Labor marginals decisive
The 2013 Federal election will be decided on Labor's marginal seats, including ten in Western Sydney, says senior political correspondent Mark Kenny.PT0M0S 620 349
The kindest thing that can be said of Scott Morrison's call for a freeze on the release of asylum seekers into the community on bridging visas is that it is a massive overreaction.
More reprehensible is Morrison's demonising of those who come to this country seeking refuge and who, overwhelmingly, are found to be deserving of this country's protection.
The Coalition's immigration spokesman says that you should be told if ''boat arrivals'' on bridging visas are to be located in your community; that police should be notified when they are released into their jurisdictions; and that ''behaviour protocols'' should be introduced with ''clear negative sanctions''.
And why? The only justification for any of the above would be if these people were more likely to misbehave than any other member of society – and there is simply not a scintilla of evidence to suggest this is the case.
Certainly, the charging of one person – who is entitled to the presumption of innocence – out of the many thousands on bridging visas does not constitute a ''wake-up call''. On the contrary, we know that the overwhelming motivation of the vast majority of those who risk their lives on boats is to live in peace and to rebuild their lives.
We also know that those on bridging visas are already required to tell the Immigration Department where they live.
Of course, they are subject to ''behaviour protocols'' that carry ''negative sanctions'' if they are breached – in the form of the same laws that apply to every other member of the community.
Mr Morrison's opportunism would be easier to excuse if this was his first offence. It isn't.