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Refugees Why are we worrying?

#1 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:19 AM

This refugee issue is just going on too long. It's making our whole country look like a bunch of paranoid incompetents.

We have a tiny fraction of the world's refugee movements, estimated at 20 million people currently, to deal with. Italy, for example, has taken on more than our total arrivals in the last few months. Some countries in Africa and Asia have extensive permanent refugee settlements.

In both of these cases the refugees are not held in dentention centres, and have freedom of movement in the areas they are accomodated. This costs much less. It also means the refugees are treated in a much more human way than we could hope to claim at the moment.

What's wrong with us?
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#2 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:16 AM

View Postscotto, on 09 May 2011 - 09:19 AM, said:

This refugee issue is just going on too long. It's making our whole country look like a bunch of paranoid incompetents.


Indeed. Stop the boats and let the legitimate applicants (refugee and otherwise) into our country according to an agreed government policy. The current hopeless lot have no real plan, preferring instead to let people smugglers determine immigration policy. To the detriment of many.

The recent back pedalling is a bit of a hoot though (eg. as evidenced yesterday when Laurie Oakes interviewed the bumbling Swannie).
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#3 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 11:14 AM

View Posticey, on 09 May 2011 - 10:16 AM, said:

Indeed. Stop the boats and let the legitimate applicants (refugee and otherwise) into our country according to an agreed government policy.


Yes, I know there are all kinds of takes on this issue. Figures on international refugee movements over the past decade show that the apparent 'stopping of the boats' in past years coincided with a decline in overall refugee movements worldwide.

By the way, accepting refugees and treating them humanely IS agreed government policy - the international convention on refugees that we are a signatory to I think specifies this. Also, 70% of refugees arrive by aeroplane and live in the community while their claims are being processed as it is - with not a whisper of danger or disruption to the community. (Maybe we should move our major airports offshore to prevent this from happening in the future?)

This article sums up some of the problems within current idiot-level debate quite well:

My linkhttp://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/1843040.html

The 'stop the boats' mantra is a bit of a fantasy, in my opinion. Easy to say; less easy to be sure that it can be done.

In the meantime "people smugglers" are the new bogeyman. Perhaps some time might be better spent trying to make countries of origin [Sri Lanka, Burma, Afghanistan] into places that people don't want to run away from.
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#4 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:54 PM

View Postscotto, on 09 May 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

Figures on international refugee movements over the past decade show that the apparent 'stopping of the boats' in past years coincided with a decline in overall refugee movements worldwide.


I doubt that some global trend could account for the dramatic increase in the numbers that suddenly appeared post Rudd's watering down of policy.

View Postscotto, on 09 May 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

The 'stop the boats' mantra is a bit of a fantasy, in my opinion. Easy to say; less easy to be sure that it can be done.


Bit of a fantasy? You don't believe that the Howard government actually achieved an effectively nil number of boats? I can dredge up some stats if you really want, but more likely I have misunderstood your intent.
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#5 User is offline   Trogdor 

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:51 AM

View Postscotto, on 09 May 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

Also, 70% of refugees arrive by aeroplane and live in the community while their claims are being processed as it is - with not a whisper of danger or disruption to the community. (Maybe we should move our major airports offshore to prevent this from happening in the future?)


Whatever you think about this issue - can we just get this out of the way. The "70% of refugees arrive by aeroplane" thing (and the more common "most overstayers arrive by plane") is a red herring trotted out every time anyone discusses refugee policy. These people don't arrive as refugees, they arrive as legitimate tourists or businesspoeple, having entered on a passport and passed all relevant visa and security checks. They then make an on-shore claim for refugee status.

That's why there isn't "a whisper of danger or disruption to the community" - they are no different to a backpacker or tourist w.r.t security, criminal etc checks.

If you turn up at KL airport without a passport or a visa, and tell the guy on passport control that you plan to fly to Australia and make a claim for asylum, you aren't going to get very far.
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#6 User is offline   EvanParsons 

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 08:53 AM

It staggers me that the boat people thing is such a hot button political issue in this country - is it simply a matter of wanting prospective new entrants to Australia to go through the supposed proper channels, or is this also a manifestation of the inherent racism of Aussies in general(and fear of those with darker coloured skins and or different religions, anti-muslim sentiments)?
I mean, would the average voter be as upset if white Zimbabewean refugees were coming to Christmas Island in boats? :rolleyes:
Also, I blame the media for whipping up a lot of unnecessary hysteria about this.
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#7 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:05 AM

View PostEvanParsons, on 10 May 2011 - 08:53 AM, said:

I mean, would the average voter be as upset if white Zimbabewean refugees were coming to Christmas Island in boats? :rolleyes:
Also, I blame the media for whipping up a lot of unnecessary hysteria about this.

Well said. I think the pollies are pushing that button, or blowing that dog whistle, as hard as they can go. It's a free kick at a non-voting segment of the population and everyone gets to feel righteous about it.

Regarding objection about the refugees arriving by plane idea, the plane arrivees are still claiming refugee status, exactly the same as the boat arrivees. Because they could get access to travel documents allowing them to fly, this does not mean they shouldn't be counted as refugees.

As for Howard 'stopping the boats', he didn't. Arrivals were much lower, as it has been shown, in line with world refugee movements. In the meantime, something like 95% of people who were sent to Nauru, for example, eventually were granted refugee status, making the whole thing an expensive PR manouvre.

Interestingly, the current deal to return BOAT arrivals to Malaysia has a precedent - Cambodian refugees were returned to Cambodia if the could love there safely while their claims were processed under the Hawke/Keating goeverments - Nick Bolkus was minister for immigration then.
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#8 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 08:45 PM

As I said in other forums this problem is worldwide and it is going to get worse...and the people amugglers are getting richerThis was actually predicted as I recall back in the 1970's when it was called the "North-South" problem...so-called because the poor in the"south' will seek a better living in the rich "north'. The United Nations must step in as I suggested and the problem must be taken away from all countries and all refugee conventions scrapped. As I proposed (and it is going to be expensive but the developed countries can afford it jointly)..an uninhabited island must be found which may be central to the planet....perhaps in the Indian Ocean. It would be then "made over" to become a "township" complete with homes and communications. And it's simple....whenever a boat (with asylum seekers) anywhere on the seas is seen a helicopter picks them up and taken to the island to be processed. Thus no boat from anywhere will reach any country except to this island for processing The whole process must be under United Nations control. This will instantly stop people smugglers...and perhaps more boats arriving to anywhere as everyone concerned will realize that the "travellers" will finish up on that island for processing anyway. of course Australia and the USA and other countries (in Europe where they have this problem as well) will have to bear the cost, but it is costing those countries presently millions of dollars anyway
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#9 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:32 PM

View Postdumbcluck, on 11 May 2011 - 08:45 PM, said:

As I said in other forums ... will have to bear the cost, but it is costing those countries presently millions of dollars anyway

Interesting idea. But surely it's less expensive to make sure these countries have good government and properly developed or supported to the degree that their citizens don't feel the need to run away?
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#10 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 08:37 AM

View Postscotto, on 10 May 2011 - 10:05 AM, said:

As for Howard 'stopping the boats', he didn't. Arrivals were much lower, as it has been shown, in line with world refugee movements.


So here's a graph (also posted in another thread and provided courtesy of the Dept. of Immigration & Citizenship.) depicting numbers in detention centres over twenty years.

Posted Image

In case you miss it, it's the last 2½ years tht's of most interest.

If you are seriously suggesting that there was a correlating wild upward swing in "world refugee movements", perhaps you could point to the (roughly) matching graph? Or is it just possible that Rudd policy could have nudged things along a bit?
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#11 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 09:02 AM

I don't think that Australian policy would have affected worldwide refugee movements at all, no, not in percentage terms. There has been some public discusion of this here in recent times. [I'd put their graph in here but my computer is having trouble with the insert function]. There was an article that summarised a lot of the research literature on this problem towards the end of last year.

The previous 'Pacific Solution' was estimated to cost $1B and diverted only 46 people from coming to live in Australia. That's about... $20million each?

Worldwide refugee flows are an overall measure of the degree to which conflict is driving people from their homelands. The so-called 'pull factor' does not account for the majority of refugees - it is the push factor that causes them to leave their homes. This is the real thing we need to concentrate on.
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#12 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 10:55 AM

refugees come from mainly from 'third world countries' for a better life in the 'first world' countries. This is the image people smugglers depict. Some escape persecution others war...but a 'better life' is uppermost in their minds It is impossible to make EVERY country on the planet similar to a 'first world' lifestyle so this problem is going to persist.Perhaps this 'island sanctuary" idea of mine is the half way between a 'third world' lifestyle which saves many from persecution/wars......and an 'illegal' entry into a country. The people smugglers however are going to have a hard time convincing refugees to attempt a crossing to a 'non specific island'in the Indian ocean. It will create two categories of refugees those who are applying via the proper channels and those who jump the queue. The United Nations will have to give priority to the former whilst keeping the latter.Instead of international refugee conventions which will be scrapped negotiating a quote system of the number of refugee intake (from the 'island sanctuary" with each country will be the priority of the United Nations
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#13 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:08 AM

It's an entertaining suggestion, but I thought about it a bit and:

Okay - who says it's impossible to make every country more like 'first world'? If we use the unlimited-growth/resource exploitation model of development this may be true, however definitely possible to lift the standard of living around the world by other means.

Also, what would conditions on the island be like? If they include decent health care and personal freedoms to wander around the island for example, there might be a lot of people from Australia, the UK and the US trying to get there. That would create a whole new problem.

This 'queue' idea is weird. If you're a refugee, there is no queue - you're just trying to get away and to a better place. If you're in danger, you don't line up at the UNHCR somewhere and go back home to wait until your number comes up. Even in 'organised' refugee camps, there is no recognisable queue and the system takes maybe 10 years to produce a result.

Finally, why the prooccupation with people smugglers? They are not the cause of the problem. For long before there was such a thing, people just bought boats or hired crews to try to take them somewhere. The people smugglers are doing what organised criminals everywhere do - they take advantage of a bad situation to make money.
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#14 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 05:12 PM

View Postscotto, on 12 May 2011 - 09:02 AM, said:

I don't think that Australian policy would have affected worldwide refugee movements at all, no, not in percentage terms. There has been some public discusion of this here in recent times. [I'd put their graph in here but my computer is having trouble with the insert function]. There was an article that summarised a lot of the research literature on this problem towards the end of last year.

The previous 'Pacific Solution' was estimated to cost $1B and diverted only 46 people from coming to live in Australia. That's about... $20million each?

Worldwide refugee flows are an overall measure of the degree to which conflict is driving people from their homelands. The so-called 'pull factor' does not account for the majority of refugees - it is the push factor that causes them to leave their homes. This is the real thing we need to concentrate on.


Of course Australian policy won't particularly effect worldwide refugee movements. Other than to Australia that is.

Less than 500 then (thanks to the ALP policy change), skyrocketing to 6500.

I'd be dividing your billion bucks by 6500 (minus 46 if you like), and then comparing the result to the per capita cost of the Gillard solution (either during the East Timor la la land policy, or the new improved ... read, inhumane, "I'm getting angry now" Malaysian one for five swap.

And given that you are quite reasonably into cost factors, what price do you put on the hundreds of lives lost in attempts to run the ocean gauntlet?
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#15 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:44 PM

The 'island sanctuary' I am talking about will not be a holiday resort. It will be just a 'township' without barbed wire where people may live in bungalows.....picture Army houses in Australia....similar to that. Of course there will be a hospital, communications(telephones) and perhaps even a post office. It will cost perhaps billions to set up but 'rich'countries jointly can do it and it is a one off expense aside from the permanent upkeep. It is costing individual countries billions presently on this problem...and it is fragmented....some countries 'palm off' refugees to other countries others send them off somewhere else...and so on.This concept will be run by the United Nations only
IAnd Scotto...having all countries in the 'first world' is unachievable. You see there is more to being in the 'first world' than being a 'rich' country. It involves as well democratic practices...like the rule of law....real separation of powers etc. Many countries can never hope to comply with these requirements
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#16 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 02:52 PM

View Postdumbcluck, on 17 May 2011 - 08:44 PM, said:

IAnd Scotto...having all countries in the 'first world' is unachievable. You see there is more to being in the 'first world' than being a 'rich' country. It involves as well democratic practices...like the rule of law....real separation of powers etc. Many countries can never hope to comply with these requirements

That's interesting - I would have thought the democratic practices were the most acheivable part, especially if we stop supporting dictators! For example - Sri Lanka is a brewing dictatorship and is never mentioned in Australia as such, despite being a consistent source of refugees.
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#17 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 02:59 PM

View Posticey, on 14 May 2011 - 05:12 PM, said:

And given that you are quite reasonably into cost factors, what price do you put on the hundreds of lives lost in attempts to run the ocean gauntlet?

The Pacific Solution didn't affect arrivals in Australia - it was in place at a time of far fewer arrivals EVERYWHERE. What it affected was that it put in place the group fantasy that Australia has a refugee problem - we don't.

Do you still think $1Billion is a reasonable amount to spend? That would amount to a LOT if spent in third world countries to improve conditions and prevent refugee departures, no?

The lives lost are shocking - but the Howard government didn't seem to be worried about this, in terms of the attention it paid to SIEV X and being very backward about specifying what 'disruption efforts' meant in relation to refugee boats in Indonesia in the past.
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#18 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 07:39 PM

What a great noble concept to have every country in the "first world". I have been living on this planet for 66 years and it has always been the "three categories" of lifestyle on the planet....the "first world"...the "second world" and the "third world". If it did not change in 66 years I do not think that it will....that is the way it is. Speaking philosophically (sometimes I do) I am of the view that everything which exists on the planet is meant to exist for a reason as dictated by nature. And there has to be a (natural) reason for these disparities on the planet.
I have not come up with an answer so far....but perhaps in the future I will
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#19 User is offline   Marat 

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 05:06 PM

Society, class, poverty, inequality,racism, sexism etc. are all creations of people and can be changed by people. Nature does not determine human society. Read Darwin on slavery and Marx on everything.
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#20 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 06:48 PM

View Postdumbcluck, on 20 May 2011 - 07:39 PM, said:

What a great noble concept to have every country in the "first world".... Speaking philosophically (sometimes I do) I am of the view that everything which exists on the planet is meant to exist for a reason as dictated by nature. And there has to be a (natural) reason for these disparities on the planet.

Natural - as apart from human beahviour? Surely our behaviour is in the realm of 'nature' - including greed, exploitation, and cruelty as well as democracy, helping and sharing.
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