Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter



Sep 13, 2012

No advantage? Nobody knows what that means

It's the cornerstone of the expert panel report and Australia's new asylum seeker policy, but the government still hasn't decided what a "no advantage" principle means.


It’s the cornerstone of the expert panel report and Australia’s new asylum seeker policy, but the government still hasn’t decided what a “no advantage” principle means.

The report that inspired Labor’s policy — authored by Angus Houston, Michael L’Estrange and Paris Aristotle — explains: “Asylum seekers gain no benefit by choosing not to seek protection through established mechanisms.” Or in other words, asylum seekers who come by boat will have to wait just as long in Nauru or Manus Island as they would if they’d stayed in Malaysia, Indonesia or wherever.

But there’s still been no official explanation of what it means in practise, although the government has signed deals for asylum seekers to be sent to Papua New Guinea and Nauru and it’s been a month since the Houston report recommendations were passed into legislation.

Will “no advantage” mean waiting months or years? Will all refugees have to wait the same amount of time? On what basis is a waiting time decided? Does the waiting time begin from when the asylum seeker gets off the boat or from when their refugee claims have been approved?

“It’s not simply an issue of length of time as some commentators have referred to it as,” Aristotle told Crikey. “It’s more complex than that.

“What would be envisaged is that the way in which UNHCR processes now and makes determination of who is in need of resettlement and then makes the determination of who in that group is prioritised for those resettlement places, that’s the exact same operational principles that would apply in this context. That’s why you can’t simply rely on a mathematical formula about length of time only.”

Meaning a young single mother with three children who have experienced torture would be placed quicker than a young single man who was healthy.

However, the UNHCR won’t be involved in processing asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island, meaning it’s Australian officials who are attempting to use UNHCR principles. “I fully accept that’s a complicating factor,” said Aristotle. “It’s not an exact science and it’s not a test and it’s a principle that should be applied.”

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen called it a “complex process” and said the details were still being finalised.

“Data around the processing and resettlement times for a range of cohorts in various circumstances is being gathered from a number of places, including from the UNHCR, Immigration and Australian diplomatic posts across the world,” they told Crikey.

The UNHCR confirmed it had been in discussions with government and the Department of Immigration on a number of issues in the Houston report, including the “no advantage” principle, but would give no further details on the type of data the government wants. “I can’t discuss those discussions in terms of any information we may or may not have provided,” a spokesperson said. Instead, they pointed to a letter by UNCHR president Antonio Guterres sent to Bowen last week and tabled in parliament on Monday on the UNHCR’s formal advice on Nauru being a processing country.

Regarding the “no advantage” principle, it reads:

“The practical implication of this are not fully clear to us. The time it takes for resettlement referrals by UNHCR in South-East Asia or elsewhere may not be a suitable comparator for the period that a Convention State whose protection obligations should use. Moreover it will be difficult to identify such a period with any accuracy, given that there is no ‘average’ time for resettlement … Finally, the ‘no advantage’ test appears to be based on the longer term aspiration that there are, in fact, effective ‘regional processing arrangements’ in place.”

Aristotle agrees that the regional plan hasn’t been fully developed yet but adds: “The worse thing you could do is to wait for the environment to be ideal.”

Forty to 50 male asylum seekers will be flown to Nauru this week, although Bowen’s spokesperson told Crikey: “The government will make further announcements on the ‘no advantage’ test in due course”. When Crikey pressed for further clarification of “due course”, the spokesman replied: “This is a complex area with legal intricacies and it is important we get it right. As such more detail will be released when appropriate, and I don’t intend to provide arbitrary timelines, sorry.”

The “no advantage” principle has refugee advocates angry. “It’s nonsensical,” said Pamela Curr. “No advantage to what? It’s an implied threat to asylum seekers.”

Curr notes that some asylum seekers spend decades waiting in Malaysia. She says there’s been speculation in refugee circles of different waiting time periods for different nationalities. Two recent boatloads of asylum seekers (who have been earmarked for removal to Nauru) include Burmese families, Iranians, Iraqis, Sudanese, Pakistanis and Somali asylum seekers.

Once the offshore processing centres are running at full capacity, Nauru will hold a maximum of 1500 (with 500 expected to be living there by the end of the month) and Manus Island will hold a total of 600. Over 2000 asylum seekers have arrived since the implementation of the Houston plan.

Although the government and media focus is on Nauru and Manus Island, Aristotle calls them only “short-term measures” and says the real focus should be on building a regional processing arrangement, the increase of humanitarian refugee visas and the millions the government has committed to spend on capacity building and research.


We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

62 thoughts on “No advantage? Nobody knows what that means

  1. Gocomsys

    The last paragraph provides a great summary. Just minor alterations.

    The government and media focus is on Nauru and Manus Island, these are indeed “short-term measures” for obvious enforced political reason as well as a possible deterrent for boat arrivals. The real focus has always been on building a regional processing arrangement, the increase of humanitarian refugee visas and the millions the government has committed to spend on capacity building and research.

    Sounds better doesn’t it? Why not stating the facts, I’d say.

  2. Gocomsys

    My comment is awaiting moderation. Again.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    The whole thing is a sick hoax because it forgets the first principal of refugee law – everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.

    Resettlement is not a legal right, resettlement is for people who are already refugees with status and has no treaty cover of any description.

    Aristotle is a mad man – there will never be any regional process now but there has been a global process for the past 60 years.

    We are the only nation on earth who dreams up these racist delusions to punish innocent people for the behaviour of others and to attempt to influence the behaviour of yet others.

    Sort of like locking up all men because some are rapists.

    No country in our area will ever now sign the refugee convention and the tiny amount of money granted to the UNHCR to deal with 8 million refugees in our area while we waste $5 billion jailing 2100 people and millions of kids die of starvation every year is beyond deranged.

    There is no such thing as no advantage for refugees – they are all found to have a well founded fear of persecution.

  4. Arty

    Deja vu all over again!
    And part of that ..all over again… is the intermingling of policy with implementation. Policy is for amateurs and implementation is for professionals. I suspect that the qualities that make a good politician are unsuitable for the nitty-gritty of actually doing the job day-after-day.

    I suspect that there are only two possible policy positions for which the implementation is less complex, namely (a) accept all refugees or (b) reject all refugees.

    The two important interpretations are those held by potential refugees and those of the High Court.

  5. GeeWizz

    Labor have finally admitted there is a queue and that those coming on boat are jumping said queue.

    It only took Labor 4 years to realise this… slow learners but they get there in the end.

    BTW I notice that Labor has made a promise not to force any boaties to go to Nauru… I mean how gutless is this government? The boaties will now say “Nope, NOT GOING!” and Labor will just do what they always do and cave, just like they did with the Oceanic Viking illegals that refused to get off the boats without a signed promise from the government of insta-visas.

    This government is gutless which is why they will never stop the boats… they don’t have the will to do so. Howard never had problems getting illegals off the plane because he wasn’t weak like Gillard.

  6. shepherdmarilyn

    No Gee, they are making an artificial $5 billion queue.

    They are torturing and punishing one group of people in the guise of helping another group who are from the same countries and face the same problems.

    When we have refugee applicants from 60 different countries from all over the world apply here how on earth can there be a queue?

    And why is Australia the only one who knows about it.

  7. David Hand

    Of course there’s a queue Marilyn. That’s what the “no advantage” measure is intended to address, though I absolutely accept the main thrust of this article that the implementation of the policy has serious unresolved issues.

    It is both tiresome and ironic at the same time to hear refugee advocates scream “THERE IS NO QUEUE!” anytime someone states the obvious.

  8. GeeWizz

    If the lefties say there is no queue then they should be happy that these people are going to be waiting behind people of said non-queue because it doesn’t exist apparantly.

    Oh but thatttsss right… you don’t want illegals to wait behind those in the queue because it really does exist!

  9. shepherdmarilyn

    And now we are going to help 1000 of the 650,000 refugees who have just fled Syria while pushing away Afghans who have been refugees for 30 years without a proper home.

    Bowen is deranged.

  10. shepherdmarilyn

    Now I know what the no advantage is.

    Syrians who have been refugees for a minute will have priority of Afghan refugees who have been in exile for 30 years.

    Why? Just because the GG saw them?

    Now lets see who the smugglers are that we are going to send a message to while we brutalise their passengers.

    Bodyguard accused of role in deadly boat voyage
    By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts
    12 September 2012
    One of the Indonesian president’s bodyguards has been accused of involvement in a people-smuggling operation that saw more than 200 asylum seekers drown trying to get to Australia.

    In December last year, a boat carrying about 250 people sank off Prigi on the East Java coast as it attempted to get to Christmas Island.

    More than 200 people drowned in the tragedy and now five Indonesian soldiers are facing a military court for their part in organising the boat.

    Prosecutors have asked that the first soldier to face the hearing, Ilmun, be locked up for eight years, but the military defence team has dismissed the request.

    Ilmun and his four alleged accomplices are accused of finding the boat which was then overloaded with more than twice the number of people it was designed to carry.

    Ilmun has admitted to organising seven boat trips, but says he was taking orders from higher up the military chain.

    He has named a member of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s security troop, a man called Amin, but also known as Amir.

    The allegation takes the military’s involvement in people-smuggling much higher than the low-ranking”

    And the Indonesian children are suing us while the INdonesian fishing crews will no longer be charged but the refugees will be sent into orbit.

  11. Steve777

    Nauru and PNG won’t work unless the government intends to lock people up for 10 years or more. TPV’s won’t work, as Tony Abbott and his Shadow Minister for Dog-whistling Scott Morrison must know. Look at the boat arrivals for 1998/99 and 1999/2000 here:

    w w w .aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2012-2013/BoatArrivals#_Toc315177282

    (TPV’s were introduced on 20/10/1999).

    Turning back people on unseaworthy boats using force would work and this is presumaby what the Talkback crowd want. That doesn’t make it right.

    This is a complex problem without simple solutions. Any solution will involve cooperation from regional partners, especially Indonesia.

  12. CML

    Of course there is a blo+dy queue. There are supposed to be some 90,000+ known refugees in Malaysian camps, and depending on who you believe, another 10,000+ in Indonesia. Either processed refugees or asylum seekers. This begs the question to all the refugee advocates: Why are these people who have the money to fly into Malaysia and Indonesia from Dubai and Pakistan in the last few months, then pay a people smuggler to go to Christmas Island, MORE DESERVING than the 100,000 already in these countries????? And why do they all have documents which allow them to get on a plane in the first place, but apparently DON’T have them when they arrive in Oz????? And finally, how many refugees do you think we can accommodate (say in the next ten years) of the more than 40 million somewhere on the planet??? Until any or all of you lot can answer these questions, then you have NO argument.

    And by the way Marilyn – last week you called me delusional (or something similar) for daring to suggest that we could have home grown Moslem terrorists in this country. Read the front pages of all the major newspapers today about what is going on in Melbourne. Now perhaps you could let me know, just who is deluded?????

  13. NeoTheFatCat

    We need to deal with this issue of the “queue”. It is about as real as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

    When Australians think about the “queue”, we think of lining up at the register at Woolies. Sure, the line might be really long but we know that if we wait patiently, pretty soon we will progress to the head of the queue and then get out of there.

    If you are a refugee, the queue simply doesn’t work this way.

    Firstly, you might be in a country where there is no way to enter the queue. Despite it’s best intentions, the UNHCR can’t get to every country and assess every refugee.

    Secondly, countries like Australia don’t select refugees to resettle on the basis of how long they have been a refugee. We tend to go for the most ‘attractive’ ones (eg. age, skills, etc) rather than the ones who have waited the longest. Good luck if you are an unskilled elderly man.

    Finally, the queue is so long that there are generations of the same family in the queue. Can you really call it a “queue” if the chances are that you will end up dying there? The word “queue” implies some sort of actual movement. There are glaciers that move faster than resettlement programs.

    But if an Aussie has to wait 10 minutes in the ‘express’ queue at Woollies, just watch them whinge!

  14. shepherdmarilyn

    They are not home grown fucking terrorists, just an Afghan refugee raising money and visiting a mosque in Melbourne that no-one has ever heard of.

    More like the AFP earning their paranoic big bucks to justify their existence.

  15. David Hand

    It’s really great to see Marilyn confirm, using the example of Syrians being given preference, that there is a queue.

    Good on you Marilyn!

  16. GeeWizz

    And here come the leftwing profanities on queue(pardon the pun)…

  17. shepherdmarilyn

    Gee, why don’t you rack off..

  18. shepherdmarilyn


    Mr Towle told the forum the notion of queue jumping is false logic.

    “It’s a completely artificial construct; there is no queue.

    “There never was a queue, it’s a cruel deception on people to suggest like at a bank you wait patiently for your number and will be picked to go.”

    He said some nationalities, like Somalis, have no chance of being resettled because of security issues.

    “If you want to come to Australia to claim asylum, the only way you can really do it is by boat because all other ways are simply impossible.”

  19. Patriot

    Knock! Knock!
    Who’s there?
    Al Furqan.
    Al Furqan who?
    Al furqan blow myself up if I see a picture of Mоhammed!

  20. izatso?

    Pat, Wiz, can’t get humour right, even ……. this is why you blow your spot on FD, cheapseats !

  21. shepherdmarilyn

    There was no threat Patriot, what a cretinous coward you are.

  22. Andybob

    Gosh Geewizz, we need you up there on that wall. Someone with the will to shoot those damn boaties and show them who is boss. You gorgeous hunk of throbbing manhood.

    But turning back to more adult considerations. There are asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia and Indonesia who will never be resettled. The “no advantage” test is so arbitrary that it could mean anything the government of the day wants it to mean. That sounds dangerous. I don’t really want our politicians to get comfortable about indefinite detention of people they find politically embarrassing.

    And at a more fundamental level, if seeking asylum in a Convention State offers no advantage over seeking asylum in a non-Convention State, then isn’t the whole purpose of the Convention being subverted ?

  23. shepherdmarilyn

    You got that right Andybob, but Gillard is so cretinous she does not care.

  24. CML

    Marilyn – as usual, you are always right! Two-thirds (at least) of the population in this country, the police, the security experts and all the politicians (except the Greens) are wrong. There is a word for that – I think it has something to do with mental illness, but delusional will do for starters.
    If you hate Australia and the majority of its citizens so much, have you ever thought of emmigrating? You could always go to Malaysia or Indonesia. I hear there are a few hundred thousand unwanted visitors there who might appreciate your point of view. Most of us here in Oz are fed up with your attitude and name calling. When you understand that everyone in this country is entitled to their opinion, we may accept that you also have that right. Until then, just go away and grow a brain!

  25. shepmyster

    Australia could take 100000 people without breaking a sweat. from my point of view Marlyn is right. It’s amazing how many things you can get wrong in just a couple of sentences. to suggest that there is a formal queue only highlights your very limited knowledge on the subject and makes me wonder how much of that is by design. The information is there to read. I very much doubt you have read any of it or ever will.
    So instead of arguing here’s a prediction. The boats will not stop coming. Desperate people fleeing for their lives generally aren’t going to stop and address your concerns CML. with Syria basically having a civil war, bombs going off in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen to name just a few hot spots there is a huge movement of refugees. Knowing of our new laws they will attempt to reach our shores undetected. Of coarse this will condemn even more to death. We know boats without a name have perished and now there will be even more. It will be our fault when this happens, all because we let the fear of the unknown dictate to us what our choices will be.

  26. David Hand

    “Australia could take 100,000 people without breaking a sweat”
    184,000 people migrated to Australia last year so we do that now. The fact that so many of them are muslim and the fact that there is not the same negative attitude to it in the electorate shows that Australian’s dislike of illegal boat arrivals is not about xenephobia, not about high immigration and is not about muslims, as much as the left elites would like it to be.

    “There is no “formal queue”? Good try Shep. You do understand what we are talking about don’t you? You know, the fact that arrivals by boat delay the migration of others? That when Australia sets the level of its humanitarian intake, boat arrivals come out of that number, taking a slot that might go to people in camps around the world?

    Like, say, let me think of a good analogy…….. jumping the queue?

  27. Person Ordinary

    With the level of fear and deluded self interest in the mainstream population of Australia, the political imperative for the main parties is to appear Hard on Boatpeople. It might be a good idea to instead aspire to be Clever on Refugees.

    For example, why not consider building a big new community somewhere in northern Australia? Send our own ships to pick up tens of thousands of UNHCR documented refugees. Develop an agricultural project zone – a food bowl of the North. China would invest in it, if it promised increased food security. Let the refugees work and build themselves a community. Use a “special economic zone” that can have its own labour laws, taxes, etc.

    It might need a referendum to make it possible, but surely a design can emerge where everyone wins. Maybe aboriginal people can be involved in projects to build community as well …

    Is it possible, amongst all this trolling and hate-speak, for us to develop a constructive solution?

  28. Arty

    PERSON ORDINARY. Thank you. I am not alone!

  29. GeeWizz

    Dillard is going to fail the boatpeople challenge. Why? Because Labor and Gillard are GUTLESS.

    When the Tampa came rolling in all those years ago, Howard made it very very clear these illegals would never touch Australian soil. Now unlike GUTLESS Labor, he kept to his word. The boaties were put onto another boat and carted off to PNG where they were put onto a flight to Nauru. Not one of those souls onboard had their feet touch Christmas Island or the mainland.

    Now look at what Dillard has been doing with all these illegals that have been arriving since the announcement of the restart of the Pacific Solution. She has been putting them all on Christmas Island and making the gutless announcement that “they run the risk of being sent to Nauru”. Wow. “Run the risk”??? Are Labor completely weak or what… and of course the people smugglers and illegals have been playing Labors bluff and we’ve had *2000* boatpeople arrive in a month since the announcement.

    The people smugglers and the illegals don’t believe your government Gillard and neither do we, you have shown yourselves to be spineless on this issue at every turn. Make it very clear EVERY… SINGLE… ONE of them are going to Nauru and then follow through with your actions, just as John Howard did. Every time you waver, every time you backflip the people smugglers laugh at your governments weakness.

    The reality is Labor is too weak to stop the boats… only a Coalition Government will be able to sort this issue out

  30. Clarke Steve


    “Australia could take 100000 people without breaking a sweat”.

    There are a couple of problems with this statement. The govt would need to increase taxes by around 17 Billion dollars to go from an intake of 20,000 to 100,000. That is going to take taxpayers quite a lot of sweat.
    Secondly, it would be naive to think that taking in 100,000 people is going to make anything more that a tiny dent in the numbers. (It is a lot less than 1% of the numbers of refugees).

  31. CML

    As I have said many times, everyone is entitled to their point of view – even Marilyn when she is being civil and not calling people names! I have been a student of politics and world affairs, living in several countries when younger, for over 50 years. For that reason, I like to look at the big picture – what will be the outcome of actions we take now? In order to do that, you have to think beyond the knee-jerk reaction of taking “100,000” refugees next week, or setting up separate enclaves “up north”, neither of which will work in my opinion. We will just be creating chaos for our children and grandchildren.
    First, the 100,000 – what kind of effect do you think that will have on the current social fabric of this country? If you don’t know, have a look at what is happening in France where the Moslem cohort is now 15% of the population and it is a simmering mass of hatred. There is little effort on the part of the newcomers to assimilate into French life and culture – in fact they demand their own culture be incorporated into French law and custom! Not surprisingly the French people will have none of it – Sharia law, full face cover clothing, street riots with destruction of property, etc. etc. And why should they? After all, it is their country. The problems will only increase in Australia if we continue down this road. I want to make it absolutely clear, that I am not against refugees coming to this country. Just against religious wingnuts (OF ANY PERSUASION) infesting our shores. In other words, I would be just as vocal about 100,000 radical fundamentalist (so-called) Christians being accepted as citizens in Oz.
    Secondly, the northern enclave – how many “agricultural” areas have been tried (and failed) so far? Look at the Ord River scheme where all they can grow now is a few fruits and sandalwood trees. As someone observed recently, you can’t eat sandalwood! And short of making this enclave a totally separate country, how are you planning to stop people from flooding into Sydney and Melbourne? If they stay up north in said enclave, where are the jobs coming from? We can’t even sort out our own indigenous people up there. Or are these new “immigrants” going to receive welfare payments from the existing Aust government? And you think the taxpaying public won’t object to that? You are living in cloud cuckoo land!
    Finally, IMHO the endless wars and conflict in the middle east are NOT our problem. I am horrified that this government is planning to allow 1000 Syrians into Oz. We live in the Asia/Pacific region of this planet where there are millions of people who need our help. Let’s get that right first. There is absolutely NO WAY we as a nation of 22 million people can save the world. Once everyone accepts that, perhaps we can have a genuine attempt at resettling those in Malaysia and Indonesia, who have been in camps for many, many years. They should be our first priority.

  32. Kerry Lovering

    As CML points out the elephant in the room is the fact that no country can accept huge numbers of refugees.
    They should go back to their own country and fight for the rights they want –just as the Egyptians have done.
    They should also adopt birth control methods to reduce the numbers needing assistance.
    Young Afghan men should be fighting the Taliban themselves not hiding behind Australian soldiers (And killing them)

  33. izatso?

    Aye, CML, illuminating stuff, juxtaposing the malice of wizz, pat and co.

  34. David Hand

    Well person ordinary,
    We could indeed send our ships to pick up 100,000 refugees from camps and settle them in northern australia. The problem is that it will not stop the boats because the people you refer to aren’t the ones who pay over $5000 per seat on a leaky boat out of a southern Indonesian port.

  35. GeeWizz

    How many thousands could we settle at Marilyns house I wonder?

    She can pay for them out of her own dole cheque

  36. izatso?

    Crikey! Just what is this TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership secrecy, and why are we not dumping on it this very second ? HEY ?!!

  37. izatso?

    wikipedia …….’Of the 26 chapters under negotiation, only a few have to do directly with trade. The other chapters enshrine new rights and privileges for major corporations while weakening the power of nation states to oppose them.’ …… style of thing ……. WTF ?

  38. izatso?

    to be signed in 4 days ?!! where were you Crikey ?

  39. Andybob

    Howard was wrong Geewhiz, not only about this, but many other things. There are many Tampa refugees living in Australia. More went to New Zealand where they have family reunion rights and trans-Tasman immigration privileges. Does this scare you ? If you met such a person on the street, would you tell them to go back to where they came from ?

  40. shepmyster

    As you say David Australia had 184,000 immigrants. Over a 12 month period they would be barely noticed. Of coarse if the entire 100,000 went on the dole and stayed there it would be a different story. Does anybody believe that would happen? Yes David I do understand what where talking about, do you? Let me ask you something. If you were standing in a queue you had no chance of seeing the end of it, would you stay in it. This is the reality of the so called queue. If it was you and I standing in it, I’d be saying “you can stay here and rot if you want, I’ll find another way”. So it’s a queue leading to nowhere and it hasn’t displaced anybody. One more thing on that show me one, just one Australian government representative in these camps. Answer zero,. So where is your queue that leads to this country? It doesn’t exist. Maybe as an analogy David but not as a reality, hence NO FORMAL QUEUE.
    You only have to read CML’s latest offering to realize that xenophobia, high immigration and Muslims is exactly what it’s about. I’m not suggesting we save the world David, all I ask is that we play our part and where not even coming close. That’s a black mark on all of us.

  41. GeeWizz


    Howard said he would stop the boats and that was exactly what he did.

    You can’t stop the boats if you are a gutless wonder which is why Gillard is having so many problems. We’ve now had 10,000 illegals arrive by boat this year…. 10 GRANDS worth. Thats almost Australia’s entire humanitarian quota.

    Labor is a disgrace.

  42. mal chatt

    i wonder if asylum seekers have ever sought asylum in Nauru

  43. David Hand

    Thank you for a fine worked example of the logical contortions refugee advicates go through the scream “THERE IS NO QUEUE!!”.

  44. Clarke Steve


    “… if the entire 100,000 went on the dole and stayed there it would be a different story. Does anybody believe that would happen?”

    The costs of supporting refugees has been worked out at approx $216,000 per person for their first 4 years in Australia. To go from a 20,000 to 100,000 intake is going to cost around 17 billion dollars per year.
    Yet 100,000 people per year is nowhere near enough to take any real pressure off refugee numbers. (There are around 15 million of them with double that number of internally displaced people). These are tragic numbers but we must be aware of our limits.

  45. shepmyster

    Steve that would mean over $50000 a year to be unemployed. Maybe I’ll quit my job and go on the dole if that’s how much their getting. Maybe a calculator would be useful?
    So are you saying that you believe all will go on the dole and stay there? You don’t think that some will find employment, pay tax, make our economy larger and in doing so make it stronger? I’ll repeat this again since you seemed to have missed it. I don’t expect Australia to save the world just to play its part. We are woefully short of for filling our obligations and that is something we should all be ashamed of.
    David you didn’t answer my question.
    Show me the process that asylum seekers overseas can sign up to, that leads to this country. Fact is you can’t. I wouldn’t waste my time trying if I were you because no process exists, hence my correct statement that no formal queue exists and of course if there is no queue then nobodies getting displaced, are they? Now if you can produce such a process, then I’m quite willing to accept that you are right and I was wrong. Of coarse that goes both ways.
    You got an answer for me?

  46. Clarke Steve


    It is dishonest to atribute comments to someone that simply were not made.
    At no time have I said refugees go on the dole.

    The costs I have used come from the Parliamentary Library -Budget Review 2012-13. (Google it, then use a calculator)

    I also have not used the word queue or suggested one exists.

  47. smith george

    Fantastic article, I’ve think you’ve clearly hit the nail right on the head there.

  48. David Hand

    Sorry Shep,
    I can’t describe the process but I’m bot going to research it for you either.
    I assumed that as Australia accepts 6,000 refugees a year and another 7,000 other humanitarian applicants, soon to be 27,000 a year, that there was a process. I am foolishly trusting that the Australian government is managing this programme.

    I bow to your vast knowledge and wisdom. They clearly pop through Alice’s looking glass. Or maybe that wardrobe the lion lives in.

  49. David Hand

    “Beh ead all those who insult the Pro phet”
    Not a good look for peace and understanding in this difficult issue.

  50. Patriot

    They have form when it comes to teaching the kiddies to hate:


  51. Patriot

    It will be interesting to compare the lefty love-media response to countless signs calling for beheading over the coming days with their response to a single sign calling calling Gillard “Bob Brown’s b_tch”.

  52. izatso?

    note the allience of these sad signs, their radical promoters, and their use by some clear sympathisers here ……

  53. izatso?

    division, hatred, through the influencing and financing of a psychotic Egyptian Coptic Christian, with sone cheering on the sidelines here, inflames the issue once more. Are these people to succeed ?

  54. izatso?

    the covert promotion of hatreds for dangerous agendas has everything to do with the hi-jacking of free speech.

  55. CML

    @ SHEPMYSTER – You have completely misrepresented my comments. I am NOT xenophobic, I welcome new immigrants and refugees (preferably from our own region), and as I said before, I don’t like ANY extreme religious nonsense – Islam, Christian, Hindu, Jewish etc. etc. I would also venture to say that the vast majority of people in this country are NOT racist – they just don’t like trouble makers, budding terrorists and fundamental religious wingnuts!
    Surely after the cr+p that went on in Sydney yesterday, I would have thought that people who think like I do are probably justified in so doing. But you seem to think it is okay for young children to be running around with signs saying: people who don’t think like we do should be beheaded? Brainwashing at its best, begun at a very early age obviously! Then we had the genital mutilation of two female children aged six and seven years, reported earlier this week. Is that okay too? And the “home grown” terrorist raids in Melbourne – something new for you to support every bloody day, it seems.
    Very many people in this country and their relatives and friends have been living for decades with the s_xual assualt of children by all those upstanding Catholic, Anglican and other Christian bast+rds. Get it right, if you are going to accuse me of anything – I AM ANTI-RELIGION because all these lunatics either hurt other people, or encourage others to do so. That is all!!!

  56. shepmyster

    David, it’s very important this question of “the queue” be answered. It has been a key instrument used by antagonists in this debate to confuse the discussion. I can understand people being upset with asylum seekers, if they actually were “jumping the queue” but their doing no such thing.
    Steve there’s no need to tell me where your figures came from. The problem I have with your statement is the figure of 17 billion. To suggest it has any relevance, would be to suggest that not one of these asylum seekers would or could gain employment in those 4 years. That’s just mean!
    CML. “Me thinks you doth protest too much”

  57. David Hand

    The “queue” is a metaphor. No one is suggesting there’s a registration centre somewhere in the world that asylum seekers line up at.

    The metaphor simply describes the impact of boat people on refugees in camps across the world who otherwise might get a visa to come to Australia. At the moment, Australia accepts 13,000 humanitarian migrants a year, soon to be increased to 27,000 in response to the Houston review. When 100 people arrive at Christmas Island by boat, they eliminate the opportunity for say, 100 Burmese family members languishing in a Malaysian refugee camp the opportunity to come to Australia because there is a cap on the humanitarian intake.

    In this way, those who doubt the credentials of anonymous people who flew into Indonesia, destroyed their passports to make it all but impossible for DIAC to positively identify them before paying people smugglers over $5000 for a trip to Christmas Island, use the metaphore “queue jumpers”.

    Refugee advocates however, use the treaty that was established just after the second world war, which saw hundreds of thousands of people crossing borders in order to escape imminent danger and therefore places no limit on the numbers, to argue that there is no queue. We see this phenomenon on the Syrian / Turkish border today. Refugees are fleeing the war and will probably return to their homes across the border when the shooting stops.

    This is why such advocates as Marilyn Shepherd and Hansen Young argue that these anonymous boat arrivals are “fleeing imminent danger” even though they’re patently not. They need such emotive descriptions to squeeze boat people into the refugee convention.

    It’s no accident that the ALP has experienced a restoration in its electoral fortunes after changing this policy. The Houston review was a brilliant political move that brought the government into line with what is obvious to the vast majority of Australians.

  58. shepmyster

    David to suggest that “the queue” is just a metaphor is a little bit disingenuous to say the least. You only have to read the comments in ‘The Murdoch Press” and listen to talk back radio to know that a very significant number of people believe that’s exactly what’s occurring. By the way, what happened to “OF CORSE THERE IS A QUEUE”?
    I understand and accept that Australia has a limited capacity in relation to refugees but as I said before, we haven’t even come close to reaching it and that’s why I don’t accept the hysteria surrounding this debate, or the refusal of people to understand that it’s desperate people who chose to risk their lives on the open sea.
    I predicted before that the boats will not stop coming given the fighting in Syria and the general situation in the Middle East over all. In less numbers maybe, but they won’t be waiting to get picked up by the Australian Navy.
    It’s been a common belief of many people that John Howard stopped the boats. It would be my opinion that they just stopped coming because people’s situations weren’t that desperate that they felt an imperative to flee.

  59. David Hand

    Now you are being disengenuous.
    I’ve described the process. Most people have no difficulty describing it as a queue on the basis that boat arrivals at Christmas Island take away the opportunity of migration to Australia from others. It is only the refugee advocates such as yourself who have difficulty with the term. I’ve put the issues on both sides forwards and I’m not going to again as rational discussion about why it is seen as a queue by most people is not possible with you.

    There are millions and millions of “desperate people” who are willing to risk the boat journey if they believe they have a good chance of success. Though pull factors change from time to time, push factors are huge and unchanging and they’re not just war. They are also economic security and opportunity. That’s why Australia has immigration restrictions.

  60. Clarke Steve


    “It’s been a common belief of many people that John Howard stopped the boats. It would be my opinion that they just stopped coming because people’s situations weren’t that desperate that they felt an imperative to flee”.

    Number of asylum seekers arriving by boat

    Year 2001 5516 (year in which Howard’s Pacific solution was introduced)
    Year 2002 1

    You would have to be extremely naive to to think that this staggering drop off in arrivals was due to the world suddenly becoming a much nicer place.

  61. shepmyster

    David, right from the start of this you proclaimed “that of course there is a queue”, you inferred that indeed there was a queue that refugees could sign up to, and one that led to this country. When I challenged you to come up with the evidence you then set out to obtain it. Well it isn’t there, is it? I also stated that I was willing to accept that you were right and I was wrong if you could produce such evidence, but of course it worked both ways. Well you have produced nothing even resembling it. You have instead, changed your position to “the queue” being just a metaphor. Well David It doesn’t simply describe anything! In fact it has lead people to believe that there is a queue being jumped and that was my complaint about your original comments. So who’s being disingenuous?
    Steve, if you’ve being reading these posts, then you should know the last thing I am is, naive. I do have a comment for you but I’m done with this for the day.

Leave a comment


https://www.crikey.com.au/2012/09/13/no-advantage-nobody-yet-knows-what-that-means/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.