You can hardly blame Malcolm Turnbull for turning down our offer to take 150 people off Manus Island. It would make him look like he's got a problem he can't handle, which of course he sort of has.

He is off-loading more than 1200 to America in a deal that made Donald Trump virtually puke with outrage, but it was a deal done with Obama that Trump inherited from which he couldn't get out.

But what Turnbull can now say with real confidence, is that since they started getting tough again on boats, the boats have stopped.

Is Manus your ideal scenario?

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Of course not.

But as Turnbull also pointed out, the policy was taken that no boat people would set foot on Australian soil, and they've stuck to that.

In terms of taking an issue that was hopelessly out of control on the mainland under Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, it's been a success.

Now, is where we come in, and here is why our stance is so hopelessly naive.

These people are illegals.

Are they refugees? Yes they are. Well, most are. And that's the other part of the story of course: how many aren't and slip through?

Do most flee circumstances that are horrific, and as such, is there an argument that we might want to help them out? Yes, there is.

But there is a system.

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It's a United Nations system.

We are signatories to that system, and as such it behoves us to stick to the system.

Why?

Because the moment we don't, those who have followed the rules and done the right thing get shafted, and why should they?

The offer for Manus refugees was going to be within our current refugee quota, so in other words it's 1000 minus 150 from Manus. So of the 1000 who lined up, dealt with the United Nations, did the right thing and followed the rules, 150 of those would have been told "tough luck", the illegals got to go to the front of the line.

How is that even remotely fair?

And that is the problem with these stories. Emotion and noise overtakes common sense and rules. And the moment that happens, you set a dangerous precedent from which you can never walk away.