That space is also needed to reflect on the ethical issues at stake in the Malaysia solution. I shall outline my argument that it is not morally justifiable and what follows from that conclusion. Others may disagree. But the subsequent conversation may then illuminate points of divergence about the importance of moral considerations in public policy, and about the principles that make a policy right or wrong.
The starting point of my argument lies in an understanding of human dignity. It argues that each human being is precious, and must be treated as an end in herself, and not as a means to an end. Our dignity must be respected because we are human, not because we are Australian, Christian or whatever.
What respect for human dignity entails can be spelled out in terms of human flourishing. If they are to flourish, human beings need security, shelter, food, health, education, freedom of belief and expression, and a society to belong to and contribute to. The absence of such conditions is reflected in physical and mental distress.
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