ASLYUM SEEKERS: Has anybody read the Greens’ proposal and the recommendations of the UNHCR? They are almost identical.
PROBLEM: Why do people board boats? In desperation because of the lengthy waiting periods (sometimes years) for assessment. If people knew they would be assessed within a few weeks or months, do you really believe they’d still risk their lives on expensive ocean going sieves?
SOLUTION: Instead of pouring BILLIONS into expensive concentration camps and the maintenance of the infrastructure and their inmates, Australia could pour mere MILLIONS into increasing staffing levels in the UNHCR to dramatically decrease waiting time for refugee assessment and resettlement. Increasing the number of points of access for refugee registration in our region, in concert with our Asian neighbours, would also help defuse the problem.
Then we should double our intake of refugees (funnily enough, they don’t ALL want to come to Australia); de-link the intake of asylum seekers to the immigration intake (as does the rest of the world: asylum seekers are seeking protection from necessity; immigrants seek access to other countries from choice – economical, personal, better prospects, better life, etc. the two are totally separate from each other) so ‘legitimate’ immigrants are not disadvantaged, and the problem is well on the way to being solved – AT FAR LESS COST!
Incidentally, according to the world charter on refugees, there is no such thing as an ‘illegal asylum seeker’, and refusal to protect and assimilate refugees is against international law. If Australia continues to fudge the facts and avoid their responsibilities in this area, they should resign from the UNHCR and make it quite clear refugees are not acceptable and will be imprisoned if they insist on coming here. Because that’s the truth of the matter; that’s what we do. Being deprived of your liberty for years on end in a concentration camp, euphemistically called a ‘detention centre’ is no walk in the park! Now, if the boats continue to arrive, those people will be left in the camps for ‘years’ as a deterrent to others. Wow! Is that unconditional love for our human bretheren, or what? And instead of facilitating reunion with family members, we’ll also be ‘tightening up’ on (disallowing?) this practice as a further disincentive!
Personally, if I were on a boat I’d rather be blown out of the water than face years of imprisonment in concentration camps where self harm, suicide, and severe mental health problems are the prospects I faced. Maybe that would be a more ‘humane’ solution; I bet there would be no more boats aiming for Australian shores after the first one was blown up! We could always justify it as being attacked by potential terrorists and therefore well within the bounds of international law! (Forgive my sarcasm; I’m inclined to resort to it when I’m very angry, and inhumanity in any form is like a red rag to a bull to me. I don’t REALLY believe all our leaders are undercover fascists. Some of them are even trying to do the right thing.)
So there we go Australia, a humane, sensible and totally workable solution to help our disenfranchised brothers and sisters, as recommended by the UNHCR, the Greens - and all ‘humane’ humans, or the White Australia policy unveiled and practised without pretence! It’s our choice. And maybe a little empathy would go a long way towards helping us, as a nation, make that choice: i.e. how would you like yourself and your family to be received on foreign shores if we were fleeing the same horrors the current influx of asylum seekers face in their homelands? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility. What goes around comes around, eventually.
Unfortunately all this is moot right now; we’ve already elected to employ the ‘deterrence at all costs’ method. But here’s the really tragic thing; the more humane, the ‘right’ way of on-shore assessment, recommended by the UNHCR, that the Government wished to implement couldn’t get through the Parliament because of the Opposition. Now Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is using the Government’s compromise as a weapon against them. ‘First she says one thing, then she says something else’, and ‘flip-flop’ were phrases he used in a statement to the media. Like Barack Obame in the US; the Right Wing is doing all it can to block genuine innovative change for the public good. And our Prime Minister, like Barack Obama, could well lose the next election because the the 'Right Wingers' are so good at ‘spin’, and the general puhlic is so gullible, maybe because the general level of education appears to be pretty abysmal in both countries because 'Right Wingers' believe in educating the ‘elite’ at the expense of everybody else, because they believe in a ‘ruling class’.
A wise man once said there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Evolved human beings understand, and science ratifies, that we are all one; everything in the Universe is connected to everything else, and like ripples in a pond, a small action in one place can have massive repercussions globally. Wouldn’t it be great if we could start a ripple of love and compassion for our entire species, instead of fear and distrust?