It is with some alarm that I have seen the national political debate turn towards border protection in recent days. Like the debates that have preceded this one – myth appears to transcend the deep human dimension that is missed in the daily headlines. 

Christmas Island detention centre

There is no doubt that the current policies may need to be reviewed but this does not abdicate our responsibility as a state and nation to look after those who have come from circumstances that we cannot begin to comprehend.

In my community I spent a bit of time getting to know an “asylum seeker” who left Sierra Leone in the hope that he could make a better life for his family.

It was easy to be charmed by his smile and gentle demeanour but it hid a resounding pain. He told me about nights he would spend in his village when soldiers would come – their footsteps feared as if death itself.

They would randomly pick huts and without reason or explanation would execute some in his village to keep so-called “order” for the regime running the country. Every day for his wife and children was uncertain and every day was based on fear. I mean we all have our complaints about life in NSW but, can we truly understand what it would be like to live in these circumstances?

He went through the application process in this country and during the day he worked as a brickie impressing all on site with his strength and commitment to the job. He waited for two years to be processed while his wife and sons remained in Sierra Leone.

During this time many in my community supported him and he often came into my office to proudly share photos that he had just received of his family. It goes without saying that when his application was approved he could hardly contain his joy and many in my community wept when they heard he was reunited with his wife and children.

This state and this country gave this family a chance to escape a horror that no person or no family should endure. It is why I love Australia ... we support democracy, freedom of the individual and the chance to build a life through hard work. So, it is with some sadness that I dwell on Australia being marked as a nation without compassion.

There is sense in Heather Ridout’s call for a bi-partisan approach to this problem as I think it belittles us as a nation to play political football with people’s lives that by their nature have almost nowhere to turn. I acknowledge that some asylum seekers come without justification however I can assure you many come with no alternatives left in life.

My father actually visited every detention centre when he was in federal parliament and I can vividly remember the look on his face when he returned. He said he had never seen such human desperation. We can’t lose sight of this as a nation.

I believe in this state and this country and my hope is that we can celebrate as a nation as we give those a life that, through nothing more than circumstance of birth, has been denied in their homeland.

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46 comments

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    • John A Neve says:

      05:10am | 22/10/09

      Mike,
      Let’s try to put this issue into some type of perspective, Australia cannot absorb all the worlds “asylum seekers”, no country can.

      Every year there will be more “asylum seekers” so this will be an ongoing issue, for which we are partly to blame. Wars create “aylum seekers”, wars like Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Who is propergating these conflicts?

      Mike if you REALLY want to do something about “asylum seekers” go to the cause, don’t piss in my pocket.

    • Wayne H says:

      06:40am | 22/10/09

      You didn’t say, but did he come through the front door or sneak in the back way.
      Funny how his family survived so long without him. Couldn’t be that bad back home. Sorry but I don’t get the warm fuzzy feeling inside. I lived next door to an asylum seeker from the same country abut 4 years ago. My experience was much different to yours and we packed up and moved.
      It is your opinion that our actions belittle us as a nation! Pigs ars* . It is the governments actions that make us look like a soft touch. They will keep coming under this Labor Government cause we have laid out the welcome mat. What more do YOU want. Stick to stuffing up NSW. Leave it to Rudd to stuff Australia.

    • BMJ says:

      07:09am | 22/10/09

      The thing that irks me about this debate is the “queue jumpers”. It’s as if there is a Aussie Consular Office in every war torn part of the world. It just doesn’t make sense.

      Also the process takes years and some of these asylum seekers just can’t wait that long. It’s not like they know they will be in trouble in a few years.

    • Lisa says:

      07:36am | 22/10/09

      This debate always scares me as I realise how redneck so many Australians are.

    • Edward Kruger says:

      07:52am | 22/10/09

      If we include Mike’s description of someone being persecuted within his own country the number of potential asylum seekers would be much much higher than the 42 million refugees currently in the world.
      It would include the entire populations of Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burma, China, North Korea, Iran and so on. It would run into the billions.
      How many should Australia take? If we take 20,000 are we humane or not?
      If we take 2 million a year, would that make us more humane?
      Maybe we should take 20 million a year?
      And that is the problem. Dripping wet people like Mike have no answer to that question.

    • Wayne H says:

      07:53am | 22/10/09

      Yes Lisa, me too, except I worry about how many bleeding heart sheep we have out there who wear their rose colored glasses. I’m proud to be a redneck! At least I care about border security. I care who comes here and how they get here. Don’t like it then leave. Believe it or not YOU are in the minority.

    • Eric says:

      07:54am | 22/10/09

      This debate always worries me, as I realise how ignorant some Australians are.

      If we open the borders to just anyone who fronts up, soon our country will be as bad as the ones people are trying to escape from.

      By the way, Lisa, “redneck” is a racist slur. Please don’t be racist.

    • Jeff from Meroo says:

      07:56am | 22/10/09

      We can’t take everyone and I’m glad to hear that the man in your story made it here, he sounds like a good guy.  I couldn’t help notice however that it took 2 years and he left Western Africa “in the hope that he could make a better life for his family” and not “because he feared for his life or the lives of his family”.  You didn’t mention how he got here either.

      Regardless the question that needs to be asked is how long would he and his family been on that waiting list if there was a continuous stream of cashed up queue jumpers arriving in boats (almost daily) and taking his place?

      I’m all for taking in those in need but that “need” should be determined by individual circumstances and not by who can pay their way into our waters first.

      Your compassionate story should be held up as the shining example as to why this government’s policies are failing those in need.  Thanks for sharing it.

    • Tim says:

      08:10am | 22/10/09

      Lisa,
      people seem to throw around words like redneck, racist or xenophobe when this debate arises. The imbeciles who use these words think it somehow makes their non-existent point valid and wins them the argument.
      I have seen very little in the way of racist attitudes in this debate. Where are the calls for all immigration to be stopped? That would be the logical argument of a xenophobe redneck racist wouldn’t it?
      However, maybe i am wrong. Would you kindly provide me with a direct quote of someone being a redneck on this blog so i can learn.

    • Youngster says:

      08:12am | 22/10/09

      Why do these people not stop and settle in Malaysia or Indonesia where there is relative safety and they can enjoy life in an Islamic country? The answer is because most of them are not humanitarian refugees but economic refugees.

      People smugglers do not risk life and limb to transport these people out of the goodness of their hearts. They are paid for it, and paid handsomely. If you can afford the thousands of dollars it takes to pay a people smuggler to get you to Australia, you do not need asylum as much as the people rotting in squalid refugee camps in Africa.

      As a nation, we should control who comes to our shores and under what conditions, and I would argue that economic refugees from Sri Lanka should not be our first priority.

    • paul says:

      08:24am | 22/10/09

      Eric, you aussies have a strange and uptight breed of political correctness and fear: A white person calling a redneck is politically correct just as a black person calling another black person a N@@ga is politically correct.

    • Darren says:

      08:26am | 22/10/09

      so Baird the younger has decided to speak his mind - some questions for him
      1. why was he so silent during the Howard years - was it because he was too busy lining up for a cushy job in parliament?
      2. why does he remain a member of the political party that is dog whistling the most on this issue

    • Eric says:

      08:34am | 22/10/09

      Paul, why do you assume that Lisa is white? Seems to me you have some stereotyped preconceptions there.

    • Alex says:

      08:35am | 22/10/09

      Tim,
      It appears you like to take the supposed moral high ground on this issue, yet of over the two articles published over the last two days I have seen just as much of a lack of evidence from any argument you have put forward.

      The reality is this is an argument about compassion.  Nothing more nothing less.  And it would appear that the majority of Australians lack the compassion and narrow mindedness to see the real issues here.

      The predominant argument I have read by people that support “border” control relates around illegal asylum seekers, or queue jumpers, which are terms penned by fear monger media and politicians that don’t actually exist in the real world.  And the argument that Australia can’t support all of the world’s asylum seekers.

      The reality is Australia is such an isolated place we are only ever going to get a small minority of refugees or asylum seekers attempting to come to our country.  Look at the numbers of refugees being accepted into European countries compared to the number we have attempting to come to our country each year.  Drastically different.  These countries have opened their doors to the refugees yet there is no flood of people over running their country.

      And the bleeding heart argument is just the same as the redneck argument.  Both have no real substance and are only used by people that can’t fathom to understand the actual issues at hand.

    • Eric says:

      08:49am | 22/10/09

      Alex, you say “the bleeding heart argument is just the same as the redneck argument.  Both have no real substance and are only used by people that can’t fathom to understand the actual issues at hand”.

      Yet you accuse the majority of Australians of being narrow minded and lacking compassion. This is the same sort of namecalling to which you objected, so by your own standards, you “can’t fathom to understand the issues at hand”.

      And it shows.

    • Charles says:

      09:00am | 22/10/09

      The reality is that these are not asylum seekers but are more like illegal immigrants and/or economic migrants.  Australians respect a fair go, and leaving the millions of true (mostly impoverished) refugees rotting in various camps in the world, to allow those who pay large sums of money to try and get here illegally, flies in the face of that principle.

      Even more ludicrous is the ignorance of the media in persisting in describing these people as asylum seekers, while they are also including in the same articles, some very un-asylum seeker like activity they indulge in.  As an example, those who are currently bailed up on the boat in Java, actually flew from Sri Lanka to Malaysia before boarding their boat.  Now, since Sri Lanka has only one airport, how did this group apparently at risk of death or worse by local authorities, manage to get a visa from the aforementioned antagonistic authorities to fly out of the country?  They do not come across as genuine and Mike Baird should see that most people can determine for themselves where the emporer has no clothes in this circumstance.

    • Tim says:

      09:01am | 22/10/09

      Alex,
      can you point me to this supposed lack of evidence. I provided links to websites where applicable and stated my point of view. Do you want a full essay with references on my argument?
      I agree with you that this problem is currently only small, however that is why it makes sense that we should deal with it now before it gets bigger. I also think many Europeans would disagree with your assessment of their refugee problem.
      As the latest group of refugees from Sri Lanka have shown, Australia is not as isolated as you think. Plane travel is now far easier to obtain. If we become lax do you think people smugglers will not take advantage?
      The issue is not compassion but rather rationality. Australia can only take in a certain number of Refugees,  which ones do we want to take and which ones are most in need?

    • Simple says:

      09:14am | 22/10/09

      Simple answer. Cut the annual migrant intake to something sensible, and use 1/3 of it for these poor sods to travel legit.

    • Martin says:

      09:19am | 22/10/09

      Hmmm nice pic of Christmas Island detention centre,looks like a holiday came to me.

    • Robert says:

      09:19am | 22/10/09

      This guy should be Premier.

    • Alex says:

      09:31am | 22/10/09

      Tim,

      The only websites I have seen you link to the is UN website which outlines which counties have signed up to the… can’t remember the name of the treaty… Of which I could find no evidence to support your argument.  Drawing a straight line from Sri Lanka to Australia you don’t hit another country let alone a country on that has signed the UN treaty.  If I have missed other evidence you have, then please provide it again, I don’t think you can cause there is none.  This is not an argument of evidence.

      Charles,

      I disagree, the comments I have made are based purely on the reaction of the majority of Australians.  I fully understand the issues at hand.  But fail to see the problem that Australians have…  How about you use your brilliance to enlighten me to why these people should not be in our country without using the cliché “illegal asylum seeker” or “Queue jumper”

      There is no illegal asylum seekers, you are either seeking asylum or you aren’t.  The funny thing is, I have heard no one deny that these people aren’t genuine asylum seekers.  Even the government.  And under the conditions of assessment , is does not matter how one comes to seek asylum, it is purely dependent on them being legitimate, which most are.

      So how is “Send them back home” not a response lacking in compassion?

    • Carl Palmer says:

      09:32am | 22/10/09

      I do not accept your view that “Australia being marked as a nation without compassion.” Using your Sierra Leone example, as I understand it, back in 2002 “Australia provided A$100,000 to the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone to investigate crimes against humanity and A$21,227,900 to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). UNAMSIL was the largest and one of the most successful UN peacekeeping operations.” Federal Government Release Media FA82 / 24 May 2002.

      I have a doctor friend who is a member of the Army Reserves and who was immediately airlifted to Ache when the Tsunami hit back in 2004. Oh and while you check this out, have a look at Australia’s aid contribution - it represented 12% of total aid and was the largest of ANY country – including the US. We well and truly pull our weight.

      As I have previously stated – there is one way into this country and there is one way out and I have no time for “queue jumpers”. There is misery, pain and suffering all over the world and as an Australian we have an obligation to assist wherever and however we can. And we DO!

      Oh and the comment re refugees in Europe, if they could do something about it they would but they CAN’T!

    • thatmosis says:

      09:40am | 22/10/09

      These people pay $15,000 to be smuggled into Australia so as far as Im concerned if they are caught they should be sent back to where they came from. If they scuttle their boats let them swim back. This farce has gone on long enough, we are becoming a laughing stock as the bleeding hearts will allow anybody into this country. Send them all home.

    • AM says:

      09:40am | 22/10/09

      Mike thank you for a more measured response on this issue. I would add that I strongly believe that this whole debate is being driven by the Australian newspaper and the rest of the Rupert Media. They are not on good terms with the government and have decided to now play (I would say overplay) the asylum seekers debate in an attempt to wedge them because the opposition is floundering. Today is a classic, with the headline screaming ‘Sabotaged’ boat unfit to sail (when there is no evidence in the article that the boat was actually “sabotaged.” (Having sabotaged in quotation marks is the only proof that this story is being made up.)  Also Wilson Tuckey’s comment also renders a gurnsey with his “Terrorists Could Be On Boats”. This is blatant xenophobic ranting designed to demonise the asylum seekers again and reiginite a Tampa style debate. Last week the Australian had maps with arrows showing invasion-like movements of boat people. The fact that most are coming from Sri Lanka and are mostly Hindu Tamils, should actually prove that this has nothing to do with government policy but rather a new wave of refugees from one or two source countries. If it was government policy we would have seen an upsurge from other countries as well not just Sri Lanka (and war affected Afghanistan). Where are the thousands of boat people from other nations? The whole debate is an oxymoron as it is trying to demonise desparate people, by accusing them of jumping non-existent queues where they walk in and take a number and wait to be served.  It is a debate that belittles our moral judgement and human nature to assist people in need, based solely on the geography of an individual’s birthplace.

    • mid says:

      10:05am | 22/10/09

      Just out of interest, does anyone know what the total percentage of illegal immigrants is made up of boat people? We throw around terms like ‘queue jumpers’ etc whilst thinking solely of those poor sods who have to get into a leaky death trap of a boat and make the journey the hard way. Whilst we’re getting all uppity about ‘queue jumpers’, lets look at the bigger issue, what about the ones who get here via Qantas economy seats? (Or is it the fact that we can’t really portray European visa overstayers as the “enemy at the gates” the main driver for this whole circus?)

    • Tim says:

      10:20am | 22/10/09

      Alex, links where appropriate.
      Why are you drawing a straight line from Sri Lanka to Australia?
      I said there were signatory countries closer than us. Note: I was also talking about Afghan and Iraqi refugees.
      http://www.unhcr.org/4848f6072.html
      I said it was against international law to deport anyone back to a country in which they would be persecuted, whether you are a signatory to the refugee convention or not. The concept of non-refoulment.
      http://www.unhcr.org/4848f6072.html.
      I said people who come for a “better life” or “stable future” would not be classifieds as refugees under the convention.
      Same Link
      I said that you can apply for protection from outside of Australia according to the human rights commission.
      http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/immigration/asylum_seekers.html.
      I said that in my view Australia can only accept a certain amount of refugees determined by the government. Note: i am not against raising this number .
      Reference: My Opinion.
      I said that we should accept the people who are most at risk of being persecuted.
      Reference: My Opinion.
      I said that flying out of your country and passing through many other countries without being persecuted would probably place you out of the most at-risk category.
      Reference: My Opinion.
      Sorry for voicing my thought out opinion, Enjoy your day. Out.

    • Elizabeth Beerworth says:

      10:30am | 22/10/09

      I may have missed something - didn’t our ancestors “convicts” come by boat to these shore - taking over a country already held by others for many years, and were not many of the original owner of this land shot on our arrival?
      We carry this with forever in our history, and all of the above makes us more compassionate and concerned for other in such difficult circumstances.

      I believe we are all as one, and we should certainly look after others, particularly in such dire circumstances. Bring on compassion -  and live in harmony.

    • Super D says:

      10:40am | 22/10/09

      What really belittles us as a nation is not our allegedly inhumane response but rather our weasel of a Prime Minister outsourcing the dirty work he wants done to Indonesia.  His need to be Mr Global Good Guy weakens our nation.  We have to suck up to despots and dictators to get him a seat on the security council.  Why have we not addressed the Sri Lankan governments poor treatment of these Tamils?

      How can we now criticise Indonesia when if we do they will simply relax the border patrols we pay them to make?  I would not want to be an Aussie facing the death penalty in Indonesia.

      Rudd sacrifices our sovereignty for his career.  Its an absolute disgrace.

    • Voter says:

      10:44am | 22/10/09

      @Robert: if only the Libs would dump Fatty for Mike.  We’d have someone to vote for, rather than just someone to vote against.

    • N says:

      10:52am | 22/10/09

      This problem needs to be fixed at the source, not the destination. How can you advocate that people from war torn countries that can afford to pay people smugglers get precedence over there fellow countrymen who don’t have the cash?
      I find it entertaining that those who promote the influx of illegal immigrants are actually promoting the people smuggling trade and elitism, both of which would traditionally fly in the face of there socialist morals and agenda.

    • darren says:

      11:38am | 22/10/09

      Hi N - good point - it was Baird the Younger’s Party that took us into an illegal was in Iran, an impossible war in Afghanistan and generally supported the USA in anything it wanted - now he wants to show his alleged ‘christian’ principles -

    • Neville says:

      12:29pm | 22/10/09

      Someone has got to do the dirty work.  2½ billion on this planet in 1950, now we are knocking on 7 Billion.  If we continue to take cowards who do not stand up to tyranny in their own country, we will end up with slums like the overpopulated countries of this world.  They have to reduce their population not shift it onto another country.

    • BMJ says:

      01:53pm | 22/10/09

      Let us know when you come out of your 1950’s mentality Neville.

    • Eric says:

      02:09pm | 22/10/09

      Elizabeth: “I may have missed something - didn’t our ancestors “convicts” come by boat to these shore - taking over a country already held by others for many years, and were not many of the original owner of this land shot on our arrival?”

      Eactly. And that is just one example of what happens when immigration is uncontrolled.

      We should learn from the unfortunate experience of the Aborigines, and shun the foolish open border policies that would lead us to the same fate.

    • Razor says:

      02:55pm | 22/10/09

      Time to withdraw from the UN Refugee Convention.

      And if you are a Sri Lankan Tamil - the war is over.  Your murderous marxist terrorists have been militarily defeated.  Time to work within the peaceful politicial processes of your nation to make it a better place.  Reap what you sow.

    • Ricky says:

      03:05pm | 22/10/09

      Whats scary is how much these ‘assylum seekers’ (& other immigrants) cost the Australian taxpayers by claiming welfare when our own elderly are barely surviving & our hospitals are a discrace.Many of them arent interested in integrating with our society & are only here for the economic benefits.Neville, you are spot on.

    • JD says:

      04:01pm | 22/10/09

      Golly gosh. Where to begin.

      So many distortions of truth and fabrications.

      Australia can only support a limited number of refugees. Fact.

      Also a fact, we take in far less per capita than a significant portion of most other countries that are signatories to the UN treaty. No one is advocating open border policies. I haven’t heard anyone in favour of doing so. All applications for asylum should and will continue to be investigated.

      So why then, do they need to be housed in a maximum security prison on some island a million miles from everything? It’s political show boating. This is not about border patrol, this is not about illegal immigrants, nor is it about queue jumping.

      Lets face it. We’re in much more danger of Englishman collecting donations for the Red Cross after over staying their visa than we are being over run by the measly few thousand asylum seekers that arrive on our shores each year. These visa over stayers are the true “illegals”. The fear that a “soft” border protection policy will open the “flood gates” to a never ending stream of boat people is naive and unfounded. It’s about as substantiated as to claim that if I take the antenna that protects me from aliens off of my car, they’ll come and abduct me day after day.

      Admittedly I don’t understand a lot of the logic being thrown around here. Those fleeing camps by any means necessary are qeue jumpers and should be sent back, where if it turns out they are legitamate asylum seekers, we will bring them back here.? WTF? If they’re legitamate asylum seekers, why are we sending them back when we know they’re legitamate?

      Then there’s my other favourite. We shouldn’t let them in because they’re economic migrants here for our welfare, otherwise they wouldn’t have had the money available to buy their way here. Whoa, hang on a minute. They’re too RICH to be asylum seekers, but they’re so poor they WANT OUR WELFARE? Again. Wtf?

      And of course, the old time favorite, they should come through the correct channels. You know I was going to go on a holiday last year. I went in to flight centre, they had a bunch of flights for a few hundred bucks, and the leaky unseaworthy boat trip for $15000 where I could be mistreated, malnourished and at the whim of criminals the entire long horrible trip. Of course I paid the extra for the upgrade to the death boat. Wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense as an upgrade? NO SHIT SHERLOCK! If you had the option, you wouldn’t get on the boat either, so what makes you think they DO?

      The total lack of common sense is why the tag xenophobe is being thrown around so much. As stated by someone else on another article, Xenophobia is an irrational and unfounded fear of foreigners. Much like your unfounded and illogical fear that there are several billion asylum seekers floating on the high sea just waiting to rush forth onto our shores the moment we declare our brand new bleeding heart open border policy.

    • Fred Scuttle says:

      04:55pm | 22/10/09

      Blinded by the sensationalist media, all of you.  Alan Jones and Ray
      Hadlee use you as pawns to increase their ratings.

      These boat people represent only 4% of the illiegals that arrive in this country - the other 96% arrive by plane.  Do they get shipped off to Christmas Island - oh no they don’t.  If you looked at the stats and compared them to what the news media is telling us you’d realise the boat people are only a small percentage of the illegals that arrive here.  It’s just that the boat people are more visible.

      While I support taking our fair share of true refugees like Mike’s friend from SL - he certainly wouldn’t be an economic refugee from that corner of the world - (and I know a lot more of what happened in SL than I’m telling) I don’t support taking Tamils - they started the bloody war and they lost.  They killed God knows how many Sri Lankans including at least one president and they have their own state in India.  Why don’t they go to Tamil Nadu?

      Having said that there has to be a balance between regulation and humanity but while ever the media are hiding the truth from us and the pollies lack spine and bipartisanship that will never happen.

    • Jeff from Meroo says:

      06:30pm | 22/10/09

      @JD

      You’re asking questions and I’m happy to answer them for you.

      “we take in far less per capita than a significant portion of most other countries” this may be true but it is not the discussion here.  If you think we should raise the number of people we accept into this country that is a different discussion.

      “why then, do they need to be housed in a maximum security prison on some island a million miles from everything”.  Because for all we know these people are the worst of the worst terrorists.  They’ve got no paperwork and as we’ve seen in the past they’re not afraid to kill 5 people or sink a boat with people on it to get what they want.

      “If they’re legitamate asylum seekers, why are we sending them back when we know they’re legitamate?”  Because there are (hundreds of?) thousands of people that are also legitimate asylum seekers and are waiting their turn to get here.  YES IT IS ABOUT QUEUE JUMPERS.

      “They’re too RICH to be asylum seekers, but they’re so poor they WANT OUR WELFARE? Again. Wtf?”  YES!  They have a job, they have money, they have the means but the fact is 98% of them end up on the dole.

      “f you had the option, you wouldn’t get on the boat either, so what makes you think they DO?”  Because THEY’RE QUEUE JUMPERS!  They have the option (the money) and they know that they can wait for 2 years (using the example in this piece) or they can be here in 2 weeks and a perm res in 2 months after that.

      “The total lack of common sense is why the tag xenophobe is being thrown around so much.”  I didn’t think your comments were xenophobic but they certainly show a total lack of common sense.

    • Karen says:

      08:00pm | 22/10/09

      Mike - you rock - I am saddened by Aussie attitudes - sad that the spin seems to be have gotten so many confused. Australia has plenty of capacity to accept people into this country. Why such fear - why not investigate & perhaps discover that this really is media hype / redneck carry on - that these people who risk their lives (and those who stay behind) really do deserve our help and kindness. Aussies where is the compassion - where is the care for fellow man - how about you swap with a refugee - or even think about swapping - what feelings now? Get real show some heart and give a bloke a go. Shame Aussies Shame. Why not take a leap of faith and support increasing the number of refugees allowed into Australia and think of the opportunities for you and your families.

    • Matt Jones says:

      05:31am | 23/10/09

      Mike,

      I’m not traditionally a ‘Liberal’ supporter, however I wholeheartedly support and endorse the comments made in your blog.

      Congratulations, one can only hope that more on ‘your side’ of politics (particularly Federally)  come around to a more humane and realistic position on asylum seekers.

      Regards
      Matt

    • paul says:

      08:22am | 23/10/09

      Eric you need to work out the difference between invasion and the very legal process of seeking asylum. (It helps to be armed)

      We are not being invaded and if we are it is by plane-based foreigners not by the scary boat ones.

      I think you are being a simplistic redneck mate…

    • Anna Duncan says:

      10:20am | 23/10/09

      Thank you, Mike Baird, for your sensible, humane words. We really do need a bi-partisan approach to this problem. It is time to stop all the scare-mongering.

    • Fergus says:

      02:36pm | 23/10/09

      Eric, this is no invasion by a peoples seeking to colonise.

      This is a controlled welcoming of people who need it. People in dire need of a new life after escaping their unimaginably terrible previous one.

      They go through quarantine, they get background checks.

      There’s no danger to your precious “Aussie way of life”.

      Their presence will enrich our culture in so many ways.

      And the sooner people like you realise multiculturalism and acceptance of all races as equal, the sooner people will stop thinking you’re an ignorant fool.

      Warm regards,
      Fergus

      (P.S. I look forward to you stopping your laughable posts. You’re only embarassing yourself.)

    • paulh says:

      03:19pm | 23/10/09

      these asylum seekers,tear up their paperwork and illegaly pay to come here by boat.We already allow in more people than most through the correct channels,this bunch should go through the correct channels.A migrant from the uk has to prove he can financially support himself and his family,these ilegal immigrants get benefits and often a house. Rudd iscopying everything labor uk has done and look at the mess they are in.

    • Peter of Adelaide says:

      09:42pm | 23/10/09

      I have read most of the posts here and some have made good points, and some have mad bad points.

      We turn away people because they are an unknown, all could be seeking asylum for whatever reason, or as Wilson Tucky inferred there *might* be a terrorist among them, we just dont know for sure.  We charge the government to protect its citizens, that would be us, from harm, and to do that the government has to be fairly sure that the people who emigrate here are good and decent people.

      Could we house those that come by boat?  Yes, easily, at least for now.  But what of the future?  As was pointed out above the world population is increasing, and at some point resources just wont be there to support, we in Australia have it good, we do make more enough to feed our population, which is why we can export so much.

      I have seen in the media that at any given time there is the equivalent of the Australian population, some 22 million people that can claim refugee status of some type or another.  How do you decide who is a good and decent person?  Our system is not perfect, but it is what we have for now, if you dont like it petition the government to change it to something fairer.  We at least still have that freedom.

 

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