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The facts about ‘boat people’ – The government and media are lying

“The facts about ‘boat people’ – The government and media are lying” is a title that perfectly sums up the emphasis in this guest post by Glenn Murray. This was first published on Glenn’s blog in October last year, but it is such a powerful exposé of the extent of the lies that we need to keep disseminating Glenn’s message. We would urge you all to share this widely. The lies can only be fully exposed if more people were aware of the truth.

Who are ‘boat people’?

‘Boat people’ are asylum seekers who arrive by boat, without a valid visa or any other appropriate authorisation. They’re seeking protection (asylum) because they fear persecution in/from the home country (torture, murder, illegal imprisonment, etc.).

Are ‘boat people’ doing something illegal?

No. Asylum seekers are NOT illegal. They’ve broken no laws at all. Under Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

The terms, ‘illegal immigrants’, ‘illegals’, etc., are completely incorrect.

The 2012 UNHCR Guidelines on Detention explain it in plain English:

“Every person has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution, serious human rights violations and other serious harm. Seeking asylum is not, therefore, an unlawful act… In exercising the right to seek asylum, asylum-seekers are often forced to arrive at, or enter, a territory without prior authorisation. The position of asylum-seekers may thus differ fundamentally from that of ordinary migrants in that they may not be in a position to comply with the legal formalities for entry. They may, for example, be unable to obtain the necessary documentation in advance of their flight because of their fear of persecution and/or the urgency of their departure. These factors, as well as the fact that asylum-seekers have often experienced traumatic events, need to be taken into account in determining any restrictions on freedom of movement based on irregular entry or presence.” (p.12)

Is Australia obligated to help them?

Yes. Australia has a legal obligation to assist ‘boat people’ whether or not they follow our polite protocol. We signed an international law called the Refugee Convention.

Are most ‘illegal immigrants’ boat people?

No. According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, in 2012-13, 25,091 asylum seekers arrived by boat, more than 8,308 arrived by plane, 2,813 visa overstayers were detected, 2,328 immigration clearances were refused at air and seaports, and 15,077 other ‘unlawful non-citizens were discovered in the community.

And according to the Advertiser, that doesn’t even include all the illegals who fly in and are caught in the first two weeks. Another 200,000 or so!

Do all asylum seekers arrive by boat?

No. Since 2003, only 42% of all asylum seekers have arrived by boat.

In 2012-13, the rate was higher than that due to a spike in boat arrivals:

But as you can see below, the number of boat arrivals tend to go up and down. In other words, history tells us it will go down again after the current spike.

Are asylum seekers who arrive by boat treated the same as asylum seekers who arrive by plane?

No. Those arriving by plane aren’t detained. Plus, they can immediately apply for a protection visa, and are typically given a bridging visa while their application is processed. Boat people, on the other hand, are immediately moved to a detention centre, and they can’t immediately apply for a protection visa. Instead, they’re screened into a refugee status determination process to determine whether they’ll be allowed to apply.

What does ‘refugee’ mean?

A refugee is a person who has fled their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution (torture, murder, illegal imprisonment, etc.).

Are all ‘boat people’ actually refugees?

9 out of every 10 ‘boat people’ are eventually found to be genuine refugees. They have a genuine reason to fear persecution in their own country (as assessed against the regulations set out in our Migration Act).

According to the Department of Immigration and Border Control, since 2008, 92% of all considered asylum cases relating to people arriving by boat were granted (p.30).

As a graph:

But even if they weren’t, it still wouldn’t change Australia’s legal obligation. We are legally obliged to accept asylum seekers.

Are they ‘jumping the queue’?

No. There’s no such thing as a queue. Anyone who wants to claim asylum must leave their home country first. So all asylum seekers flee to other countries. Some overland, some by plane, some by boat. Some come to Australia, some go to other countries. This is the standard way to seek asylum. These people are called ‘onshore applicants’.

Sadly, a lot of refugees are very, very poor, so their only option is to travel overland to a neighbouring country. That’s why countries like Kenya and Ethiopia have huge refugee camps (because of trouble in neighbouring Somalia).

Sometimes refugees are resettled in a country other than the one they fled to. E.g. Someone might be resettled from a refugee camp to Australia. These people are called ‘offshore applicants’. This is something we voluntarily do to supplement the standard ‘onshore’ process. Again, resettling refugees from refugee camps is a voluntary act. Australia does it to share the refugee load with other countries. Accepting asylum seekers who come directly to Australia is our legal obligation.

Unfortunately, Australia’s policy is that when we accept an onshore refugee (i.e. an asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by plane or boat), a place is deducted from the offshore program (i.e. there’s one less place for people being moved from refugee camps). No other country in the world does this. In other words, it’s policy that takes places from camp refugees, not ‘boat people’.

Are they still genuine refugees if they can afford boat passage?

Yes. The manner of an asylum seeker’s arrival isn’t what makes them a genuine refugee (or not). They’re judged to be a genuine refugee if they have a well-founded fear of persecution at home.

And although the poor are often the victims of persecution, middle-class and wealthy people are persecuted too. In fact, because these people tend to be well educated, they are often persecuted for speaking out against oppressive government regimes. So just because someone can afford (or scrape together the funds) to make it to Australia, that doesn’t mean they’re not a refugee.

And remember, 92% of boat people since 2009 have been found to be genuine refugees, as assessed against the regulations set out in our Migration Act.

But even if they weren’t, Australia’s legal obligation remains the same. We are legally obliged to accept asylum seekers and process their claims.

Are they still genuine refugees if they don’t look battered, bruised and hungry when they arrive?

Yes. The Refugee Convention doesn’t say they have to look battered, bruised and hungry. It says they have to have a well-founded fear of persecution at home.

Out of interest, here’s a photo of some Jewish refugees who fled to Australia at the end of World War II (courtesy of The Australian). They don’t look particularly battered, bruised and hungry.

Are they still genuine refugees if they come via another country (e.g. Indonesia)?

Yes. Although the Refugee Convention says they must come directly from a territory where their life or freedom is threatened (as opposed to ‘skipping through’ a country like Indonesia), the 2001 Geneva Expert Round Table organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees concluded that:

Refugees are not required to have come directly from territories where their life or freedom was threatened… Article 31(1) was intended to apply, and has been interpreted to apply, to persons who have briefly transited other countries or who are unable to find effective protection in the first country or countries to which they flee.” (p.2, 10b, 10c)

Because Indonesia hasn’t signed the Refugee Convention, they’re not obliged to protect asylum seekers. As a result, asylum seekers who arrive in Indonesia live in constant fear.

Are they still genuine refugees if they don’t just flee to the closest country? Aren’t they cherry-picking?

Yes, they are still genuine refugees. There’s no law that says refugees must flee to the nearest country. In most cases, this would simply land them in a poverty-stricken, dangerous refugee camp for years. Nor is there any rule that says refugees can’t flee by plane or choose their destination.

It seems odd to me that some Australians want to vilify these people for using common sense and, in the process, reducing the load on the desperately poor countries that are actually being flooded by refugees.

Do they have passports to prove their identity? And do they burn their passports?

People (and the media) often get this confused. Boat people come by boat because they don’t an Australian visa, not because they don’t have ID. Many (perhaps most) do have passports and other identifying information, just don’t have an Australian visa.

There are reports of asylum seekers destroying their documents prior to interception by Australian Navy vessels. There are a number of reasons this could be happening: 1) As asylum seekers, they fear capture at home, so they have to destroy their real passports before they leave their home country; 2) They then use fake documents to leave their home country; and 3) They destroy these documents before arrival in Australia because they’re fake and don’t accurately represent their identity or situation, and would, therefore, impede their asylum case. I’ve also heard that people smugglers tell them to burn them as it will aid their asylum claim.

Some people smugglers also claim they sell fake passports and visas, which enable asylum seekers to fly into Australia, after which they’re advised to rip up their passports and claim asylum. But these asylum seekers often end up on dangerous boats anyway. No doubt this is another reason some boat people tear up their passports.

If they can afford boat passage, why don’t they just fly in?

Flying to Australia would definitely be cheaper and safer, and I’m sure all boat people would do it if they could. But the fact is that they have to get an appropriate visa first, and this isn’t always possible. The Australian embassies in Afghanistan and Iraq, for instance, don’t issue Australian visas. And that’s where 39% of our boat people since 2008 have come from!

What’s more, even when an embassy does issue visas (e.g. Sri Lanka, Iran & Pakistan, where 47% of our boat people have come from since 2008), the application process and requirements for an Australian visa are quite rigorous and time consuming. And if you’re fleeing for your life, you don’t usually have time to complete the application, have your documents certified and wait around for a visa to be approved.

No doubt there are also some boat people who destroy their passports. There are a few reasons this might happen: 1) As asylum seekers, they fear capture at home, so they have to destroy their real passports before they leave their home country; 2) They then use fake documents to leave their home country; and 3) They destroy these documents before arrival in Australia because they’re fake and don’t accurately represent their identity or situation, and would, therefore, impede their asylum case. I’ve also heard that people smugglers tell them to burn them as it will aid their asylum claim.

Do we get more asylum seekers than other countries?

No. In 2012, we ranked 20th overall, 29th per capita and 52nd relative to GDP. And remember approximately half of those people did NOT come by boat.

“Poor countries host vastly more displaced people than wealthier ones. While anti-refugee sentiment is heard loudest in industrialised countries, developing nations host 80 per cent of the world’s refugees.”

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon

And again, no matter what our ranking, we’re still are legally obliged to accept asylum seekers.

Do harsh border protection laws deter ‘boat people’?

No. There’s no evidence to suggest our harsh policies on ‘border protection’ reduce the number of boat people trying to get to Australia. Here’s a timeline showing when Australia introduced its harsh asylum seeker policies…

  • June 1989 – Prime Minister Hawke introduced changes that included mandatory deportation, and allowed for the recovery of funds from asylum seekers to pay for the costs of their detention and deportation. The number of boat people continued to increase after these changes were introduced.
  • December 1992 – Prime Minister Keating introduced limited mandatory detention. The number of boat people remained unchanged afterwards.
  • April 1994 – Keating expanded mandatory detention. The number of boat people increased afterwards.
  • October 1999 – Prime Minister Howard introduced temporary visas (TPVs). Instead of getting a permanent protection visa, refugees were instead given only temporary protection (a 3 year protection visa). After that, their case would be reviewed. Also, their protection could be revoked if they left Australia during the 3 years, and it didn’t allow their families to settle in Australia. The number of boat people continued to increase afterwards.
  • September 2001 – Howard introduced the ‘Pacific Solution’. This involved offshore processing and detention, and turning back of boats. Again, some people claim this policy slowed the arrival of boats, but the data show the numbers were already dropping by the time he introduced the Pacific Solution. Plus, the introduction of the Pacific Solution (Sept 2001) coincided with the removal of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan (Oct 2001). Leading up to this point, Afghanistan had been one of our major sources of asylum seekers (17% in 2001-01). Also, from 2001 to 2002 there was a 45% drop in refugee numbers worldwide.
  • August 2012 – Prime Minister Gillard reintroduces the Pacific Solution. It didn’t slow the boats. In fact, the number of boat more than doubled.

It’s clear these hard-line policies can’t be claimed as deterrents. In all but 2 cases, the number of boat people increased afterwards. Once it remained unchanged, and once it was already going down before the policy was introduced. So if we’re to believe that Australia’s harsh policy has any significant impact on boat people numbers, we’d have to deduce it’s often an incentive!

How many ‘boat people’ resettle in Australia? Won’t we be over-run?

No we won’t be over-run. Not even close! For the 2012-13 period, Australia makes available 190,000 places for immigrants. During the same period, 4,949 ‘boat people’ were granted refugees status in Australia. So refugees who arrive by boat make up just 2.5% of all immigration.

Let’s look at it another way. In 2012, only 4,949 boat people were granted refugee status in Australia. That’s one person per 4,718 Australians. You might just be able to see the thin line representing approved boat people in the graph below…

Don’t boat people get more social security?

No. Asylum seekers aren’t entitled to the same welfare as citizens and permanent residents. They get Asylum Seeker Assistance (ASA), which covers basic living expenses, at a rate below Centrelink benefits.

Once an asylum seeker’s claim is processed, and they’re judged a refugee, they receive the same amount of social security as a citizen or permanent resident. They “apply for social security through Centrelink like everyone else and are assessed for the different payment options in the same way as everyone else. There are no separate Centrelink allowances that one can receive simply by virtue of being a refugee.” (

Unfortunately, the Australian government doesn’t allow asylum seekers to work. Nor does it allow refugees to work until they become permanent residents (which can take years). If they were allowed to work, the burden on our welfare system would be far less.

Doesn’t it cost a lot to keep asylum seekers detained?

Yes. That’s another reason why we should stop doing it. According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, it costs approx $225,000 to detain a person on Manus Island or Nauru. If they were were allowed to live in the general community (say, in specified rural areas in need of a population injection), it would cost only $35,000.

But aren’t they all Muslims who’ll want us to submit to Sharia law?

No. In 2012-13, only about half (57%) of asylum claims are were from Muslim boat people fleeing countries that follow strict Sharia law. That’s just 1.4% of all our immigrants. And remember, these people are fleeing those Sharia law countries!

Doesn’t Tony Abbott have a mandate to stop the boats?

Arguably. But he does NOT have a mandate to stop them by breaching international law. Some voters definitely agreed with the stop the boats policy, and Abbott won the election on the back of that policy. But he didn’t mention breaching international law during his campaign, so he does not have a mandate to do so.

Abbott decided to breach international law, not voters.

In fact, only 45.6% of Australians actually voted for Abbott. Yes, he still won the election on preferences, and yes, ‘stop the boats’ was AN election campaign, but there’s a big divide between claiming a mandate on an issue and assuming the majority of Australians support it. And that 45.6% includes people who voted for Abbott based on other factors, such as hating Rudd, hating Labor, being over Labor’s idiotic back-room bickering, and supporting any one of the LNP’s other policies.

Is Australia breaching international law?

Yes. We’re breaching all of the following (see below list for details):

  • UN Refugee Convention
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR)
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR)
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • Australia’s Criminal Code (Commonwealth)

The UN Refugee Convention

The UN Refugee Convention requires that we must treat refugees at least as well as any other foreigner:

Except where this Convention contains more favourable provisions, a Contracting State shall accord to refugees the same treatment as is accorded to aliens generally” (Article 7, 1)

And that we must not send them anywhere where they’ll be unsafe or imprisoned:

No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” (Article 33, 1)

Importantly, it also says we must not penalise people who arrive without the appropriate visa or other paperwork:

The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence” (Article 31, 1)

It also says we must not detain them longer than is necessary for their asylum claims to be processed:

The Contracting States shall not apply to the movements of such refugees restrictions other than those which are necessary and such restrictions shall only be applied until their status in the country is regularized or they obtain admission into another country.” (Article 31, 2)

But by locking up asylum seekers in detention centres, we’re not treating them as we do other foreigners. Nor are we detaining them merely for the time necessary to assess their asylum claims. Instead, as a direct penalty for the way they arrived, we’re detaining them indefinitely in order to deter other asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat. Not only are their movements being restricted, but the conditions of their imprisonment are terrible – another penalty and deterrent.

The UNHCR Guidelines are very clear on this:

Detention must not be arbitrary… Mandatory or automatic detention is arbitrary as it is not based on an examination of the necessity of the detention in the individual case… Detention that is imposed in order to deter future asylum-seekers, or to dissuade those who have commenced their claims from pursuing them is inconsistent with international norms. Furthermore, detention is not permitted as a punitive – for example, criminal – measure or a disciplinary sanction for irregular entry or presence in the country. Apart from constituting a penalty under Article 31 of the 1951 Convention, it may also amount to collective punishment in violation of international human rights law.” (pages 15 – 18)

Also, by pushing/towing asylum seeker boats back to Indonesian waters from Australian waters, we’re once again restricting their movements unnecessarily and penalizing them. We’re also returning them to a place where the lives and freedom of many would be threatened. Many asylum seekers are Shia Muslims who are fleeing persecution by Sunni Muslims in their home country. Indonesia is 88.2% Muslim, and the majority of those Muslims are Sunni. So Shia Muslims face persecution in Indonesia just as they faced at home.

The UNHCR has been very clear on this too, telling Australia, in April 2014, that:

There are obligations as a signatory to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 protocol, which say: if you intercept in your territorial waters, you should allow those in need of protection to have access to the asylum system”

This wasn’t our first warning either. The UN warned Australia about this breach in early January, 2014, too:

UNHCR would be concerned by any policy or practice that involved pushing asylum-seeker boats back at sea without a proper consideration of individual needs for protection… Any such approach would raise significant issues and potentially place Australia in breach of its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and other international law obligations.”

Incidentally, we’re further breaching our responsibilities by changing workplace safety laws to exempt Navy sailors from their obligation to take ‘reasonable care’ to ensure the safety of asylum-seekers. In doing so we’re indirectly penalising asylum seekers.

What’s more, Article 16 of the Refugee Convention also stipulates that asylum seekers must have access to free legal assistance:

A refugee shall enjoy in the Contracting State in which he has his habitual residence the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the Courts, including legal assistance and exemption from cautio judicatum solvi

(“Cautio judicatum solvi” means payment of security for legal costs.) Sadly, however, our government now denies legal assistance to asylum seekers who arrive by boat.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) says that:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.” (Emphasis added)

By arbitrarily detaining asylum seekers, we are violating their fundamental human rights.

Other human rights conventions

According to Julian Burnside QC, by “using arbitrary detention for asylum seekers, and subjecting people (including children) to conditions which put their physical and mental health at risk in order to persuade them to return to their homelands, and deter further people from seeking asylum in Australia”, we’re breaching the following international conventions:

What’s more, recently a Sudanese asylum seeker claimed he was deliberately burned by Australian Navy personnel. Yet despite being legally obligated to investigate the matter, the Australian government is investigating the ABC, for reporting the claims! Under the United Nations Convention against Torture, which we voluntarily signed, we agree to “ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.” (Article 12, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).

We’re also breaching the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 2(2)), under which it is prohibited to detain someone on the basis of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.

Australia was also strongly criticised by independent organisation, Human Rights Watch, in its 2014 World Report (p.292):

Successive governments have prioritized domestic politics over Australia’s international legal obligations to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, many of who have escaped from appalling situations in places like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Too often, the government has attempted to demonize those trying to reach Australia by boat and has insisted that officials refer to all asylum seekers who do so as illegal maritime arrivals.”

Laws of the sea

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires contracting states to:

ensure that necessary arrangements are made for distress communication and co-ordination…”

The 2012 Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, interprets this to mean “Where assistance has been provided to persons in distress in a state’s SRR, that state has primary responsibility to ensure that coordination and cooperation occurs between governments, so that survivors are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety. ” But Australian defence personnel are not helping asylum seekers disembark or otherwise reach safety. Instead, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires contracting states to:

… promote the establishment, operation and maintenance of an adequate and effective search and rescue service regarding safety on and over the sea and, where circumstances so require, by way of mutual regional arrangements co-operate with neighbouring States for this purpose.”

But Australian defence personnel are not co-operating with Indonesia to ensure the safety of asylum seekers. Instead, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia.

The International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) requires contracting states to:

… ensure that assistance be provided to any person in distress at sea … regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found” and to “… provide for their initial medical or other needs, and deliver them to a place of safety.”

But Australian defence personnel are not delivering asylum seekers to a place of safety, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia.

What’s more, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), we’re also breaching:

  • Amendments to the SOLAS and SAR Conventions, which require contracting states to: “… arrange disembarkation as soon as reasonably practicable”; and
  • Guidelines on the Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea, which state: “The government responsible for the SAR region in which survivors were recovered is responsible for providing a place of safety or ensuring that such a place of safety is provided,” where a ‘place of safety’ is defined as “… a location where rescue operations are considered to terminate, and where: the survivors’ safety or life is no longer threatened; basic human needs (such as food, shelter and medical needs) can be met; and transportation arrangements can be made for the survivors’ next or final destination.”
  • But Australian defence personnel are not arranging disembarkation of asylum seekers, nor providing or ensuring a place of safety, they’re leaving them to fend for themselves, hours offshore of Indonesia.

Australia’s Criminal Code (Commonwealth)

Julian Burnside QC also suggests we may be committing “a crime against humanity contrary to section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth)”:

Article 9 of the Covenant prohibits arbitrary detention, yet people sent to Nauru and Manus Island, by Australia at Australia’s expense, are being arbitrarily detained in disturbing conditions. The refugees without ASIO security clearances are also being arbitrarily detained. This then constitutes a crime against humanity, according to the Criminal Code in section 268.12.”


So here’s what the facts tell us:

  • ‘Boat people’ are not breaking any law, so they’re not ‘illegal’.
  • Australia has a legal obligation under international law to accept asylum seekers.
  • Less than half of all ‘illegal immigrants’ are ‘boat people’.
  • Only about half of all asylum seekers arrive by boat.
  • 92% of ‘boat people’ are genuine refugees; they have a genuine reason to fear persecution in their own country.
  • ‘Boat people’ are not jumping the queue.
  • They’re still genuine refugees if they can afford boat passage.
  • They’re still genuine refugees if they come via Indonesia.
  • 51 other countries get proportionally more asylum seekers than Australia (relative to GDP).
  • ‘Soft’ border protection laws did NOT cause an influx of ‘boat people.
  • Refugees who came by boat make up only 2.5% of all of Australia’s immigrants.
  • Only 1.4% of all our immigrants are Muslim boat people from countries that follow strict Sharia law. And they’re fleeing those Sharia law countries!
  • Abbott does NOT have a mandate to stop the boats by breaching international law.
  • Australia is breaching international law by detaining boat people unnecessarily and turning them away (e.g. sending them to Indonesia).

In other words, ‘boat people’ are a small issue to Australians. They’re not doing anything wrong, and they hardly make a ripple in our overall immigration intake. We only think they’re a big issue is because the government makes them a big issue, and the media happily plays along because it’s a big story.

In reality, the only people to whom the whole ‘boat people’ issue is a big issue are boat people themselves. And, sadly, the smokescreen created by the government is very effectively obscuring that fact.

Why don’t most people know this stuff?

The fact that most people don’t know this stuff is testament to the dishonesty of our politicians and the brainwashing by or media.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s all fact on public record. Look it up. It’s another instance of the government and media distracting voters from real issues by pointing the finger and finding a common enemy.

That’s why the Coalition built its 2013 election campaign on the ‘Stop the Boats’ line. And why they changed the name of the immigration department from “The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship” to “The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection”. And why they even changed the processing label applied to asylum seeker boat arrivals from “Irregular Maritime Arrivals” to “Illegal Maritime Arrivals”.

None of this is accidental.

Am I suggesting we should open our borders up completely?

No. I’m saying we should separate our onshore and offshore refugee quotas, so boat people don’t take places of resettled camp refugees. And we shouldn’t be using ‘population’ issues as an excuse to turn ‘boat people’ away. If there are population issues (which I don’t believe there are), curtail regular immigration. At least then the people being turned away will merely be inconvenienced. They won’t be killed, tortured or wrongfully imprisoned.

What can we do about it?

If you feel strongly about this issue (and any other problems being caused by the Abbott government), make sure you write to your local politicians and to Abbott and co. Tell them what you think, and demand they stop.

Beyond that, I think we need a Constitutional Convention. And when we get it, we need to change the system to a vote-for-policies system. No politicians, no parties… And tighter regulation on corporations. I’ll be blogging about my thoughts on this soon, so make sure you subscribe to my blog.

What do you think? Please comment…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Please add a comment below, so we can chat about it.


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  1. Kaye Lee

    This article gives all the facts. Sadly I doubt that Coalition voters have the attention span to read it. The glaringly obvious thing to understand is that we are the ONLY country that conflates onshore and offshore they together make up our quota. As so reasonably pointed out, it should be regular immigration that is decreased if onshore applications increase, not the intake of people who are waiting to be processed offshore.

    It is a policy decision that keeps them languishing in camps.

  2. spiral

    Thank you for the detailed and in depth information.This should be taken as all you wanted to know about asylum seekers and used as a guide to ignorance by adherents of refugee bashers as well as appropriate Government ministers and other involved entities.

  3. Tory Bogan-ist (@DopedByMurdoch)

    Brilliant. The facts and just the facts. I’ve passed your article on to a few and hope they have the nouse to read it and the time to compare with what they’ve been indoctrinated with by the media and the current government.

  4. elizabethboustead

    Unfortunately facts are inconvenient for the 70% in the polls who approve of this government’s refugee policy. Nobody ever asks how refugees who come by plane get the money for the ticket. What to say?

  5. Nidd

    I wish you people could live in the UK and Holland for a while and see what has happened to there society because of illegals. The flood gates are open in these places and stopping illegals cannot be controlled, Thank goodness Australia has oceans surrounding it.
    Very sad i know for the genuine refugees, but if control stops all hell will break loose. Australia cannot support this as we cannot find enough work and money for our own people.

  6. Christian

    Nidd – we have processing to ensure refugees are genuine. I’ve been to the uk, and I know others who don’t read trashy media and therefore find they can survive fine in a multicultural society

  7. corvus boreus

    Your basic statements about the unavailability of work for the domestic population begs the question of 457 visas, currently being expanded to fill ‘labour vacuums’.
    I would much prefer an intake based on compassion towards circumstance, rather than an influx of third world ‘medicos’ with bought degrees, and a source of cut-price, naive labour for Ms Reinhart and co to exploit.
    As for my own penury, I am assured by Mr Hockey et al that if I receive less personal income, the nation will be richer and thus I will benefit(eventually).

  8. Kaye Lee


    The planning level for the 2014-15 Migration Programme is set at 190 000 places. Are you outraged? Are these people threatening your way of life? Why are you singling out asylum seekers who btw are NOT illegal much as the xenophobic racist part of our community may like to label them as such. This idea that we will be overwhelmed is just silly.

  9. duggy47

    Well said Glenn
    Spreading the truth is the necessary first step towards righting the appalling bi-partisan deceit on this issue. Unfortunately however two decades of dog whistling to the worst in our national character has so emboldened our innate bigotry that this institutionalized cruelty will long endure. Another reason to vote Greens.

  10. Terry2

    In the meantime, three weeks later, we appear to still have 153 people bobbing around somewhere on the Indian Ocean on a boat that is probably owned by Australian Customs and, without a doubt, quite a few would be suffering from chronic sea sickness if not worse..

    Why, apart from political obstinacy, can’t theses people be taken to Christmas Island where we have all the facilities for processing and medical checks ?

  11. Kaye Lee

    Because then we couldn’t say “It’s been 723 years since a boat has successfully sought haven in Australia”

  12. Pingback: The facts about ‘boat people’ – The government and media are lying – » The Australian Independent Media Network | I, Mosquito

  13. bjkelly1958

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article, and wish to add the point that the government calls them “illegal” based on a piece of opportunistic chicanery perpetrated under John Howard. The Migration Act 1958 was amended in light of what happened on the Tampa, by Act 134 of 2001, so that a non-citizen in the migration zone who is not a lawful non-citizen is an unlawful non-citizen, and a non-citizen in the migration zone who, immediately before 1 September 1994, was an illegal entrant within the meaning of the Migration Act as in force then became,on that date, an unlawful non-citizen. This made entry to Australian waters by asylum seekers without visas, “illegal” under Australian Law. This is in clear breach of Australia’s obligations under International conventions. With the media-manufactured furore created around the event, the dog-whistling to a confused but easily manipulated Australian population began, and it’s never ceased, even though the electorate is better aware of the truth than it had been.
    Further amendments of the relevant Act were made so that the entry on to a foreign ship outside Australian waters by the SAS was made legal under Australian law.

  14. Dan Rowden

    The most recent boats – or at the very least one of them – was intercepted and detained in the contiguous zone, not Australian territorial waters.

    The contiguous zone is a band of water extending from the outer edge of the territorial sea to up to 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi) from the baseline, within which a state can exert limited control for the purpose of preventing or punishing “infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea”.

    This opens up interesting legals questions, specifically relating to piracy. Since the boats had not entered territorial waters they had yet to commit any offense against customs or immigration laws, so on what basis could they be intercepted and detained in that zone? Some of the passengers on the boat with 41 people have claimed their destination was New Zealand. If so, our stopping them in the contiguous zone surely amounts to piracy. If not, is the mere declaration of intent to enter Australian Territorial waters sufficient legal justification to act within the legal limits offered by the contiguous zone?

    I find the whole thing slippery and the statement by the Government’s own QC, to the High Court, that the boat[s] were in fact stopped in that zone to be highly interesting.

  15. Kevin

    Every fair minded Australian needs to read this most important information on what is really occurring in our name towards Asylum Seekers by the immoral Abbott Government.

  16. janierainforestgirl

    Great article. My only criticism is the part about Abbott having a mandate from the people to stop the boats. The majority of people voted against Labor, not for the coalition. I don’t know anybody who voted for the coalition due to that policy.

  17. Ed Orman

    Great article, well written. Thanks!

    One note: this paragraph is repeated twice:
    “No doubt there are also some boat people who destroy their passports. There are a few reasons this might happen: 1) As asylum seekers, they fear capture at home, so they have to destroy their real passports before they leave their home country; 2) They then use fake documents to leave their home country; and 3) They destroy these documents before arrival in Australia because they’re fake and don’t accurately represent their identity or situation, and would, therefore, impede their asylum case. I’ve also heard that people smugglers tell them to burn them as it will aid their asylum claim.”

  18. diannaart

    Superb article – a shame it won’t be considered by those who really need to get a grip on reality. However have FB’d & Tweeted, ‘coz you just never know.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Ed. Well picked up. I’ll fix it when I get near a computer.

  20. Oz

    If you bridge a visa you are illegal in Australia and you’re breaking a law but if you pay $5000 to lawyer you are legal again. So if you arrive whiteout valid visa so how come you don’t break the low??? This is a joke , big one !!! #2 refugee do not have medi check required by government , so they breaking law again ( they could bring AIDS, malaria and another disease absolutely whiteout any control ).#3 can somebody explain to me from where do they taking $10000 per head to get on the boat ,cos it is not for free . Mafia(smugglers ) charge them $10,000/each and if they make $2 a day this is equivalent of $1Mln to me if I make $200/day . So it’s mean refugee are very reach people and in this shifty business must be involved somebody from the top. Couple people make MLN $$$ and we as society pay for this from our taxes . There is no another logical alternative to me how this is work,100% corruption .(corruption is no good if you are not involved )#4 how come refugee goinng on holiday to their country of origin ??? Big joke what department of immigration is doing ???? Do they sleeping ???

  21. mars08

    One question I’m often asked by those who favour a more humane system… “Where do you draw the line? How many genuine refugees can we resettle in Australia?”

    Leaving aside the political aspect and “assimilation” waffle. How many refugees can we comfortably take?

  22. corvus boreus

    Oz, I is fined differcult stand under you’re saysed what?(???)

  23. Christian

    The thing is, the people arguing for the current actions, assume we’re being overwhelmed. We are not. They assume all advocates are suggesting we take in as many as show up. I’ve not met anyone who is. The point really is that in the first instance, out of 500k people coming to Australia a year, 20k are refugees. So, if we have too many people coming in, refugees are not the issue. Secondly, the problem right now is that we differentiate based on method of arrival. How ever many we decide to take, there is no sensible reason to suggest they have to come a certain way, to be considered for settlement. This places an unfair burden on people who, by definition, have limited resources and options. The whole ‘where do you draw the line’ question is the beginning of a straw man argument ( ‘you want to let them all in’ ) and my current answer is ‘well short of refouling genuine refugees’. Once we move past doing things that are insanely cruel, we can start to talk about where within the range of reasonable responses, we want the line drawn.

  24. Wayne Turner

    FACTS – What most of the MSM,alot of the public (maybe even majority 🙁 ) and this Liberal party have NO time for.

    It’s a sad shame that the Labor party don’t have the GUTS to stand up for FACTS,and most importantly these PEOPLE.

  25. Pingback: The facts about ‘boat people’ &ndas...

  26. Kazem

    You didnt told us about people smuggler and what they are doing in this business, what about them? Are they genuine criminals ? Is there dirty business considered as a crime ? Are they playing with asylums lives and assets?
    Is there any other ways and legal Chanel’s to apply for asylum abroad like UNHCR office in Jakarta ? Isn’t it much better to apply for asylum to UNHCR Jakarta and spend your life and money in safety in Indonesia rather than pay your money to a cruel smuggler and let him to play with your life and money on a rusty unsafe boat ?
    At the end please remember, every house has a door to be respected and knocked and the safest legal way to seek asylum is
    thru UNHCR.
    Support UNHCR, support ASYLUMS

  27. Christian

    The people driving the boats are often fishermen, not hardened criminals. They use boats that are cheap because they know our government impounds them. If they are going to lose the boat, they want to limit their loss, so they drive cheap boats, which may be unreliable. The trouble with Indonesia, is the process is not at all like a queue, people are left in limbo, not knowing how long it will take. If our government provided application via our embassy, that would be a much better way to stop people getting on boats.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Tad Tietze explains it like this:

    “Those reasons (for the continued asylum debate) are defined primarily by the political needs of elites to create scapegoats and distractions for their failure to provide security to ordinary people already living here – not of borders, but of a social kind. That is, they seek to displace social insecurity into a defence of national integrity, here in the form of ‘border security’, in the process shifting blame for social ills onto an external ‘other’ that is threatening to invade and disrupt our livelihoods and cohesion. While previously the natural territory of the Right, the mainstream Left has been drawn into playing this game the more it has abandoned its traditional support base in favour of pro-corporate neoliberal policies.”

    One truly bizarre thing I notice is that migrant Australians are often the harshest critics of those seeking asylum here. I do not understand this attitude. I hear “my family came the right way” and “they are taking places from genuine refugees”. How your family arrived is irrelevant to the plight of another individual and has been pointed out, we accept about 200,000 a year – If more of these places need to go to refugees then so be it.

    As to how many can we take, 30,000 seems reasonable considering the current situation. But also work on helping the rest of the world move out of poverty and towards peace.

  29. Ed

    What about the fact that 1000 people drowned en route to seek asylum in Australia after Rudd relaxed the laws out of ‘compassion’? A little interesting this is absent. I guess it would be inconvenient to draw links between a policy more favourable towards boat arrivals, leading to more boat arrivals and a proportionate increase in refugees drowning. Wouldn’t get to sound so morally pure then, would you?

  30. ambi

    Me too mars08, it’s an important question and it highlights the need to rethink Australia’s immigration policies and perhaps come to some agreement about the necessity for a quota on immigration per se, rather than just cutting back the number of refugees that we accept, either off-shore on on-shore. One possible answer I think, like someone else has commented, is that why on earth doesn’t our selfish neoliberal government seek to integrate asylum seekers so that they can i) live safely without fearing for their lives, and ii) contribute to the economy in a positive way, rather accepting a comparatively greater number of regular migrants who are not fleeing from persecution and keeping asylum seekers tied to benefits? Several African states have integrated refugees in such a way that now THEY are engaged in creating jobs for others. I don’t usually like to adopt a capitalist perspective in order to justify a more accepting immigration policy – the debate is an issue of human rights – but in this world, money talks…

  31. Christian

    Ed, it’s not possible to change the fact that people are fleeing their countries and desperate for a chance to start again. We can’t change that people want to get here. What we can do, is make their journey safe. We can do that by stopping the boats. You can’t stop them by punitive measures. Desperate people tell themselves that Australia is a civilised country and surely these things are not true. You do it by providing processing in places like Indonesia, so people don’t have to wait years, so there IS a queue, and so they feel they are achieving something by waiting to be processed, where they are.

  32. Kaye Lee


    If you want to talk deaths at sea at least try to be factual.

    Between 2000 and 2007 (the period which includes the introduction of the “Pacific Solution” for asylum seekers travelling by boat under the Coalition government), the database documents 746 reported deaths of asylum seekers. Of those, 713 asylum seekers died at sea while on their way to Australia, 22 died in detention (the majority of those cases were suicide, but there were some deaths of natural causes); and 11 people were returned to Afghanistan and reportedly murdered for being “Australian spies”.

    Between 2008 and July 2013 (under Labor), 877 asylum seekers have reportedly died. Of those, 15 committed suicide or died of natural causes in detention centres. So during this period, approximately 862 individuals died trying to reach Australia’s mainland to seek asylum.

  33. lawrencewinder

    Thank you for putting this together.

    Three years ago in Paris ( Musee Rodin) I fell into conversation with a urbane and elegant 40-ish French woman who told me she was doing some study on the European refugee problem. I asked her what the situation was like in France and she told me that although the Government allocated for 80,000 arrivals, double that turned up. I asked her what she felt about that and her reply was, “It’s very many and does stretch our welfare but we have to be responsible for these people … it’s our duty.”
    She then asked about Australia……

  34. Simon Anderson

    Ed: that’s an extremely simple argument. Perhaps that’s why it’s so popular with the extremely simple minded Abbott, Morrison, Bishop etc.

    How hypocritical to say “we care about refugees dying at sea” in one breath, and say “we think all asylum seeker should be imprisoned and their rights violated” on the other… Don’t make the mistake of thinking the coalition gives a crap about these people dying in sea: nobody deserves the treatment they receive when they arrive.

    Secondly, though it is of course sad that so many die at sea, it is ultimately their decision: it speaks to the risks and way of life they experienced previously i.e. where they escape from, that they would choose such a risky voyage… Again, it is their choice.

    Plenty of people die each year from rock climbing… perhaps we should imprison rock climbers in equatorial third-world conditions?? Plenty of people die each year from scuba diving… perhaps we should take away their right to work and deny them any social welfare payments?? Plenty of children die each year riding bicycles… perhaps we should imprison these children away from their parents for years on end with no right to free legal council, and no due process?? It is their CHOICE to rock climb, scuba dive, ride bicycles just like it is an asylum seekers choice to get on a boat: it is their RIGHT to risk their life, and to claim we’re protecting them by violating their human rights is beyond ridiculous.

  35. Christian

    Simon raises another important point. We DO encourage people to get in boats, by limiting their options, but that is still not something we directly control. When we lock people up and mistreat them, we are ACTIVELY doing this.

  36. Ed

    It’s all well and good to advocate for more humane treatment of asylum seekers. Just understand that by making the trip by boat have more favourable outcomes for the refugee, entices more refugees to do so, and you have to accept more of them are inevitably going to drown. For all the moral grandstanding lefties like to do on this issue, the actual consequences of the policies they champion will be to kill a number of those they purport to help. My point is that no position on this issue is free of some degree of cruelty. But admitting that would offend the Left’s sense of moral purity, hence you won’t hear anything like that from them. Or here.

  37. mozdan11

    Simon: Excellent response. I have always tried to point that out but never been able to articulate it. To add to it, the reason we haven’t had boat arrivals isn’t because we have stopped them coming but because our navy has intercepted them earlier and sent them back (possibly to there deaths, but at least to more misery) Why not keep intercepting them but treat them humanely and process them legally afterwards? Win-Win I would of thought, except it goes against the neocon ideology.

  38. Möbius Ecko

    But admitting that would offend the Left’s sense of moral purity, hence you won’t hear anything like that from them.

    Utter crap Ed. That is not what the Left advocates or has ever advocated. Their policy has always been to strangle the people smuggler’s supply at the source but it was Abbott and his opposition that stymied that at every turn. It was Abbott and Morrison who encouraged the boat people when in opposition, a fact picked up by some commentators at the time, so where does the Right’s sense of moral purity stand on a party wanting people to drown so they could use that as a political football to win an election?

  39. Kaye Lee

    I notice in the budget…

    $1.0 million has been allocated over 2013-14 and 2014-15 for the activities of the Special Envoy
    for Operation Sovereign Borders.

    ”I am as happy as a pig in shit – you can quote me on that – doing what I’m doing at the moment.” – Special Envoy Jim Molan.

    Has anyone seen Molan, Tony’s personal “troubleshooter” on asylum seekers who promised to convince Indonesia to sign up to the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy? You know…the “fixer”?

    “I have a good understanding of the region . . . and I have many friends up there. I will be the troubleshooter, I will be the fixer. Technically I have been directed to facilitate regional co-operation. That is the political speak . . . what it means is I will be concentrating on a number of countries to make sure we have a regional deterrence framework. The vast majority of the solving can be done internally in Indonesia and they want to solve it. People smuggling is against their domestic law. And there is a kit bag of tools that we can use to make this work.”

    “I’ve been retired for five years, I have lived in fear of being offered a job I would want to take . . . and now it has come. This is a job we in the military can do well. And it is critical we get it right.”

    Has anybody seen Tony’s envoy?

  40. Nidd

    I think most people live in LA-LA Land on here, there is not a perfect world out there, we must save what we have got for ourselves. We do not want over population, people coming here and staying on social services forever. We are moving into a period of high unemployment, this will cause enough trouble without adding racism to it. If you want to see what unemployment does, search out South bank, Midlesborough, Uk. There are good channel 4 docs on utube, this is one of several ghettos in the UK even the police will not go in there without armed back up. Search more and you will find Muslim ghettos as well. Cannot happen here i hear you say, well try Elizabeth SA, Geelong will be next. I know you will come up with answers that are blinkered and so kind and loving, but face reality Australians are full of racism and this problem could be near you.

  41. Möbius Ecko

    Shorter Nidd. Boo!

    Just one question for Nidd, and one that has been raised by someone else in a response to a similar ill informed and ignorant rant against asylum seekers. If growing unemployment is the problem, wholly created by this current government, then why is this government allowing a relaxation of 457 visas that will see a flood of foreign workers into the country?

  42. Kaye Lee

    “we must save what we have got for ourselves”

    Who is “we”? Are these resources of “ours” to be allocated on the basis of how long your family has lived in Australia? Our First People will be pleased if that is the case.

    “face reality Australians are full of racism ”

    Not the Australians I associate with. I would suggest you need to start standing up to these racists you come across Nidd and you may just find the world is a better place. And ease up on the paranoia because you sound like a selfish bigot. Try helping someone – it will make you feel better

  43. Terry2

    Charlie Pickering made an excellent point on Q&A.

    Before the election in September it was fine for Abbott to be photographed in front of his billboard showing boat arrivals under Labor and this, evidently, was not giving people smugglers a heads-up on how their business was going.

    But under Operation Sovereign Borders no information whatsoever is released to ensure that people smugglers are not made aware of what is happening.

    Following that logic, the coalition’s billboard was actually facilitating people smuggling.

    Hypocrisy thy name is Abbott !

  44. Simon Anderson

    Its incorrect to assume immigration = less jobs for everyone. There’s not some magical finite pool of jobs for everyone: it’s logical to assume “more people = more jobs” and there are plenty of articles on this (I read somewhere that every person creates on average 1.2 jobs… I’m not sure where the .2 goes: elderly, children, disabilities etc maybe… Sorry can’t be bothered finding and referencing right now!).

    Every person that arrives needs clothing, housing, food etc… so in effect, jobs (or fractions of jobs) are created for each of those needs. And like the article says: why complain about asylum seekers? Why not complain about REGULAR migration? The thing is, these people are having their HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATED! In what backward hell of a civilization is that acceptable? We’re meant to be above that. It’s unbelievable to me that these atrocities are happening with very little uproar from society… Sorry to compare to Nazism (yes, I know there’s some cliche theory about all internet arguments resorting to comparisons to Nazism blah blah blah) but there are definite parallels when it comes to Australian society being so complicit with these crimes.

    What did your grandparents fight for??? Since when do we imprison people without trial??? Since when do we imprison and deny the right to legal council? Since when do we imprison people and not make absolutely clear when their release date will be etc (due process!?? These are meant to be UNALIENABLE human rights for Christ’s sake!! There should be rioting in the streets for our government to be committing these gross crimes against humanity!! But because the way it’s been painted in the media, partly because post 9/11 irrational Muslim fear, and party just because of prevalent racism these things are allowed to happen.

    Our grandchildren will look back at this period and think “how could they be so cruel?”

  45. Keitha Granville

    I had a long conversation with my elected member last week , amongst the topics was the asylum seeker issue. He tried very hard to convince me that what the Coalition is doing is the right thing, and is actually fair and safe. That Tamils will not come to harm in Sri Lanka, that Tamils here say their country is fine now and that most Tamils who arrive on boats eventually go home of their own accord. That we have to keep doing this to stop the people smuggling model, that Indonesia is prosecuting smugglers with our help, that there are hardly any children left in detention, that . . .. so many reasons why this government is kind and compassionate and most important, why it all has to be a HUGE secret. I found this article most instructive, thank you. Facts and figures, not ideology. I was going to send it on to him but it’s unlikely to make a difference. His mind is made up.

  46. mars08

    Simon Anderson:

    Our grandchildren will look back at this period and think “how could they be so cruel?”

    It’s worth remembering that this grotesque game…. this fiasco is now intergenerational

    There are kids IN HIGH SCHOOL today who weren’t even born when this cruelty began. And there are people who were in high school at the time of the Tampa… who now have school children of their own! What messages are being passed to that generation? What do they see as acceptable treatment of the boat people?

    Our harsh, uncaring and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers is quickly becoming an ingrained part of our culture. Sadly, I can’t imagine it turning around any time soon.

  47. Kaye Lee

    For those people who didn’t click on Naomi’s link…..

    MORE than 600,000 New Zealanders – almost 15 per cent of the trans-Tasman nation’s population – are living in Australia on temporary visas.

    New figures show the number of NZ citizens with special category visas jumped 5.4 per cent in the past year as they arrived in droves seeking jobs and better economic conditions.

    The New Zealanders are among 1.75 million people, equal to the population of Perth, here on temporary visas, including tourists, foreign students, working holidaymakers and skilled workers on 457 visas.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Nidd said google Elizabeth so I did. There is an unemployment problem there but I am unsure how it relates to asylum seekers.

    68.6% of people living in Elizabeth South were born in Australia. The other top responses for country of birth were England 9%, Scotland 1.2%, Italy 0.9%, Afghanistan 0.8%, Burundi 0.8%.

    80.7% of people speak English as their first language 1% Nepali, 1% Italian, 0.9% Spanish, 0.8% Kirundi (Rundi), 0.6% Khmer.

    The religious make up of Elizabeth South is 31.7% No Religion, 14.3% Catholic, 12.9% Anglican, 5.5% Uniting Church, 2.9% Lutheran.

    46% of the people living in Elizabeth South are employed full time, 29.8% are working on a part time basis. Elizabeth South has an unemployment rate of 18.6%.

    Could I suggest Nidd, that you read some of the excellent articles here about Modern Monetary Theory and Job Guarantees. Unemployment is completely unrelated to asylum seekers and mostly due to government policy.

  49. Fireman Sam

    Great report. The only part I will dispute is that “45.6% of Australians voted for Tony Abbott.”. That was primary votes from the people that did vote correctly. Not included in that percentage were the high number that chose NOT to vote or who voted informally whether on purpose or by accident. When they are taken into consideration it brings the percentage down to just a shake over 40%. So that’s 60% of the voting age people in the country who did NOT vote for ANY ‘mandate’ by this government. A referendum wouldn’t get through on those figures and neither should this.

  50. julie p

    And when we look at our family trees … we can see are all boat people ☺

  51. Jezza

    Visas are not a barrier to departing several of the countries mentioned via an airport. Counterfeit documents are cheap and officials can be easily paid off in most of the countries refugees are fleeing. These false documents can be easily disposed of in transit, and they frequently are – ask anyone who empties bins at any international terminal. “I’ve also heard that people smugglers tell them to burn them as it will aid their asylum claim.” is not a fact. That’s an opinion, which only detracts from your criticism of “the media” for not reporting “the facts”.

  52. Simon Anderson

    If they COULD arrive by plane, they WOULD arrive by plane… what exactly are you trying to say?

  53. Kika

    Sorry what of you mean when saying asylum seekers are not allowed to work before obtaining permanent residency ? Do you mean detained people ? But do they get any payments in detention ? Sorry asylum seeker, when granted a protection visa gets a permanent residency and can work , even
    Bridging visa allows to work

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  56. matters Not

    Jezza said:

    These false documents can be easily disposed of in transit, and they frequently are – ask anyone who empties bins at any international terminal

    Any links Jezza? Can you give me the name of anyone who empties bins at international airports so I can check? Or is this just ‘something you heard’ from someone who is a third cousin to someone who once danced with a ‘bin collector’ from Bangkok? Just askin ..?

  57. Old Joe

    Oz @ 12:15pm – I don’t know if you actually read the article BUT:

    (1) It is not an offence (i.e illegal) to arrive in Australia without a visa. Morrison uses a definition in a UN Protocol – on the smuggling of migrants – to work some legal mumbo-jumbo to justify his use of the term “illegal entry”.

    If arriving without a visa was an offence the offenders would be ‘charged and brought before a court’. They are not because there is no offence in Australian law!

    (2) People arriving without a visa are taken into detention for health and security checks. Again they are not breaking the law as you maintain by arriving without a medical certificate.

    Oz, it would help if you actually understood what constitutes an offence rather than just making up “laws” to prosecute an ill-informed argument. Then again you are possibly a legal adviser to Messrs Abbott and Morrison

  58. Derek Magill

    If genuine these people would be glad to go to the first port/ country. No they want Australia .At present we cannot afford to keep them .look at the needs that Australia has .we need more hospitals. schools, homes for our own homeless, better facility for our aged,and many more. If they are given residency they must give assurance to follow Australian laws, we can’t have them living under their own. Honour killings, young underage marriages, no freedom for woman, change western laws, a lot want this .

  59. Realist

    If you were truly seeking persecution why not seek refuge in the safest country close to where you are fleeing.

    Why buy a plane ticket to Jakarta, then get on a boat and risk your life?

    Economic advantagists.

  60. Bacchus

    Sounds like Derek Magill needs to hug a Muslim 😉 This “pants-wetting” attitude is exactly what the xenophobes in our political class encourage.

  61. Bacchus

    Perhaps “Realist” might consider “walking a mile” in their shoes, rather than making ignorant judgements from behind a comfortable keyboard?

  62. matters Not

    Derek Magill, you are a typical Aussie, in the sense that many, if not most, are on your wavelength.

    Welcome to a site where people want to explore (and question) assumptions (you know the unexamined beliefs we all have) that you regard as ‘common sense’. Hang around. While the possibilities are endless, the likelihood can be reduced to two. Either your assumptions/biases will be reinforced or you might have a rethink.

    In the final analysis, it will be up to you. But my advice is on the lines of don’t go away.

  63. Matters Not

    Is Realist related to Derek? Kissing cousins perhaps? A meeting of great minds? Original thinkers? Feeders from the same trough? Just askin..?

    Or trolls who simply ‘cut and run’? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  64. A sri lankan

    If any Sri Lankan seeks for an asylum anywhere in this world. He or She is someone trying to get a better life in somewhere else in this world. Minorities in Sri lanka are enjoying the same rites as the others. Of course anybody would like to live in the West or Europe Or in other countries, because simply no hard work. So they will say anything to those countries to get visaaaaaaas. take them as much as you like but one day you will realize!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oooooops toooooooo lateeeeeeee

  65. A sri lankan

    All those people asks for the refugee states are economic migrants,
    those who think an easy life in other countries. to get the PR they will say anything !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. Choppa

    Sri Lankan you only need to watch any of the many ABC docos or international docos interviewing those jumping on boats, in the back of trucks etc. to know they are cherry picking their destination for economic advantage. As soon as you “choose” your destination, you are no longer a refugee, especially one that shows knowledge of the country you are heading to, particularly social advantages, you are simply an immigrant and should not be protected by any outdated “how can we create an israel” refugee policy.

    Why is it a crime for the vast majority of Australians to prefer the annual intake of refugees to come from refugee camps overseas, rather than from those who can afford to catch a boat or a plane?

    There’s so many goodies in this article to pick apart, but it just seems a waste of time to bother going by the short shortsightedness of the commentors. I especially like how almost every single chart shows just how successful the coalitions policies have been and show exactly how out of control things became under Labor. The quote of the day has to be “history will tell us it will go down again after the current spike”. Um history and Abbot have conclusively shown us that things go down when good policy is in place…not because of historical trends.

    As per the WW2 convention:

    “States shall not impose penalties, on account of illegal entry or presence” on refugees “coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was”. The words “coming directly” almost entirely throws any legal requirements Australia might have under this convention for boat people out the window. The Australian government on both sides know this.

    If anything it’s time for a new agreement to be written that isn’t airy fairy. Whether or not Australia would sign up to it is another question – we arent the only country in the world signed up to it who regret the decision or send people back to transit countries, might want to do a bit of research on some european countries. Immigration is a hot topic everywhere and the people are leaning further and further right as it becomes clear open border policies have failed EVERYWHERE. We will look back on this and thank christ we were amongst the smart ones.

  67. Fireman Sam

    Choppa you appear to have missed most of the facts in the story. You should go back and read it again. It clearly showed that Hawke, keating and Rudd have been responsible for most of the policies that have been put in place and that there was not much difference in the rise and fall under either government. it also shows that where Howard makes claims for stopping the boats that it co-incided with the end of the Taliban and a 42% drop in refugees worldwide. Just good timing really rather than anything he did. Let’s not forget that there wouldn’t be 140 million people in the world looking for anew home if Howard hadn’t gone in blindly with his mates Bush and Blair and destroyed half the Middle East in the first place!

  68. slugmeister

    This article is as bad as the so called media in twisting facts.This is Australia. Rightly or wrongly these people arriving by boat are illegal by Australian law, so this article is wrong. Australian law may contravene international law, might be draconian whatever, but again this is Australia! If you, as Australians don’t like the law get it changed, but don’t purport false information – arrival by boat is illegal by Australian law. Secondly, look at the charts showing arrivals. The assessment of ‘hard-line’ policy being an incentive to come here is pure bullshit. The hard-line policies were always introduced in response to rises in arrivals. Sure, after the ‘pacific Solution’ reintroduction arrivals doubled, but it wasn’t because of the policy, it was because the policy was reintroduced during a large upward trend in arrivals. If you introduce a policy in the middle of an upward trend in arrivals then of course the trend will mean increases after. At best the trend should flatten or reduce thereafter, but the fact they havent since the ‘Pacific Solution’ reintroduction shows that hasn’t worked, but according to your chart, first time round it seems to have had a big impact to me. Finally, will we be over run? That’s a bit sensationalist, but that trend line is pointing straight up and theres many many times Australias population in disfunctional countries in boats reach, so whats stopping them?

  69. Fireman Sam

    Can you quote which Australian law they have broken? The only thing wrong here is most of your comment. Firstly “arriving by boat” where? They are not “arriving” anywhere as they are being intercepted at sea in international waters. Which means they are not subject to Australian law even if there was one that said they can’t land here. “Arrival by boat is illegal in Australia” Where did you read this rubbish? Millions of people have arrived in this country by boat! They started way back about 1650 with Captain Cook getting here a while after. The rest of your comment made about as much sense after that.

  70. Choppa

    Fireman Sam, havent heard that name in a long time 🙂 No argument about the stupidity of going to war. However you do also know that fleeing war is not a good enough reason to be classified as a refugee under the convention so often sited in this article?

    So Howard was just lucky eh? A mere coincidence you say. Right. So international refugee levels were the cause and the fall of the taliban. So why did boat arrivals go through the roof under Labor? You do know refugee levels dropped in 2009/2010 dropped back to Pacific Solution levels, yet Australian boat arrivals kept climbing? Shouldn’t it have dropped by your logic? You do know refugee levels worldwide are now at an all time high, yet the boats have stopped a coming? Just luck I guess, nothing to do with the policy. Um.

    Not much rise and fall – i think you are not looking at the right hand side of those charts. Ones near zero, ones heading to infinity and beyond!

  71. Fireman Sam

    Wrong again Choppa. The boats haven’t stopped coming. Don’t you listen to the news at all? Even the little bit we get that Abbott hasn’t been able to cover up tells us that the Indonesians have found a handful of the orange lifeboats on their beaches, that Sri Lanka has intercepted boats that have been turned around. That boats have arrived at Christmas Island under the cover of darkness and that at least one boat with 153 Sri Lankans on board is being held by our customs boat. Now does THAT sound like they have stopped? And they are just the ones we KNOW about. How many others are we NOT being told about? Take your head out of the sand and look around and stop believing the lies you are being fed by Murdoch, Abbott, Morrison and Co. And I again point out that if Howard hadn’t started the war with his mates Bush and Blair then Turkey wouldn’t be struggling under the weight of 400,000 refugees. There wouldn’t be 140 million people homeless and starving because Bush and his quest for oil wiped out most of their homes and killed in excess of a million people in the process.

  72. Choppa

    In the authors defence this appears to have been written a long time ago and information on the effectiveness of Abbott’s policy wasn’t available.

    If you go down his summary:

    • ‘Boat people’ are not breaking any law, so they’re not ‘illegal’.

    they are breaking laws, just not ones that expose them to a criminal charge. Entering a place such as indonesia and not alerting the authorities of their presence is illegal (and criminal in that country). They are arriving without documentation, which is illegal, however due to the convention are not able to be prosecuted. They are involved in the funding of illegal people smuggling. They are legally classified as “illegal immigrants” – or “illegal maritime arrivals”. Even the refugee council refers to them as ‘unlawful boat arrivals’. Unlawful is a synonym of illegal. You can sugar coat it all you want – they arrive here illegally, but are exempt from punishment.

    • Australia has a legal obligation under international law to accept asylum seekers.

    It is not “international law” – it is a convention they voluntarily signed up for, they can also voluntarily remove their signature. It is their obligation to process asylum seekers, it is their obligation to not send back those deemed refuges back to their homelands. It is still not a legal obligation to accept all asylum seekers, or refuges, into australia.

    • Less than half of all ‘illegal immigrants’ are ‘boat people’.

    During the failed Labor regime – more than half of ‘illegal immigrants’ were boat people. The author included those found overstaying their visa in his data – these were immigrants that couldve arrived at any time.

    • Only about half of all asylum seekers arrive by boat.

    Only if you take Howards successful version of the pacific solution into account, which the author did. During the failed Labor regime, 75% of asylum seekers arrived by boat.

    • 92% of ‘boat people’ are genuine refugees; they have a genuine reason to fear persecution in their own country.

    Wont argue that. However you have to understand the 4000 or so who were chosen to be processed for an Australian visa which makes up this 92%, were cherry picked because they were likely to be genuine. In 2012/13 there were 25,000 boat people or so (only 18000 were asylum seekers to start with so that blows the whole 92% of boat people out of the water on a technicality) – 4000 odd were accepted into Australia, theres about 7000 in detention centres now (not all arriving in that year but lets assume they were) and presumably the rest have been sent to be processed elsewhere. Whats the percentage of the ‘up to’ 14,000 others who werent processed for settlement in Australia?

    • ‘Boat people’ are not jumping the queue.

    As long as there is a quota of visas available, there are limited spaces and thus not everyone gets in – thats called a queue. Australia has a set number of refugees it accepts every year – from onshore asylum seekers and offshore asylum seekers. They are both trying to obtain the same thing. Australia doesn’t have a set ratio that they accept from either, but as long as onshore asylum seekers are protected by the refugee convention, for every one that is processed through this route, someone misses out offshore as stated. That is what you call jumping the queue – ensuring your application is considered before people stranded in refugee camps in poor countries who in the majority of Australians minds, lets not forget, deserve protection in Australia before those who can afford to hop on a plane or in a boat.

    • They’re still genuine refugees if they can afford boat passage.

    But perhaps not as in dire need of assistance as others. Thats the argument.

    • They’re still genuine refugees if they come via Indonesia.

    Debatable, extremely debatable – some european countries have written their own laws admitting to get around the sketchy ‘laws’. The wording suggests they arent allowed to pick and choose and should seek refuge in the first safe country to which they flee. Indonesia, malaysia etc. are safe countries. Furthering their journey to Australia without first attempting asylum at these ports makes their position as a refuge when arriving by boat to australia highly debatable.

    • 51 other countries get proportionally more asylum seekers than Australia (relative to GDP).

    And most of these countries are neighbours to the countries that the people are fleeing from.

    • ‘Soft’ border protection laws did NOT cause an influx of ‘boat people.

    Your charts say the exact opposite, perhaps should’ve left them out.

    • Refugees who came by boat make up only 2.5% of all of Australia’s immigrants.

    So what? We would’ve had to grant a heap more 457s to keep that figure the rate we were headed with Labor. Thats fact.

    • Only 1.4% of all our immigrants are Muslim boat people from countries that follow strict Sharia law. And they’re fleeing those Sharia law countries!

    Only 1.4% are illegal immigrants – what are the number who come through via other avenues, illegal or not?

    • Abbott does NOT have a mandate to stop the boats by breaching international law.

    He’s not breaching international law, particularly the refugee convention. The rest are debatable. He DOES have a mandate to reduce the number of boats arriving and the despicable number of deaths at sea caused under Labor, which was rising rapidly – he has achieved this successfully without breaking any laws.

    • Australia is breaching international law by detaining boat people unnecessarily and turning them away (e.g. sending them to Indonesia).

    I cant be bothered going through them all – but being inconsistent with other countries, or ‘maybe’ doing things – is hardly a good argument. You know it takes 2 years to get a skilled visa? You know it takes 6-12 months to get a partner visa for a wife you may have lived with for years and had children with? So why should illegal immigrants jump the visa processing queue?

  73. Florence nee Fedup

    What about the law of the high sea, or do all Morrison’s supporters either believe it does not exist, or it is OK for out government to ignore it.

    It must be hell, with so many children and frightened women on board, The boast must be over crowded, not built for this number of people over an extended period of time.

    Hell not only for the refugees, but all that man her. I wander how long do they intend to remain at sea. At the moment, it could be months.

  74. Kaye Lee

    A sri Lankan,

    I wonder where you live. As the media is controlled in Sri Lanka you will not hear of atrocities through them. Here is what the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka said last week:

    “Aside from the persistent ethnic and religious violence that plagues the country, the war-torn island nation is still grappling with a bunch of problems as it struggles to make the transition from a postwar country to a post-conflict one.

    Recent anti-Muslim violence outside Colombo last month resulted in the death of several people and the injury of many more — as mobs attacked Muslim homes, places of business, and mosques. The police have been widely criticized for failing to prevent the violence. These developments serve as another reminder that Sri Lanka remains a country in crisis. Indeed, extremist Sinhalese-Buddhist groups operate with impunity while ordinary community members have basic human rights repressed under the deepening authoritarianism of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.”

  75. Christian

    Ed, the actual policies I champion, are processing at the embassy in Indonesia, in order to get rid of the impetus to try to skip the years of waiting that the UN process entails.

  76. Christian

    But, why is the racism of some Australians, the fault of people not born here ? The fact is, we have a quota for refugees, which we keep. So, we don’t get less people here when we’re cruel to people arriving by boat. Nor do we save money.

  77. Simon Anderson

    Have any of you actually met asylum seekers and heard their stories? Terrible stories of atrocities. Are you able to actually picture seeing people killed in front of you? Limbs being blown off? Heads exploding? These are genuine HORRORS they are escaping from. Around 90% of asylum seekers arriving in Australia and determined to be genuine refugees i.e. not just seeking economic benefit, but with a genuine reason to believe their life is threatened in their home country.

    “why don’t they settle in a country on the way?” – Why don’t you switch off Today Tonight? What other country are you talking about? Indonesia? They’re not signatories to the refugee convention so they have no rights. Malaysia? They’re not signatories so they have no rights. etc etc… The ridiculous thing about your argument is that the VAST majority of refugees (e.g. from Syria or Afghanistan) seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Jordan or Turkey…. these countries are now hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, and they’re nowhere near as rich as Australia in economic terms or just in terms of land space…

    But AGAIN… I go back to the fact that …. WE…ARE….DENYING….BASIC…HUMAN….RIGHTS. What is it you people don’t understand about that??? How are you turning a blind eye to that??? Regardless of your incorrect uninformed opinions, in what reality is it OK to imprison people without trial with no due process in squalid conditions??? And we’re talking innocent women and children here… for YEARS on end… Even if someone is found to be an economic migrant, they do NOT deserve such torture… We let in hundreds of thousands of economic migrants per year via regular channels for christ’s sake!!

    Prison destroys lives. We are treating innocent people worse than we treat the rapists and murders in society.

  78. Kaye Lee


    Speaking of the human rights of children…..

    “The head of the Abbott government’s national curriculum review has backed the use of corporal punishment for ill-disciplined children in schools if it is supported by the local school community.

    Kevin Donnelly, co-chair of the national curriculum review and a widely published commentator on educational issues, said on Tuesday that corporal punishment was effective during his childhood and still has some merit.”

    Will the madness never end

  79. Michael Taylor

    Simon, thank you for adding some ‘reality’ to the discussion. I hope Choppa reads it.

  80. Adrian Matthewson

    Maybe you need to carefully read the final two words in the statement ‘from persecution’. Yes you are right there are allowed to seek asylum in any country of their choosing…providing they can prove that they are fleeing ‘from persecution’. The burden of proof is on them. I do not doubt there is a certain percentage of ‘genuine’ asylum seekers who have suffered from some horrific experiences but I would be willing to bet that there are also quite a few who are not and simply looking for a free ticket to a nicer country (if that is the case then they are ‘illegal’ as they are breaking this international law).
    Can’t you imagine the conversations that run around the table in those situations?
    X: I hate it here in this country. Can’t find a job, no food. (this is not persecution by the way)
    Y: Let’s go somewhere better
    X: Where to?
    Y: How about Australia? All we have to do is ‘say’ we have been persecuted.
    X: But we haven’t been persecuted!
    Y: Yeah I know that…but they don’t. All we have to do is make up some bullshit story and their soft hearts will believe it.
    X: Great idea AND they have to go along with it because of international law
    Y: and they are never going to CHECK out our story because they are too busy
    X: Right. So let’s sell our house, car, TV, computer etc (are you getting my point?)

    At the end of the day you can look at all the graphs and charts you want but it seems that you may be missing the point about who is genuine and who is not. The information on those charts can be skewed if the facts are incorrect. Tell me have you employed someone through an interview process? You probably have. So you would know then to ask direct questions and to check the validity of the responses. Just something for you to think about.

  81. steve


    I hear this response from Australians alot (I obviously don’t know your background). But I lived in the UK for 9 years and only moved back a few years ago. I honestly did not see the Islamic hell hole of Sharia law-lessness over run with refugees, that many people allude to. I saw an amazing melting pot of cultures and people. There were problems, there were pockets no doubt. Most of the whining seemed to come from people with a stereotypical notation of what the UK “should” look like i.e. White. Incidentally I found the English far far more open, understanding and appreciative of other cultures than the Australians (of which I am one!)


  82. michaelfstacey

    Well researched and composed article, thank you. All I can add to the debate is that I always ask myself “What would it take for me to just up and leave Australia leaving behind all possessions and ties to family and friends?”

  83. Florence nee Fedup

    Cormann is refusing to answer questions in the senate. Is being asked for figure of what will be saved. Also how revenue will fall. Has been asked what average families. No answers to any.

    All one get, is $550 on the Avenge family. Means nothing in realty.

    Cormann has just addressed Cameron, as the minister missing the word shadow.

  84. Simon Anderson

    So Adrian, it’s ok for us to violate human rights, it’s ok for us to torture those who arn’t genuine refugees, that’s what you’re saying?

    In regards to the process: the Australian government has never made that public. So who knows how vigorous it is. You DO remember they are risking their lives at sea by coming here though right? Do you think they would take that decision lightly? “lets go earn some more bucks! Hey there’s a high chance we’ll die on the way… But let’s do it anyway!!”. That’s absurd. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people we let in to the country, is it not logical to at least trust the ones risking life at sea to be here?

  85. steve


    ironically it was a Frenchman (my boss when I was living in the UK) who said something similar to me. Until then, I had very awareness of our refugee issues and even little tolerance. But after conversations with this guy, it seemed to me, that his attitude was quite common amongst the French (even though they will whinge :), it really got me thinking.


  86. Christian

    Refugees get less than the dole and are not allowed to work. I think that invalidates any arguments of people coming here in pursuit of rivers of gold

  87. steve


    I always find it strange that Australia seems to be the only country that embraces incredibly tough (and draconian laws) against refugees, but then claims that they are doing it to save lives and uses the arguments you give as evidence for this.

    I am not for minute saying the deaths at sea were horrible tragedies, here are some more facts for you:
    Syria: 115,000 deaths
    Iraq: 200,000-1 milion (depending on who you believe)
    Afghanistan: 18-20,0000 deaths.
    Sri Lankan: 80-100,100 (but really who knows).

    Should we take responsibility for all these deaths? I dont think so BUT…

    Add onto that, just last year over 100 people died in UNHRC refugee camps in Malaylsia. 50 die each year in Afghanistan refugee camps from the cold. 5 babies die every day in African refugee camps.

    These ARE the queues you are suggesting that these refugees should go wait in. For years. For decades. If you think by using these draconian measures we should be patting ourselves on our backs for saving lives, then you are sadly mistaken.


  88. Matters Not

    corporal punishment was effective during his childhood and still has some merit.”

    Kevin, the failed Fish and Chip proprietor, is a walking, talking example of the outcome a regular bashing will produce. Perhaps they didn’t hit him hard enough? Perhaps his recommendations will include the issuing of one rattan for each teacher? Or perhaps two, because if one produces a good outcome, imagine the improvement when two are employed.

    Kevin Donnelly is the Alan Jones of the education community. And in so many ways.

    Also from above:

    Minorities in Sri lanka are enjoying the same rites as the others

    Yep, access to those ‘rites’ is shared around.

    And thank you Adrian Matthewson, you raise possibilities the rest of us have never thought about. That ‘conversation’ was a ‘ripper’.


  89. Kaye Lee

    And just in case you think Morrison is doing any of this to save lives…….

    OPPOSITION immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has likened the treatment of asylum seekers in Malaysia to the treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia.

    Both were equally shocking, he said, as the Coalition succeeded in pushing for a Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s immigration detention network.

    Mr Morrison said he was shocked by an ABC TV report showing graphic footage of cattle being mistreated at a number of Indonesian abattoirs.

    “I’m equally shocked by the fact of the treatment that people receive in Malaysia on the basis of reports that we receive,” he said today.

    “If we are going to be consistent about these matters then I think the conditions these people will be held and treated in Malaysia is a relevant question this parliament should be asking the prime minister.”

    His comments come as refugees in Kuala Lumpur’s suburban slums say they have been tortured in Malaysia’s detention centres.

    Gruesome personal accounts include claims of beatings with rattan canes and whippings – a fate that could await the 800 refugees the Federal Government intends to send to Malaysia as part of its controversial detainee swap.

    Mr Morrison reiterated a Coalition guarantee that asylum seekers sent to Nauru for processing would not be mistreated.

    But the prime minister could not do the same for Malaysia, he said, adding caning was lawful under its migration act.

    “The prospect of caning is real.”


    Mr Morrison announced on Thursday that the Abbott government would donate two retired Bay Class vessels to Malaysia by mid-2015 “to assist in countering maritime people smuggling in the region”.

    According to the Customs and Border Protection website the Bay Class vessels are patrol boats used to oppose “unauthorised maritime arrivals, maritime terrorism, piracy, robbery or violence at sea”.

    It is the second time the government has given boats to regional neighbours to combat people smuggling. In November, the Sri Lankan navy received two retired Bay Class patrol boats to capture asylum seeker boats before leaving Sri Lankan waters.

    The news of the Malaysian boat giveaways comes just four months after Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered an “act of contrition” to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for the “hard” politics he had played as opposition leader to undermine the Gillard government’s failed “Malaysia Solution” for asylum seekers. The people-swap arrangement was scuttled by the High Court and the Abbott opposition refused to back legislation to introduce the scheme in the Parliament.

    “Our criticism was never of Malaysia, it was of the former government,” Mr Abbott said at the time.

    “I guess you might say that, in my own way, I offered an apology because I appreciate this was a difficult situation for Malaysia and it was only in that difficult situation because, in its own way, it had tried to help out a friend.”

    Mr Abbott’s decision to give military hardware to Sri Lanka attracted controversy given the United Nations has accused the country of war crimes.

  90. Matters Not

    Kaye Lee, I believe you fail to understand Morrison. It’s well documented that he is a practitioner of glossolalia. In years gone by, he confined such manifestations to holy places and only on special days. Now he’s ‘outed’ himself and feels free to employ glossolalia whenever and wherever he wants. Which is virtually all the time. Soon he will progress to convulsions or perhaps go all the way and lose consciousness.

    What is surprising is that many seem to understand his ‘logic’.

  91. Peter

    Why don’t we simply set up express visa processing at the offshore locations like Indonesia, Malaysia etc and cutout the dangerous middleman. We could add 10000 more spaces and still do it cheaper, more humanely and safer than the current complicated and flawed history that we have.

    We need to do more but we need to do it sensibly, securely and compassionately, take the politics out of it

  92. Kaye Lee

    Why indeed Peter. Take the money out of the equation. Fly them here. But that would be too sensible. They blew the dog whistle and unleashed the hounds and the bigots and racists are making hay. They have the Attorney General on their side ….hell they even have a Human Rights Commissioner dedicated to protecting their rights to be racist. The priorities of this government beggar belief. They don’t want solutions…they want problems (debt and deficit disaster, universal health care unsustainable, aged pension unsustainable, Gonski reforms unaffordable, industry assistance undesirable, border security compromised, NBN undeliverable).

  93. diannaart

    Agree entirely. The $’s being poured into offshore detention camps would be far better spent in a cooperative effort with Indonesia et al. Imagine forming closer bonds with our neighbours…

    Oh dear, I used the word ‘cooperative’ that’s like kryptonite to neo-cons and others who believe in their own supremacy.

  94. MIssPamela

    Really useful information in this article. Great debate. Pity some of the people commenting did not read the article properly and are cleraly not up to date on the Asylum Seeker situation, the recent refoulment, the “disappeared” people including 153 on a boat, 3 from Manus and 2 school boys from Adelaide. There other more humane solutions than the atrocious ones the government are praising themselves for at the moment.
    Malcolm Fraser’s solution –
    Also Julian Burnside
    Sorry to be so late joining the conversation.

  95. Kurt

    I was hoping this would actually answer my questions.
    Like, can people get from their country to Australian waters, without violating any immigration or visa laws (except their own countries. I’ll give them a pass on those.)
    Eg – have they broken Indonesian law by going into and out of Indonesia without the correct visas?
    Why, having escaped their own country, do they keep traveling until the get to Australian waters? I doubt all the countries in between would persecute them.
    It seems when people die trying to come to Australia, there relatives in Sydney complain. So, if they have relatives in Sydney, is there something that stops them coming here legally on the basis they have relatives here?

  96. Christian

    There are people in detention now, who have relatives here. I doubt they’d get on boats,if they could have just come on the basis of having relatives. They have broken Indonesian law, they are at risk, while there. They don’t pass through countries that are signatories to the refugee convention, and therefore offer to help. They are not breaking OUR laws, when they apply for asylum, or, if they are, it means we have created laws to stop people from fulfilling the intention of the refugee convention.

  97. Pingback: Facts schmacts…… | Doug's Blog

  98. mars08

    I’d like to know how we compare in the number of asylum seeker AND refugees we host…. in terms of GDP per capita

    My guess is we’d be waaay down the list.

  99. Kaye Lee

    It is not a criminal offence to enter Australia without a visa. Calling someone “unlawful” or an “illegal entrant” is a description of how they entered the country and determines the way authorities process them. It does not mean they have broken any law. Arriving without a visa can only result in criminal sanctions if there is some other offence involved such as falsifying a passport or forging a document.

  100. mars08

    Here’s what I find REALLY DISTURBING….

    I can understand why so many voters are so keen on the harsh and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. I can even understand why some would like to see the boats blown out of the water. Misinformation, ignorance, fear, racism, toxic nationalism, lack of education, parochialism, bigotry whatever….

    Now here’s what I find REALLY DISTURBING…. I am fairly certain that the politicians (from both major parties) don’t fall into any of those categories. It terrifies me that those appalling people are implementing their grotesque policies with the primary intent of grabbing votes in certain strategic electorates. The major parties are pandering to the base emotions of certain Australians in order to attract votes. They are playing a shameless, calculated, cold-blooded game, while totally ignoring the well-being of the vulnerable, isolated, innocent, powerless human beings caught in the middle. It’s beyond sickening.

  101. JT

    Great article! Tony Abbott also has another problem which doesn’t appear to get mentioned much on this topic. Our country has this catchy little advertising jingle (also known as our national anthem) which advertises that, “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”. It’s a sad state of affairs that we as a nation have turned our backs on the most vulnerable people on earth and on our own National Anthem.

  102. Louise

    It is so easy to look away if you children have never gone to bed without food, if your nine year old son has never been abducted to fight as a soldier, if your wife hasn’t been raped by a gang of terrorist or your father’s tongue been cut out to keep him from talking. Until our media stops being more corncerned about the burger that some celebrity ate than the millions of people displaced by war nothing will change.

  103. Choppa

    Oh Simon.

    I accept some are in genuine need and we should by principal accept some who move out of war torn areas we are involved in – and we do! However, you do also know stories are easy to tell right? I mean – did you see that old lady on the “work choices” smear campaign who turned out to be an actress? Did you see that ABC doco years ago where that fella in PNG wanted to sue his smuggler for false advertising when he ended up settled in the wrong place? That guy was telling everyone back home to not try it because they werent going to reap the social rewards they were enticed by in Australia. Funny, that guy was deemed a genuine refugee.

    It is not Australias issue that Indonesia or Malaysia arent signatories. There is no rule in the convention saying they should move to the first country that has signed up in it. Mute point. There are muslims of both types in Indo, who live in peace. THey have no right to claim asylum from a country they are illegally in in the first place because they want to persue somewhere else. They relinquish their rights there. The UN WANTS people who make their way into indo to alert them – once they dont, well thats their fault.

    We let in lots of immigrants who dont need assistance yes. Ones who provide an immediate beneift to us. We also accept enough refugees and are in the top 3 in the resettlement of refugees. Giving them a place to sleep, feeding them – what else do you need as basic human rights? Why do we have aussies sleeping rough, begging outside of maccas and picking up half smoked ciggies.

    I’ve been to prison mate – its what you make of it. You get some assistance, but if you expect things on a platter, you havent learnt a thing inside and quite frankly you are better off there.

  104. Choppa

    and adrian to add to your comments. Out of the “92%” eventually processed – less than 2 thirds were deemed refugees initially. The absolute abomination of all visa processing that started to occur under Labor is a blight which has left all immigration visas an absolute farce. Particularly prior to Gillard being in office, about a year out from the election when boat people started ramping up again. Not only did they reduce the number of people processing visas – they put an enforced ‘hold’ on all immigration visas leading up to Gillards election to stem immigration numbers. Partner visas when from a 2-3 week turn around to 6-12 months. Knowing a fella who does these visas – he said they just let them pile up on their desks and were set a target, which before the election was only going to start months after – even though he could process several a day before….he just couldnt award them.

    They processed them as normal, but didnt send their decision until well after the election. Some people who were applying for offshore skilled visas who were initially approved and then were 5 months into their 6 months wait were told they were now being reconsidered and had a 24 month wait. It was a joke. Labor was a joke. Yet 457s became even easier if you were onshore – literally a weeks wait, rather than 3 months, because all they cared about was stemming offshore applicants and visa processors ran out of work. All of the visa processing people then were just swamped after the election was won – and when most applications consist of 200 pages of documents, they didnt even look at them – just the country they came from. To this day they still dont have a handle on it. They have applications dating back 5 years, so many complaints, so much paper work. It was smooth sailing and efficient until Labor tried to mess with all other visas to mask their failures with refugees.

    For refugee visas they started a new office that reviewed all initially failed applicants – apparently a massive joke and piss take – they just ticked nearly everyone.under Labors guidance with barely more than a % they had to target, rather than actually scrutinizing the applications. Just check other countries strike rates that take a bit more time – its no where near 92% and in a lot of cases, it wouldve been easier to get to Australia! Thats why articles like this are for the gullible.

  105. Fireman Sam

    I don’t know if you just make up this BS Choppa or read it in a Liberal campaign brochure somewhere. The top 7 countries in the world taking refugees have taken 95,000 plus each. Australia is around number 20 on the list with less than 30,000 and that’s nearly all that come through the ‘proper channels’ with Visa’s. Every country in the world has people sleeping rough and a majority of it has to do with some sort of mental instability where people can’t hold a job or a relationship and are not just homeless as the only cause.

    The bottom line is we have an ageing population in Australia and economists have told us many times that unless we get an influx of younger working people who will pay taxes then there won’t be enough to cover the pensions of the elderly and sick. If we took in 100,000 refugees then it would create jobs in building housing, schools, new roads and other facilities. Many of them could be moved into the country and remote communities to bolster the population there. Let’s not forget that many of them come from desert countries and many others of them are farmers who can grow their own produce and contribute to communities they are placed in. Eventually they will be a part of the community like the Greeks, Italiand and Maltese that came in the 50′s, the Turks and others that came through the 60′s, the Vietnamese that came in the late 70′s, the Chinese that increased migration since then (even though they have been coming since the late 1800′s)

    In my group of friends there is hardly an Aussie of first generation and those that WERE born here come from ethnic parents. If you’re a white man Choppa then your family came from overseas too!

    Oh and for the record. When Howard was in his last year as PM he had a couple of thousand refugees on Nauru in the same detention centre they are in now. So that the incoming government couldn’t use it against him later he dropped all requirements and had the whole lot let into Australia which is how the facility was able to be shut down and not used again until Rudd reopened it. You only get to see and read about what they want you to see and this present government is hiding a lot more than you think because what they promised is not happening.

  106. Choppa

    Calm down Sam. I said “resettled” – that means they were in another country as refugees prior. Not total number of refugees. Perhaps you don’t read at all?

    I am stunned by your comment – a typical emotional leftist comment that exposes your actual knowledge. Not an insult, just a fact. We have an ageing population that requires welfare right? Do they care who pays the taxes? You do know immigrants pay taxes, however the vast majority of illegals dont? Pensioners should be arguing for working immigrants right? Case dismissed.

    It is concerning you think enlarging the welfare bill enriches the majority by having to build homes for them, employing teachers for them, building roads for them. Are you actually for real or just trolling? You do know the economics of it right? I didnt think so.

    Im not sure what you are saying with their knowledge of growing crops – facts are most of them never work. Try again.

    Eventually they will form their own communities right. Are you aware of areas of London where these communities run their own law and tell women they are breaking the law by what they are wearing? Your argument is alarming.

    I am white yes. Never traced it too far back, but probably from irish/scottish decent – so what? Are you a racist?

    You are purely talking crap about Howard. You probably believe 9/11 was an inside job. Oh dear. How bad did Labor affect us.

    ANd mate – remember – we still take in refugees that no one argues about. Just the ones who use their money to jump the queue.

  107. Fireman Sam

    Choppa Choppa Choppa, your ignorance is what is alarming. You are mixing all or your smarties and M & Ms in the same bowl and you can’t tell one from another. Just admit that you are a red neck racist and don’t want anybody coming here and it will all make more sense!

    No 1 is that refugees are not illegals. They have broken no law. We addressed this 2 days ago but you ignored it then so I’ll repeat it for you. Secondly if they are brought into Australia as I clearly stated then they are certainly not ‘illegal’ in any book. “the vast majority of illegals don’t” (pay taxes) Firstly what evidence do you have? What ‘illegals’ are you talking about? If we are talking about visa overstayers then they are ‘non-citizens’ so they can’t claim welfare so they are actually working but usually for family members and getting paid cash. Anybody else that has been settled or resettled here is an immigrant and yes many of them are working.

    A ‘fact’ that most of the never work. How many do you know? Where do you get this information? I know several people working in the legal area of Immigration Law and welfare and most of the immigrants will take jobs that Aussies knock back. Go along to Centrelink one day and stand there an hour and see how the white Aussie outnumbers any ethnic group coming in for welfare. I ran a training course at mine in outer Melbourne which has a higher than average ethnic population and the white Aussie still outnumbered the ethnics of all colours and races combined.

    Your ignorant comment about communities in London just assumes that all (a) refugees are Muslim and (b) that the people doing this in London are or were refugees. Neither of those statements is true. They are not ALL Muslim and those that are Muslim are running away from that lifestyle. The community in London you refer to are mostly immigrants and not refugees.

    You need to check your FACTS on Howard before mouthing off about another subject you clearly know nothing about. In the final year his all too long time as PM he cleared out Nauru and brought them all into Australia. A couple of other FACTS about Howard. His honeymoon of surplus budgets was due to the mining contracts and mining boom that were put in place by Paul Keating and Bob Hawke after 5 years of talks with the Chinese and Japanese. A FACT acknowledged by Howard and also by Abbott in the 2nd pre election debate with Rudd. Go and check it. Australia faced it’s highest unemployment in a decade under Howard with Abbott as Employment Minister so Howard ‘solved’ the problem by sending recruiters from the Army and Navy to country towns to set up at the then CES and give them a choice of sign up or no dole. He doubled the size of the Army and Navy just to get the unemployment numbers down which of course cost the taxpayer about 4 times as much as the dole would have.

    With a windfall income of $260 billion over 11 years thanks to Hawke/Keating there was absolutely no new infrastructure built anywhere in the country. The most amazing boom time in our history and Howard and Costello wasted most of the money. Economists worldwide have no idea what they did with it and call them the worst ever money managers. So much so that in their final year they had to sell 23 major airports, 45 government departments and 70% of Australia’s Gold Bullion reserve for $70 million to show a $20 million ‘surplus’ when he was tossed from office. It’s all on the internet for you to find Choppa. I don’t believe hype and newspapers. I’m in business and I do my own research. You should try it and then you can take the blinkers off.

  108. Choppa

    Sam, lets keep our insults out of the leftist dictionary and talk to me like an adult please. Deep breath.

    Ive already refuted your remarks, read them again. The refugee council classifies illegal as being non criminal – thats not how we classify illegal in Australia and no stupid WW2 convention built to justify the occupation in israel will stop that. Have you ever had a speeding ticket, or a parking ticket? Its illegal, just not a criminal offence. It is illegal in Australias book – that convention we signed years ago does not dictate what is legal/illegal in our laws. Please, wake up bro. Most “visa overstayers” were found working after their visa ran out, or working on a non working visa. Look it up pal. SUrely the facts are on this website right?

    “most of the immigrants will take jobs that Aussies knock back.” dont say that around here. People are arguing against lawful immigration. Shhhh. Those facts arent suppose to be shown here. Yes, most immigrants come here to fill positions no australians will or are capable of. Happy 457s.

    “Go along to Centrelink one day and stand there an hour and see how the white Aussie outnumbers any ethnic group coming in for welfare. I ran a training course at mine in outer Melbourne which has a higher than average ethnic population and the white Aussie still outnumbered the ethnics of all colours and races combined.”

    Mate spent a good deal of time in centerlink dont you worry. Where did i say they outnumber aussies? Theres certainly a heap of ethnics, never bothered me. Unless they got there under false pretences. Never bothered to ask one actually. You seem racist mate.

    “Your ignorant comment about communities in London just assumes that all (a) refugees are Muslim and (b) that the people doing this in London are or were refugees. Neither of those statements is true. They are not ALL Muslim and those that are Muslim are running away from that lifestyle. The community in London you refer to are mostly immigrants and not refugees”

    No i didnt say that. Im saying when it gets out of hand and people decide they dont want to accept local customs – they try and change laws. When it gets out of hand. So control is important. Abbott does this, Gillard lost control. Do you understand immigration laws one bit? Once one gets in – refugee or immigrant. Bringing the family across is easy. Once again – read up pal. Soi why do people have concerns with 457s who are in fact “racially” discriminated against by their birth place….and not boat people?

    Not even gonna bother with your attempts at economics, youve already shown your worth on far simpler things. You dont understand mate, thats it. And im sure you will reply, but i must sleep. Hopefully someone on your side will read your comments before i make a fool of you. THats not what im here for, but goodness – how did Labor create some many idiots?

  109. Choppa

    PS – the most amazing boom happened under Rudd/Gillard. Howard had a surplus, Labor had a deficit. Are you still trying to argue this? Goodness. You have no idea about the boom, or politics. Would like to take this up another time if you got your ‘facts’ from here. Someone has been telling porkies to you 🙂 Time to learn mate. I’m sure you will have a few supporters with similar ‘facts’. We dont all source news from “citizen journalists” or the labor website – some of us prefer real facts from actual news sources and experience. Till tomorrow night 🙂

  110. Fireman Sam

    If you were to back peddle any faster you could be in government. I’m not surprised you baulked on the economics question as you clearly don’t understand it. It’s all there on the internet for you to read. Input “Australia’s most wasteful Prime Minister” and see which one pops up. Surprising seeing as Murdoch controls most of the press. The other stuff is all there too. About him selling off assets which is what Liberal state and fed governments do when they can’t balance a budget until there is nothing left to sell and nothing left to earn money off. The Libs in Vic sold the schools, the power and gas companies, water, the train network, the trains. The Feds under Howard sold Telstra, every major capitol city airport and then the secondary airports like Coolangatta, Newcastle, Moorabbin, Bankstown etc. The airlines pay rent and there is a departure tax on every ticket that now goes to private companies rather than revenue because Howard needed the money for a $50 billion black hole after 11 boom years. That’s really sad. And to grab quick cash he of course sold the assests that returned the best profit for a quick sale. He sold our gold at around the $400 an once mark which was about 70% below the world price at the time. Now gold is up around $1380 mark but it’s gone now thanks Johnny! Wouldn’t mind if they actually built anything but they didn’t. No new highways, airports, sea ports, nothing to show for $260 billion income and the $70 billion he raised from the fire sale. Just so that he didn’t leave office with a $50 billion deficit like Fraser did before him. So what do future governments do for income? Well they have to slug the taxpayer now because there is little else left to sell or rent out. Although Abbott wants to sell Medicare and the rest of Qantas.

  111. Choppa

    Sam – stop before your own turn on you. You are a fool, sorry. Probably a nice bloke, but a fool all the same. You have no idea about what you are writing – i feel a bit sorry for you being a sheep. You will understand it eventually though. I dont back peddle. I move forward – you are stuck on long ago debunked labor scare campaigns. Theres life out there for you, i know it. Dont be a sucker.

    Hopefully I find the time to shoot you down. Some of us are doing things to make the nations better.

  112. Florence nee Fedup

    I am a little sick of those who come from overseas, being described as welfare cheats. and job shy.

    I live most of my adult life, raised my family in the region between Guildford and Cabramatta. Yes, lived among these people.

    I also worked for DOC’s for the last two decades of the last century, as a DO at Liverpool. Yes, with dysfunctional families. It might amaze some, but most of the people I dealt wit, where white. Yes white, in a region that has the biggest number of migrants and refugees in this land.

    What amaze me, that there are many seminaries among most different races, than there are differences.

    There is good and bad everywhere.

    Migration, especially refugee intake is what has made this country what it is since the war. A vibrant and wonderful land, that all should be proud of. I, for one do not want to go back to the 1950s. We have changed for the better and come so far.

  113. Florence nee Fedup

    By the way, I am fifth generation Australian on all sides. All my mob came before the 1850’s.

  114. Christian

    The interesting thing about people like Choppa is, they assume the whole discussion is liberal vs labor, and that whichever side you take, you have to swallow everything they say. Some people don’t vote for either, and regard the real world outcome for real humans, to be more important than a ballot paper. I don’t care if you think I’m a ‘leftist’, whatever the hell that means. It’s not something I am avoiding, or fighting for.

  115. Kaye Lee


    You have been played. Let me show you how.

    “In outer western Sydney, one in seven people aged 15 to 24 is looking for work. In Melbourne’s outer west the figure is one in five.

    Tonight across the country, one in 200 Australians will be homeless, 105,237 people in total.

    Median rents in Sydney, the country’s least affordable city are $500 a week, making it the third most expensive city in the world in which to find a home.

    Fold in diminished access on the outer fringes to high quality education, the lifestyle hampering consequences of serially underfunded infrastructure, the poor access to healthcare services that the affluent take for granted, the long congested freeway jams to insecure work from highly leveraged homes … a general sense of besieged otherness in our outer suburbs, a quiet, nameless foreboding that stems from entirely reasonable but slightly nebulous insecurities and actual comparative disadvantage.”

    These are real problems that our society is facing and our politicians, to detract from their own failings to the citizens (building cities too fast to cope, building economies unheeding of the need for work, building education where money can buy performance etc), have decided to dog whistle to this uncertainty, and blame asylum seekers of all people. This is ridiculous on every level. A trickle of terrified people has not caused these problems. Even if some of the applicants are not in imminent danger of torture, why are you so angry that they seek a better life? The numbers are so insignificant – to focus on them as the cause of any problems at all is deliberate subterfuge and the dog whistling has unleashed the hounds.

  116. Christian

    Kaye Lee *spontaneous applause*

  117. Kaye Lee

    And furthermore, to give some perspective to numbers, to maintain current levels of employment we need to create 20,000 jobs a quarter to keep up with population growth. We take less than 14,000 refugees a year. Even if every one of them was on welfare (a ludicrous proposition but for the sake of argument) every single cent of that money will be recycled into the community, creating demand, creating jobs. And as you know what it is like to live on welfare, I am sure that given the opportunity, most would prefer to work. They could be offered the fruit picking or seasonal jobs that currently are given to backpackers who pay no tax and then leave to go home, or to take part in the Green Army should they choose to do so. You offer much criticism but no solutions Choppa.

  118. Dan Rowden

    Boat people are illegals. Live with it. The part of the Convention that recognises this is cited in the above article itself:

    The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence” (Article 31, 1)

    I don’t know why people who keep making the point that asylum seekers are not “illegal” don’t even note the Convention itself. It’s bizarre to me that someone can make that argument whilst citing the part of the Convention that refutes it! They are illegal. They break immigration laws. The Convention, however, rightly notes that this illegality is necessary for the process of seeking asylum and therefore no penalty of any kind ought result. Basically, the illegality should be completely ignored.

    But it also means the language of “illegality” is technically allowable. I mean, we all know why this Government engages in it. It’s all about the politics and public perception and the manipulation of such, but it’s technically permissible. That’s what makes it so hard to deal with.

    I think we should cease making this argument and concentrate on the multiple ways in which we are ignoring or overtly breaking the rules of the Convention. We have long since put that document through the shredder.

  119. Christian

    The convention does not establish local law in every country. It simply says that, if they are breaking a law, the fact that they seek asylum rather than try to sneak in, nullifies any law that could be used against them. It is saying, if they are breaking a law, their being refugees, changes that fact.

  120. Kaye Lee

    We are arguing semantics but….

    The Convention stipulates that what would usually be considered as illegal actions (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

    In line with our obligations under the Convention, Australian law also permits unauthorised entry into Australia for the purposes of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation.

  121. Florence nee Fedup

    If they are illegals, pray tell me why this government not charging and taking them to the courts?

    We seen, last night, in an area that has a big Iraqi population meet. Yes Iraqi’s from all faiths and cultures, concern for the fall out that could come from what is occurring in the country they fled.

    No one from this government could bother to turn up, to listen to what they had to say.

    Yes, they are concerned, hat the fractions that thy all fled from, will get a foothold in this country.

  122. Dan Rowden


    If they are illegals, pray tell me why this government not charging and taking them to the courts?

    1. Because the Convention emphatically stipulates that no penalty shall follow what may be, technically, illegal entry and presence according to local immigration laws.

    2. Because breaching immigration laws in not criminal. i.e. it is not actually a crime. Speeding in your car is illegal (some may prefer “unlawful”) but it’s not a crime. If someone bets caught working illegally and thus breaching the conditions of their visa, they have their visa cancelled and get turfed out of the country. They don’t get “charged” with anything. The penalties they face are more administrative than legal, generally speaking (e.g. they may not be allowed another visa for some period of time).

  123. Simon Anderson

    Things that do NOT justify removing human rights:
    – Trying to seek asylum on economic grounds
    – Not stopping at a country before Australia
    – Being a wealthy asylum seeker
    – Throwing away your passport
    – Arriving by boat
    – Jumping supposed queues
    – Supposedly draining social welfare
    – Supposedly taking jobs

    Things that DO justify removing human rights:
    – .

    Leaders that violate human rights belong in prison. Not in Australian government. Close ALL the illegal detention centres.

  124. Fireman Sam

    Hey Dan, you sound like an intelligent bloke so I’m surprised you missed the bit in your quote where they have to make “entry” to be illegal. As all of the boats have been intercepted in international waters and none of them have gained or been given entry then “BOOM” to that paragraph. Part of the argument is that Australia has no authority to pluck people out of international waters and imprison them. The laws of the sea apply if they need to be ‘rescued’ and then they must be given aid and basically sent on their way. To take them off the sea is no different to rescuing wayward sailors and adventurers sailing around the world. Now they don’t get taken to Nauru or sent back to the UK or where ever they came from.

  125. Choppa

    finally found this article, i thought it had disappeared. Been a while, anyway. eek. Found the search button, couldnt find it under categories.

    Kaye Lee – i havent been played – i am on subject, you are off on a tangent cause you are grasping at straws. Didnt i say lots of people sleep rough and our funds should go to them and not asylum seekers? We ARE saving money keeping a quota and discouraging illegal arrivals – thats FACT. We are also saving lives, thats FACT. This whole nonsense about 200k for someone in detention and only 35k for someone on land is uneducated BS. The actual cost of detention is closer to $1000 a month, or 52k/year. 35K is just the benefit part when allowed into the community – the cost of processing, the cost of patrolling our waters for trespassers (they arent just looking for boat people) remains the same – which is wrapped up in the 200k but left out of the 35k. The difference, after this initial cost – is under the successful program we dont pay for a full year in most cases, and there are less people now to process. For most illegals allowed into society, we still pay those upfront costs that make up the bulk of the 200k…then we keep paying, year, after year, after year, after year. I say most, not all. You have been played Kaye Lee, not the first time though obviously.

    PS – why did my emphatic rebuttle of the articles “summary” get deleted? Censorship? It was there and commented on when i posted it. Thats weird, too many facts?

  126. Choppa

    oops my bad apologies. I see it now 🙂 flame away 😉

  127. Christian

    But, if we were welcoming refugees, we wouldn’t need to patrol as much as we do, especially given they tend to announce where they are. So, it’s still the case that the navy would cost us less if it was not out actively looking for people to lock up all the time.

    I do hate the economic argument. I stand by it, but it implies that if it cost us money to be compassionate, it would justify cruelty

  128. Dan Rowden

    Fireman Sam,

    You might want to go back and look at my comment at: July 15, 2014 at 10:01 am – regarding the contiguous zone.

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  130. Robert

    Anyone coming here from half way across the world on a boat is definitely NOT a true refugee!, they are indeed cherry picking like you said. They are just abusing the good nature of countries like Australia which are willing to accept genuine refugees which come more or less directly from the place of their persecution. If you can’t see that then you are blind to the fact. Well done Tony Abbott for trying hard to stop this illegal activity – I don’t care what terminology you try and use to excuse this behavior – you only need common sense here. I am all for helping genuine refugees coming directly from their place of persecution if they can prove it but not to dishonest ones just abusing the system and que jumping… and yes they are que jumping in some cases..

  131. Florence nee Fedup

    Robert, if what you are saying has any truth, can you explain why they choose to languished on Nauru and Manus Islands. They do have the choice to return to what you describe as not being a reason to flee.

    Does not make sense to me.

  132. Michelle

    What a load of bullshit that they get less on centrelink lol. Honestly you expect us to believe that lol. They are not allowed to work, get less centrelink then the average Australian, yet drive around in bloody brand new 4WDS? LOL We are not that stupid. Hell I work full time and I cant afford a brand new 4wd…..what a load of shit.

  133. Michael Taylor

    Yes, Michelle, and athose poor buggers locked up in Manus Island will be released and all given a new car and a plasma TV.

  134. corvus boreus

    If you ate, drank, smoked and socialised less, you would be one of those ‘theys’ who are able to afford a great big shiny new 4×4 status-symbol wank-wagon yourself. No bullshit.
    Lots of love (LOL),
    Gina Rinehart

  135. DanDark

    Corvus good on ya I won’t be able to look at LOL the same again, too funny though
    Toorak Taxis are just that, they never hit the dirt 🙂
    Actually studies show they are a hazard and do more damage than your normal standard car in an accident
    It’s those big bull bars that give them the edge in peek our traffic 🙂

  136. Rightwingrosie

    Wow you refugee hugging lefties makr me laugh, Im a 35 year old mixed English/irish/jamaican. I grew up in an affluent part of london and for work moved to an area of the city with a large number of African immigrants, I had never experienced racism before I moved here and to have it so regularly from africans!

    The police do nothing as its policy that immigrants not be arrested for racism.

    They are a dirty, noisy, benefit and social housing grabbing plague.

    They are also extremely racist. Culturally they believe that they have deeper roots and are better than us.

    I have been called slave so many times its stopped bothering me. To be called “slave” in your own country thar both my english and west indian grandfathers died to protect, by some pompous, stinking (mys son’s class is 65% african, the collective smell is like one of their food shops its awful but if non immigrant kids complain they get suspended).
    My t.v is always bombarding me with charity campaigns for poor africans, I can tell you that any humility ends once they get a passport.
    Just because somebody is seeking asylum does NOT mean it is deserved.

    You people have no idea because your city’s are not overrun and unrecognisable yet, your so p.c its to your own detriment. You would happily see your own people suffer to benefit possible isis terrorists, Muslim’s in general who hate your culture, your women and way of life.

    I say grow a pair and blow em out the water to discourage the rest. Italys boat people policy is screwing Europe, just another way for them to scam their way into Europe.


  137. Sean

    Hear hear, you couldnt possibly understand how suffocating it is to live in any British city.
    We shot ourselves in the foot cos we once thought like you and now we suffer and you think we should let more in?
    Are we not allowed to preserve our culture and identity then?

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  139. Pingback: ‘Boat People’: What the media isn’t telling us. | The Change Room

  140. Liam Kellehear

    I’m sorry but I can’t accept this and neither should all the other people reading you have left out information that can be crucial to someone’s decision on whether they do or do not agree for example your “are boat people doing something illegal” you forget to include the second statement
    (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
    Which explains that you may not enter if escape from a crime like being convicted for murder, most of the refugees are escaping because they are not prepared to do the time for there crime.
    I have mention from a person that works in customs saying that most of the refugees arrive with expensive accessories and have flown from there home countries to Indonesia to take the boats from there, which means that the refugees have the money to enter the country legally by plane with all the paper work needed to enter legally but instead try and “jump the queue” by arriving on a boat without the required documents to enter.
    So tell me why are you calling this paper “what the media isn’t telling us” if you yourself leave out information? Now I am only sixteen I may not have the best grammar punction or spelling but at least I know when to include the right information about the point I am trying to make, maybe you should consider doing the same next time.

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  144. anymous

    Maybe we should listen to the people who have accepted asylum seekers, and so ‘shot themselves in the foot’. If their country is being overrun by african immigrants, we should probably stop accepting them.

  145. Nev

    Thanks god,you are are a minority. While every country should do their best to support refugees,I don’t think you have been voted to represent this country in deciding how many refugees we should take. It is ridiculous to state that all our welcome,there is nothing wrong with the Australian government trying to maintain a healthy country,in deciding what we need to help this country grow.I wish you could put more effort into financing the refugees, you have my support if you can sponsor them for as long as it is needed.Dont expect everyone else to have to pay for your ideas and in some cases,for refugees who have decided this country rather than another close country, would suit them better.The so called do-gooders have to much say, the quiet majority need to let you know.
    This is the first time I have looked at information on refugees, I will search around to see views from both sides on this issue.

  146. Real Aussie

    Hey, Nev. Lots of people are lining up to take in and pay for refugees. No one is saying we should take an unlimited number. We’ve taken 26 in the last few years, and that’s all we’ve taken of the 12,000 Syrians we offered to take. You think that’s ‘doing our best to support refugees’?

    Anyone who talks about ‘close countries that would suit them better’ is an ignorant bigot. Safe countries are not necessarily close. Australia suits refugees fine because people like the UPF are an angry minority, we’re not all neo Nazis.

  147. Nev

    Find it very hard to believe we have only took 26 in the last few yrs, please explain where you get these numbers?
    My impression from what I call the do gooders is, let’s open the gate to anyone who gets here, and we will just have to finance the numbers.
    I say find the money first then open the gates.
    Let’s be responsible for Australian’s first.

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