|The Killer Whale - Sinking her teeth into people smuggling|
Most overseas visitors to Australia regard it as a pretty clean place. Garbage
gets picked up, and moved to somewhere out of site and, for most of us, out of
mind. The burden on the taxpayer may be quite high, but at least there is
little unwanted garbage in the streets.
And those of us who thought that Amanda (Killer Whale) Vanstone had bitten off
more than she could chew in her new role as Immigration Minister can relax. She
seems to have taken this trend to heart in removing Australia's latest unwanted
arrivals - some 14 Turkish Kurds who landed on retrospectively-excised Melville
Island. These people have now, she claims, been removed to Indonesia.
Australia, for many years regarded as the world's human garbage dump, the place
to send the unhealthy human offcuts, the surplus of humanity, the
trouble-makers and those who didn't want to fit in with their local
communities or those simply determined to cause trouble, is over. Australia
it seems, well known for being a net-importer of economic goods, is now going
to be a net-exporter of economic bads - refugees.
But it would be very naive to think this hasn't come at a price. Why has
Indonesia, outraged in 2001 at the mere suggestion that 430 rescued Tampees
should be returned to whence they came, suddenly quietly accepted the return of
14 transitees? Well, the odd bribe going in the direction of Indonesian
officials might have something to do with it. Indonesia has been paid to take
them back, and the question on everyone's lips is 'how much?'
Naively it might seem that paying Indonesia more than it would have cost to
process them here would be a bad idea, but Killer Whale (unlike most fat chicks) understands the
principle of delayed gratification (giving up something for the short term for
a greater long term benefit). Having 14 angry Kurds running around Indonesia
asking the people smugglers for their money back is a lot better than having
them running around Australia demanding welfare.
And with Australia now a full regional sheriff, maybe we could deputize them
with full anti-terror powers before they ask for a refund. That would sort out
the people smugglers once and for all.