Robert Manne The myth of the great wave

For the past five years the asylum seeker policies of the Coalition and Labor have been virtually identical. Three weeks ago that changed when Bill Shorten announced Labor would support a bill from the newly elected independent member Kerryn Phelps, allowing seriously ill asylum seekers and refugees, most of whom have been on Nauru and Manus Island since 2013 or even earlier, to be brought to Australia for medical treatment on the recommendation of two doctors.