30 October 2009

The Bilateral Solution

Kevin Rudd must end the farce that has unfolded in Indonesia over the past 11 days as soon as possible before it does further damage to our international image. The vacuum in our border protection policy is clearly evident and it will only add to Australia's appeal as the ideal destination for the operations of people smugglers.

This policy debacle was entirely preventable and of the Prime Minister's own making because in trying to please the left and right at the same time using deceptive spin, he has created a situation that is bad for the asylum seekers, bad for Australia's diplomatic relationship with Indonesia, bad for our international reputation and undermines our border protection policy objectives.

Rudd should consider offering the 78 asylum seekers on board the Oceanic Viking currently anchored in Indonesia a compromise: allow women and children to be processed via Australian facilities if they disembark at once.

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