Like thousands of other Australians I am proud to say that I openly opposed and resisted the Howard Government's appalling asylum seekers policies on mandatory detention, temporary protection and border control . They were cruel policies that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people and imposed untold lifelong suffering on children, youth, men and women
Now we are back to the worst excesses of the Howard era, although in many ways the policies of the Gillard Government are even worse than those of the Howard Government.
So we face the choice again. It will have to be ordinary Australians and those who are the victims of this cruel policy who must fight it AGAIN.
As always journalist, blogger and author Antony Loewenstein speaks the truth plainly and precisely:
We are led by cowards and fools, governments and oppositions afraid to treat asylum seekers as human beings. Instead of processing the relatively few people quickly and carefully, they are housed away in privatised prisons run by a British multinational, Serco, with no accountability.Antony Loewenstein writes in response to this article in The Age today and the unfolding crises in Australia's immigration detention centres.
Today over 6000 asylum seekers are held in Australia's overcrowded detention facilities - close to a postwar record. They wait in places such as Curtin, Darwin and Christmas Island to have their claims for refugee status assessed, reassessed and, where necessary, appealed through the courts.
It is a process that can take several years because of the huge backlog of cases created by the Rudd Government's bungled six-month moratorium on refugee processing.
''We could easily end up with 10,000 in detention because people-smuggling pipelines through Indonesia are so well established they cannot be closed,'' a well-placed federal government source told The Age.
''Canberra is the second-biggest jailer in the land and the cost is blowing budgets out of the water. The present position is unsustainable.''