Rudd lurches right

July 22nd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Labour in 2007 campaigned against John Howard’s Pacific solution which saw boat people go to Naaru, while their claims for asylym were processed (but if they qualified, they could them come to Australia). Howard was demonised for this policy, but Labor’s replacement policies have been disastrous, with the number of boats and people attempting the voyage increasing almost exponentially, and many many people dying in the attempt.

Kevin Rudd has now come out with a policy that is to the right of John Howard’s. He has announced that all boat people will be sent to Papua New Guinea, regardless of whether or not they qualify for asylum.

This could well help him win the election, as Labor’s failed policy was indefensible. However will his own party and activists support such a policy? The next few weeks will be interesting.

Tags: ,

Boat was heading to NZ

May 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A classified report has confirmed that the boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who arrived without warning on the West Australian coastline last month had been sailing for New Zealand.

It diverted from its course after the captain decided weather and other safety issues were too risky to continue beyond Australia. …

Last year, 10 members of China’s banned Falun Gong movement were rescued north of Darwin after their boat broke down en route to New Zealand.

After officials explained the dangers of continuing their voyage, the group decided to apply for asylum in Australia.

This is why regional co-operation on this issue is sensible.

 

Tags:

So much for no boat people wanting to come to NZ

April 10th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A ramshackle fishing boat carrying 66 suspected asylum seekers from Sri Lanka has arrived in Australia – carrying passengers holding a sign saying “We want to go to New Zealand”.

The overcrowded wooden fishing vessel carrying men, women and children was spotted off the coast of Geraldton, about 400km north of Perth in Western Australia.

It is believed to be the first boat to have travelled so far south in recent years. Most asylum seekers arrive near Christmas Island, more than 2000km north, where they are usually intercepted.

The boat, thought to have been at sea for 44 days, was spotted by two local men testing the motor of a dinghy about 500m offshore.

It was met by customs and police officers about 12pm yesterday and towed into harbour.

Photographs show a group of passengers holding a sign with the words: “We want to go to New Zealand. Please help us”.

A New Zealand flag was flying on the boat.

While I admire their good taste in choosing New Zealand over Australia, these journeys are very dangerous.

The passengers included four babies and a pregnant woman.

Could easily have been tragic.

Tags:

Thoughts on the asylum seekers deal with Australia

February 12th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A few thoughts:

  • Isn’t it amusing that when Helen Clark agreed to take some boat people who were seeking asylum in Australia she was lauded by the entire left for her humanitarian gesture yet when John Key agrees to do much the same, but annually, he is condemned by the exact same people. And yes, the Tampa refugees were treated as part of the quota also.
  • How can one criticize this deal for encouraging queue-jumping yet also advocate that Australia should resume onshore processing which has been shown to massively encourage boat voyages and queue jumping.
  • Personally I think there is a legitimate criticism that this deal may encourage queue-jumping, but probably not significantly enough to actually lead to a group of people deciding to make a boat voyage they otherwise would not have.
  • There is a surprising lack of sophistication in understanding our relationship with Australia is not purely a transactional one. The decision by the NZ Government helps Julia Gillard (and any successor)  in what is arguably her most difficult domestic issue. That will not be forgotten.
  • The notion that Australia bullied NZ into this is ridiculous. In fact as reported it was a NZ initiative
  • What is surprising is the lack of focus on a centre-right NZ PM helping out a centre-left Australian PM. It’s a nice example of not letting domestic politics interfere with having a strong relationship.
  • I’m surprised also no one has cottoned on to Gillard making an unprecedented early announcement of the election date, almost certainly being because Key the same thing in 2011.
  • Personally I think taking in refugees is one of the better things a country can do, so long as they are able to integrate well into their new country and that the level is sustainable. Note that Australia takes in 20,000 to our 750. I’d like that to increase at some stage in the future when our economy is stronger. But I think it is best increased through the UNHCR process, not through increasing the number in the bilateral agreement with Australia
  • You have to love Labour’s strong clear policy on this issue. They are outraged of course, but when asked what they would do, the answer is “Shearer said if elected, Labour would discuss the policy with Australia.” – you can’t make this stuff up.
Tags: , , , ,

Howard’s solution is back

August 16th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The politics of the Australian Government’s decision to reopen offshore processing facilities for asylum seekers on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island will not be silenced despite the Opposition’s indication it will support new migration laws.

As Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday moved amendments to allow the measures proposed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s expert panel on boat people, the Opposition tried to exploit her move as “capitulation” and to blame the Government for the deaths of 1000 people at sea.

Its attack was given force by the news that 67 more asylum seekers are feared to have perished in the Indian Ocean after the departure of their boat in late June and no evidence of their arrival in Australia.

Since Friday Australian patrol boats have intercepted seven vessels with more than 350 people on board.

The Howard era policy worked. It was effective, and as the message got out that boat people would not make it to Australia, the number of boats dwindled to almost nothing. Labor’s solution has been an unmitigated disaster, and their eventual capitulation shows this.

More than 22,000 people have sought asylum since Labor came to power in 2007, opening Gillard’s struggling minority Government to a debilitating attack from the Opposition and all efforts at reaching compromise blocked by both Liberals and Greens.

They only have themselves to blame.

Tags: ,