The solution to the continuing issue the boat people impasse was dealt a fatal blow last night after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott formally refused to take part in the Prime Minister’s independent committee to find an end to the asylum seeker crisis which threatens Labor’s budget surplus.
The Greens’ refusal to agree to allow the government a return to offshore processing is putting next year’s $1.5 billion budget surplus in jeopardy.
With the number of asylum seeker arrivals far exceeding that predicted in the May budget, now already at almost 900 arrivals a month, the government may need to revise its mid-year budget forecasts. Since the budget was made public, 2978 asylum seekers have arrived.
The government had predicted 450 arrivals per month in the forward estimates released in May, at a total cost of $1.1 billion to the Australian taxpayer.
As of last night, resolution to the asylum seeker problem appeared even more unlikely with Mr Abbott formally refusing to participate in Julia Gillard’s special committee set up to find a solution to the on-going crisis.
With bipartisan procrastination showing no end, this stream of human misery is set to continue, with thousands set to risk life and limb on the high seas in their quest to seek a better life.