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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asylum Seeker Swap in Crisis

As we shake our heads in disbelief at the incompetence of this Labor government, yet another one of their policies goes belly up. High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne said yesterday that the government's efforts regarding the Malaysian solution were "half baked" with documents supplied late and out of order.

They have been working on this deal for months but couldn't get it right. Surely they must have known there would be objections about unaccompanied children and lack of legal protection once the asylum seekers arrived in Malaysia - we expected them to sort that out before they signed the deal. But it seems they didn't. Now everything is on hold for at least two more weeks to find out the High Court's decision.

When the government's Solicitor-General Stephen Gaegler SC asked for an earlier hearing because the people smugglers would be encouraged by the latest fiasco, he was refused. Why? Justice Hayne said that the late filing of an affidavit "didn't give me any confidence that the government would be ready." Good work Mr Gaegler, don't expect a promotion any time soon.

Chris Bowen was red faced last night as he struggled to answer questions. He said the government "would respect the letter and spirit" of the court's decision and would not be sending anyone to Malaysia before the court hearing. Meanwhile, the first 4,000 refugees from Malaysia will arrive this week.