The Guardian Australia today published the views of a panel on the effect of the election on various aspect of Australian life. I was asked to contribute a bit about refugees.
The whole Guardian article is here. My bit is set out below:
So far, the election result is too close to call with much confidence.
For refugees, it hardly matters which major party wins government, since both have struggled to keep their policies as close as possible. The Coalition policy calls the exercise “border protection”. Labor said it would “stand firm on maintaining a policy of offshore processing”, while claiming that it would be humane and compassionate to the innocent people it would lock up.
It looks as though the balance of power will not be held by the Greens, but by Pauline Hanson (whose attitude to refugees makes Nigel Farage look tolerant) and Nick Xenophon (who still needs to understand that calling boat people” illegal” is a lie).
Offshore processing and intentional cruelty seem likely to remain.
This means that no-one seeking protection who gets to Australia will be allowed to settle in Australia. They will be taken, by force and against their will, to PNG or Nauru. Their claim for asylum will be processed there (at Australia’s expense) but those found to be refugees will not be allowed to come to Australia. Where they would be resettled is anyone’s guess. How long they will be left on Manus or Nauru is anyone’s guess.
I expect a Liberal win by a narrow margin. For several months I have been predicting the Liberal party room is likely to replace Turnbull with Scott Morrison. Morrison’s track record for lying about boat people, and his strangely un-Christian attitude to them, means that the future for boat people (and this country) looks very bleak.