In electorates such as that of Opposition spokesperson Sharman Stone, Nationals MPs Kay Hulls and John Forrest, asylum seekers are critical to economic growth. Just as the Californian agricultural sector would collapse if Latinos were not able to penetrate the porous border between the US and Mexico, many fruit- and vegetable-growing businesses in the Riverina of southern New South Wales, along the Murray in Victoria and in the Goulburn Valley around Shepparton, would also struggle to survive if it were not for the availability of an Afghan, Iraqi and now Sri Lankan labour market pool.

As western European economies have found out over the past decade, asylum seekers risking their lives on leaky boats and enduring intolerably harsh conditions in makeshift camps, are a vital ingredient in the supply of labour. The point is, as capital and goods move around the world freely in this era of globalisation, so must labour.