Mor­ri­son turns up heat on ALP’s bor­der pol­icy

The Australian - - THE NATION - ROSIE LEWIS

Scott Mor­ri­son has hit back at La­bor’s claim there would be no change to Op­er­a­tion Sov­er­eign Bor­ders un­der a Shorten gov­ern­ment, say­ing his op­po­nent would kill the scheme he in­tro­duced.

The po­lit­i­cal de­bate over bor­der pro­tec­tion in­ten­si­fied yes­ter­day after Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton used the dis­rup­tion of a peo­ple-smug­gling ven­ture in Malaysia to in­sist the boats would restart and chil­dren would be back in de­ten­tion if La­bor won the elec­tion.

Mr Dut­ton also ac­cused La­bor of “com­pletely aban­don­ing” Op­er­a­tion Sov­er­eign Bor­ders.

But op­po­si­tion im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der pro­tec­tion spokesman Shayne Neu­mann re­jected the claim. La­bor sources told The Aus­tralian it would not change in name or op­er­a­tion.

“Un­der La­bor, there will be no change to Op­er­a­tion Sov­er­eign Bor­ders. Op­er­a­tion Sov­er­eign Bor­ders will be fully re­sourced, we will main­tain Aus­tralia’s strong bor­der pro­tec­tion mea­sures and strengthen them even fur­ther with these new mea­sures to stop peo­ple-smug­glers in their tracks,” Mr Neu­mann said.

“La­bor will triple the num­ber of Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice of­fi­cers over­seas ded­i­cated to de­ter­ring and dis­rupt­ing peo­plesmug­gling ven­tures, some­thing the Lib­er­als have failed to do.”

The Prime Min­is­ter, im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter when the scheme was cre­ated in 2013, said La­bor had al­ready promised to de­stroy two of the three key pil­lars it stood on: tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion visas and off­shore pro­cess­ing.

La­bor soft­ened its asy­lum­seeker pol­icy at its na­tional con­fer­ence last month by for­mally en­dors­ing doc­tor-or­dered med­i­cal evac­u­a­tions off Manus Is­land and Nauru, but it re­mains com­mit­ted to boat turn­backs when safe to do so, off­shore pro­cess­ing and re­gional re­set­tle­ment.

“They will abol­ish tem­po­rary pro­tec­tions visas and last year voted to end off­shore pro­cess­ing as we know it in the par­lia­ment. And they had no clue what they had done,’’ Mr Mor­ri­son said.

“If you really think La­bor will turn boats back with Tanya Plibersek sit­ting on their na­tional se­cu­rity com­mit­tee, you’ve got to be kid­ding.

“La­bor are just not up to it on bor­der pro­tec­tion and the peo­ple smug­glers know it. Ev­ery time they are tested they fail. I should know, I had to clean up their mess.”

Bill Shorten said it was “com­plete rub­bish” to sug­gest La­bor would aban­don the op­er­a­tion and suggested the gov­ern­ment’s lan­guage was en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple smug­glers to “try their hand against the Aus­tralian sys­tem”.

“We do sup­port strong bor­ders. We will do ev­ery­thing we can to stop the peo­ple smug­glers get­ting back into busi­ness,” the La­bor leader said.

“The gov­ern­ment’s just say­ing this stuff to en­cour­age the peo­ple smug­glers and to ba­si­cally try and get some cheap po­lit­i­cal point of dif­fer­ence.”

There are seven chil­dren still on Nauru, with four of them ear­marked to go to the US un­der the re­set­tle­ment deal.

Zara Kay has shown great courage in speak­ing about the ef­fect of Is­lam’s sharia law on women and those who no longer be­lieve (“Women pay heavy price for ditch­ing Is­lam”, 14/1). Is­lam is of­ten called a “re­li­gion of peace” — but the word Is­lam does not mean peace, it means “sub­mis­sion”.

As Kay ex­plains, Is­lamic the­ol­ogy teaches that a woman’s tes­ti­mony in court is worth half that of a man and that the pun­ish­ment for re­nounc­ing Is­lam can in­clude im­pris­on­ment, flog­ging or death.

Kay is not safe from ex­trem­ists, even in Aus­tralia — just as Saudi Ara­bian teenager Ra­haf Mo­hammed alQu­nun will not be fully safe in her new home, Canada.

Most dis­turb­ing is the news that over a quar­ter of Kay’s Tan­za­nian child­hood friends be­lieve she should be killed be­cause she has left Is­lam. If such be­liefs are typ­i­cal of other mod­er­ate Mus­lims, our im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies need a re­think. Roslyn Phillips, Tea Tree Gully, SA Con­grat­u­la­tions to Caro­line Over­ing­ton for her ex­cel­lent re­port and for your ed­i­to­rial (“Saudis must scrap guardian­ship”, 14/1). Hav­ing spent time in the Mus­lim prov­inces of In­dia that later be­came Pak­istan, I know how op­pres­sive Is­lam is to­wards women. They rank as third-class cit­i­zens. The courage of women who re­nounce Is­lam is com­mend­able for they face threats, in­clud­ing mur­der.

All Saudi women should queue up to ob­tain visas for any coun­try that will ac­cept them, and leave the king­dom to the men so they can ex­pend their en­er­gies bul­ly­ing each other. It is ap­par­ent that the Saudi regime is un­re­formable, and only the exodus of women might bring a hint of re­form. Ba­bette Fran­cis, Toorak, Vic In a pre­vi­ous life, I made what I thought was an un­re­mark­able speech in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives: “It is ap­pro­pri­ate that we have sanc­tions, in­clud­ing sport­ing sanc­tions, against South Africa be­cause of ... apartheid. Equally be­cause of their dis­crim­i­na­tion against women we should have sanc­tions against Arab coun­tries like Saudi Ara­bia that will not treat women as equal.”

I soon re­ceived a phone call from a se­nior Olympic of­fi­cial tak­ing is­sue with my speech and ask­ing me not to rock the boat be­cause we might need Arab votes for fu­ture Olympic bids. When I said it seemed the Aus­tralian Olympic move­ment re­garded women as sec­ond-class cit­i­zens, I was ad­vised that I just didn’t un­der­stand the way these things worked.

In fact I did. The reach of coun­tries such as Saudi Ara­bia into democ­ra­cies is sig­nif­i­cant, as demon­strated re­cently in this lat­est asy­lum case. Ron Ed­wards, Trigg, WA Caro­line Over­ing­ton high­lights just how in­com­pat­i­ble Is­lam is with our way of life. It also raises the ques­tion to what ex­tent Is­lamic prac­tices are be­ing fol­lowed here and what ac­tion gov­ern­ments are tak­ing to en­sure women are not be­ing sub­jected to what most would re­gard as un­ac­cept­able, if not un­law­ful, treat­ment?

The ar­ti­cle should once again cause us to ques­tion the wear­ing of the burka. Is this gar­ment worn vol­un­tar­ily or is it forced on women who are afraid not only to re­ject it but to speak against it? To most of us, wear­ing such a gar­ment vol­un­tar­ily in a coun­try sub­ject to high tem­per­a­tures and where peo­ple en­joy the free­dom of dress­ing down, doesn’t make sense. By ban­ning the burka we just might be tak­ing a crit­i­cal step in free­ing Mus­lim women from op­pres­sion; from what is, by our stan­dards, a form of do­mes­tic abuse. John Ge­orge, Ter­ri­gal, NSW The story of the Saudi teenager’s flight to safety and free­dom from stifling and lethal male-dom­i­nated re­li­gious con­straints — with the help of a ded­i­cated group of women who them­selves have made the same dan­ger­ous jour­ney — is sober­ing and heart warm­ing. The plight of women in the “most fem­i­nist of all re­li­gions” is a mil­lion miles away from self-in­dul­gent Western fem­i­nists grand­stand­ing about mi­cro-ag­gres­sions. Ian Mastin, Woodgate Beach, Qld Caro­line Over­ing­ton con­firms my ex­pe­ri­ence when in­ter­view­ing ex-Mus­lim women for my novel Dis­hon­our. They were liv­ing in fear in Syd­ney. Death threats, dead an­i­mals and rub­bish thrown into their yards forced them to move fre­quently, and they were well aware of the death penalty for leav­ing Is­lam. One woman’s mother tried to poi­son her be­fore she left for Aus­tralia. Gabrielle Lord, Rand­wick, NSW

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