It has taken Australia's government far too long to agree asylum seekers who jump the queue should derive no advantage over others without the opportunity or resources to cut a deal with people smugglers.
For far too long, as previously remarked in this column, the Gillard government and many refugee advocates in Australia have given priority, intentionally or otherwise, to asylum seekers who have made it to Australia, with or without visas. By doing so, they are at least in part responsible for encouraging risky and occasionally disastrous voyages.
Shortly before the Houston committee's report was made public last week, I suggested to the new president of the Uniting Church, Andrew Dutney, there seemed to be an increasing manipulation of Australia's navy. That is, people calling for help while still within Indonesian waters whether or not they were in immediate danger.
Dutney, who strikes me as a highly ethical, thoughtful and good choice to head the church, thought that was irrelevant. He said a policy of mandatory detention for asylum seekers was deeply flawed.
''People ought not be detained for other than immediate medical checks and preliminary processing,'' he said. ''There is no reason why they should not be accommodated in the community in a much more humane way.
''Similarly, the notion of offshore detention is just not worthy of us as a nation. And it is certainly not worthy of a Christian perspective of human dignity.''
Dutney, who is principal of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in Adelaide, says the starting point for the Uniting Church is that human beings are made in the image of God regardless of their transport. As such, asylum seekers need to be treated with care, respect and dignity.
''So we are deeply concerned about the way the political discourse around asylum seekers tends to dehumanise people in great distress.''
So given his Church's belief that human beings are made in the image of God, what is its view of homosexuality?
''It is not really the Protestant way to tell its members in detail what ethical stance they should take in relation to one thing or another,'' he said.
However, the Uniting Church is very clear on its official view of same-sex marriage. Dutney says the church teaches marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. ''That hasn't changed.''
This teaching has emerged from the reflection on Scripture.
On whether same-sex couples are welcome in the church, he says this is worked out at a congregational level.
Nationally, he said, the church believes there are many matters which are more important than sexuality, including the treatment of asylum seekers. It is easy to understand that homosexuals, who the church presumably also believes are made in the image of God, could find this perplexing.