You don’t have to live like a refugee.

Despite Malcolm Turnbull’s repeated assurances that the Liberal Party would not politicise the current asylum seeker situation, this is precisely what Turnbull with the support of Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop have done.

Julie Bishop has been proclaiming that Australia has become a soft target for asylum seekers (or as they would prefer to call them “illegal immigrants” or “queue jumpers”) since the Labor Goverment did away with temporary protection visas.

Interestingly the Liberal Opposition hasn’t called for any of the so-called “measures” that Labor supposedly “softened” to be reinstated.

Despite requests from various parties for politicans to refrain from jumping to conclusions about the predicament of the recent asylum seekers, there has been no shortage of illi-informed commentary from politicians and media commentators. Barry Cassidy and Piers Ackerman have been practically apoplectic with fury in attempting to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Rudd Government.

During the weekend, Ackerman went so far to suggest that people who voted for Rudd at the last election may now be realsing that they have made a mistake.

Many have been drawing comparisons with this incident and the “children overboard” saga which heralded Howard’s famous catchcry “we will decide who comes here and under what circumstances” effectively rallying all rascists and simultaneously demonising those asylum seekers at that time and all who follow thereafter.

What received little airplay, was the subsequent finding that the overwhelming majority of the asylum seekers who arrived in Australia during the “children overboard” affair were found to be bona fide refugees.

So Australia, has seen an influx of some 300 asylum seekers this year. Let’s put this in context, the World has become an increasingly unstable place. We have been complicit as a nation, in causing a great deal of instability in the very places these people are fleeing. Don’t we have a responsibility to accommodate, within reason, these people who have been displaced from their home countries?

In recent months, Britain has received over 10,000 asylum seekers and Spain some 15,000.

In comparison, a few hundred asylum seekers seeking refuge in Australia seems paltry.

Or maybe, Australia is revealing its true colours by making such a fuss. Scratch the surface and perhaps we are a pack of thinly veiled rascists after all.

Like it or not, if the Liberals maintain their current response, this will be the message that the world hears.

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81 Responses

  1. This is the sort of reporting that makes me sick:

    By an anonymous journalist in The Australian:

    It is easy to assume its well-dressed, well-resourced passengers were taking an informed risk that Australia is now easier to enter.

    Senator Evans will be hoping this is not the case, that these arrivals are an aberration. Because if they are not, he will have little option but to admit that his relaxed policy on unauthorised arrivals has come at a price.

    “Well dressed, well-resourced passengers??”

    FFS, and this “newspaper” sanctions this sort of garbage and tries to palm it off as objective, factual reporting?????

  2. Excellent observation reb..your comment: Re,

    By an anonymous journalist…

    And so it’s like to be a press release from a source not nominated.

  3. Umm. like = likely

  4. There has been quite a bit about this..but when pushed for an opinion (blood from a stone to get an opinion) that Turnburn has conclued that No Way, Not ever do we ever want people ever again locked up indefinitely in desert concentration camps. And so if the Labs are ‘soft’ how would Turnbull make it harsher?

    There of course are some inputs from the psychopaths via the popular press who state…Just shoot ’em out of the water.

    Presumably, women and children included.

    I am fortunate in being a Miliary Mum with a son having 2 tours of The Gulf, 2 tours of East Timor on shore patrol the Feds.

    What is drummed in for all sailors and seamen is saving lives at sea. (Hello Aqua).

  5. Don’t we have a responsibility to accommodate, within reason, these people who have been displaced from their home countries?

    Yes.

    Or maybe, Australia is revealing its true colours by making such a fuss. Scratch the surface and perhaps we are a pack of thinly veiled rascistsfter all.

    It’s not even thinly veiled, it’s straight out and ugly.

    Myths and Facts about Asylum Seekers:

    …There are people who can be classified as illegal immigrants. These are people who overstay their visas (at any one time there are about 50,000 over-stayers in the country[iv]). Most of these are from western countries, particularly the US or UK, and are not seeking asylum in Australia.

    The well dressed, well resourced passengers are the ones that arrive by plane, not leaky, overfilled, old boats – these are death traps and only the truly desperate would attempt a journey in them.

  6. To put his ‘comments’ into perspective, replace the word Akerman with Liberal Party lackey, Piers Akerman, then it makes some sense – if you’ll pardon the poetic licence with the word “sense”.

  7. Exactly KittyLitter.

    Which reminds me of a satirical cartoon I saw in the weekend, basically suggesting, why would anyone pay $10,000 to $15,000 to risk their life on a leaky boat when you could fly Qantas from Indonesia for about $700.

  8. Leafy boat???

    You need to get stigmatised!

  9. Reb, the guy was referring to reports last week of asylum seekers arriving at Christmas Island, who were, at least as far as I could tell from the photos, quite well dressed.

  10. In light of past incidents involving Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels, and the recent explosion aboard another, the correct policy response is one designed to deter any arrivals by boat.

    Kevin Rudd agrees, apparently, judging by these statements about people smugglers and border protection:

    KEVIN RUDD: People smugglers are engaged in the world’s most evil trade and they should all rot in jail, because they represent the absolute scum of the earth.

    We see this lowest form of human life at work in what we saw on the high seas yesterday.

    KEVIN RUDD: People smugglers are the vilest form of human life. They trade on the tragedy of others. And that’s why they should rot in jail and in my own view rot in hell.

    That is why this government is absolutely committed to dedicating all resources necessary to fight the fight against people smugglers to maintain a hard line tough and targeted strategy in maintaining this country’s border protection.

    We are dedicating more resources to border protection than any previous Australian government. And we will continue to calibrate the resources we need to the challenges that unfold.

  11. Agree with Rudd..people smugglers via Indonesia are generally NOT even close to the same caliber as per the wonderful Dutch et al who smuggled the Jews WW2.

    These are sad people themselves, the poorest of the poor and who have tenures via their bosses who are likely to be smuggling other people (their trade) such as girls and boys.

  12. Speaking of Insiders, we shouldn’t ignore David Marr’s stunning contribution:

    Early in the program Marr asserted that the illegals had poured petrol over their boat because they hadn’t heard of the softening of policy, and so feared they would be towed back to Indonesia.

    Later he maintained that Labor hadn’t softened policy, but the illegals believed they had because the Liberals were saying so.

    Which was it David – did they believe policy had softened, or not?

  13. And yet Tony, Tubmall hasn’t stated how he would make the penalities harsher? Back to desert camps for women and children? Shoot ’em out of the water?

  14. “AUSTRALIA faces an emerging threat of huge numbers of asylum seekers, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25359710-12377,00.html

    I better go and hide under my rock until this “threat” has been dealt with.

    Not impressed!

  15. Well said. In 2008 alone, 31.700 persons arrived on Lampedusa’s coasts (the small island situated 205 km from Sicily and 113 km from Tunisia – Italy’s Ashmore Reef if you like). But when 47 asylum seekers arrive on a boat all hell breaks loose.

    Interestingly while we have been grappling with our own refugee drama an event unfolded in the Mediterranean between Italy and Malta that has been virtually ignored by the Australian media (as far a I know).

    ITALY AND Malta were last night stuck in a four-day stand-off over the fate of 140 migrants and 13 crew aboard the Turkish-owned ship, the MV Pinar , currently anchored in a limbo close to both Malta and the Italian island of Lampedusa.

    The Turkish vessel answered a “search and rescue” call on Thursday, when it picked up the migrants, including 40 children and 38 women, one of whom subsequently died. Since then, however, the vessel has been refused entry into Italian waters by Italian authorities which argue that since the migrants were picked up in a Maltese “intervention zone”, they should instead be taken to Malta.

    In contrast, the Maltese authorities argue that according to international conventions, the migrants should be landed at the nearest safe port – which in this case would be Lampedusa.

    Media reports claim the rescue took place 41 nautical miles south of Lampedusa and 114 nautical miles west of Malta.

    Reminds you of another event a few years ago?

    However no Pacific type Solution for these Asylum Seekers, Italy has now agreed to take them in.

    As far as Ackerman is concerned. I am sorry if I sound nasty but is one of the lowest, slimiest lowlifes that have walked the journalistic landscape of Australia.

    The Insiders is a putrescent excuse for the lowest form of conservative opinion. No wonder they show it when people are either asleep, having sex or playing sport.

  16. scaper …

    Of course there is a growing number of asylum seekers – no one is denying this. The UNHCR has estimated that asylum seeker numbers will increase internationally by 12% this year, we are bound to get some increase ourselves and UNHCR has estimated our increase to be 19%

    The point that needs to be made is that the number of asylum seekers received in Australia that arrive by Boat as comparred to airplane are extremely small. Last year there were only 179 asylum seekers who arrived by boat out of a total 4750 asylum seekers.

    There were more than 200 applications for asylum from World Youth Day attendees alone and none of these arrived by boat.

    There has been an increase this year in the number of asylum seekers ariving by boat (221 so far) but this is still a pittance compared to the number by air and the numbers of asylum seekers in many other countries.

    This from Crikey points out some interesting numbers:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20090417-A-Crikey-index-Refugees-the-real-story.html

  17. If Kevin Rudd is serious about stopping people-smugglers, he has to make it harder for them to do business. Potential customers are less likely to offer them money to be smuggled to a destination where boat arrivals are discouraged in favour of more conventional channels.

  18. *those arriving by more conventional channels*

  19. Tony

    To be fair to David Marr, he is actually quite correct in both cases.

    It does appear that these specific asylum seekers had not heard about the new rules in place here.

    Also, his remarks about the chorus of opposition voices announcing to the world that we are now a soft taget, (even though by the legislations in place we definitelyare not) and so in fact it is they who could be described as advertising us as a potential goal, was aimed at the people smugglers themselves as they are the ones who are truly selling the tickets to destinations. (going on my recollection. The transcript is not up at the site yet, and couldn’t be biggered sitting through it all again)

    Guido, I think you have described ackerman perfectly. Except perhaps for using the term journalist in the same sentence his name appears in.

  20. PJ O’Rourke was just on Sky News Agenda and said (and a paraphrase) that we should embrace the boat refugees as they are exactly the type of people that you want to come to your country – they have escaped from a bad situation and have overcome obstacles and they want to make a new start in Australia. They are the type of people that make great contributions to society.

  21. And at the end of Insiders David Marr called Akerman a grub.

  22. Tony

    David Marr was inconsistent but that doesn’t make all arguments in support of the current system flawed simply because Marr also hold a similar conclusion 😉

  23. Tom R,

    It does appear that these specific asylum seekers had not heard about the new rules in place here.

    I can’t help noticing that your statement is completely unencumbered by evidence (as were both of Marr’s).

  24. Guido, I didn’t realise you were such a fan of dear old Pies. Lol.

    All the hair-tearing going on over 400 asylum seekers coming to this country is so laughable, when you know that Canada has taken 37,700 people and Greece (with a population of 10 million and I’d suggest not a particularly wealthy country) has taken in 19,000 asylum seekers.

    Puts Australia’s enormous “generosity” in perspective and makes you want to squirm and not look other nationalities in the eye.

    As for that insect Bolt criticising the pace at which these poor sods left their countries and arrived on our doorstep, I’d be happy to arrange a one-way ticket to Afghanistan for him and then let him follow the asylum seekers’ route to this country.

    Actually, Pies could join him-they’d both be a bloody sight thinner and fitter than they are now. Should we pass the hat around?

  25. Tony, maybe processing centres in Indonesia opposed to lives being risked.

    Dave, I don’t like the language in my last link.

    My family came to this country as political refugees and I have no problem with others being afforded the same opportunities.

    Unfortunately this issue is being politiced (again) and I’m only interested in the humanitarian aspect.

  26. Guido, on April 20th, 2009 at 5:10 pm Said:

    It’s worth repeating..

    As far as Ackerman is concerned. I am sorry if I sound nasty but is one of the lowest, slimiest lowlifes that have walked the journalistic landscape of Australia.

    Yup…

    And agreed re:

    The Insiders is a putrescent excuse for the lowest form of conservative opinion. No wonder they show it when people are either asleep, having sex or playing sport.

    Which is why I never watch Insiders, and I’m not playing sport.

  27. joni

    And at the end of Insiders David Marr called Akerman a grub.

    Really! Excellent – about bloody time some one did. I might have to watch it now. If he said that then that clearly overrides any problems of inconsistency. Sorry Tony, I take back what I said above 😉

    Tom R,

    I didn’t watch Insiders but if Marr said what he did in the way that Tony paraphrased him then Marr was being inconsistent. The problem with Marr or indeed anyone making comments about the reasons behind the boat catching on fire and whteher or not fuel was spread around until all the info is out is that there isn’t sufficient evidence to make these sorts of conclusions. The whole motivation aspect of the argument in relation to this boat is simply speculation based on tidbits of information. Marr was dumb to make the comments he did as is everyone who is running off at the mouth on this at the moment – we simply don’t know what individual motivations for any actions were yet.

  28. scaper …

    Fair enough, I think the use of the word “threat” is pretty poor too. Bit hard to see the context of it though in that article – I wold like the full transcript before I jump to any conclusions. The rest of his landguage that is extracted in the article looks OK though.

  29. Scaper..I can’t find the link (somewhere on the popular press this morning..but well said), but we all with the exception of true born indigenous and convicts are all descendants of Refugees…economics via the famines, political the Irish, the Welsh, Scots subgroups as examples.

    One side of my crew came from Thornbury Gloucestershire as indentured servants. Served their 5 years in the Coromandel Valley SA before treking overland to Victoria.

    One cannot form ‘a queue’ in Afghanistan because we don’t even have a regular consul presence there (due to the extremely dangerous situation). A small portion of refugees are making is south. We therefore need to set up a system for processing refugees with the cooperation of the Indonesian government. Some refugees have been languishing in Indonesia for over 5 years..well hells’ bells, no wonder they take to leaky boats in desperation.

  30. Dave, I dearly hope it was taken out of context…sanity and leadership is becoming a very rare commodity out there.

  31. Tony, maybe processing centres in Indonesia opposed to lives being risked.

    Worth considering, and if Mr Rudd’s mate Bangbang is serious about helping like he says, it might even be practical.

  32. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 5:26 pm Said:

    I can’t help noticing that your statement is completely unencumbered by evidence (as were both of Marr’s).

    Actually Tony, the evidence, as was put forward on Insiders, was the timeline. Some of those boat people had begun their journey (destination Australia) back before the last election was held.

    And in reference to Marrs second comment, as he stated, this was simply ‘heresay’ that had come from sources in Indonesia that work in this area. He did stress that point, in the same way that there is truly no evidence to supoort the other side of the argument.

    Therefore, both statements can be true when taken in context. And with ‘evidence’ (or as much as there is for this kind of rhetoric).

  33. It seems that this idea is a goer..it’s me, scaper and Tony. What first got me going is the dreadful situation of refugees having to pay mega to people smugglers to get them from Indonesia to within Australian waters.

    We simply do not have the resources..only 2 of 4 patrol boats being able to put out from Cairns due to lack of qualified personnel. I should imagine that Darwin with only 8 boats is similar re how many boats can be deployed. And we don’t even have a base in northern WA.

    I believe that the good old HMAS Tobruk is now out of Cairns to assist. The old girl was supposed to have been pensioned off 10 years ago.

  34. With apologies, now have to choof. Have pulverised some pieces of thin cut beef which the supermarket labels as ‘veal’. I smash it with a meat mallet and traa daa schnitzel.

  35. Of those who apply for refugee status in Australia, less than 4% come by boat. Of that 4%, more than 90% are successful in their claim for refugee status.

    Of the 96% who come by other means (read planes) only 60% are successful in their application.

    Therefore the evidence is that those who come by boat are overwhelmingly genuine refugees. But (sarcastically) they should take PR advice and dress in ‘rags’.

    And for those who lack perspective, consider the 60 000 ‘aliens who at any one time are overstaying their visa. And of that number more than 50% have been here for more than a decade.

    And yet we have those who claim the sky is falling because all the ‘chicken littles’ say it is. This is a ‘beat up’. Why won’t Rudd tell us the ‘truth’? Because xenophobia rules and it would be political suicide to do so.

  36. Nature 5,

    Why won’t Rudd tell us the ‘truth’? Because xenophobia rules and it would be political suicide to do so.

    You’re right about Rudd’s motivation (although your assertion that “xenophobia rules” is something I’d happily take issue with):

    Electorates will forgive their governments many things, but they are generally unwilling to forgive an implication of moral contempt.

  37. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 7:27 pm Said:

    (although your assertion that “xenophobia rules” is something I’d happily take issue with):

    Good! But first your link to David Burchell. Burchell as you would know is a former editor of Australian Left Review and for over two decades was one of Australia’s leading left intellectuals. But he now has the reputation of denigrating left-liberal positions on various issue. A bit like Windy.

    But to xenophobia. Let’s begin with a definition. An edited Wiki:

    Xenophobia is a dislike and/or fear of that which is unknown or are different from oneself. … The term is typically used to describe a fear or dislike of foreigners or of people significantly different from oneself.

    . That’s how it appears to me. The punters seems to have no fear of the thousands who fly in year upon year and either overstay their visa or apply for refugee status. By and large they appear ‘respectable’, sometimes they are ‘athletes’ (clean cut and the like) and they number in the tens of thousands. Yet a few who come by boat stir the punters no end.

    Why does that happen when the numbers are so minute? What explanation do you offer?

  38. The punters seems to have no fear of the thousands who fly in year upon year and either overstay their visa or apply for refugee status.

    If they have no fear of these people, many of whom would look just like those arriving by boat, then it can’t be xenophobia. It must have something to do with their method of arrival, or their ‘queue-jumping’.

  39. So, Tony, why is arriving by plane not considered “queue-jumping”?

  40. Is arriving by plane considered queue-jumping? I didn’t know.

    At the very least, plane arrivals would have to have a passport, so we would know who they are, and, through the airline, we would know where they departed from. (Those two things would be a huge head-start when processing their applications.)

  41. So – it is an administrative issue that causes us to vilify the boat-arrivals?

  42. Joni,

    Perhaps you could tell me why it’s desirable to have people attempting that kind of journey. It advantages Rudd’s scum-of-the-earth people-smugglers, and imperils everyone aboard.

    Plane arrivals get a fair hearing, and the majority are allowed to stay. Genuine asylum seekers are advantaged in the official system.

    The problem may be one of education. If the boat people knew there was a safe official way, they might take it.

    By the way, who’s vilifying boat people?

  43. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 8:18 pm Said:

    If they have no fear of these people, many of whom would look just like those arriving by boat, then it can’t be xenophobia. It must have something to do with their method of arrival, or their ‘queue-jumping’.

    Tony, those who arrive by plane get no publicity. No media coverage at all. What they appear like is a complete mystery. They are an unknown stat, completely invisible. Xenophobia only manifests with ‘knowledge’. No awareness no xenophobia.

    As for:

    have something to do with their method of arrival, or their ‘queue-jumping’.</

    Really? to do with their method of arrival,. Yes! In the sense it makes them visible. The punters become aware of what the ‘informed’ are confronted with on a daily basis.

    Their method of arrival is crucial. It provides visibility. It provides an opportunity for the ill-educated to unleash their prejudices and fears.

    As for ‘queue-jumping’, I honestly thought that BS had been well and truly buried. Where are the queues in the areas from which they come? Refugees in queues in Taliban Territory? (A good basis for a Monty Python skit). Where are the Immigrations Offices? Howard shut down a number and Rudd hasn’t opened any new ones. Queue jumpers is a concept that only appeals to the Xenophobic’ as a justification.

    BTW, xenophobia is certainly not limited to Australians but in my experience is to be found in all societies and cultures. (Ethnocentrism and all that). But I don’t like it. I want Australians to be better than that. As far as possible.

  44. Those calling them “illegal immigrants” for one.

  45. Well, they are illegal arrivals. Not necessarily immigrants.

  46. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 8:28 pm Said:

    Is arriving by plane considered queue-jumping? I didn’t know.

    At the very least, plane arrivals would have to have a passport, so we would know who they are,

    I’m sure none of these plane arrivals would have fake passports either I suppose?

  47. It’s more ID than the boat arrivals would have, Tom.

  48. Tony, those who arrive by plane get no publicity. No media coverage at all. What they appear like is a complete mystery. They are an unknown stat, completely invisible. Xenophobia only manifests with ‘knowledge’. No awareness no xenophobia.

    And how do these people remain invisible once in society? I haven’t noticed any protests against swarthy immigrants lately – refugees or otherwise.

  49. As for ‘queue-jumping’, I honestly thought that BS had been well and truly buried. Where are the queues in the areas from which they come?

    I don’t know, but nearly 5,000 people a year manage to find one.

  50. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 8:40 pm Said:

    The problem may be one of education. If the boat people knew there was a safe official way, they might take it

    Unbelieveable. a safe official way,. Yes you refugees get a passport and then apply to leave. What planet are you on?

    Tony only 20% of Americans have passports. Bush didn’t have one until he became President. The chances of genuine ‘refugees’ in the form of boatpeople having passports is just unreal.

  51. What planet are you on?

    One which hereby ceases further communication with you.

  52. N5

    Exactly the point – a lot of the genuine refugees do not have passports and therefore cannot travel by plane.

    I re-post your comment from earlier today:

    Of those who apply for refugee status in Australia, less than 4% come by boat. Of that 4%, more than 90% are successful in their claim for refugee status.
    Of the 96% who come by other means (read planes) only 60% are successful in their application.

  53. joni, on April 20th, 2009 at 9:07 pm Said:

    Yes joni, those ‘facts’ are not widely known. As for:

    Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 9:02 pm Said:

    One which hereby ceases further communication with you.

    Not another ‘refugee’? And by choice as well it would seem. Passport and documentation in order? Lol.

    And here I was thinking you had all the talking points generated by Howard all those years ago which proved effective then and are proving so effective now.

    Tony don’t seek refuge when you are on a winner.

  54. Queue jumping. EG: A certain someone married an Asian girl overseas. it was going to take at least 6 months for her to get here via official channels. He returned home.

    This someone, who grew up with a SENATOR, called him. She was here legally within 10 days. I have kept that to myself for over 2 years.

    That’s what I call queue jumping.

  55. Is this the best place to announce to the world that my grandfather was an illegal immigrant? He sneaked into Australia with a fake passport shortly ater WW1.

    Can I stay?

  56. NO

  57. Ok you can see ayres rock but after that….

  58. While there are any number of ‘concepts’ that might prove useful to understanding the irrational reaction to boat people, three seem crucial. First there is ‘racism’ defined as:

    the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

    Then there is ‘xenophobia’ defined as:

    a dislike and/or fear of that which is unknown or are different from oneself. … The term is typically used to describe a fear or dislike of foreigners or of people significantly different from oneself.

    And lastly there is ‘ethnocentrism’

    the tendency to believe that one’s own race or ethnic group is the most important and that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups.

    Clearly there is no ‘one’ or ‘correct’ explanation of what is currently happening (that would be laughable) but using these concepts might prove to be useful for those of us who are uncomfortable with the present situation and how it’s been spun.

  59. I’ve already seen the rock Aqua (from a plane). Does that mean I’m out of here?

    I have nowhere to go.

  60. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 8:51 pm Said:

    It’s more ID than the boat arrivals would have, Tom.

    Perhaps its just me, but that truly struck me as an outrageous statement.

    So, an ID with no factual information about you is better than none?

    How?

  61. To the person (with whom I’m not communicating, and) who has chosen the one concept – under three names – to explain (what that person sees as) an “irrational reaction to boat people”:

    Here’s my own concept:

    Law abiding citizens are accustomed to order in their lives.

    In order to travel abroad, they need the requisite documents – passport, visa etc. They expect to go through customs at airports, and they accept such restrictions as justified, and necessary.

    That boat people can breach their country’s borders – unannounced, and unidentified – makes them nervous.

    That the security they are comfortable with – which brings them peace – can be so easily breached, is what they object to.

    It has less to do with those disturbing the peace, than with the disturbing of the peace.

  62. “under three names”? What do you mean?

  63. So, an ID with no factual information about you is better than none?

    How?

    The same way that to you a manufactured argument is as good as a real one.

  64. Racism, xenophobia and ethnocentrism.

    Three names, one concept.

  65. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Well, they are illegal arrivals. Not necessarily immigrants.

    Arguably, as refugees, their arrival is perfectly legal however it is effected, and that lawfulness even measures in legal obligations owed to them as refugees, regardless of their modes of travel. That’s the essence of seeking and receiving refuge. On the flipside, there is the issue that refugees are meant to take and receive refuge at their first safe port of call or place, which is another ‘nice in principle’ thing when some ports of call which owe duties of providing safety as a place of refuge don’t necessarily (harkening back to the nice Thai scenario in relation to persecuted Burmese, where they’d be beaten and then dumped at sea again; possibly a factor in the latest scenario, at least the thinking about the being dumped at sea bit). Wouldn’t it be fun if everyone agreed refugees deserved assistance but then took the necessary steps to ensure that refugees received none?

    Nature 5, on April 20th, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    You might want to add ‘nationalism’ and ‘jingoism’ to the concept roll, as obvious as those things are: the strength of negative status accorded an ‘outsider’, even a worthy ‘outsider’, is determined, in part, by what the outsider is deemed not to be and cannot be per in-group terms. So, ‘they’ are ‘illegals’ or ‘boat people’, not potential ‘new Australians’; in addition to the politic of ‘deviance’ at work with the nomenclature of pseudo-criminal illegality constantly being appended to their statuses before any hearing, and at variance with the typical outcomes, which have them mostly as lawful refugees subsequently being acknowledged as lawful refugees. All imho as usual, or at least in my consideration, because even my opinions are somewhat fluid, and often I don’t have any strong sentiments on matters, which would seem sina qua non for holding to an opinion.

  66. I just love it when all the dog whistlers gibber on about refugees and passports, documentation and queues.

    How prepared would these idiots be if they had to flee for their lives from a war zone, or any other crisis for that matter? There wouldn’t be enough Napisan in the world to get the stains out of their undies.

    I wouldn’t mind betting that there hasn’t been a birth, marriage or death certificate issued in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and the Sudan for years, either.

    Foreign embassies would be pretty thin on the ground as well. Travel agencies, too. Just gets easier and easier to get your sh*t together, take a number from the machine and hop in the imaginary queue.

    Although I guess they could just whip out the laptop and do it all on the internet. Oh, that’s right, no power, no computers, no internet, no airport, no infrastructure.

  67. At the very least, plane arrivals would have to have a passport, so we would know who they are, and, through the airline, we would know where they departed from.

    Yes, no-one’s ever thought of using a false passport or sneaking into another country just so they can leave a ‘respectable’ paper trail.

    That boat people can breach their country’s borders – unannounced, and unidentified – makes them nervous.

    A few miserable and desperate boat people who have survived life in a war torn country or are escaping persecution are asking us for compassionate and humane assistance, this makes a relatively wealthy, advantaged and educated population ‘nervous’ or ‘uncomfortable’. Incredible. I believe the term as described above is xenophobia.

    That the security they are comfortable with – which brings them peace – can be so easily breached, is what they object to.

    Oh sh*t, let’s all live a life of blinkered peace, blind to the reality of other people’s lives. Let’s never ever have to worry about anything outside of our blissfully ignorant, cocooned existences. What is Australia? One big sheltered workshop for stupid people?

    The same xenophobes gladly accept the concept of ‘globalisation’ when it comes to markets, goods and profits, but global people – uh uh, not having that, let’s have protections in place, no inferior people to come to Australia. Even though we helped to make their lives so miserable, by aiding and abetting other nations or by doing nothing when something needed to be done.

    I can’t stand that TV show, Border Patrol or whatever, it appears that they are trying to drum up bigotry, fear and suspicion of all travellers to this country. Talk about a propaganda exercise.

  68. To me, the most obvious way of reducing refugees risking a boat journey to Australia is to provide extra resources to the UNHCR to promptly process asylum applications in Indonesia and other countries in the region, encourage other countries in our regions to improve the basic security and human rights of asylum seekers whilst their claims are assessed so they have less imperative to flee or go underground while their are waiting, and also to ensure that those who are assessed to be refugees do have some prospect of safe resettlement in a reasonable time. Ironically, this approach was partly pursued by the former Howard government, in amongst all its other more headline grabbing activities. If they had not skimped by cutting back on overall UNHCR funding, while spending hundreds of millions on detention and using warships to intercept fishing boats, and been so reluctant to accept refugees who had been assessed in Indonesia, this approach would have been much more successful. Even with all those qualifiers, it still did work to some extent.

  69. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 10:38 pm Said:

    The same way that to you a manufactured argument is as good as a real one.

    What manufactured argument?

    I was simply responding to your comment

    It’s more ID than the boat arrivals would have,

    Which is still a comment that I cannot fathom. And for a person who cries out for evidence for statements (which I happily supplied), there was none supplied for this, simply a complaint about me arguing with you.

    I apologise for querying your statement, and will in future let anything you maintain stand on its own merits.

    (As if) 🙂

  70. OK Tom,

    Where’s your evidence that plane arriving asylum seekers have travelled on false passports.

  71. Tony, on April 20th, 2009 at 10:41 pm Said

    Racism, xenophobia and ethnocentrism.

    Three names, one concept.

    Only in the same way as ‘black’, ‘white’ and ‘brindle’ all fall under the concept of ‘colour’. LOL.

    Talk about farce.

  72. What’s wrong? I’m not agreeing with the ‘authority’ of your Wikipedia-sourced ‘knowledge’?

  73. tony, your link to Andrew Bartlett was quite sensible, he has long advocated for compassionate, humanitarian assistance of asylum seekers (apologies in advance for the length of quote).

    From tony’s link above:

    Andrew discusses the fact that most Australians would have no idea of where the greatest number of asylum seekers to Australia come from as we get our info from politicians and the media.

    …The answer, by a long way, is China. Because those people come by plane, and make claims either as individuals or family units, they rarely attract media attention. In addition, there are understandable diplomatic sensitivities in our politicians drawing too much attention to the fact, which would mainly serve to remind people of how appalling the human rights record of the Chinese government continues to be. (Although given The Australian’s new apparent interest in whether or not asylum seekers are ‘well dressed’, it’s surprising they don’t have a fashion correspondent going out to assess the dress sense of all the Chinese asylum seekers living in our community.)…

    …The recent publication “Asylum levels and trends in Industrialised Countries – 2008” shows just how tiny the numbers of asylum claims made in Australia are – and of course the vast majority of those are people who arrive by plane.

    Picking just one example, the number of people from Afghanistan who applied for asylum in an industrialised country last year was 18 459. (That of course doesn’t count the millions who are living uncertainly in Pakistan and nearby countries.) Of that number, the number who applied in Australia was 52. (Don’t get Australia mixed up with Austria – they received 1365 from Afghanistan alone.)

    The number of asylum applications made in Australian by people from China in 2008 was 1226. No doubt the numbers from Afghanistan applying in Australia will go up to a few hundred in 2009 – if the situation really deteriorates in that country , it might even hit a 1000…

  74. The recent publication “Asylum levels and trends in Industrialised Countries – 2008” shows just how tiny the numbers of asylum claims made in Australia are – and of course the vast majority of those are people who arrive by plane.

  75. Legion,

    What, no critique of the “model”? LOL…….

  76. A lurker has alerted me to this article over at crikey, which is a letter from an Afghan to Malcolm Tumbleturn:

    Like you I notice that Kevin Rudd has introduced Migration Amendment Regulations 2008 (No. 5) (SLI NO 168 OF 2008), to abolish temporary protection visas. Specifically I see the regulations abolished subclass 451, and 447 visas, and replace them with rights to permanent residency. I believe the new visa is a subclass 851 visa, but I cannot be sure as I do not have regulations in front of me at moment: internet in Afghanistan is almost as slow as Australia.

    It is amazing how many people are paying attention to the intricate changes in legislation that the Rudd government is making.

  77. Loved the link revealing the writer to be one Mr. A.N. Afghani, a resident of the well known international tourist destination called The Village deep in the heart of Afghanistan.

    And he has such grandiose plans to being the whole Village.

    One thing is a little puzzling;

    internet in Afghanistan is almost as slow as Australia.

    It is remarkable that he has the knowledge to make such a comparision. Seems like he is a serial refugee and one of the 1.5% who has access to the Internet in Afghanistan. But I suppose that’s to be expected from one who resides in The Village.

    http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/af.htm

  78. It’s lucky for these people this government is more compassionate and everything.

  79. Tony, makes one wonder, doesn’t it.

    I had a good chuckle last night when you refered to ABBA as Troll 5…lol!

  80. Yeah, I know. I’m not proud of it, but her(?) schtick is to see how far she(?) can push you.

  81. That person makes a habit of pushing people to the limit.

    Must be a way of getting HIS jollies…I’ll leave it at that.

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