Demonstrators rally to pressure federal politicians to bring refugees from Nauru and PNG to Australia.
Demonstrators rally to pressure federal politicians to bring refugees from Nauru and PNG to Australia. PENNY STEPHENS

OPINION: Our politicians refuse to listen


A COMPASSIONLESS Morrison Coalition government has sulked into Christmas avoiding the embarrassment of a defeat on the floor of the Parliament while leaving the health and sanity of people in our care to chance.

Australia is apparently run by people more concerned about their pride than repeated advice about the duty of care they are obligated to discharge.

We need to be absolutely clear. No one on Manus Island or Nauru has chosen to be there. They came to Australia looking for sanctuary only to become pawns in a dangerous political game that continues to use people's lives as bargaining chips.

Rather than marvel at the courage, resilience and resourcefulness they needed to extradite themselves from the horror of their homelands and reach our borders, we bought the lies and accused them of country shopping or queue jumping.

We head into Christmas with our Government having ignored for the sake of its pride the unambiguous tidal wave of medical advice that children and adults alike are being done irreparable damage on our watch.

Instead, signalling it has learned nothing from the Wentworth by-election or the Victorian state election rout, the Government has also chosen to ignore a changed mood among Australians increasingly uncomfortable with what is being perpetrated in their name.

Scott Morrison persists instead with the nonsense that the only way to stop people smugglers is to torture their customers.

We do so at a cost of billions of dollars that contrary to the idiocy of logic possessed by some on social media, has not created a new ClubMed in the Pacific, but rather delivered extraordinary profit to those who service the misery.

The Labor Opposition appears to have still to settle on a firm policy response to people smuggling for which there are innumerable alternatives to the current strategy of interminable incarceration with children as collateral damage.

That may well come at its national conference to be held before Christmas.

But at least it has read the evidence, listened to medical advice and reached the conclusion the status quo has become intolerable to thinking, compassionate Australians.

The Morrison Government on the last sitting day of Parliament for the year was prepared to kill time in the Senate rather than face that reality.

In the process it put at risk implementation of anti-terrorism laws it had claimed as essential for a safer Australia.

Flaws in the legislation the Opposition and experts had wanted addressed will now have to wait for the New Year for correction.

So too will the poor wretches on Manus and Nauru have to wait through another hot summer in hope legislation that has already passed the Senate can successful negotiate one of the few remaining sitting days a desperate Morrison Government is prepared to hold in the House of Representative ahead of a much-needed federal election.



Meanwhile a deaf state Labor Government has chosen to support an indifferent Sunshine Coast Council in ramping up height limits in a bid to secure a genuine sale in the Maroochydore CBD.

Both levels of government apparently have little interest in the long-expressed community opposition to the creation of a mini-me version of the Gold Coast here.

Instead the community must give up the amenity it has long held as sacrosanct, to rescue an endeavour for which the market currently appears to have little appetite.

Residents already know they can't rely on their council to defend the planning scheme they helped form.

They also should have no doubt that the Palaszczuk Government cannot be relied on to defend their interests.



Nor can the Queensland Labor Government be relied on to take climate change seriously. Instead it appears to be lockstep with the Federal Coalition on a proposal to develop Ramsar-listed Wetlands in Moreton Bay.

The Federal Government has decided on a review, rather than to accept advice from its experts that plans by Walker Corporation to build 3600 apartments, a hotel, marina and convention centre on Toondah Harbour on Moreton Bay was clearly unacceptable.

Instead the Queensland Palaszczuk Government and the Federal Morrison Government are colluding to change the Ramsar map to exclude the land and with it protected migrating bird species in favour of more of the same over-development in vulnerable areas of the state's southeast.

This is the same State Government splashing cash on disaster resilience planning for local authorities driven by the scientific evidence about the looming impacts of climate change.