Monday, September 29, 2014

Government bribing dictators

Isn't bribing foreign governments illegal?

Not, apparently, if you're our government.

In the latest move which has appalled the world, a minimum of $40 million of our tax money is to be given to the leaders of Cambodia - universally recognised as one of the most corrupt regimes in the world. In return they will take some refugees who were seeking asylum in Australia.

The UK's The Independent newspaper summed it up nicely: "Canberra’s latest ‘solution’ to its refugee problem has shocked even seasoned observers. 

Under the secretive agreement, Cambodia will resettle an unspecified number of refugees currently held in an Australian-run detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru. In exchange, as well as paying resettlement costs, Canberra will donate an extra A$40m in aid over the next four years...even seasoned observers of its policy over the past decade are appalled.

Still recovering from civil war, genocide and Vietnamese occupation, Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest nations. It has a shocking human rights record. It has sent asylum-seekers and refugees back to countries from which they fled. Those who escape that fate live on the margins of Cambodian society.

Amnesty International branded the deal “a new low in Australia’s deplorable and inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers”. The UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) called it “a worrying departure from international norms”. Alastair Nicholson, a former chief justice of Australia’s Family Court, said it was “inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal”.

Not only an appalling decision but once again we have secrecy instead of transparency, something we've come to expect from the Abbott government, especially from Scott Morrison.

He's the man responsible for this and many other totally unacceptable decisions, but he's lauded as the top-performing Cabinet member, slated for promotion and even more responsibility.

It sums up this government perfectly.

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