The ALP: who can we trust?
This afternoon I was talking to a very traditional Labor voter, who happens to have become very, very furious with John Howard lately, especially because she's been supporting some families who survive on a Temporary Protection Visa - but who are nonetheless seriously damaged as a result of their time in detention, and the 'semi-prison' they live in with their curtailed 'rights' while on a TPV.
My friend phoned her local ALP member in Western Australia this week after the good Petro Georgiou and Judy Moylan had announced their Private Member's Bills initiative. She told me she had confronted her MP by asking him the rhetorical question: "Who do you think I'd be voting for if Petro Georgiou was my local member?"
I can imagine the silence on the MP's end of the phone line.
There are serious questions about the ALP's commitment to just asylum policies, in fact, I think a considerable section - or should I say 'faction'? - of the Federal parliamentary ALP is just as complicit as many in Howard's inner circle, if only through their silence about what we're doing to refugees since Tampa - and the complicity starts with Immigration spokesman Laurie Ferguson MP. As soon as it was announced that in Mark Latham's line-up Laurie had won the portfolio, I started the Educating Laurie campaign here, and hundreds of folks emailed Laurie here and here.
This issue raises the question of trust in the ALP, and the intention of this Blog item is to establish with your help a list of those who we can trust in the ALP, backed by public evidence or public statements. First though, back to the issues at stake this week: the Georgiou/Moylan initiative, and how Labor and Beazley responded. Yesterday I wrote a Blog about Beazley's response here, but Mike Steketee's opinion piece in The Australian on Thursday is so well crafted, it deserves to be read in its entirety. Here's an extract.
There you are. Beazley's attitude this week was disturbing enough for Labor for Refugees to start its own campaign "to send a message directly to the Federal ALP: Labor should support these Bills as a step towards a more compassionate policy for asylum seekers".
Labor's most trusted list
So let's make a list of who we can trust on truly restoring decency in asylum seeker policies. I'll start with Carmen Lawrence, who stepped down from the front bench over asylum policies two years ago.
If you care to contact any ALP members, ask them the one simple question - and demand an answer:
"If Labor would have a conscience vote on the Georgiou/Moylan Bills, would you vote for them, YES, or NO?"
Dr Carmen Lawrence - Member for Fremantle
Parliament House Office: