Scott Morrison wants to show no compassion to one group of people, but immense compassion to another side. Unfortunately, Prime Minister, you can’t have it both ways.
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been a long-term champion of strong border policy. He rose to national prominence for vigorously enforcing Australia’s extreme approach to asylum seekers through his role as immigration minister. This involved the ‘stop the boats’ policy which aimed to ensure that no asylum-seekers set feet on Australian land. What happened once the asylum seekers were intercepted? They were abused, stripped of their human rights, and placed in offshore detention. A process that the government desperately attempted to conceal.
Evidently, Scott Morrison has been very strict on maintain Australia’s strong international borders. Although I utterly disagree with the policy and believe many alternative routes benefit both Australians and the ever-increasing refugee crisis, I can acknowledge how thorough and steadfast Mr Morrison has been in his approach. He achieved what he set out to do, regardless of whether I personally like the policy or not.
However, over the past week, Mr Morrison has transformed his belief on borders, but this time, it’s state borders. Alexandra Prendergast’s father, Bernard Prendergast, tragically passed away last week and unfortunately, Ms Prendergast’s step-sister was unable to attend the funeral because of coronavirus restrictions. Sarah Caisip was given an exemption to enter Queensland from Canberra; however, had to go into mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine as Canberra was labelled a COVID-19 hotspot by Queensland. Sarah Caisip was eventually allowed out of mandatory hotel quarantine to attend a private viewing after the funeral service had ended.
This circumstance is far from ideal, and I am sure there have been similar cases around Australia over the past few months due to the border restrictions. However, Scott Morrison decided that he wanted to be involved in this situation. He said that he called Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to appeal the decision to not allow Sarah to go to the funeral. There were the words of Mr Morrison:
“It’s not about politicians. It’s not about elections…This is the last opportunity to say farewell to her dad. Surely in the midst of all this heartache in COVID and everything that everyone’s going through, surely just this once, this can be done.”
Scott Morrison is appealing for compassion to be shown. I’m not saying this response is wrong. I agree that compassion should be demonstrated, and this is a circumstance where it is appropriate. However, Mr Morrison can’t have it both ways.
He wants to be steadfast and extreme on international borders where there is a “risk” of refugees impacting the health and security of Australians. But, when there is also a “risk” of impacting the health and security of Australians, Mr Morrison is happy to plead for the borders to open.
Let me ask you this.
What’s more of a risk to Australia’s health and security?
A refugee fleeing their own country due to persecution, being placed in prison, legitimately on the brink of death, and seeking some quick medical support before returning back to prison.
An individual leaving a COVID-19 hot spot, entering a different state, not being in hotel quarantine for the required period and possibly interacting with other members of the community.
Personally, I don’t think either option is a genuine risk to Australia’s health and security if the appropriate measures are taken.
I like compassionate Scott Morrison.
But, we need compassionate Scott Morrison in ALL areas of border policy.
Otherwise, we just get hypocrite Scott Morrison, and that doesn’t help anyone.