Michelle Grattan hits the nail on the head in this article in The Age.
“Good relations with Indonesia are extremely important. But one has to ask: how far should Australia be prepared to go for the sake of them?
First, we change asylum-seeker policy so any boat person who defies the odds to reach Australia’s mainland will be processed offshore. Then Philip Ruddock, acting Immigration Minister, is by implication warning Government backbenchers with concerns about the change, especially its impact on children, that speaking out might do harm.
“It’s important that our relationship is not damaged, either in Indonesia or here, by statements from people who don’t speak for the Government but have particular views that they want to express,” Ruddock said.
This is all a bridge too far, even for the sake of a super-important bilateral relationship.
Australia does the right thing granting protection visas to 42 West Papuan boat people, and then, when the Indonesians are outraged, quickly acts to prevent itself having to act properly towards any future arrivals.
It has gone from strongly upholding its proper processes to falling over itself to avoid upsetting the Indonesians.”
Read the rest of it here: We risk too much in placating Indonesia on West Papua