“Insane and racist”: Offshore detention like Trump's wall

DONALD Trump may be "insane and racist", but Australia's offshore detention policy is no different, according to Q&A panellist and author Naomi Klein.

The Canadian writer and commentator - perhaps most famous for her book No Logo - appeared on the ABC panel show alongside Opposition Infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese and iconic writer Don Watson, 

On the topic of the US Republican candidate for president, who could be anointed the leader of the free world in less than 48 hours, Ms Klein said she looks forward to his demise because he has "lowered the bar so much".

"Anything can seem sane in comparison," she said.

But her swipe at Mr Trump came with one for Australia too, likening Mr Trump's plan to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants to the imprisoning of asylum seekers in offshore detention centres.

"I think that Donald Trump talking about building the wall with Mexico is insane and racist," she said.

"But I think what Australia is doing on Manus and Nauru is as well."

"You're doing it. He's just talking about it."


The comparison was first made by an audience member quizzing the panel.

They asked: "What is the difference between Australia's Operation Sovereign Borders (which is designed to stop asylum seekers reaching the coast by boat) and Donald Trump's wall?

Liberal Senator James Paterson, formerly associated with the Institute of Public Affairs, dismissed the comparison, saying that people on Manus Island and Nauru "are open centres were people can come and go".

"They can have jobs," he said.

"They have healthcare. They can go to school."

In August, The Guardian published details drawn from 2000 leaked reports that illustrated the abuse faced by asylum seekers, particularly children, held in offshore detention.

It included reports of sexual assault, assault, self-harm and threats of self-harm involving children.

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