The bizarro world refugee swap plan (whereby we swap Sri Lankan refugees who’ve arrived at Christmas Island and been shunted off to Nauru with Cuban refugees who’ve been intercepted trying to reach the States) has almost everyone perplexed. Though maybe the whole flight plan from Guantanamo Bay to Adelaide idea could work better with bulk ticket purchases? Actually, I think Kerry Nettle is on to something. Though her gender is mis-ascribed, her comments are being picked up in American news reports. This from Voice of America.
“This is about political mates helping each other out,” Nettle said. “Immigration issues in Australia and in the United States have been issues that conservative governments have sought to stand up on, and they’re now helping each other out. It’s nothing more than a political fix in the lead up to the election campaign.”
The unconvincing explanations from Kevin Andrews demonstrate that the plan makes little political sense in the Australian context. “We determine…” etc is dead as an electoral issue here, except insofar as its legacy will return to haunt Howard as public awareness of his history of deceit grows. But in America, high profile Republicans are seeking to revive illegal immigration as a stick to hit the Democrats with. But Cuban refugees also pose a political problem – many are relatives of the largely GOP voting Cuban-American population in Florida, which will be a hotly contested state in the next elections.