Vacating the moral high ground is part of ending the most terrible act perpetrated by the Australian state during my lifetime
In the past 30 years Australia has crafted an almost uniquely cruel asylum seeker policy. Our only competitor is the proudly illiberal Hungary. When Malcolm Turnbull outlined our current policy to Donald Trump in their notorious telephone conversation, the US president was mightily impressed. “You are worse than I am.” No more evidence about the character of Australia’s asylum seeker policy is required.
I wear two hats and have done so since the mid-1980s, one as a social scientist cum political historian, the other as what is almost universally now called a public intellectual. As a social scientist, I have attempted to explain Australia’s remorselessly cruel asylum seeker policy. Here’s a concise summary.