Peter Dutton has both offered a little clarity on the wildly controversial law proposed on Sunday to ban refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Australia, while amping up the pressure on Labor to support it.
But in this case, ‘clarity’ is a far cry from ‘ethically sound justification’.
The immigration minister / humanoid potato told ABC Radio this morning that the law was designed to hammer home the point that people attempting to come to Australia by boat will never be settled in this country. It’s a weird point, because according to the Abbott/Turnbull government we’ve “stopped the boats”, but there you go.
“We are keen to get people off to third countries if they can’t return to their country of origin,” he said. “We are working with a number of countries now.
“What we don’t want is if somebody is to go to a third country that they apply for a tourist visa or some other way to circumvent what the government’s policy is by coming back to Australia from that third country.”
He also claims that this proposed law is entirely legal, and would not be breaking Australia’s international obligations.
PM Turnbull on the lifetime refugee ban plan: “we are satisfied it is within power and consistent with our international obligations.” pic.twitter.com/4F1kS0qlfj
— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) October 31, 2016
Later on while addressing media, Dutton slammed Labor’s ability to remain strong on border control, calling the party “bitterly divided” on the issue and leader Bill Shorten as being “torn apart by the left of his party”.
It took him a while, but Shorten finally broke his silence on the proposed legislation and slammed some parts of the proposal as “ridiculous”, though he did say Labor would consider the government’s crackdown.
“It seems ridiculous to me that a genuine refugee who settles in the US or Canada and becomes a US or Canadian citizen is banned from visiting Australia as a tourist, businessman or businesswoman 40 years down the track,” he said.
“Whether he [Dutton] likes it or not, refugees such as Frank Lowy, Gustav Nossal and Hieu Van Le have made a huge contribution to Australia. As an Australian, that’s something I’m very proud of.
“Of course people who come by people smuggler should not be allowed to settle here – we will never allow the people smugglers back in business.”
And uh, let’s not forget this lil’ part of our history: