Jul 26, 2011

How can we tell if the Malaysian deal works?

It's unclear whether the Malaysian deal will work and it has risks, but it is the least-worst solution currently available form the major parties.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It’s not clear whether the Government’s announcement on 7 May about a deal on asylum seekers had a significant deterrent effect on boat arrivals. What is clear is that there has been a huge fall in the number of arrivals this year, even before 7 May.


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72 thoughts on “How can we tell if the Malaysian deal works?

  1. Michael James

    Bernard, you keep forgetting the key reason that people don’t see asylum seekers arriving by air as a problem.

    1. They don’t arrive by job lot as they do in a boat
    2. Their chosen method of arrival isn’t illegal
    3. Their chosen method does not rely on paying people smugglers to be shipped here in leaky boats with the chance of drowing thrown in
    4. Anyone who gets onto a plane to Australia has had to present proof of identity at several steps of the journey, making it much harder for people with no (or discarded) documentation from arriving here.

    That’s why people arriving by air have less successful track record, because they have already been vetted before they step on a plane.

  2. cpobke

    Would be interested to hear a response from someone on point 4 from Michael. It is often suggested that the absense of papers verifying identity is a core driver in the differences in processing and general level of controversy.

  3. Jimmy

    CPobke – I’m more interested in point 2 which seems to make out that arriving by boat is illegal when it quite obviously isn’t.

  4. Stevo the Working Twistie

    Spot on Jimmy. Unless we have repudiated the UN Convention since I last looked? No? The fact is that arriving by boat is an act of desparation. Arriving by plane and pretending to be a tourist while planning to overstay and work illegally is the real crime.

    And how will we know the “Malaysian Solution” has worked? Simple – when Australia’s reputation as a just and fair country with respect for international law and human rights has been comprehensively trashed. Be proud.

  5. skink

    ‘Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly proven to be one of the most sensible leaders in the Western world.’

    Anders Behring Breivik

  6. ConnorJ

    “4. Anyone who gets onto a plane to Australia has had to present proof of identity at several steps of the journey, making it much harder for people with no (or discarded) documentation from arriving here.”

    That would almost make sense if ASIO hadn’t kept people locked up for years because they couldn’t adequetely prove their identitities.

  7. stephen martin

    Maybe the place of origin of arrivals has a bit to do with attitudes. Air arrivals mostly from Europe and boat arrivals from Asia. Personally I hope that this is not the case.

  8. David Hand

    The pull factors attracting economic migrants has been taken away. Bernard can test this idea through observation if he wants but the rest of us know that fewer people will be willing to part with the equivalent of a first class air ticket for a dangerous ocean crossing that lands you in Malaysia.

    The problem has always been one of border control and identification, not immigration, not refugees and not islam (though I acknowledge the right has a lunatic fringe that espouses those views, they are rejected by most people).

    Border control is not an issue at an airport where each traveller must be positively identified with a passport. Though many people overstay their visas, they are here illegally, have an identity but have limited access to social services. Bernard puzzles, like so many urban left elites, why middle Australia doesn’t care about airport arrivals. Bogan western Sydney residents should in his mind be xenephobic about everyone and the fact that they’re not upsets the narrative.

    An anonymous person with not a skerrick if identification finds Christmas Island attractive because once through that channel, permanent residency is achieved if he or she is found by immigration officials to be a refugee. It used to be a channel with a 95% success rate. Not any more.

  9. GocomSys

    Give the new policy a chance! Keep monitoring it! Modify it if necessary. In the meantime please stop the ongoing moronic media and LNP chatter. It isn’t helpful!

  10. Phen

    The Malaysian Solution is a rare bit of common sense and pragmatism from the Gillard Govt. Now hopefully it has its desired results as a “pull factor”-based solution.

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