Many people agree that a regional response on asylum seekers is essential. The problem is how to get there.

The model of a regional response was successfully developed during the Indochina outflow in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Without it our region could never have managed.  There would have been widespread panic if tens of thousands of boat people had landed on our northern shores. That precedent, however, needs examining carefully. It took many years.