How the next Australian government can balance security and compassion for asylum seekers

Australia’s acceptance of refugees remained uncontroversial while the numbers of refugees could be strictly controlled through its immigration program. The first serious challenge to control was the arrival of boatloads of Vietnamese refugees in 1976. However, the Fraser Coalition government maintained control through an arrangement with South East Asian countries that Australia would resettle a high number of Vietnamese refugees if those countries stopped redirecting boats that arrived on their shores back out to sea.

The Paladin scandal is only a drop in the ocean of corruption on Manus and Nauru

However, all the focus of the media has been directed only at this one company, simply questioning the figure in the contract. For years I have been scrutinising the security companies and medical service providers on Manus. I question why this critical approach to Paladin has only been taken up now and why it is exclusive to one company. The Paladin scandal is only one small part of this issue – hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted in the detention centres on Manus and Nauru during these years.

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.

Peter Dutton claims Australians will be 'kicked off' hospital waiting lists in favour of refugees

The assertion was rubbished by crossbench MP and doctor Kerryn Phelps, the primary architect of the legislation, who said it was nonsense to suggest the small caseload would squeeze Australia’s hospital system.

Doctors say asylum seekers will get worse, not better on Christmas Island

"We’ve received really distressed messages from our patients saying, ‘please, please, please do not send me to Christmas island. I was there five years ago, I was there six years ago, I don’t want to go back'," Dr Rufener told SBS News. 

"This is a place that caused fear, anxiety and worry in them five or six years ago and to put them back into that situation when they’re acutely ill quite frankly is cruel.

"People who have experienced trauma, when they’re re-exposed to a traumatic situation often their symptoms worsen."

Scott Morrison’s scare campaign on borders and tax is less a wedge than a wedgie

While prime minister Scott Morrison has spent the past fortnight resurrecting the notorious political wedge of border protection, evidence is mounting that the weapon he is brandishing may be about to malfunction.

BOB DOUGLAS : Towards a proper policy on asylum seekers

The recent debate around the medical evacuation Bill does absolutely no justice to the complexity of this issue. Australians are better than this. Whatever happens at the coming election, we, the electors, must demand of our representatives, a root and branch re-examination of the assumptions and impacts of our current policies. They are bringing Australia into disrepute around the world and profoundly harming hundreds of people who we should be protecting.

Australian Border Force confirms ocean patrols were cut to save money on fuel

The Australian Border Force has admitted it curtailed ocean patrols to save money on fuel, contradicting Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s claims that the agency did not reduce its marine presence.

The admission casts doubt over the Morrison government’s border protection strategy as it engages in a political fight with Labor over the medical transfers of refugees at Manus Island and Nauru.