One of the most dramatic political back flips ever performed has just passed the House of Representatives, after the Gillard Government and the Opposition voted in favour of reopening immigration detention centres for offshore processing of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island.

Picture: AP

If it makes it through the Senate, which the Prime Minister is hoping to have done by tomorrow afternoon, it’s the first step towards the implementation of Angus Houston’s “hard headed but not hard hearted” plan. It will take Australia straight back to John Howard’s “Pacific Solution” – a regime which until a few days ago Julia Gillard vehemently opposed.

So what exactly did the Angus Houston, Paris Aristotle and Michael L’Strange recommend? The first problem with the Panel’s report is its underlying “no advantage” principle which intends to ensure that “no benefit is gained through circumnavigating regular migration arrangements”.

The problem with this is that implies that there are hoards of asylum seekers jumping at the chance to pack into overcrowded, leaky boats and set sail on a dangerous journey rife with uncertainty. This grounding principle of the panel’s report fails to appreciate the diverse, frequently dangerous and almost always indefinite conditions of limbo that asylum seekers find themselves in all over the world. 

Who doesn’t want to flee persecution and be welcomed into an orderly queue where you’re handed a numbered ticket and you wait to be called to the first available booth for processing? If it’s that or possible exploitation, arrest, overcrowding, malnutrition and corporal abuse in Malaysia– I’m willing to bet most asylum seekers would be ecstatic about the prospect of waiting in queue.

The Refugee Council describes waiting for resettlement by the UNHCR as more like a lottery than a queue, with many refugees having no access to the resettlement system whatsoever, and those that do playing an indefinite waiting game.

Amongst the migration experts who didn’t happen to be on the panel, there is consensus that “conditions in origin countries… tend to be more important than conditions in destination countries… in explaining the movement of refugees,’ and that – I’d suggest – is where attention should be primarily focused.

The panel’s report is founded on deterrence – a principle that has not only been shown to be ineffective, but is hugely expensive and unethical. 

The second recommendation is to increase Australia’s humanitarian program to 20,000 places per annum (which will rise to 27,000 within five years); which includes doubling our refugee intake and is an important (though insufficient) step forward. Less than 1 per cent of the world’s refugees are ever resettled and if every single one of them joined a long queue, the average wait for resettlement would be 135 years.

It’s a difficult situation that requires addressing the issues in the countries of origin, improving our processing systems and ultimately more countries need to accept more refugees. We need to live up to our responsibilities as a member of the International community and signatory to the Refugee Convention to do our fair share to promote the safe, humane and efficient processing and settling of asylum seekers and refugees.

Recommendations eight and nine are probably the most disturbing and are already attracting attention for their remarkable similarity to Howard’s Pacific Solution. It is apparently a “matter of urgency” to establish capacity in Nauru and Papua New Guinea to process asylum seekers. Indeed, PM Gillard contacted Naura this morning to extend a formal request to recommence processing in the upcoming months.

Nauru saw 1500 asylum seekers pass through it during Howard’s Pacific Solution, many of whom suffered mental trauma due to the conditions they were kept in. Nine died when coerced to return to Afghanistan and the then Head of the Department of Immigration Andrew Metcalfe said the scheme was ineffective and should not be reintroduced. Offshore processing is also incredibly expensive, especially somewhere like Nauru where food and water supplies are insufficient for their own small population of 10,000 let alone an influx of asylum seekers who need to be housed and processed.

The Panel also urges the Government to process asylum seekers offshore in Papua New Guinea, who have already indicated that they will re-open the processing center on Manus Island if the Australian Government requests. The Australian Psychological Society expressed their concern at the Panel’s recommendations, citing a “history of mental health issues resulting from detaining people offshore including suicide attempts, hunger and water strikes, lip-sewing, riots, protests, fires and breakouts”. Constructing policy whilst ignoring the ugly lessons that history provides us, is irresponsible and will only result in more human suffering.

Along the same vein, recommendation ten is a straight out endorsement of the Malaysia Solution which was deemed unconstitutional by the High Court of Australia last year because the safety of the asylum seekers being transferred to Malaysia could not be guaranteed.  Malaysia is not signatory to the Refugee Convention and whilst it is within the Government’s power to modify the Migration Act (which the Malaysia Solution was also found to breach in the High Court last year) it must not simply ignore its obligations under International law.

Australia from 2010 – 2011 took just 0.6 per cent of the world’s refugees. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the panel’s recommendations to dump thousands of desperate human beings around the Pacific; seems to me to be the product of a fearful and politically antagonistic environment far more than a genuine attempt to protect the lives of asylum seekers journeying by boat.

Perhaps the “matter of urgency” the panel refers to so often, should be developing a humane system of onshore processing whilst investing in the development of better processing systems within nearby transit countries to facilitate responsible burden sharing in the region. Australia currently accepts a tiny number of asylum seekers when compared to the rest of the world. We also accept less refugees now than we have historically.

If the Gillard Government and Opposition are distressed by the 964 men, women and children who have lost their lives since 2001 seeking asylum in Australia; the solution should not be to shut down our borders and send those same desperate people to countries where their safety and wellbeing cannot be ensured. The solution is to follow the lead of countries like New Zealand, Canada and England and increase pathways of entry, welcome more refugees and implement humane, onshore community processing facilities.

Most commented

104 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • Fred says:

      02:00pm | 15/08/12

      Another bleeding heart article. Go away. I fully support the current progress but think TPV’s and the removal of family reunion should be included.

    • AdamC says:

      02:15pm | 15/08/12

      Greg Sheridan had a very perceptive article about this issue in the Australian today. In essence, he argued that it will be very difficult to stem the flow of arrivals if we keep offering resettlement - including family reunion rights - to boatpeople.

    • sandra says:

      02:50pm | 15/08/12

      Fred you took the words out of my mouth—thanks mate. I am so sick of these people!!!! But Gillard most of all!!

    • Brent says:

      02:54pm | 15/08/12

      Have you two actually read the Houston report or news articles about it? It includes removing the family re-union provision for boat people. Headline reading experts sh*t me

    • Knemon says:

      03:11pm | 15/08/12

      “I am so sick of these people”

      Why so Sandra? What effect have they had on your life? Your welfare payments will still be secure.

      As for Fred, you complain about the article but you still took the time to comment, strange.

    • Anthony says:

      03:12pm | 15/08/12

      At least someone can still muster a defence of the left’s previous stance. Calling Gillardss move a backflipp is a step in the right direction. If Gillard really believed in what she said she would have done what the author suggested.The PM is kidding herself if she thinks another backflip will bew forgotten by the next election. She is the queen of half arsed self belief. If any of us had a boss like her we would have had an exit stratergy long ago.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      04:35pm | 15/08/12

      Australiea must have absolutely tough border control. Otherwise when there is widespread famines and wars in Asia Australia will be at risk of being swamped y a tsunami of millions of boatpeople.

      We must destroy the popular image in Asia that Australia welcomes boatpeople.

      No illegal boatpeople should ever be granted migrant visas to Australia. We should follow the US policy on Cuban boatpeople. They are either returned to Cuba or go to a third country.

    • eRon says:

      04:43pm | 15/08/12

      Knemon, how are we doing with that wager from yesterday, sunshine?
      You went all quiet after shooting your mouth off. Can’t think why.

    • Michael S says:

      04:52pm | 15/08/12

      If you want a “no advantage” principle, TPVs are the way to go. Stopping the boats and denying them entry is probably futile, but one thing we can do is deny them citizenship.

      Re-introducing TPVs would mean that refugees who were re-settled through the official channels would get permanent residency, the chance to apply for citizenship after being here for a length of time.
      But for unauthorised arrivals, they’ll be protected from the danger and persecution at home while they need it; but when it’s safe to do so they’ll be sent home. In the mean time, they’ll need to re-apply every couple of years.

      That’s the “no advantage”. A legitimate resettlement, going through the official channels, gets the chance to make a new life for themselves. An unauthorised arrival will get protection while they need it, but will never be accepted as one of us.

    • Knemon says:

      05:22pm | 15/08/12

      @ eRon - Someone told me to either put up or shut up…I took the latter option.

      I now look forward to what political mileage Abbott gains from this, he certainly wouldn’t be doing it for any other reason, it most certainly wouldn’t be due to empathy or compassion, he couldn’t spell either word let alone understand their meaning.

    • ian f says:

      06:33pm | 15/08/12

      i agree this government is so dumb, they leap into the LNP’s hands. if they were fair dinkum about stopping the boats and taking the heat out of the asylum issue they would have tpg’s stop family re unions and make the threat to turn back boats. but they are hopless total idiots and all for political pride over sensible policy to save lives and a fair go for those in the camps.

    • jo b says:

      06:41pm | 15/08/12

      Brent your wrong if or when they get a protection visa they join the already established queue for family reunion.

    • eRon says:

      07:34pm | 15/08/12

      Knemon, seems you have different rules of accountability depending on the party.
      A fair person might say that Abbott has the right to rub the government nose in this for a bit longer.
       
      I note Gillard in parliament today was taking Dixers on it, perversely claiming some sort of victory.
      WTF?

    • Terence says:

      08:15am | 16/08/12

      A typical green written article that has turned Australia into a free for all refugee dumping ground business for people smugglers!

      The bleeding heart of the green movement is going to be the death nell of this once great Country!

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:16am | 16/08/12

      Well said Fred, @Sophie your very critical of whats happening but do you have a solution? Or do you just want to sit around and talk about it for another 4 years. While more people die.
      I’m sure the greens would love your ideas.
      The most troubling statement in your article is this “The panel’s report is founded on deterrence – a principle that has not only been shown to be ineffective, but is hugely expensive and unethical one “
      How can you deterrence doesn’t work? The years sfter Nauru was closed saw a huge increase in boats.
      It seems you would rather offer incentives to get on a boat!

    • Peter says:

      11:18am | 16/08/12

      But, guys, it’s all about the boat people’s safety, init?  That’s what the LNP are concerned about: safety.  The LNP are actually very generous and big-hearted people.  Thye just want to stop the boats because of the safety concerns for the boat-people.  That’s all.  They lie awake at night worrying about the safety of asylum seekers.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:24am | 16/08/12

      @Brent the family reunion provision is for a very good reason. Its to stop people putting unaccompanied children on leaky death traps. Its to stop the anipulative actions of refugees where they dump their kid on a boat so that once that kid is in a detention center they can get a visa to come to Australia. Its an essential part to deterring parents from potentially sacrificing their kids in their bid to get into Australia

    • Fiddler says:

      02:04pm | 15/08/12

      the only thing I got out of this is that we should withdraw from the convention and make our own damn minds up about who we do and don’t take. Oh and we “only” take 0.6% of the worlds refugess. Well since we are “only” 0.3% of the world population I think we are doing pretty damn well, might need to reduce those numbers then.

      Go back to your drum circle

    • thatmosis says:

      04:54pm | 15/08/12

      Totally agree, why should we paly host to these people who have travelled here illegally hopping from one nation to another until they could get a boat to immigrant heaven or as you and I know it Australia.
        I think you will find that those fleeing persecution in their own country must find refuge in the first safe country they come to, not make the trek to a boat peoples place after having travelled through many countries that they would have been safe in.
        We were being played for mugs, aided and abetted by Julia and her non policy on these people and the government subsidised Taxi service that had their number on the internet for quick reference and in the speed dial of every phone these people owned. At last some sanity and surprise, surprise it was that bloke Howard s solution that turned out to be the best, how about that Labor lovers.

    • Budz says:

      05:11pm | 15/08/12

      It is not illegal to apply for asylum.

    • andye says:

      07:07pm | 15/08/12

      @fiddler - “Go back to your drum circle”

      That’s the way to convince people!

      You know you actually detract from a well made point by failing to resist a partisan stab.

      @fiddler - “Oh and we “only” take 0.6% of the worlds refugess. Well since we are “only” 0.3% of the world population I think we are doing pretty damn well, might need to reduce those numbers then.”

      I think this is an important point. I have been thinking about it since someone pointed it out the other day here. Obviously, some countries are accepting resettlement and some aren’t. Some countries generate asylum seekers (at different rates and times based on internal conflicts, famine, economic factors, ethnic violence or genocide, and so on)  so a 1/1 ratio on population to asylum seekers accepted isn’t necessarily what we would expect. You can also measure against GDP, but we have great GDP. We rank way down on other measures apart from resettlement.

      What if the accepted asylum seekers are only part of the story? Many of the refugees around the world are being hosted in countries… but are they actually going anywhere? Does their official status really represent the load that each country bears? Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Jordan all host numbers that make our numbers look pretty small. There are refugees in the middle east ho have been there for up to 60 years.

      I have been to Iran and out west of Tehran there was this massive shanty town on a hill. I was told they were all refugees, but they had been there for years and the government ended up letting them build out there. When I was in Esfehan I visited a cathedral and a museum about the Armenian Genocide. The Christian population in that district were basically descended from asylum seekers. For some reason Christian refugees in Iran strikes me as rather Ironic!

      Anyway, If these millions are stuck and not being resettled, are our claims about punching above our weight for resettlement really all that? If there is essentially a trickle of “resettlement” from huge populations being hosted by other countries, who is bearing the larger burden?

      “resettlement” is a category. What about much larger populations that are stuck where they are and aren’t categorised?

      I want to understand all this before I really have a strong position here. Everyone filters everything through a partisan view and is very quick to name-call and reject anything that challenges rather than to understand it.

    • thatmosis says:

      07:21pm | 15/08/12

      No, but they must apply for it in the first safe country they come to not travel from country to country until they arrive here.

    • Jack says:

      11:08am | 16/08/12

      Agree. I am also bewildered about the lack of comment on the 67 missing Palestinians - who had already tried (and failed) to get asylum status in Cyprus. Surely this asylum shopping exercise shows how ridiculous our system had become. Fourty years ago I came across young Afghanis in Malaysia intent on scamming their way into Australia. It wasn’t politics, it was lifestyle. Having worked damn hard to get that lifestyle, I don’t appreciate those who would try their best to wreck it so they can feel good inside.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:28am | 16/08/12

      Yes Sophies inference that we are not doing our bit is totally unfair. Australia has a long record of taking in refugees and we continue to do so

    • Tartan Smurf says:

      02:10pm | 15/08/12

      “Who doesn’t want to flee persecution and be welcomed into an orderly queue where you’re handed a numbered ticket and you wait to be called to the first available booth for processing? If it’s that or possible exploitation, arrest, overcrowding, malnutrition and corporal abuse in Malaysia– I’m willing to bet most asylum seekers would be ecstatic about the prospect of waiting in queue.”

      Mmmmm, so once they reach Australia and join the queue, explain why they then riot, burn, assault and sew their lips together if they are so happy to be in the queue….

      Their behaviour is in direct contradiction to your statement and reinforces the point that they are self selecting their destination rather than fleeing danger.

    • Mouse says:

      04:38pm | 15/08/12

      If I don’t get my way I can stamp my feet, burn things, and riot too. If I have to wait to get what I want I am sure I can become morose and suicidal as well.  Funny though, as soon as I get my way, all these mental issues tend to disappear.  As soon as I am settled, I will have to go back to the country I ran away from in fear of my life, to tell all my old mates about how good I have it in Australia now.  Funny how the world turns, isn’t it?!!    :o)

    • Worried says:

      08:33am | 16/08/12

      We need to listen to the warnings from Europe. How often do we hear from them that we need to be careful, it has failed there and now people are leaving as their country has become a shadow of its former self.

      Can’t remember which country it was (in scandanavia i think) but countries are now stopping immigration for certain areas due to the problems they are experiencing, do we want that here?

      As for the riots, raising of buildings and hunger strikes these people and anyone else involved should be sent home straight away. Anyone without a passport (destroyed, lost or deliberately left behind) should be sent home immediately. They come here because we give them everything at the cost of our own people.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:33am | 16/08/12

      I agree Tartan surf just goes to show she doesn’t really understand the issues involved

    • Tartan Smurf says:

      02:12pm | 15/08/12

      “The panel’s report is founded on deterrence – a principle that has not only been shown to be ineffective….”

      Wrong.  But don’t let reality hit you on the way out the door….

    • Esteban says:

      02:24pm | 15/08/12

      I am so sorry sophie we have given your ideas a go and they have failed.

    • St. Michael says:

      02:27pm | 15/08/12

      It’s fun to watch Greens work themselves into a tizzy, isn’t it?

      SH-Y must be foaming at the mouth right now.

    • esteban says:

      04:02pm | 15/08/12

      SH-Y jumped the shark when she burst into tears recalling how someone was so desperate to come here they were willing to sell their jewellery.

      The greens will be privately relieved the matter is to be resolved in this manner.

      Politically they need to corral the moral high ground and maintain the most left position (one and the same?) but their position had become increasingl less defencible on moral grounds.

      The great danger for the Greens in holding the balance of power is that their policies might come to be. They are then exposed as being lovely ideas but unworkable or unaffordable. The penny may drop amongst their suppoerters.

      Weeping about how we need more compassion and railing against inhumaine policies but not having the numbers to force change is a much more comfortable position for the greens and will guarantee their future.

      I have promised my wife a thermomix as soon as it is our top priority. If I know it will never be top priority have I really promised?

      Besides surely my wife would sell her jewellery if she was really desperate.

    • St. Michael says:

      09:42pm | 15/08/12

      I dunno, man, my wife gets a weird look in her eyes when you mention the word ‘Thermomix’.  I’d keep an eye on your wedding ring for the foreseeable future. wink

    • P. Walker says:

      06:43am | 16/08/12

      esteban, “SH-Y jumped the shark when she burst into tears recalling how someone was so desperate to come here they were willing to sell their jewellery.”
      Sadly no tears, blubbering, slobbering (ugly to the core)  for the homeless who don’t know what jewellery is.  The ganGrenes will be as dead as the Democrats after 2013.  Useless social engineers.  Poor Kath and Kim!!

    • the cynic says:

      02:27pm | 15/08/12

      “history of mental health issues resulting from detaining people offshore including suicide attempts, hunger and water strikes, lip-sewing, riots, protests, fires and breakouts”.  And none of these things have ever occurred on Christmas Island the soverign territory of the Commonwealth of Australia with the same rights as the NT and the ACT , Let alone the facilities scattered over the rest of the country. If they stayed in Indonesia before legging it to Malaysia then they could be taken seriously as being genuine refugees. They aren’t persecuted in Indonesia , why leave to go and sit in Malaysia a known mistreater of non locals?

    • willie says:

      02:37pm | 15/08/12

      Australia’s population is 22,700,497
      The OECD population is 1,245,198,487
      The world population is 7 033 000 000
      Australia has 0.003% of the worlds population and 0.02% of the worlds rich population yet we take 0.6% of the worlds refuges that’s not too shabby.


      If you think refugees should only be resettled in rich countries we have

    • thruthehaze says:

      04:16pm | 15/08/12

      Willie,
      Sorry but your maths is screwy. 22million out of 1245million is 1.8% and 22million out of 7billion is 0.3%. You had a coupla extra zeros in there.

      But then again the author’s numbers are also screwy (read made up) because in 2010 we took 2.3% of all refugees who were recognised and resettled (12000 out of 539000).

      So your basic point remains valid.

    • Richard says:

      02:38pm | 15/08/12

      “The problem with this is that implies that there are hoards of asylum seekers jumping at the chance to pack into overcrowded, leaky boats and set sail on a dangerous journey rife with uncertainty. This grounding principle of the panel’s report fails to appreciate the diverse, frequently dangerous and almost always indefinite conditions of limbo that asylum seekers find themselves in all over the world. “

      And the problem with YOUR view is that it ignores that there are economic incentives for asylum seekers to attempt to illegally immigrate to our country, without actually having any cause to “flee” from “persecution”.

    • willie says:

      02:39pm | 15/08/12

      Sorry my maths were wrong multiply percentages by 100

    • Laura says:

      02:39pm | 15/08/12

      Hey I am a lefty, I get the whole persecution thing and agree we should take in refugees. However,  the refugees that are getting on boots have already left their countries that are persecuting them. They are not the boat people of the past, island hopping from vietnam to australia. They are people that have crossed multiple boarders with the required paperwork,  with access to multiple embassies along the way. They are not indonesians fleeing to here. We need to make getting a boat pointless to prevent them from trying and to prevent them from dying on the way.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      04:00pm | 16/08/12

      And until they reach Australia ZERO of those boarders they cross are signatories to the convention on refugees.

    • M says:

      02:42pm | 15/08/12

      I’m starting to think we should reconsider being a signatory on that convention.

    • Tim says:

      03:01pm | 15/08/12

      Which is what I’ve been saying for ages.

      We could simply reject anyone that arrives on our doorstep whilst simultaneously increasing our overall refugee intake and costing far less to the Australian taxpayer.

      Nah it sounds far too sensible to ever be thought of by politicians seriously.

    • Punters Pal says:

      03:23pm | 15/08/12

      It is only matter of time and Australia will not be first. Once the first domino falls, the rest of the Western world will follow.

      And rightly so too, I am sick and tired of Western countries are the ones who upheld “international obligations” while the savages in Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Suda and other places do as they please. One great big Western guilt trip and bleeding heart greenies waffle make no difference what most people think.

    • M says:

      03:49pm | 15/08/12

      Exactly, Why should we have to deal with the fall out of 3rd world shitholes?

    • Freeman says:

      04:34pm | 15/08/12

      Tim, think of the consequences first!

      If we do that, Rudd will never get his much wanted but ill deserved appointment at the UN!

    • Esteban says:

      06:25pm | 15/08/12

      It is not just these conventions that needs scrutiny. WTF is the Australian youth climate coalition? Who is footing the bill for this?

      More importantly how can I become a director of something like the middle aged climate coalition?

    • Fiddler says:

      06:45pm | 15/08/12

      @Freeman, he’ll never get it anyway. It’s like the UN is a pretty girl who is leading the nerd on to do all her homework. No matter what he does, he ain’t getting any boob.

    • Tator says:

      06:47pm | 15/08/12

      Freeman,
      Lets wait until Rudd is gone to the UN and then withdraw, leaving him stranded there to explain why and his role in the decision.

    • Max Power says:

      02:58pm | 15/08/12

      Walk away from the Refugee and convention and let god sort them out. This whole refugee crap is a great big WOFTAM.

    • Mouse says:

      04:43pm | 15/08/12

      But MaxPower, don’t you have to shoot them first before God can sort them out?...........    lol :o)

    • Herald says:

      10:18pm | 16/08/12

      Shoot them! That’s outrageous. Besides, it might weigh on someone’s conscience. Just blow up the boats, far less personal.

    • Bob the builder says:

      02:58pm | 15/08/12

      Sophie has a very 20th century view of illegal immigration. In the 21st century illegal immigration is about wealthly people in poor countries entitlement shopping in the developed world, nothing more. Last century it was about fleeing certain death from mass murderers. Today those who are fleeing death are locked up in camps near their vountey of origion while wealthly people take there place. Its a disgrace stop the boats and help the poor not some captain emad.

    • John says:

      03:03pm | 15/08/12

      If you say “no” long enough to someone they eventually give in.

    • Terry2 says:

      03:08pm | 15/08/12

      Political back-flip, where ?
      The Houston panel report was not overtly political but obviously had it’s eye on what was politically achievable.
      The coalition wanted (demanded ?) Temporary Protection Visas: tow-back and reopening Nauru, this last Labor had already conceded on prior to the parliamentary winter break. Houston did not approve TPV’s and correctly pointed out that tow-back could not work without the agreement amd co-operation of Indonesia which will not be forthcoming.  So Nauru (and Manus) was politically achievable.
      Labor wanted Malaysia but didn’t get it and won’t until more work has been done on protections.
      This is not back-flip, this is compromise.

    • eRon says:

      04:57pm | 15/08/12

      Terry, almost a complete reversal of Rudd’s (and Gillard’s as deputy dawg) 2008 careless, politically motivated and ultimately very costly changes to Howard’s immigration laws. Gillard has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid having to do what she did today, for years. Compromise was never an option for her, and still wouldn’t be if she didn’t hire other people to make determinations she and Bowen were incapable of making, despite her earning approximately $450k pa as Prime Minister of this country, and he more than a quarter of a million as Immigration Minister.
       
      Time to call a spade, a bloody spade.

    • Simon M says:

      03:12pm | 15/08/12

      Its been trialed and FAILED.

      The more the system stays as it is, or as the Author suggests, put more incentives for people to come, Then more boats will arrive.

      Lets see how the new system works before immediatley condeming it
      It worked in the past

    • Mr Denorris says:

      03:13pm | 15/08/12

      Ah good, another lecture on refugees from the same people who thought the 2008 changes were a good idea.  Do go on.  And by all means, don’t let the fact those changes have been a disaster dissuade you from your position.

    • Jess says:

      04:06pm | 15/08/12

      Aside from the fact it was illeagal in 2007/8 in fact illeagal until September 27 2011 for the same reason Malaysia is illeagal…

    • eRon says:

      05:01pm | 15/08/12

      Jess, three sick eagles do not an immigration law make.
       
      “In fact”! Politicians make laws. Did you know that?

    • BloodyLanceFlashman says:

      03:23pm | 15/08/12

      Australian youth climate commission you say Sophie?
      Well there is your problem right there.

    • Super D says:

      03:42pm | 15/08/12

      On one hand you say the numbers of refugees we accept are woefully inadequate and then on the other you say we need more pathways to entry.  It sounds like what you are actually advocating is superhighways to entry. 

      Your biggest problem though is that we live in a democracy and you have been massively outvoted.

      As an aside I recently spent time in Malaysia and was fortunate to meet a group of Burmese refugees who were waiting resettlement.  These people were all working with accomodation provided by there employer and all understood that resettlement takes about 3 years.  From what I could determine they weren’t even being exploited by their employer, being paid almost double what a domestic earns.

    • NotWhatTheyWant says:

      03:47pm | 15/08/12

      “history of mental health issues resulting from detaining people offshore including suicide attempts, hunger and water strikes, lip-sewing, riots, protests, fires and breakouts”

      They have the same problems in onshore processing facilities. The reality is, you give these people anything other than -a warm hug and a pot of coffee on arrival while setting them up in their own house and welcoming them as full Australian citizens who are then able to bring their entire extended family over with them-... and you will get mental trauma, suicide attempts and hunger strikes.

      Just because a 12 year old decides to throw a tantrum, doesn’t mean you give in because of the “mental anguish” you might be causing them by daring to say “NO, you can’t have what you want”.

    • I hate pies says:

      03:57pm | 15/08/12

      What does the Australian youth climate commission do? We already know what the climate’s like in Australia; we live it every day. Not sure what they’ve got to do with illegal immigrants either

    • Who's that girl? says:

      04:01pm | 15/08/12

      For some reason Sophie doesn’t have a bio on the punch.

    • P. Walker says:

      06:47am | 16/08/12

      She’s a blow-in bleeding heart obviously.

    • Yasemin says:

      04:10pm | 15/08/12

      Give her a break will you, what’s wrong with you people? On 25th April 1915 Australia landed 16 000 men on the shores of Gallipoli. 16 thousand men in 1 day almost 100 years ago invaded a Muslim foreign land which has now become the most important moment of our nation & let’s not forget ANZAC’s arrived on boats! The 1st settlers to America, Canada arrived on boat too… just like the 1st settlers in Australia. I am disgusted with the politics played on human lives & I will raise a banner during 2013 ANZAC Day commemorations in Gallipoli Turkey when the Last Post is being played, “Go back to where you came from” it will read.

    • eRon says:

      04:40pm | 15/08/12

      Yasemin, do you know the meaning of the word, context?

    • Az says:

      04:52pm | 15/08/12

      Eh ?

    • Brad from ops says:

      05:02pm | 15/08/12

      is that you SH-Y ????

    • Sad Sad Reality says:

      05:50pm | 15/08/12

      Difference is Yasemin, the Aussies had paperwork and didn’t demand free wifi.

    • I hate pies says:

      06:34pm | 15/08/12

      So it’s ok to take a country if you walk?...just like the Aborigines did?

    • Esteban says:

      06:35pm | 15/08/12

      Yasemin. I hope you are not advocating we machine gun assylum seekers that arrive by boat.

      By the way , what is our revisionist history of the Ottermans these days? Goodies or badies?

    • Yasemin says:

      02:31am | 16/08/12

      Year 1915, in a single day (25th April) 16000 ANZAC soldiers landing on foreign land with boats & intent to destroy & kill, fast forward 97 years, 10 thousand plus (woman, children, men) from war & conflict regions risking their lives to reach Australia in an entire year. Now I better look up the meaning of context, but can I put or fit any human life into context? eRon I think I’ve just put you into context too smile I hope you don’t think “larger than life” is an attribute gifted only to Australian’s by God. I’m puzzled though to why & how you think the Prime Ministers (be it Gillard or Howard) annual wage influences the assylum policy? If we lowered the 450 K, would that help you think? You are a genius, why couldn’t all those people & Liberal’s think about this. Pay the PM peanuts to stop the boats. I’m nominating you for Australian of the year.

    • Jay-Zed says:

      04:39pm | 15/08/12

      Calling implementing an expert panel’s recommendations a ‘backflip’ is why we have no mature political discourse in this country. Shame, Sophie shame.

    • stephen says:

      04:54pm | 15/08/12

      Nauru is the answer, but one recommendation that shouldn’t see the light of day is the setting up of refugee intake centres for this country in East Asia, because there is no way an ex-gun-toting tribesman or woman or a relative of such is going to be refused a permit to straddle the coathanger, and left to hang around koala lumpar the rest of their days playing a plastic oboe on street corners for an income.
      They go to the tents, we take all precautions for their safety and comfort and expedite their applications.

      And no more stuffups, Julia.

    • Heather says:

      05:01pm | 15/08/12

      New Zealand!  Give me a break!  New Zealand’s annual refugee quota
      is a measly 750 people and they have never had an asylum boat reach
      their shores.  They nearly passed out at the prospect of ten Chinese
      asylum seekers wanting to go there recently (they were stopped in Darwin).
      They were told by PM John Keys not to bother, they were not welcome!
      NZ can afford to be complacent - they are protected by a huge land mass
      i.e. Australia.  Personally, I welcome offshore processing and I would
      throw temporary protection visas into the mix as well.

    • the duke says:

      05:06pm | 15/08/12

      I may be wrong - but something tells me if you did indeed try this stunt you’d be leaving in an ambulance—I have no idea what bullshit point you are trying to make but seriously you need some help

    • Lyla says:

      05:14pm | 15/08/12

      It’s Michael L’Estrange, not L’Strange.

    • Tony says:

      08:23pm | 15/08/12

      Surely you don’t expect Ms Trevitt to be able to spell the names of the people she is criticising. It sounds like you are one of those hard-hearted elitists who discriminate against people who are speaking nonsense.

    • Lyla says:

      05:18pm | 15/08/12

      LOL. And Nauru, not Naura.

      Yes, I’m bored.

    • Leigh says:

      05:43pm | 15/08/12

      Piffle. Psychologists have no responsibility for the running of nor the protection of Australia or Australian society. The mental health of people who haven’t been invited here is no concern of Australians. We don’t have any responsibility for boats that don’t make it here, either.

      There are a few things still wrong with the legislation meant to keep illegals out of Australia:
      1. No outright ban on illegals ever receiving visas.
      2. No sending back of boats.
      3. No return to TPV’s.
      In the longer term, Australia should drop the Refugee Convention altogther, and take no so-called refugees at all. The whole business is still a con-job on a par with AGW.

    • Loxy says:

      06:21pm | 15/08/12

      “Australia from 2010 – 2011 took just 0.6 per cent of the world’s refugees”.  What a blatant attempt to distort statistics. The truth is Australians represent only 0.3 % of the world’s total population so that would suggest we are doing more than our fair share.

      The constant one-side, bleeding heart stories on this issue is beyond boring.

    • Ok, let's do some work says:

      06:23pm | 15/08/12

      Yawn.

      Once again we see the only people who really care about this issue are those on the far right and those on the far left. The rest of us have figured out this is a non-issue at best, and a dog whistle for the racists or whale lovers (depending on the particular message) at worst.

      While I would be loathe to impugn the collective intelligence of posters who “really care” about this issue, might I suggest they all give it a rest?

      Perhaps we can now concentrate on things that actually matter to this country instead of pandering to the extremists at both ends of the political spectrum?

      Then again, I suppose that wouldn’t make for many page hits. Oh well ...

    • Brian Taylor says:

      06:24pm | 15/08/12

      many of whom suffered mental trauma due to the conditions they were kept in….simple way to fix that little problem…STAY HOME then no blame on Aust for your poor wee mental problems.
      It ready piss’s me off when they and all the soft hearted wankers who cry bunket loads for them blame Aust for everything.
      whay is better? staying somehwere safe and sound being given everything they could wish for (except a home and new car to live in Aust) or living in your own damn country???
      not real hard to sort that one out is it?

    • The Razor says:

      07:09pm | 15/08/12

      The good news today is that Labor & Gillard have been humiliated, and the Greens shown to be irrelevant ! .... The bad news is that Australians have paid a big price for these Labor / Green morons holding out for so long. Queue jumpers living in tents, so what, there are poor Australians living in tents now without the fringe benefits the queue jumpers get. It’s about time we had a government who grew up and started putting Australians first, and told the useless U.N to go jump !

    • Brad says:

      07:51pm | 15/08/12

      The fact is that for each asylum seeker we process we could support 11 people in their own country- food, clean water and free education. There’s an opportunity cost worth crying about. Go look up garbage children in the philippines…

    • P. Walker says:

      06:51am | 16/08/12

      Yes Brad, I’d rather look after the Filipinos.  At least they aren’t flooding our shores with the squalor many of those live in.

    • Michael R says:

      10:29pm | 15/08/12

      Yep, unprecedented like her carbon tax backflip. Gillard has no principles apart from hanging on to power.

    • Johnno says:

      11:30pm | 15/08/12

      Let’s see - new public housing, income support, health concession card, a transport concession card. Have I forgotten anything we pop in the show bag for the illegals?

    • Sam says:

      11:59pm | 15/08/12

      But why dont we want them here again?  Someone will have to remind me. Don’t asytlum seekers, generally, become good citizens and help build the fabric of our country?  If we want a perpetual growth system, we have to perpetually grow, as a population right?  Our birth rate is taking us backwards so we have to let in immigrants, and we do, by the truck load.  Why are we so staunch against these ones?  Are we ambarrassed?  It’s well established there is no ‘queue’ and it is legal to claim asylum.  We have heaps of space, lots of opportunity ; heck our country is built on the notion of people being able to come here to find a better life.  What has changed?  Hey, im not waving a rainbow coloured flag while tree hugging over here, far from it, but why oh why are we so scared of desparate people in boats that we wont even let them touch our shores to ask if they are welcome?

    • morrgo says:

      09:17am | 16/08/12

      There is no rule that asylum seekers work out for the host country.

      Malcolm Fraser is justifiably pointing to his decision to accept Vietnamese asylum seekers who did become an asset to Australia.  He never talks about his other decision, though, to unquestionably accept everyone from civil-war-torn Lebanon.

    • Michael S says:

      03:59pm | 16/08/12

      Why don’t we want these people?
      For our next exhibit, we have the Pirates of Parsival.

    • Robinoz says:

      07:53am | 16/08/12

      Few Australians would deny genuine refugees a place in our great country. What we don’t like is to be taken for fools by people who fly to Indonesia, a country that shares their culture and totalitarian Islamic regime, destroy their papers and then after getting on a boat claim that it’s sinking to get a free ride from the Australian Navy. These people are NOT refugees once they land in Indonesia, but our government still allows them to claim asylum. Worse, a large percentage is Muslim which is not in Australia’s best interests as evidenced by the social disruption that follows for every other civilised, Western country that has taken large numbers of Muslim immigrants. It’s a good thing that the Labor Government has recognised that they made a mistake and perhaps it leads us to a new political model whereby experts in areas of public administration provide options for politicians to help them make good decisions.

    • Margie says:

      10:43am | 16/08/12

      So very true Robinoz.  These people are country shoppers.  If we withdrew the money they are given, health care card, make them work like the Italians and Greeks before them, then it may work.  WE ARE A HONEY POT.  WE NEED TO GET TOUGH ON THESE PEOPLE.  Most of them are not refugees anyway, they throw away their identification and tell lies, then riot, burn & slash if they don’t get what they want.Australia takes the most refugees per capita of any country in the world.  We cannot economically afford all this largesse, especially when it comes at the expense of our very poor, homeless and mentally ill.  WE DO NOT HAVE BOUNDLESS PLAIN S TO SHARE.  MUCH OF IT IS DESERT!!!!! We are the dries continent in the world.

    • Margie says:

      10:43am | 16/08/12

      So very true Robinoz.  These people are country shoppers.  If we withdrew the money they are given, health care card, make them work like the Italians and Greeks before them, then it may work.  WE ARE A HONEY POT.  WE NEED TO GET TOUGH ON THESE PEOPLE.  Most of them are not refugees anyway, they throw away their identification and tell lies, then riot, burn & slash if they don’t get what they want.Australia takes the most refugees per capita of any country in the world.  We cannot economically afford all this largesse, especially when it comes at the expense of our very poor, homeless and mentally ill.  WE DO NOT HAVE BOUNDLESS PLAIN S TO SHARE.  MUCH OF IT IS DESERT!!!!! We are the dries continent in the world.

    • cynic says:

      10:29am | 16/08/12

      Am quite happy to cop the greens model asylum sekers with ONE condition. They all go to tasmania and stay there. Bob Brown can put them up and pay for their accomodation, meals, education, health care and show them how to weave baskets.We then secede from tasmania as a country, recognise bob land and king bob! He loves them he gets them.

    • Daniel says:

      11:29am | 16/08/12

      Yes Australia has become the refugee honey pot. Stop these welfare payments, and other benefits then no one would come here.
      Iam in Srilanka at present . We have become a laughing stock to them. People who call them refugees are economic migrants not political asylum seekers.
      We are been taken for a ride . Spend our tax money on old people, mentally health patients and do something to improve the conditions of the Australians and not these bogus refugees.
      Please leave the UN. Its making things worse around the world.
      Daniel

    • RonaldR says:

      02:41pm | 16/08/12

      eRon is in here every day for his local liberal party branch -pity he was not smart enough to know on major policy   both Liberal & Labor both have the same foreign Globalist advisors on major policy and has been this way since Hawke /. keating   when they were given the task of carrying out changes Frazer / Howard did not have the guts to do would like to think Frazer did not carry them out as they were bad for Australia. This boat people daily Beat up is just a smoke screen to stop the media needing to report on areas the government wants kept quiet like the true state of our economy and how Australia is being milked and drained of its wealth , What has happened in Greece & Spain is going to happen here our Banks are going to need bailing out when their Derivative Bubble bursts as the Australian Banks have over $18Trillion exposure they should be called casinos not Banks and our Government don’t have the money for the bail out that’s why Gillard is giving millions to the IMF with Abbott’s blessing as they hope the IMF will bail us out when we have complete crash of our economy and then Australia will loose what little Sovereignty we have left. Australia is only receiving a small benefit from our resources which is made worse as we have been designated just to be a world Quarry by the globalist and to import all our needs from other countries - our farming & manufacturing is being closed down.  and there has been no real development in Australian since the snowy mountain scheme and the Politicians are getting ready to privatise that

    • Yasemin says:

      03:13am | 17/08/12

      eRon thinks the PM’s annual wage is one of the causes for the boats smile  He should be among the 1st colony we put on the spaceship when signs of life is found on Mars.He shall serve us proud there & deter alliens from ever setting foot.

    • RonaldR says:

      02:41pm | 16/08/12

      eRon is in here every day for his local liberal party branch -pity he was not smart enough to know on major policy   both Liberal & Labor both have the same foreign Globalist advisors on major policy and has been this way since Hawke /. keating   when they were given the task of carrying out changes Frazer / Howard did not have the guts to do would like to think Frazer did not carry them out as they were bad for Australia. This boat people daily Beat up is just a smoke screen to stop the media needing to report on areas the government wants kept quiet like the true state of our economy and how Australia is being milked and drained of its wealth , What has happened in Greece & Spain is going to happen here our Banks are going to need bailing out when their Derivative Bubble bursts as the Australian Banks have over $18Trillion exposure they should be called casinos not Banks and our Government don’t have the money for the bail out that’s why Gillard is giving millions to the IMF with Abbott’s blessing as they hope the IMF will bail us out when we have complete crash of our economy and then Australia will loose what little Sovereignty we have left. Australia is only receiving a small benefit from our resources which is made worse as we have been designated just to be a world Quarry by the globalist and to import all our needs from other countries - our farming & manufacturing is being closed down.  and there has been no real development in Australian since the snowy mountain scheme and the Politicians are getting ready to privatise that

    • eRon says:

      02:46pm | 18/08/12

      Ronald, I’m no Liberal, and I’m no fan of globalisation,either.
      Instead of immersing that tin hat logic of yours in vast conspiracy theories, it might do you well to first learn a spot of grammar.

    • eRon says:

      02:48pm | 18/08/12

      Ronald, I’m no Liberal, and I’m no fan of globalisation,either.
      Instead of immersing that tin hat logic of yours in vast conspiracy theories, it might do you (and your other ‘self’ Yasemin) well to first learn a spot of grammar.

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter