In praise of David Shearer

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, August 15th, 2016 - 10 comments
Categories: australian politics, david shearer, International, labour - Tags: ,

Hell on Nauru

Yes you read this correctly.  One of the writers on The Standard, the blogsite erroneously reputed to be the cause of David Shearer’s demise as Labour Party leader, wishes to praise Shearer in the way he has talked about the Nauru asylum seeker detention crisis.

From Newshub:

Australia has almost lost its moral compass on asylum-seeker issues and New Zealand needs to step in, Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer believes.

Documents leaked by The Guardian last week detailing sexual abuse of children in the Nauru detention centre “shocked us all”, he told Q&A on Sunday.

But the conditions in Nauru are just one of the issues facing asylum seekers – the other is that they’re there for the foreseeable future, according to Mr Shearer.

“(The reports) highlighted the fact that this policy is unsustainable, I mean it’s almost like Australia has lost its moral compass in terms of where it’s going,” he said.

“I really do think New Zealand, however it can, should make the offer to say “look, what is it we can do to short-circuit this and bring these kids’ (detention) to an end”.”

The documents obtained by the Guardian are awful.  They present a chilling synopsis of the horror of life in a detention centre and what is happening.  How a nation state can treat human beings like this is beyond reason.  How Australia, a Commonwealth Nation with a supposed commitment to human rights, could have set up this particular regime is something that it should be ashamed of.  Well done David Shearer for saying this clearly and precisely.

It is regrettable that the media has recently given more attention to other matters.  They have been criticising Andrew Little for stating that a Labour MP should not attend a meeting that was potentially beneficial to a non Labour member in competition with a Labour candidate in an upcoming election.  Strange really.  The guest list was hardly Labour Friendly.  As well as former member and Wellington Mayoral candidate Nick Leggett there was also former MP and likely future New Zealand First MP and recipient of a plum Government appointment Shane Jones and also Phil Quin.  Quin has spent the past decade running down the Labour Party and he even expressed the view once that Helen Clark should have been deposed as Labour leader early on in her career.  I am not sure why he should qualify as a Labour insider.

The critics claim that Labour is obsessed with identity politics.  Funny really because I agree with Morgan Godfrey that pretty well all that Labour has been concentrating on lately is the housing crisis, free education, the future of work … these are hardly “identity” issues.

To be fair to Quin his comments about Australian Politics with regards to Nauru described the situation well.  He said that the issue had become “politically weaponsed” and described how public opinion was totally against doing anything humane.  Dominant public opinion is apparently to the right of Tony Abbott’s views …

The left should be taking a stand however.  Quin is right that the stance taken by Labor is morally abominable.

Any way well said David Shearer on Nauru.  The Australian Labor Party should be very ashamed …

10 comments on “In praise of David Shearer”

  1. Shearer is underselling it.

    Australia has completely lost its moral compass on Nauru, pissing on democratic norms, and turning the country into a dictatorship just so it can run its illegal prison.

    And that’s not mentioning that the prison itself is corrupt, cooking the books to get more money out of the aussie taxpayer.

    The refugees should be rescued, the prisoners sent for trial or released, and the prison burned to the ground.

  2. shorts 2

    is he suggesting we take these people? I’m not against that I do worry about the precedent – as in got a people problem flick em to the kiwis….

    I do think NZ should be taking a very firm line with Australia informing them this isn’t acceptable behaviour and using whatever channels we have to make them accountable for their actions and the lives of those poor people… even if and it would cost us as we’d face economic and political backlash from our less likeable friends over there

    • Lloyd 2.1

      New Zealand should not take people that Australia has thrown into limbo and then chucked our way.
      New Zealand representatives need to be in those concentration camps as independent witnesses and the New Zealand government must inform the Australian public directly about their government’s loss of moral compass and what it says about Australians individually and as a nation.
      New Zealand should run its own selection program to pick refugees from the Australian camps. I would assume that any refugee in an Australian camp would jump at an offer of residence in New Zealand. I would also expect that anyone selected would become a big asset to New Zealand society, like the Tampa boys.

  3. McFlock 3

    Apparently we’ve already offered to take 150 of the 442 refugees (credit to the nats for that, at least), but the aussies turned us down. Seriously.

    Between Nauru and the treatment of Aboriginal detainees, Australia’s going to be hanging its head in shame in history books down the line. I hesitate to us the word “evil”, but the English language false short in describing such bureaucratic fucked-uppedness.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    I hope the country will remember this when Australia tries to drag us into a war because they are “fighting for freedom and democracy.”

    • Lloyd 4.1

      Should New Zealand examine whether we should as a country be actively involved in Australian regime change by overt or covert means?
      One area we could be start is by supporting independence fighters on Norfolk Island.
      Sending the SAS to rescue Kiwis on Christmas Island would also be a wake-up to the Aussies.
      Only problem with this sort of military style action is that they would inevitably turn into dreadful snafus.

  5. As well as reacting to terrible situations like that on Narau when it comes to our attention, will attention also be given to their causes and how these might be more effectively addressed?

    For a start, could an organization like the UN set up regional reception centers where refugees are properly treated and arrangements can be made for them to pass on to live in new permanent locations in a relatively orderly manner throughout the region?

    More basically yet, what can be done in the first place to help prevent people needing to flee from unsafe conditions? For instance, can useful studies be made and people trained in conflict resolution and development in the region to help end and prevent the poverty and the conflicts from which people will otherwise continue to want to flee?

    In this country, particularly including a place like our capital city, Wellington, could interested citizens, NGOs, MFAT and embassy officials and relevant academics be brought together for conversations about how they might work with the United Nations to better formulate understandings of refugee problems and ways in which they might be addressed?

    New Zealand’s United Nations delegation now has 6 more months to complete its stint on the Security Council.

    Wouldn’t it be a wonderful legacy for it to leave if it were able to help draw together and support such a strategy, informed and supported by such conversations?

    Such activities could also provide an opportunity for someone like Helen Clark if she became the new secretary general to make an innovative and effective contribution.

    For more details on how our United Nations delegation could be helped by conversations and research in New Zealand, see my blog:
    “NZ as Security Council Honest Broker – With (Convivial) Diplomatic Village Support”
    at http://www.village-connections.com/?p=7042

    If such proposals were being floated seriously and a beginning made on implementing them, this could provide yet more strong reasons for Helen Clark to be supported to become the next United Nations secretary general.

  6. Anne 6

    The Australian public is closing their eyes, blocking their ears and have their heads firmly planted in the sand all at the same time. A very, very, very big shame on them for such willful behaviour. And yes… the Aussie Labor Party also deserves to be reviled and ridiculed for going along with it!

  7. Philj 7

    Great to see Shearer has made a definitive statement. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day

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