The tragic loss of life from the latest asylum seeker boat to sink off the Indonesian coast has led to yet another slanging match between ministers of the Gillard Government and their Opposition counterparts.
Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan says he’s open to talks with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, while Mr Abbott is delighted Labor is actively considering reopening the Nauru detention centre set up by the former Howard Government – but at a significant initial and ongoing cost to the Australian taxpayer.
The Australian Christian Lobby has weighed in on the debate with a strong endorsement of offshore processing – a policy that many churches argue is unjust and inhospitable, not to mention potentially unconstitutional.
Everyone has a right to seek asylum, and Australia has a right to process and deport those who fail to meet our strict refugee and security standards.
But we have a higher responsibility to treat all people with respect and dignity, and playing politics with the lives of vulnerable people frankly disgusts ordinary Australians.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 25 December 2011.