On asylum seeker policy

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Rundle: refugee suicide by fire our new eternal, nihilistic flame” (yesterday). I have not seen or heard of a solution of the asylum seekers’ problem. For better or worse, there is one as follows:

  1. Increase the intake of asylum seekers to, say, 50,000 p/a. This number is still only a small percentage of our annual immigrant intake.
  2. Let it be known, that any applicant beyond that number, will be agreed or rejected within a year, if prepared to wait in a holding camp financed by Australia in, say, Indonesia.
  3. Items 1 & 2 should put people smugglers  out of business. If not, boat arrivals be taken to holding camps in Australia for three years before processing. These holding camps to provide civilised treatment, opportunities for studies and a positive life style consistent with democratic norms. It will soon get around that paying people smugglers a fortune and at the same time risking one’s life is not a good idea.

The procedures suggested will cost the taxpayer a lot less than the current inexcusable practice.

The whole scandal began with the Tampa and ‘children thrown into the water affair.’ John Howard started it, greatly helped by our pet demagogue and his combination of gutter press and shock jocks yelping hounds trying to appeal to the most intolerant and narrow minded section of the community. Sadly, this grossly undemocratic pair succeeded only too well to the extent of Labor being conned into falling into line for fear of upsetting what, quite wrongly, appeared to be majority of public opinion.
When the successful installation  of Rupert’s puppet turned out to be a disaster, the community at large caught on that they had been badly conned and the community aroused is inclined to recover their common sense. They now expect a government which has earned their respect by displaying vision and courage rather than overwhelming them with a tsunami of pork barrelling.

Also, please note that the sound economic condition of the Victorian state government is due to the greater proportion of immigrants, compared with other states, encouraging building and infrastructure production.

Nick Young writes: Can we really be surprised when a system designed with all the ingredients to create real evil works? In our refugee policy we have:

  • an ultimate goal of scaring people away from coming to Australia
  • a company running it who is kept at arms length by the government ( so they can legitimately say they have no knowledge of what’s going on there)
  • criminalisation of any attempts at investigation into the actual conditions.

I could not imagine any system better designed to take away all reasons to devalue empathy from everyone involved while simultaneously giving reasons to be as cruel as possible. I really do expect in my old age to be reading about crimes against humanity proceedings from this whole sorry mess.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey