Reaching new depths of dysfunction
The failure of Federal Parliament to agree on a plan to stem the tide of refugees represents a failure leadership on all sides of politics, particularly for the Coalition and the Greens.
Parliament reached new depths of dysfunction. Mercy was sadly lacking.
Reports of yet more tragic boat sinkings and further deaths underscored the need for urgent action but even despite this no agreement could be reached. I hope that all Canberra’s parliamentarians took a good look at the photos of the young men who lost their lives, shown on the front page of a major newspaper last week. It made for somber reading.
The failure of the Parliament to agree on a mechanism for off-shore processing is all the more regrettable considering that a Bill to re-dress financing of government programs in the wake of the High Court ruling in Williams v Commonwealth (the so-called ‘school chaplaincy case’) speedily passed through the Parliament with the agreement of all parties in two days. Nothing like healthy self-interest.
On refugees, the Coalition kept insisting on Nauru and the Greens for on-shore processing. No one was prepared to compromise to save lives. Political point-scoring and ideological purity triumphed over human tragedy. The Greens in particular made a bad decision here and it is a classic case of their failure to recognise that politics sometimes involves compromise. Given the Agreement between them, Government’s measures should have passed with Greens support.
As for the Coalition, Tony Abbott’s continued negativity and obstinance was lamentable and there must be plenty of MPs on his side who are unhappy with this outcome.
Let's pray that the winter recess brings a change of heart and a new policy compromise that stems the tide of misery from Indonesia.