‘Q&A‘ is a generally an obnoxious spectacle of pointless argument and terrible points-scoring by the worst people conceivable and livetweeted by the people who come a very close second. It is bad and I hate it, and yet I watch the damn show every single week on the off chance that I will learn something even marginally important.
This week was one of the good ones, and featured an in-depth discussion on Australia’s immigration policies which thankfully was completely free of Pauline Hanson and her ilk.
It did however feature commentator and policy advisor Jim Nolan, who spent most of the program staunchly defending Australia’s border policies and offshore detention regimes, which largely involved demonising those who came here by boat.
This prompted an extremely measured response from lawyer and asylum seeker advocate Shen Narayanasamy, who talked about the cruelty of our policy and the reasons people come by boat:
“The way you react to people dying at sea, is by setting up a situation where they don’t have to get on a boat. You don’t react to it by pushing boats back into seas and putting children and families into detention centres.”
She outlined the plight of a Syrian named Aly who tried to enter Australia by the “approved” channels:
“Aly has Syrian family in Sydney – citizens, there for years, had kids, part of this country. Now he can see, in Syria , that war is about to start, so what does Aly do? He applies for the formal safe pathways for family reunion to Australia. Do you know what the waiting list in our immigration program is at the moment for that family reunion? It’s 30 years, so he can’t get in that way.“He tries again he tries to do a student visa for his son, but because they are coming from a war-torn region, he is flagged by the immigration department and he can’t even pay for a university place for his son.”
Additionally held back from getting a skilled-migration visa, he’s left only with the option of coming by boat. Have a watch:
It shows us that we should react to people dying at sea by setting up safe alternatives | Shen Narayanasamy #QandA https://t.co/9QxqH13Aw7
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) October 10, 2016
Source and photo: ABC.