06 July, 2010

Bernard Keane, from Crikey.com.au writes:
“Gillard hasn't exactly tried to outflank Tony Abbott to the right on the issue, but that's primarily because there is little new policy here. A promise to try to coax East Timor and the UNHCR into allowing us to dump Christmas Island detainees over there, a statement that asylum applicants who are knocked back will be sent home as happens now, vague talk of "shouldering obligations", are of a piece with Gillard's weekend encouragement of people to have their say on the issue, as if xenophobes had felt in any way stymied until now in attacking asylum seekers.
If the one hard commitment Gillard made proceeds, it will be hideously expensive. The Pacific Solution was estimated to have cost around $1b over five years. The Dili version won't be any cheaper. We're also forking out for eight new patrol boats to patrol our north-western and northern waters.
Taxpayers will be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on several thousand asylum seekers, to assuage the xenophobic instincts of a few swinging voters in marginal electorates. Unedifying indeed."

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