Asylum seekers detained on Nauru would be taken to the US and Cuban refugees held at Guantanamo Bay resettled in Australia under a new detainee exchange scheme.What on earth is the point of that? The only logical reason is pure political expediency. Howard and Bush are just swapping refugee problems. Bush can say he has solved the Cuban refugee problem, Howard can say his Nauru detention facilities have a great clearance rate, but none of them are getting into the Great White Land.
And of course, as usual, we taxpayers will be picking up the bill for the transport of this human fodder.
UPDATE: Checking out the Oz Politics blog, I noticed that Tim Dunlop had followed up this post with a similar one at News Ltd (not the first time Tim has been a few hours behind me). Tim was baffled:
I don’t understand this new deal [Howard] has done with the United States about asylum seekers.Breaking my vow never, ever to visit News Ltd sites (but there are so MANY of them!!!!) I went to see if Tim had any idea what was going on.
He could only see half the story, so I helped him out. Still he didn't get it. So I helped him out a little more:
Of course it does not "solve" the real Cuban refugee problem for the USA, it merely helps solve the political problem of Cuban refugees (a big issue in US politics, as you know) by allowing the Bush GOP to point to some statistics which are sure to be cleverly manipulated by November 2008.But that's enough, I think. The foul taste of Rupert excrement hangs in my nostrils.
It's not about pointing to positives, it's about negating the negatives. Bush's GOP and Howard's Liberals both have enough problems on their hands without the seemingingly-intractible dramas of Cuba and Naura.
This is a radical solution to a relatively minor issue. It may look over-the-top to the casual observer, but the architects of this madness are now quite desperate people.
I have had enough of Tim's old Road To Surfdom blog, too. I wasn't going to comment there any more, but then I saw a rather surprising pro-military comment by the normally intelligent Eric Martin and I just couldn't help myself.
Enough. Life is too short. The internets are big, and blogs are many, or so I hear. I shall go a-wandering...
Adios, Tim Dunlop. I hope you escape your News Ltd prison one day soon.
UPDATE 2: Tsk, tsk. Looks like Tim has banned/deleted my comment above (comments moderation is of course in place at Rupert Inc). Presumably he will justify it by saying I used the pseudonym "harper" instead of the equally anonymous pseudonym "gandhi". Maybe I should have called myself "Billy Bob Smith"?
Also interesting is that Kevin Rudd is pretending not to understand what this is all about. But Greens senator Kerry Nettle gets it:
"This is about political mates helping each other out," she said.That help, Tim?
"Immigration issues in Australia and in the United States have been issues that conservative governments have sought to stand up on and they're now helping each other out.
"It's nothing more than a political fix in the lead-up to the election campaign."