I am guessing Glen Lazarus took too many head knocks playing rugby. That has to be it. Even allowing for the fact that it is election time and he can’t rely on Clive Palmer to bankroll his campaign, his recent foray was stunning.
Never mind the PNG Supreme Court, and the UN itself describing Australia’s policy as illegal, Lazarus has his own concern with our offshore concentration camps. He thinks detainees get too many perks! Last week Lazarus posted an online rant about detainees ‘Living like kings,’ before predictably asking why the money spent on them wasn’t being given to veterans and the homeless.
Now firstly, seeing as there has been a media blackout of the camps, (a tacit admission of the shameful conditions) Lazarus might have first thought to wonder why this snippet of information had come his way. The senator is on record as being against off-shore detention as both expensive and morally wrong. However his intervention in the debate here did nothing to advance that position. It just stirs resentment, creating pushback against any arguments for treating refugees like humans.
Because unless he is talking about the French Revolution, the victims of offshore detention policy are not living like kings. Being indefinitely imprisoned behind razor wire is not being treated like a king. Being tortured, humiliated and sexually abused with little access to support or legal protection is not being treated like a king.
While this doesn’t seem to be Lazarus’ intention, the argument of why this money isn’t being spent on the homeless usually (and frequently) comes up as some kind of rebuttal to the need to provide aid for refugees. Oddly, (or perhaps not) it seems to come up a whole lot less in relation to much less important expenditure such as pork-barrelling promises to fund local infrastructure in marginal electorates. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even come up as an objection to cutting company tax. It begs the question: Do people who make these statements really care about the homeless/elderly/veterans or do they just use them for emotional impact in their propaganda?