Come by boat and you will be denied entry to Australia for ever, but if you come by plane, it’s okay. This is the bizarre outcome the ‘stop the boats’ policy has produced.
People smugglers are alive and well, doing great business, after changing their business model to accommodate the government crackdown on asylum seekers coming to our shores by boat.
Figures just released by the Home Affairs department show that 27,931 protection visa applications were made in the latest financial year by asylum seekers who have come by plane.
This is a record under this government or the previous Labor government.
The previous record number was 26,845 in the 2012-13 financial year, under Labor. But that figure included 18,365 for boat arrivals and only 8480 for those who came by plane. And the figures for 2018-19 will by higher still.
The surge of arrivals by plane requesting asylum has created a mounting backlog of applications, mainly from China, Malaysia and India, and is now taking up to three years to process, largely because the Home Affairs department is reducing its frontline staffing.
The hypocrisy is mind-numbing. It also raises the question: where are these plane arrivals being accommodated? The numbers are too great to be sent to Christmas Island. Are they detained in special centres? Again, the numbers are too high for that. So how are we managing these applicants?
No, they are living in the community, under protection visas that enable them to work and be exploited by unscrupulous employers. This requires a high degree of skilled management by people smugglers who liaise with local employers and receive ongoing commissions for their efforts.
So which party is soft on border protection? Why are we not patrolling our airports, seeking out possible asylum seekers masquerading as tourists among the millions who arrive each year? Where is the outrage?
Just to demonstrate that this past year is not a glitch, over the past four years since the government “stopped the boats”, 64,362 protection visa applications have been made by individuals who have arrived on tourist visas, by plane, under Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton’s watch.
Meanwhile, a comparatively small number of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru, wait out a determined government’s refusal to allow them entry to Australia, for no other reason, than coming by boat.
There is a high degree of organisation required to successfully pass through Australian Immigration, not just here but also at major departure points such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
This is a highly sophisticated trafficking operation and has placed our immigration officials under huge stress. Maintaining a constant supply of asylum seekers using the ‘fly-in’ model is proving more popular because it is more profitable. The more that come, the more difficult it is to process them.
It is clear that by curtailing the boat arrivals, the government has indirectly encouraged people smugglers to develop new and more sophisticated methods of delivery, exploiting weaknesses in our processing procedures.
One might argue that at least they are not risking their lives coming by sea. Really? Just when did it become popular to be concerned about people dying at sea while trying to get to Australia on leaking boats?
It certainly wasn’t during John Howard’s time. Back then no one gave a rat’s hiss. Only when Kevin Rudd became prime minister did we begin to hear plaintive cries of concern for the safety of women and children. The hypocrisy was palpable.
You will be hearing a lot about border protection over the coming months as we head towards an election. It will be unrelenting as the government tries to paint Labor as weak, all the while, hiding its own pathetic failures.
The media will be fed the usual drivel, with no mention of those arriving by plane. Hopefully, the release of these figures will put an end to that.
Sources: Details of the Onshore Humanitarian Program 2017-18 Delivery and outcomes for Non–Illegal Maritime arrival (Non –IMA) as at 30 June 2018, can be found on the HOME Affairs website at: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/
With thanks and recognition, further information can be found at: http://www.johnmenadue.com/abul-rizvi-dutton-sets-new-asylum-seeker-application-record/ and
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