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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

between a rock and a hard place « Previous | |Next »
November 22, 2012

Deterrence with respect to asylum seekers is not working. The numbers keep increasing--about 7600 people have arrived since August 13. The Gillard government needed to deal with the fact that its offshore processing centres would soon be full. So Labor toughens up the deterrence to send a message of dissuasion--that it was not worth getting on a boat.

The government will release into the community thousands of arrivals who will be stripped of the right to work and other privileges afforded to previous asylum seekers. They will be left for up to five years with limited bridging visas which forbid work and family reunions, and offered limited rental assistance and welfare payments of $438.40 a fortnight. It is increasingly adopting cruelty as a deterrent.

RoweDasylum .jpg David Rowe

The ALP is tying itself in knots as it slowly crawls its way back to embracing more of the Coalition policy of the Howard era (offshore processing and mandatory detention are now Labor policy) under its ''no advantage'' test. The Coalition continues to call the asylum seekers illegals and to use the “opening of the floodgates" (the swamped meme) rhetoric. Now it will stir the resentment about the illegals living off welfare being paid for by the struggling hard working Aussie battlers by playing the politics of demonising refugees.

2013 is an election year and so the high-octane polarized political debate over a complex issue will continue with its appeal to the Anglo-Australian marginal electorates in western Sydney. The realities of region give way to the local demands of the political parties and a core problem – namely, what to do with the increasing numbers of transit migrants coming to Indonesia for whom fast resettlement is unavailable – remains unsolved.

What has happened to the idea that substantial refugee processing facilities to be set up in Indonesia to help speed up 'legal' resettlement through our recently expanded humanitarian resettlement program – up from 13,000 a year to 20,000? What has happened to the the 'Malaysia solution', with its e 'swapping' 800 sea-borne refugees, for 4000 processed refugees from Malaysia and plans for basic health and education for refugees flown to Malaysia?

Update
Refugee status is going to be deferred four or five years in implementation of the “no advantage” test. If you are a fair dinkum refugee you will stay here but be forbidden to work, not able to get a protection visa, and therefore not able to get family reunion.

Won't moving asylum seekers out of detention and into the community without adequate access to rights and entitlements foster destitution? Won't it create a supply of labour and expose asylum seekers to exploitation and harm in workplaces? What does living in the community mean? Does it mean that asylum seekers are clustered in remote areas far from amenities and services?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:46 AM | | Comments (22)
Comments

Comments

With the collapse of the opposition’s anti-carbon tax campaign and its failure to develop a policy agenda, the Liberals have run out of things to talk about.

Hence the importance of the asylum seeker issue for them to inflict more damage the Gillard govt.

The Coalition policy is effectively an 'Indonesian solution', proposed despite the express wishes of the Indonesian government which has said it will not allow boats to be towed back into its waters.

Its a tragic mess. Millions of disposed people are on the move globally, and the hundred of thousands in our region will multiply in number over time.

The Coalition's "illegal" here means the asylum claims of the nonwhite boat people must be illegitimate on the grounds of nothing other than wanting to come here.

Their protection claims are false. They are economic migrants. How do they know this? They are non-white (Sri Lankan, Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers) from foreign lands.

The harsh refugee policies are often explained in terms of being the political expression of latent xenophobia and entitlement anxiety in the electorate.

This, it is argued, accounts for the framing of the refugee issue in the terms of "border protection", referring to boat arrivals as "illegals", stop the boats and offshore processing as a matter of necessity.

The above explanation ---xenophobia in the working-class voters in Penrith--ignores the role of the media in framing the issue.

We continue to help the US manufacture refugees through violent interventions in various countries, yet we seem unable to make the connection between what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan with the arrival of desperate refugees in our waters.

If we withdrew our support for US interventions we could at least say "send them to California" with clear consciences.

The Coalition is ramping up the rhetoric . Abbott is now talking in terms of a peaceful invasion of Australia by "illegals;"cut Australia's humanitarian intake by about 6000; and make those asylum seekers on bridging vis--- they have been released into the community under the same no-advantage conditions as if they were on one of the Pacific islands---- work for the dole.

Abbott's increasing harshness--invasion and work for the dole--- appeals to that part of the electorate that is hostile to asylum seekers. The fact that Australia shelters refugees at all is a source of considerable animus and hatred.

"The fact that Australia shelters refugees at all is a source of considerable animus and hatred."

The more cruel, the better apparently. The asylum seekers must be punished as if they are criminals.

"The more cruel, the better apparently. The asylum seekers must be punished as if they are criminals."

They are Muslims and a threat to Australian democracy because of their religion. They will impose Sharia law on Australia and outbreed white Australian's. Australia will become a third world country.

The paranoia on the Right is now in full flight.

The Gillard government’s revived Pacific Solution has not stopped the boats. Nor has it slowed them. We are spending vast amounts of money on indefinite mandatory detention . This will only increase as detention centres are located in more remote, more expensive, places.

So what happens next in upping the harshness to make deterrence work?

"They are Muslims and a threat to Australian democracy because of their religion. They will impose Sharia law...."

In effect, their biggest crime is being a colour other than white! Everything else follows from that.

Imagine for a moment that the US did not have the money or resources to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Imagine that Bob and Linda from New Jersey were doomed to years of misery.

What would be our response to a boatload on Americans showing up off the Queensland coast? Hysteria? I think not.

yeah well if you think giving them the same benefits that other welfare recipients get is undue cruelty you dont really understand the issue.

Mars08: "What would be our response to a boatload on Americans showing up off the Queensland coast? Hysteria? I think not".

Depends on what colour of Americans they might be.

Oh come on Les...

Nobody is saying that getting "the same benefits that other welfare recipients" is full extent of the cruelty.

It extends to not being allowed to work, along severely restricted access to education and health care. Not to mention having no idea of how long that situation might last.

Of course it's cruel! How else it the government supposed to show it's "tough" stance and retain the fickle bogan vote?

Australia needs to concentrate on their own homeless, undereducated and underemployed first. That is what a country requires of a government.
You keep going on about boat people are the wrong colour and religion. Change the record mate. Open your eyes and look at the people walking down the street in the cities. We have every race here already and there not blowing each other up.
Most people opposed to boat people arent racists.

The rhetoric about the "invasion", the "human tide", the speeches about securing our borders against "illegals", has on a racial undercurrent.

You can see the racial undercurrent in the video of the three angry white Australians — one with a pram — abusing a French woman on a suburban bus in Melbourne, apparently because she had the temerity to sing in her own language.

"Australia needs to concentrate on their own homeless, undereducated and underemployed first...."

Change the record mate.

A relative handful of people arriving by boat are NOT adding to the disadvantage in the broader community.

BTW. It seems that you and I have a different opinion about that racism thing. And that isn't going to change.

The relative handful has a huge cost. A cost that is fast escalating.

True... it IS a huge cost. But why is that?

Labor.