has decided to strip 60 of such asylum seekers of being entitled to politicians’ odious charity with these elders’ hard earned and honestly paid tax money.
No wonder asylum seekers are terrified that they will soon be deported after receiving medical care.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton blasted Australian lawyers as “un-Australian” for helping such asylum seekers to challenges to them being sent back. He said these “un-Australian” lawyers were trying to keep them (asylum seekers) in Australia.
Peter Dutton told the Sydney radio station 2GB up to 400 others were “ripping the system off” in the same way.
Mr Dutton said it was “incredibly frustrating” to see constitutional challenges being mounted by lawyers representing those asylum seekers who were the target of this crackdown.
“These lawyers have been playing the game with these people who are willing participants,” he told Alan Jones, the host on Sydney’s 2GB radio.
“We’re a generous nation, but we are not going to be taken for a ride.”
As a result of minister’s decision, welfare payments were stopped on Monday and the group will be evicted from their government supported accommodation in three weeks and will be placed onto “final departure” bridging visas. And while fighting to block their deportations through court injunctions, they will be allowed to work in Australia but must pay their own way.
“The medical assistance has been provided and there is no need for them to remain in Australia and yet through these legal moves, they’ve found themselves a way,” minister Dutton said.
Among those affected are asylum seekers who have come to Australia from offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru for medical treatment.
Natasha Blucher from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the government’s announcement had terrified people trying to rebuild their lives after enduring unimaginable suffering.
Under the Australian constitution, everyone must get their day in court and that is what the lawyers are invoking on behalf of asylum seekers. Given the current make up of parliament in Canberra, there is zilch possibility of legislating to plug any such loopholes and that is what is frustrating for the government.
“There’s constitutional issues involved and, as you well know, we can’t pass legislation to dispense with that difficulty of the constitutional issues,” he said.
“So we defend these matters. We fight them in the courts and it is incredibly frustrating” said a very frustrated minister Dutton.
The host, Allan Jones asked Peter Dutton whether he agreed the lawyers’ behaviour was “un-Australian”.
“Of course it is, and it’s gone on for too long and I think people believe in a fair go but this is ripping the system off,” Mr Dutton added
Labor and the Greens will look to overturn the government’s decision, which Bill Shorten has described as Malcolm Turnbull’s “weakest move yet”.
“I say to you Malcolm, we want these people resettled in third-party nations, we want to see the US deal come off, we don’t want to see people smugglers back in business,” the opposition leader told reporters in Melbourne.
“But do you really have to make a hero of yourself by mistreating in a weak and cowardly and cruel fashion the most vulnerable people in the world?” the opposition leader Bill Shorten said in response.
“Tell them to forego a major chunk of their salary”, says angry ‘Bob’, “why are they cutting our entitlements in every budget? Will any politician sacrifice part of their salary to raise funds for these asylum seekers to maintain current level of support to elderly Australians and Australian families?” he asks.
‘Bob’ is not angry with lawyers. He is particularly infuriated with politicians doing the circus on TV and social media of telling fibs with blatant profligacy and not worrying about the consequences of their conduct.
“Life is such a rut nowadays, people really do not have the time to venture out and ask these parasites to account for their conduct”, says ‘Bob’.
“It is a business for them like anyone else without any sense of service now in politics; I am sure if the minister was a lawyer himself, he’d be doing the same thing – take the money and run to the court”, he concluded.
It is obviously a very dirty display of playing politics by the politicians in Canberra. Lawyers and migration people are not to be blamed for acting on behalf of their clients. The minister did not suggest they were acting ‘illegally’ or ‘against the law’. If they are ‘gaming the system’ for their clients, they are because – the system allows them to espouse the conduct they are engaging in.
They may be playing politics 24/7, they hardly realise the ‘boiling rebellion’ in the common man who will ask them to account for their decisions at the next election.
-K. Dev with DM