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19 responses to “Brennan’s alternative to Rudd’s realpolitik on asylum seekers”

  1. philip travers

    Isn’t Papua New Guinea further away than Christmas Island!?So in excising the whole coast line the refugees are in more danger than before,and thus also in a relative sense putting Australian personnel at risk.The whole process is a disruptive process that also means real Defence expenditure and real humanity caring expenditure is lossed.[ Given how easy to see the destructive loss in Nauru,one could think,the government incompetence of not seeing this as a possibility,probably also means the same potential exists in some form in PNG.] There is no wisdom in any position or attitude now,and the duck your head approach and hide under Australian laws will continue.I solved a problem at the Barcelona Olympics by suggesting the world’s excess shipping could be used.Simply put there are vast world Navies everywhere,but no diplomatic skills by the present government and other hopefuls to ask for assistance.I cannot understand why,for example we just don’t ask even the Japanese for their whaling fleet to be somehow accommodation for refugees.The Russians for some of their older vessels Canadians,South American,even some Arab countries,Europeans.If this happened and normalcy returned then the option for this shipping is then cheap accommodation for the Nationals from those countries thus helping advance tourism to this region.And lets not forget,that many earthquakes tsunamis volcanic activity still might be install for this region.And the refugee problem,now, could be a very slow audition.

  2. Doug

    Frank’s latest assessment is available at http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=36870.

  3. eilish

    Are we going to stop the planes, too? Or is it just the boats? That figure of 40 000 is the loudest dog whistle I have seen at this site: you should be ashamed of yourself. I’ll be having a few words with Fr. Brennan next time I see him, too. He’s supposed to get more radical as he gets older, not less.

    We have applications for refugee status from people because we have war and persecution, Brian. We have economic migrants because we have huge disparity between living standards. We have a process for assigning refugee status. It doesn’t work perfectly. No justice system does. Let the system do it’s job and stop talking about boat arrivals with the same hysteria we use when discuss pan-epidemics.

    Looking forward to your next post on how the criminal justice is letting crim-dinal types run rampage through our streets, making it unsafe for us law-abidering people.

  4. Katz

    The profile of boats carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australian waters should be familiar to all. These boats have been designated as Type III Perahu. Only these boats are sufficiently capacious to accommodate sufficient paying passengers and sufficiently robust to offer a reasonable possibility of a successful one-way voyage across the Timor Sea.

    The voyage carrying asylum seekers is the last one any of these Perahu will take. Organizers of these voyages must therefore factor the purchase price of the boat into the cost of passage.

    It would be a relatively simple matter for agents of the Australian government to buy available Type III Perahu and to dismantle them in Indonesia. Doubtless, the spending power of the Australian government would trump any viable business plan of people smugglers for a fraction of the cost of detaining and processing those who arrive on SEIVs.

  5. Myriad74

    I am pretty sure Brennan is wrong to suggest we could return people who arrived by boat from Indonesia on the basis it’s a secondary movement to a more favourable destination, because Indonesia is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. Ergo they haven’t reached a place where they can seek asylum.

    For one I’m utterly sick & tired of the relentless focus on deterrence. Look where it has gotten us.

    There is nothing to lose & everything to gain from instigating an immediate increase to our intake from Indonesia & increasing our overall intake. People who work with/ have interviewed refugees in Indonesia relate that they consistently confirm that people wouldn’t risk the boats if they knew there was in effect, a queue from assessment there to get to Australia or other nations. And that’s just it we’ve done nothing to build a regional response & involve our allies as we did post-Vietnam.

    Finally, it is beyond time we uncoupled our intake for refugees we resettle from UNHCR camps from those directly seeking asylum.

  6. jane

    Why can’t we just treat asylum seekers who come by boat the same way as those who arrive by plane? Why is that sooo difficult?

  7. John D

    I seem to recall that there was a sudden stopping of boats when the Malaysian solution was introduced because there was nothing to gain from getting on a boat.
    On the other hand, harsh treatment over the years has had little effect because people appear to be willing to put up with years of harsh treatment on the assumption that they will eventually be allowed to stay in Aus. When Gillard finally gave in and adopted the LNP offshore processing policy there was actually a surge of boats because the belief was that the Aus government would eventually have to let refugees from both Nauru and Manus come to Aus.
    My is that the PNG solution will actually work very quickly with the boats stopping as soon as potential boaters get the message. In theory the smugglers could swamp the system but they have to find mugs who are willing to be part of this plan.
    From the viewpoint of moral pragmatism, the PNG solution will be a better solution if it ends up with an increase in the number of refugees being settled in Aus and the end of the harsh treatment of those who are already in Aus. (Release of those in the concentration camps and treatment of those released into the community in the same as those on permanent resident visas.)

  8. Myriad74

    Brian, I’m not sure where ‘frivolous’ comes into it.

    Brennan himself points out we could only justify returning people to Indonesia if “we co-operated more closely with Indonesia providing basic protection and fair processing for asylum seekers there.”

    So basically he’s arguing for regional processing, because getting basic treatment & orderly assessment in Indonesia are for practical purposes one and the same- they both require better coordination with that country. The point is we can actually immediately increase our intake of refugees assessed in Indonesia, whereas the basis of even Brennan’s deterrence will take longer to negotiate.

    So I reiterate my point. If we stopped obsessing with deterrence we would already be doing the one thing most likely to convince people to wait & not risk the boats.

  9. Graham Bell

    The opportunities to have orderly, humane ways of handling genuine refugees seeking a new home in Australia have long since passed us by.

    The opportunities to do so were squandered thanks to “get-tough” politicians like Howard, to the do-badders who seemed more interested in getting their faces on TV than in helping genuine refugees, to greedy entrepreneurial lawyers, to agent-provocateur shock-jocks, to what used to be called The Blue-Rinse Set, to firms allowed to make fortunes out of keeping the “asylum-seeker” business running forever and, perhaps, even to corrupt government officials.

    What’s left to us are desperate measures to make up for all the responsible, effective choices we avoided making years ago.

    Our moral squeamishness has now come back to bite us – hard!

    Okay. In this age of hysteria over terrorism, I’ll now take the personal risk of having over-enthusiastic government officers come bursting through my windows and doors by suggesting that (wait for it!) …. we send in highly-trained armed groups to snatch (kidnap) people traffickers and bring them to justice. No need to touch the customers/passengers at all.

    Why not? Being overly nice and being “tough(?)” haven’t worked, have they?

  10. John D

    Brian: I don’t necessarily agree with 80% refugees coming from the region. It is easier to deal with a flow of refugees from a variety of sources than a big slug from a particular source. Variety may actually allow us to handle a bigger intake without causing angst in our society.
    This issue is similar to the climate action issue. We need to pressure the government on the bottom line rather than the details. Bigger intake, an end to the concentration camps and a better deal for those living in the community are the bottom lines here.

  11. Graham Bell

    Brian @ 16.
    Great news about a $200K reward for dobbing in (and getting convicted) a people smuggler. How do we launch a public appeal to add to the reward?

    $200K + would enable a family of refugees to buy a “renovators’ special” old house in a small rural town and kick-start their new lives. Dad could join the cricket club, mum could join the CWA, kids could help their school win at sports – the Aussie dream come true.

    Two awkward questions though:
    [1]. Why on earth wasn’t this done five, ten or fifteen years ago???

    [2]. Given our creaky, unjust legal system, infested as it is with entrepreneurial lawyers, together with our appalling “appeals” processes, will anyone actually get any reward money at all before 2037 or 2038?