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Asylum seekers: the turn to onshore processing « Previous | |Next »
October 14, 2011

The Gillard government and the Coalition are in favour of off-shore processing of asylum seekers. The former favoured the Malaysian people-swap solution, the Coalition favoured Nauru. The High Court effectively rejected both. The latter then blocked the Government's legislation that would have made off-shore processing, and the revival of the Pacific Solution beyond legal challenge if the Coalition wins the next election, possible.

Even the West Australian National Tony Crook - whose vote was needed to get the controversial --nay weaselly---amendments to the Migration Act through the lower house -and who said he would not support the bill, was also in favour of offshore processing.

The political class has ended up with onshore processing as the only option, which is the very option they didn't want. The inference is that the politics of Canberra has become so toxic that the politicians cannot achieve the results they desire. The Americans call it gridlock.

In all probability, a return to onshore processing, despite the reported hyperbolic warnings of the Immigration Department about onshore processing, is unlikely to spell the end of society as we know it. It may also force the Gillard Government to begin to rethink the need for a regional solution so as to put it on a more solid and co-operative footing.

The Gillard government says that it would go ahead with accepting 4000 refugees from Malaysia over four years, but they would be within the existing refugee quota, rather than an extra, as initially planned. The government would stick with mandatory detention.

If the existing detention facilities including those under construction reach capacity, community-based detention would be expanded through a new system based around bridging visas with work rights attached. Those processed in the community will be given ''bridging visas'', allowing them to work but giving them very limited support.

The problem here is that the future of mandatory detention. The system could not accommodate a significant surge in boat arrivals. Its high cost and damages the people trapped in the mandatory detention system. The system could not accommodate a significant surge in boat arrivals. Single men and women who arrive by boat are locked up for months, even years, while identity, security and health checks are made and claims for refugee status processed. That's a recipe for rioting among those trapped behind razor wire now.

The boats and people will keep coming because of millions of displaced people in Asia and East Asia and making the mandatory detention system in Australia more punitive will not stop the boats. We should ask, has the mandatory detention system reached its use-by date? If so, why not make the shift from mandatory detention to mandatory checks?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:39 AM | | Comments (4)


The quota for malaysia would of been reached quite quickly is my opinion and then we would be looking at another( or real ) solution. It could of had minimal deterant value only.
I wonder if aboriginal communities can play a part in onshore processing.

We can hope that this government makes the best of this, and sort out the problems with processing delays. They would be pushing it uphill with the department, but the community-based programs could help there.

I watched the press thing yesterday and they didn't have much to say about the Indonesia end of the story. So much for a regional strategy.

The Right see quicker processing, bridging visas, community detention - are simply a form of surrender to the asylum seekers. It represents a collapse of Australia's border control policy says Greg Sheridan in The Australian

Greg Sheridan in The Australian is playing the politics of fear.

He says that onshore processing represents a collapse of Australia's border control and abject surrender. It represents a decisive loss of Australian sovereignty and a big step down the road to a future of European dysfunction.

By European dysfunction Sheridan means that Australia is now set to see unregulated illegal immigration rendering parts of many Australian cities ungovernable.

Why? Because unsuccessful asylum claimants will stay on indefinitely, without recourse to full welfare benefits or a road to citizenship. They will become a permanent underclass.