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Pacific Solution ends « Previous | |Next »
July 31, 2008

Finally, some sense on immigration policy. Detention is to be used only as a last resort, and only if department officials could show the person was a security risk. If not, they would be released into society until their visa status was resolved. The processing centre at Nauru is to be closed. So the Fortress Australia of the border security conservatives, is opening a few doors and windows to refugees.

Leakaslymseekers.jpg Bill Leak

However, boat people who arrive at the excised territories such as Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef, will be subject to mandatory detention and processed offshore. So the fiction that these outer islands are not part of Australia is maintained. The 800 person detention centre at Christmas Island stands empty.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:22 AM | | Comments (10)
Comments

Comments

I found this comment from Evans' speech [via Blogocracy] to be most informative:
"At my first meeting with Department officials as Minister for Immigration, I asked who was detained at the immigration detention centre on Nauru and at what stage were their claims for asylum.

I was told there were eight Burmese and 81 Sri Lankans there. Virtually all of this group had already been assessed as refugees but had been left languishing on Nauru.

When I asked why the eight Burmese had not been settled in Australia in accordance with international law there was an embarrassed silence.

Eventually the answer emerged. The Howard government had ordered they stay put. They had been left rotting on Nauru because the Howard government wanted to maintain the myth that third-country settlement was possible."

It does seem that in recent years, the message got out that making a perilous boat journey to Australia was not worth the effort, given that it would simply lead to incarceration.

It will be interesting to see whether the change in government policy leads to a return of the huge numbers of economic refugees that we used to see. I wonder how many will die in the attempt.

Fred,
despite the more humane aspects mentioned in your comment the Rudd Government still maintains the mandatory detention system. What reamains in place are the excision of certain places from the migration zone"; "extensive patrolling of our borders by defence, customs and other law enforcement agencies"; "unauthorised arrivals will be processed at Christmas Island"; and those who fail the refugee test will be removed expeditiously. All these are to be kept to "support the integrity of Australia's immigration program".

It's mandatory detention with a more humane face.

Gary,
The most significant change, considering the structures are still in place, is that we now have a government that is not prepared to use particular groups of less fortunate people for political purposes.

That an Australian government was prepared to keep people identified as genuine refugees in detention regardless is a disgrace. On top of all the other disgraces. Note that there were no American, European or Kiwi visa overstayers on Nauru.

Yes it is a fact that the 800 person detention center is empty because of a desperate lack of detainees. This is an appalling situation and those in the marketing department charged with selling Australia as the perfect destination for luxurious illegal vacations should be all sacked immediately.

Good points Sylvia.

Les,
they could offer the commandant's job a the Christtmas Island detention Centre to one Mal Brough. He's a can do military type with no time for human right nicieties in a state of emergency.

Sylvia,
it is more probable that the Christmas Island Detention Centre is waiting there to detain the new refugees from global warming ---ie., those in the Asia Pacific region who will be forced from their homes by the rising sea levels.

Is there a taboo on politicians talking about this kind of refugee?

Les,
It's that silly Where the bloody hell are you? ad. It even put the refugees off.

Nan,

Garrett would certainly do a much better Colonel Klink impersonation don't you think?

Nan, whats your thoughts on the Costello numbers and what do you consider the likelihood is that he will challenge for the leadership?
Do you think that the Olympics and the wave of national pride it brings will be part of his thinking on it? Do you think Rudd's numbers will lift in this period?
If Costello leads does Turnbull become his deputy? Would that be a step back for the womens vote?

Lyn,
it does look as if the talk about the Other is no longer fashionable in political circles. Thats a step on from the previous ones of abolishing the final remnants of the Pacific solution by closing detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island; and abolishing temporary protection visas, a Howard government initiative under which boat arrivals found to be refugees were given temporary as opposed to permanent residence.

Australia's current system of detention had proved itself inherently and irredeemably problematic, and ultimately irreconcilable with basic human rights and respect for human dignity.