Labor’s stance on Tamil asylum seekers will risk lives
Labor was already shaky on our borders. Now it wants Australia to accept even a boat person who says he had links to a terrorist group.
"Is it in Australia's interests for these people to stay here? Yes, it is," he insisted, calling for mercy for Nadesalingam Murugappan and his wife, who individually sailed here by boat in 2012 and 2013.
But Albanese has not addressed one awkward fact about Nadesalingam - that he says he had family links to the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group long banned in Australia.
Nadesalingam says that's why we mustn't send him back. Sri Lanka's police could persecute him, he says, even though the country's civil war ended a decade ago and 11,000 former Tamil refugees have safely returned from India alone.
But hang on. The Tamil Tigers?
Even under the Gillard Labor government, Sri Lankans linked to the Tamil Tigers were stopped from staying and no wonder.
It was officially listed as a terrorist group, having assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa.
It also repeatedly used suicide bombers, notoriously killing 100 people in an attack on the central bank in Colombo. It sold drugs to raise money.
And Labor is now demanding a man linked to the Tamil Tigers stays here? Says he's the kind of citizen we want?
But relax: I doubt Nadesalingam really was a Tiger. Check the countless other Sri Lankan boat people clogging up our courts with appeals against decisions to deport them as fake refugees.
So often you read the same claim: they can't go back because they were members of the Tamil Tigers or linked to them. So often you also read the PS that Nadesalingam added, too: they were forced to help the Tigers, so we can't hold that against them.
But our courts regularly turn them down, often ruling that the alleged links to the Tamil Tigers were weak at best and there was no evidence Sri Lankan authorities were interested in them.
Nadesalingam likewise lost appeals to the Federal Magistrates' Court, the Federal Court and even the High Court - each time at the cost of Australian taxpayers.
His claims to be too scared to return to Sri Lanka were undermined by the fact that he'd travelled back three times while working in Qatar and Kuwait and without police hassling him.
Two trips were during Sri Lanka's civil war, which ended in 2009, making it even unlikelier that Nadesalingam was a member of the Tamil Tiger army then attacking the government. And if Sri Lanka's police weren't interested in him during the war, would they really want him after a decade of peace?
But Nadesalingam's six years of futile court challenges - including a last-ditch appeal to the Federal Court this week - bought him and his wife valuable time.
They used it to marry, have two children and settle into the Queensland town of Biloela, where they work and volunteer. Albanese says that proves they're the kind of good citizens we should welcome and there's reason to agree with him.
But there's even more reason to think that letting them stay will set a deadly precedent, especially now that Labor has helped make them such a noisy cause.
First, think what encouragement that would give to the other 5700 illegal boat people who are also fighting in the courts against their deportation.
The message would be clear: keep suing. Keep choking our courts with appeals, no matter how hopeless.
Spin it out long enough and Labor, which let you in, will make sure you now can stay.
Think also of the signal it would send to people smugglers and their millions of potential customers.
Even after Labor lost the May election, six boatloads of Sri Lankans still tried to reach Australia.
You'd have to be brainless not to realise that six would become 60 if the government publicly weakened as Albanese insists. You'd have to have amnesia to not realise the drownings would resume, too.
Remember how the Rudd Labor government weakened our border laws, in the name of the "compassion" Albanese now preaches, too?
Remember how quickly that weakness was spotted by illegal immigrants desperate to live in our first-world social welfare paradise?
Labor's weakness tempted 50,000 boat people to sail here and lured another 1200 to their deaths at sea.
That was Labor's "compassion" then. What would be the price of Albanese's "compassion" now?