April 01, 2010 | Stephen Minas

Second as farce: Asylum seekers and Piers Akerman

Piers Akerman has been testing his vast capacity for self-parody. His piece in Monday’s Telegraph on asylum seekers reads as if written on a bet or a dare. The frenzy whipped up over asylum seekers after the Tampa’s arrival was a tragedy for this country. Akerman seems determined to repeat it as farce.

Akerman brands the government’s ‘asylum seeker policy’ a failure by any ‘objective criteria’. I suppose the mention of ‘objective criteria’ at the start of an article hectoring readers with visions of a ‘flood’ of ‘boat people’ is one of life’s little ironies. There is nothing ‘objective’ about Akerman’s assertion that the ‘[r]efugee trade puts security at stake’.

He claims that asylum seekers are entering mainland detention centres ‘with minimal security checks’ and then changes the subject, citing no evidence for this jaundiced proposition. He then brings up the SIEV 36 disaster and claims that those implicated by the Northern Territory coroner should have their visas cancelled on character grounds. Apparently, coronial inquests can now substitute for criminal trials in courts of law, which can now be dispensed with and all the judges, jurors and lawyers can go home.

Akerman then comes up with this statement of the blindingly obvious: ‘Christmas Island is little more than a temporary sanctuary on the route to the Australian continent.’ As opposed to what, exactly? A gulag? A black hole into which asylum-seekers must be flung, never to return – a fitting punishment for their temerity in invoking Australia’s protection obligations? Akerman’s snide reference to ‘sanctuary’ for asylum seekers, coupled with his indignance that their time on Christmas Island might be ‘temporary’, speaks volumes about his miserable starting point on this issue.

Of course, there was more: ‘The front page of The Brisbane Sunday Mail yesterday showed a picture of happy Afghan women and children shopping at a suburban mall.’ Akerman invites us – presumably after recovering our composure and collecting ourselves from the floor – to share his displeasure at this ‘image of newly-arrived asylum seekers with overflowing shopping trolleys’. What conclusion is he implying? Obviously not that Australia is a civilised society in which people with status determinations pending can go about their lives in relative peace. No, he seems to be suggesting that asylum seekers should not be let out in public, or not be fed, or not be fed well, to send ‘a strong message to those hoping to come here’. Or, perhaps, that if they are allowed to have groceries then they must not be photographed with them, in case any potential boat arrivals happen to be reading The Brisbane Sunday Mail.

Malice and supposition are no substitutes for reasoned analysis. If Akerman set out to demonstrate why he is not a credible commentator on public life in this country, then Mission Accomplished.

Posted by Stephen Minas at 6:15 am | Comments (14) |


  1. Piers Akerman has no redeeming features, is everthing I hate in a wordsmith,along with been physically repugnant. Happy Easter, Richard Ryan.

    Comment by Richard Ryan — April 1, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  2. One thing I will say for Piers is he is transparent and he does see no reason to validate his remarks, his word is his proof.

    Comment by Terry Kennedy — April 1, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

  3. Piers seems to have lost a little weight of late. I’m just looking for a positive angle here.

    Comment by Eat The Rich — April 2, 2010 @ 12:19 am

  4. He is a hate-filled Liberal shill.

    Comment by Mayor Redneck — April 2, 2010 @ 1:33 am

  5. he looks as though he has had plastic surgery

    Comment by cosmetics — April 2, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  6. Plastic surgery to find if he had a brain on nor or to graft on a left side

    Comment by John Ryan — April 2, 2010 @ 9:03 am

  7. To be fair Piers does often cut to the quick on ecomonic issues.He is an unashamed Liberal acolyte who’d dare not betray the party faithful.

    He does on occasion practise censorship on his site,just like many left wing sites.I know this from personal experience.He is faithful to the Murdoch media which I find dishonest and repulsive.

    That said,the Rudd’s Govt policy on illegal boat people is an abject failure.What do we do when 1000 boats turn up with no proof of ID? Who of you will pay the extra taxes to keep them? Who of amongst you, will complain when their cheap labour lowers your living standards?

    Many within the Green movement want zero pop growth for environmental integrity.How does an open borders philosophy accommodate this policy?

    Comment by Arjay — April 3, 2010 @ 8:14 am

  8. arjay, your comments are the problem. 1,000 boats with no proof of ID. crap. Only 21,000 people have ever arrived on boats in more than 30 years. Many do have ID, many others must get it after they arrive and they do. it is a no brainer to understand that some people leave their country because they are not allowed to have documents, no rights to citizenship, forced labor -Our schools should have a compulsory subject to help people understand that there is a big wide world out there and a latte at the local cafe on sunday morning is not what all grown ups in the world are allowed to do. There are no extra taxes to ‘keep them’ – we take about 13,000 refugees each year and that hasn’t changed. They work hard when thy get here, mostly in jobs that australians don’t want to do, fruit picking, abbattoirs – so you should get some facts. They are raising our living standard and helping to grow the economy, unlike some aussies…

    Comment by cosmetics — April 3, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

  9. Stephen,if we weren’t if Afghanistan killing innocent people to help build oil pipelines from Turkmenistan to the Capsian Sea this would not be a problem.It is a grand lie that we are in Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and Al Queda.Iraq was a lie,so was Vietnam and now Iran is the great prize for it’s oil.Israel is pushing for the invasion of Iran under the ruse of it developing one nuke.Israel has over 100 nukes yet Iran and Pakistan gets demonised.

    All I’m saying is that there should be an orderly policy of refugee placements.Turn up on the border of many other countries and you face oblivian.

    Why does not the Rudd Govt set up an a refugee processing facility in Afghanistan.It would be far cheaper and safer for them to reach Australia.

    Yes,the media is using this as a distraction from the real issues.It is the old game of left and right while the elites reap the profits in arm sales,oil,poppy seeds and death.

    As for being productive members of our society,I have no doubt many will,but the obstacle of language delays their productivity and we do not have a super abundance of jobs because we are in too much debt.

    The world has billions of suffering people.Is it just a matter how many we can accommodate,or would they be better off being helped in their own countries?

    Comment by Arjay — April 4, 2010 @ 4:04 am

  10. Thanks for referring me to Piers Akerman. Much better than your emotional claptrap.

    Comment by Leigh — April 6, 2010 @ 2:03 am

  11. Leigh,Find the flaws in my arguments instead personal insults like “emotional claptrap”.Ad hominen does not make an argument.

    Look at the underlying causes of hardship around the planet instead of blaming it on groups that elicit your prejudice.

    The fundamental problem is the way we create money.Money is created by debt and all countries around the planet are in serious debt.Go to youtube and view the movie “Money as debt.” by Paul Grignon.Do not take criticism personally.None of us are the font of all wisdom.Our egos often blind us from the truth.

    Comment by Arjay — April 6, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  12. Guess what Leigh? Just today I heard one Piers Akerman on the Alan Jones show suggesting that we should have a refugee processing facility in Afghanistan as I’ve suggested.

    Could Piers be paying heed to your criticism?

    Comment by Arjay — April 12, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  13. I hate loath and detest the following :

    Horse Races, Car Races, Cycle Races, Foot Races,
    Greyhound Races, Egg and Spoon Races; why I even
    Resent Ball Races !

    Am I a RACIST?

    Comment by Bruce Williams — April 12, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  14. Comments like 4,5,6.7,8,13 reek of finger wagging-holier than thou,RED/Labor Greens (Feel guilty for my good life style) sentiments !!!

    Comment by JohnM. — September 23, 2010 @ 5:26 am

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