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the politics of border protection « Previous | |Next »
July 26, 2013

So the Coalition's Operation Sovereign Borders has made explicit was implicit in its response to asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat. Australia is being invaded; the boat arrivals have created a national emergence; the military is required to defend Australia's borders; and the military is to be turned on the invaders in leaky boats lurking over the border.

RoweDMilitary.jpg David Rowe

Harsh policies deter people from getting on leaky boats organized by the people smugglers is the assumption. As more boats arrive the rhetoric of deterrence becomes ever more inflamed; the system of prisons built on the archipelago on various islands to our north is extended; and the system of detention and punishment becomes harsher.

It is a focus group policy for the Fortress Australia group who are scared, fearful and insecure and and who want to see asylum seekers arriving on the boats demonised and suffer. They don't belong here. So the punitive treatment of boat-borne asylum seekers is justified. The xenophobes are indifferent to Australia's involvement in conflict and persecution that force people to leave their homes and seek protection. Only Australia's policies determine the flow of asylum seekers. All that matters is the national interest and being toughest on asylum seekers.

Hence the acceptance of the unilateral Howard mantra: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come here” which now means “Stop the Boats!” with its implication of turning them back. It doesn't matter that Indonesia says that it won't accept any attempt to return them to Indonesia and that the only solution to the asylum seeker crisis lay in regional co-operation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:13 AM | | Comments (10)


According to the government’s own statistics, over 90 per cent of asylum seekers arriving by boat in recent years have been genuine refugees, seeking real protection.

Australia's entire policy approach to boat-borne asylum seekers is framed in terms of deterrence and border protection.

Both the government and the opposition are committed to deterrence – stopping the boats coming in one way or another. All that matter is how to stop the boats –

What the boat-borne asylum seekers desire is protection from persecution, death and torture; and the chance to live somewhere free from persecution and able to rebuild a dignified life. Australia is seen to offer that kind of protection.

"What the boat-borne asylum seekers desire is protection from persecution, death and torture"

This is what is contested---boat-borne asylum seekers are not people fleeing persecution.They are not bona fide; they are economic migrants.

Abbott's "national emergency" implies events that endanger or threaten to endanger life, property or the environment of Australian citizens.

Boat migration to Australia does not constitute a “national emergency”, as the leader of the opposition claims it does.

What has happened to Australia?


"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security...

...To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head....

....Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, ‘everyone’ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none... your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ ...

PLEASE read the whole thing...

The swinging voter will decide who and how people get asylum. It couldn't be any fairer than that.

What? Oh yes it COULD be far fairer than that.

You comment only makes sense if asylum seekers were the ONLY thing on the voter's mind. For a great many Australians, it is not a deal breaker one way or the other. They have other priorities.

The response to the boats by both major parties is almost identical. So the asylum seekers will be collateral damage no matter who wins.

All the blog ranting I have read in the last couple of years on the asylum seeker issue and others has not changed the issue one micron.
Therefore it is proven that blog ranting has no value other than to make the blog ranter .......... (insert word here)