Com­pas­sion-free zone

Sunshine Coast Daily - - OUR SAY - Bill Hoff­man bill.hoff­[email protected]­news.com.au

A COMPASSIONLESS Mor­ri­son Coali­tion gov­ern­ment has sulked into Christ­mas avoid­ing the em­bar­rass­ment of a de­feat on the floor of the Par­lia­ment while leav­ing the health and san­ity of peo­ple in our care to chance.

Aus­tralia is ap­par­ently run by peo­ple more con­cerned about their pride than re­peated ad­vice about the duty of care they are ob­li­gated to dis­charge.

We need to be ab­so­lutely clear. No one on Manus Is­land or Nauru has cho­sen to be there. They came to Aus­tralia look­ing for sanc­tu­ary only to be­come pawns in a dan­ger­ous po­lit­i­cal game that con­tin­ues to use peo­ple’s lives as bar­gain­ing chips.

Rather than mar­vel at the courage, re­silience and re­source­ful­ness they needed to ex­tra­dite them­selves from the hor­ror of their home­lands and reach our bor­ders, we bought the lies and ac­cused them of coun­try shop­ping or queue jump­ing.

We head into Christ­mas with our Gov­ern­ment hav­ing ig­nored for the sake of its pride the un­am­bigu­ous tidal wave of med­i­cal ad­vice that chil­dren and adults alike are be­ing done ir­repara­ble dam­age on our watch.

In­stead, sig­nalling it has learned noth­ing from the Went­worth by-elec­tion or the Vic­to­rian state elec­tion rout, the Gov­ern­ment has also cho­sen to ig­nore a changed mood among Aus­tralians in­creas­ingly un­com­fort­able with what is be­ing per­pe­trated in their name.

Scott Mor­ri­son per­sists in­stead with the non­sense that the only way to stop peo­ple smug­glers is to tor­ture their cus­tomers.

We do so at a cost of bil­lions of dol­lars that, con­trary to the id­iocy of logic pos­sessed by some on so­cial me­dia, has not cre­ated a new ClubMed in the Pa­cific, but rather de­liv­ered ex­tra­or­di­nary profit to those who ser­vice the mis­ery. The La­bor Op­po­si­tion ap­pears to have still to set­tle on a firm pol­icy re­sponse to peo­ple smug­gling for which there are in­nu­mer­able al­ter­na­tives to the cur­rent strat­egy of in­ter­minable in­car­cer­a­tion with chil­dren as col­lat­eral dam­age.

That may well come at its na­tional con­fer­ence to be held be­fore Christ­mas.

But at least it has read the ev­i­dence, lis­tened to med­i­cal ad­vice and reached the con­clu­sion the sta­tus quo has be­come in­tol­er­a­ble to think­ing, com­pas­sion­ate Aus­tralians.

The Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment on the last sit­ting day of Par­lia­ment for the year was pre­pared to kill time in the Se­nate rather than face that re­al­ity.

In the process it put at risk im­ple­men­ta­tion of anti-ter­ror­ism laws it had claimed as es­sen­tial for a safer Aus­tralia.

Flaws in the leg­is­la­tion the Op­po­si­tion and ex­perts had wanted ad­dressed will now have to wait for the new year for cor­rec­tion.

So too will the poor wretches on Manus and Nauru have to wait through an­other hot sum­mer in hope leg­is­la­tion that has al­ready passed the Se­nate can suc­cess­ful ne­go­ti­ate one of the few re­main­ing sit­ting days a des­per­ate Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to hold in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ahead of a much-needed fed­eral elec­tion.

Wil­fully deaf

Mean­while a deaf state La­bor Gov­ern­ment has cho­sen to sup­port an in­dif­fer­ent Sun­shine Coast Coun­cil in ramp­ing up height lim­its in a bid to se­cure a gen­uine sale in the Ma­roochy­dore CBD.

Both lev­els of gov­ern­ment ap­par­ently have lit­tle in­ter­est in the long-ex­pressed com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion to the cre­ation of a mini-me ver­sion of the Gold Coast here.

In­stead the com­mu­nity must give up the amenity it has long held as sacro­sanct, to res­cue an en­deav­our for which the mar­ket cur­rently ap­pears to have lit­tle ap­petite.

Res­i­dents al­ready know they can’t rely on their coun­cil to de­fend the plan­ning scheme they helped form.

They also should have no doubt that the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment can­not be re­lied on to de­fend their in­ter­ests.

Cli­mate change

Nor can the Queens­land La­bor Gov­ern­ment be re­lied on to take cli­mate change se­ri­ously. In­stead it ap­pears to be lock­step with the Fed­eral Coali­tion on a pro­posal to de­velop Ram­sar-listed Wet­lands in More­ton Bay.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has de­cided on a re­view, rather than to ac­cept ad­vice from its ex­perts that plans by Walker Cor­po­ra­tion to build 3600 apart­ments, a ho­tel, ma­rina and con­ven­tion cen­tre on Toon­dah Har­bour on More­ton Bay was clearly un­ac­cept­able.

In­stead the Queens­land Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment and the Fed­eral Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment are col­lud­ing to change the Ram­sar map to ex­clude the land and with it pro­tected mi­grat­ing bird species in favour of more of the same over-de­vel­op­ment in vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas of the state’s south­east.

This is the same State Gov­ern­ment splash­ing cash on dis­as­ter re­silience plan­ning for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties driven by the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence about the loom­ing im­pacts of cli­mate change.

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