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Pathetic response to the queue jumpers

Labor’s 3 month suspension on the processing of illegal migrants from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan is a belatedly, inept response to those who seek to ‘queue jump’ their way into Australia as humanitarian migrants.   Illegal people smuggling has got out of control not because circumstances have worsened in the countries of emigration – push factors – but because Labor policies have proven to be soft on economic migrants – pull factors – that attract queue jumpers to the land of plenty.  The queue jumpers know they would not gain acceptance as humanitarian migrants otherwise.  Labor is now simply fearful of an electoral backlash – as it should be. Labor now needs to admit that its policies have failed and adopt the better policies of the previous Coalition government. These led to almost no illegal boat arrivals compared to the 38 so far this year.

Australia is an attractive destination for those coming from poor countries because of its higher living standards, social security and health system, its substantial gender equality and because of its liberal democratic/rule-of-law traditions – not because it provides opportunities to escape oppression. There are countries much closer to home that will more readily provided that type of relief.   Its a crock to suggest that dangerous expensive travel over such vast distances is motivated by fear of oppression when there are simpler, less expensive alternatives.

As the UN official Jordao has said a flood of illegals are targetting Australia because the costs of people smuggling have fallen dramatically. This is a consequence of Labor policy.  While Labor  likes to promotes phony humanitarian credentials Australia cannot ever be a haven for the more than 42 million displaced people around the world each year - we must be selective and admit only a fraction of the excess demand for entry. Those who don’t have the skills and talents to be admitted via usual immigration programs,  and who become queue jumpers, thwart this process by displacing those who have queued from the refugee/humanitarian quota.

Moreover, as a sovereign country we have no moral obligation to admit anyone to Australia despite protestations by the UN and the howls of those in the legal profession who make their living finding ways to promote, at Australia’s cost, the entry of queue jumpers. That we have a refugee/humnanitarian intake that is high as a fraction of the local population is a reflection of the generosity of spirit of the Australian people – it is not a right than non-nationals enjoy as a consequence of the moral values of leftwing, social experimentalists who speak only for themselves – not for the broader community as opinion polls make clear.

 John Howard was right – As Australians we have the right to determine who enters Australia to be part of our community and the conditions under which they come here.   We have the right to exclude and there is no guilt or any need to apologise. 

Illegal entrants should be given visa rights to Christmas Island and that is it – no right to enter Australia and no right to force consideration of their case for migration in advance of those being processed through regular refugee/humanitarian channels. (988)

20 comments to Pathetic response to the queue jumpers

  • Matt

    “as a sovereign country we have no moral obligation to admit anyone to Australia”

    sovereign country is a political/legal designation, with a dubious history. it doesn’t determine moral obligations, it obfuscates them.

    “That we have a refugee/humnanitarian intake that is high as a fraction of the local population is a reflection of the generosity of spirit of the Australian people – it is not a right than non-nationals enjoy”

    the right to seek asylum is established by a UN covenant to which Australia is a signatory, as i’m sure you’re aware. as far as i know, the Australian Government has the option to withdraw from that treaty, but if it chooses not too, then it should respect the both the spirit and letter of the document.

    i thought you were better than pejoratives like “queue jumpers” and i’m unsubscribing.

  • hc

    Matt,

    The notion of sovereign country is clear – Australia is the country of the people of Australia – not a piece of international ‘common property’ real estate. The term doesn’t obscure moral obligations at all. It means Australian people, via their elected representatives, exercise moral judgements on who shall be an Australian not the international community, the UN or lawyers/clergy or people smugglers.

    Australia is very generous to refugees/humanitarian migrants. It is our decision to do so – Asian governments, for example, do not – but our decision, not a moral obligation or imperative imposed by God or moralising clergy.

    Queue jumper is an accurate descriptive and not a pejorative. Numerous displaced people are seeking resettlement in Australia. The illegal migrants muscle their way to the front of the queue, force a near-instantaneous evaluation of their case, and displace those who are queuing.

    Your haste to make judgement reflects the weakness of your reasoning.

  • Matt

    The notion of a sovereign state reflects the fact that a group of immigrants decided to draw a line around themselves and declare that anybody who wished to enter from that point on would have to ask them. The point at which that happened (and thus the inclusion status of people who were then yet-to-arrive) is more or less arbitrary.

    I follow Singer in arguing that we have a strong obligation to assist those in need, and that this obligation has the same source as our strong moral obligation to assist a child drowning in a puddle. This moral obligation exists iff a) the harm to be done to the other party is sufficiently large without assistance, and b) rendering assistance would not be unreasonably costly to us.

    The term “queue jumpers” implicitly equates the choice facing refugees with the choice I face when I walk into the bank and face a 15 minute wait to see the teller. I wonder whether many people facing persecution in rural Afghanistan have access to the “queue” or even know that it exists.

    Note that I’m not arguing that Australia should let everybody in who arrives in a boat. I’m arguing that we have a strong moral obligation to assist those who are genuine refugees, up to a point at which assisting any more would unreasonably reduce the quality of our own lives.

  • conrad

    “Illegal people smuggling has got out of control not because circumstances have worsened in the countries of emigration – push factors – but because Labor policies have proven to be soft on economic migrants – pull factors – that attract queue jumpers to the land of plenty.”

    Actually, I would think push factors are relevant — both in Afghanistan, which will no doubt get worse once the Americans lose, and Sri Lanka, which will hopefully get better if the government decides not to be too vindictive on the Tamils (this would of course be a surprise — but you can only hope).

  • hc

    Your anti-Australian stance comes into the open Matt. To you we Australians are just a bunch of immigrants who drew a line around ourselves and decided who else could join us. This view devalues Australia and what it means to be Australian.

    To the contrary I take my Australian citizenship very seriously and value the distinctive Australian cultural and historical identity. Its a privilege for me (and my children) to be citizens of this area of land.

    Adding those illegal immigrants until it becomes “unreasonably costly to us” are just weasel words that mean zero. We could admit a million humanitarian migrants per year and spend much of our annual savings housing and feeding them. We would live in a despoiled Third World environment. Is that just costly or is it unreasonably costly? Are you saying that irrespective of our costs we must admit others if they face high enough costs? I disagree.

    The term ‘queue jumpers’ does not equate to waiting in a bank line. It defines any activity for which there is an excess demand which is rationed off by means of a quota. Bottlenecks in traffic-congested roads are queues as are those on waiting lists to enter Australia as humanitarian immigrants. It is this latter group whose rights are being trampled on by the queue jumpers.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    I understand where you’re coming from H, and you could be making a rational case based on facts but instead you have chosen to put up a somewhat hysterical argument that relies on propaganda and disinformation.

    For example, we do not have a refugee intake that is “high” in relation to our population. It is low, by world standards.

    Let’s compare the countries that we normally would like to compare ourselves to: per 1000 inhabitants, Australia hosts 1 refugee compared to the 4.7 for the UK, 5.2 for Canada 5.2, 6.1 for Switzerland, 7 for Germany, 7.5 for Norway, 8.3 for Sweden.

    In complete contradiction to your claims, Harry, countries at the front gates of refugee streams indeed do have the highest intake and they are not the countries with such enviable standards of living at all, hence, per 1000 – Chad, 29.5, Montenegro, 39.6, Syria, 50.5 and Jordan, 79.2.

    Australia ranks no.42 in the world in its refugee intake.

    Refugees, queue jumping ones and the ones that queue up, or come by plane, or whatever, all up make up about 7.3 per cent of the overall intake of migrants into Australia. And that proportion is actually falling (Nov. 2009 statistics).

  • hc

    Sir Henry, Since WW2 Australian has settled 600,000 refugees according to Oxfam. In 2005-2006 it was the second highest country in the world for permanently resettling refugees. Yes, countries like Thailand took more than 100,000 but gave none (= NIL) residency rights. Your data seems incorrect – a link would have been useful – I cannot verify these figures – and your inferences seem wrong.

    To be clear these statistics are irrelevant to the main point of my post which is that current Australians should determine who should be new Australians. It is important to get these facts right but they are secondary to this concern.

  • Matt

    your talking points are unusually venomous this weekend hc. “weasel words”, “weakness of your reasoning”, “your anti-australian stance”. if someone had asked me last week, i’d have placed you closer to quiggin than bolt but now i’m not so sure.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    These are unicef figures Harry. The links are now at the end of this post for your perusal.
    A simple google would have verified them for you. I didn’t give a link because your spam catcher would have binned my comment.

    The statistics are NOT irrelevant to your post because you premise your commentary on the basis of “facts” at whose heart lie statistics.

    (Your link, BTW, links back to your own blog).

    I am not entirely hostile to your point of view, either, but I have a more of an open mind about this problem (refugees worldwide, that is) and its solution, if any.

    Further to your response, the numbers that you cite involve a large proportion of refugees from Europe in the aftermath of WWII, who were invariably white.

    Indeed, refugees from Baltic states had to be paraded before newsreels of the time as they came off the boat to show locals that they were blond and blue-eyed to assuage public anxiety about Australia admitting wogs and coons.

    (Dark haired wogs like myself of course came later, but we were refugees from “communist oppression” of eastern Europe and suited the ideological tenor of the Ming era.)

    Now the following is pure opinion, H. but I reckon that the current paranoia about boat people is purely racist as Australia is anxious about the Sri Lankans and Africans from the Horn of Africa lobbing here.

    If white Europeans were now to arrive on boats, they’d be treated differently. They are unlikely to do so of course so we will never be able to test this hypothesis.

    Table 24: Indicators of host country capacity and contributions, 2008.http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/08-TPOC-TB_v5_external_PW.zip

    http://www.unicef.com.au/More/MediaCentre/Mediareleases/Refugeesasmallfractionofmmigrantintake/tabid/432/Default.aspx?&__U=1270882384916

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/refugee-intake-lowest-in-35-years/story-e6freooo-1225833680806

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/2545329

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/imm_ref_percap-immigration-refugees-per-capita

    http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/online/refugees_s1.htm#section1

    http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2010/03/26/158655_opinion.html

  • ennui

    Sir Henry
    The data you make reference to is clearly germane to a sensible debate. Are you able to provide a source reference and link to that data.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    I am not sure what you mean ennui, I have provided six links, above at comment timed 12.16am April 11.

  • hc

    The reply by Sir Henry went to spam bin. I recovered it.

  • hc

    Sir Henry, Most of the references you provide are interesting but not relevant to the point you make about Australia’s contribution to refugee efforts. Yes refugees are a small part of the migrant intake – they are less sought than skilled migrants and family reunion migrants. Yes they are a declining fraction of the Australian intake – because other components have grown so strongly under Howard/Rudd. Yes, illegal migrants have been a small fraction of the total but attention focuses on the first-derivative of such numbers – it is exploding. Those who do make it here establish a chain migration base and a knowledge base for others.

    The third last reference is the key one – it shows that Bosnia’s refugee intake was 27% of its population size while Germany’s was 1.6% and Australia’s was only 0.3%! I assume these figures reflect arrivals not those resettled. It is difficult to say since the ‘definition’ accompanying the table is worthless. These figures do not reflect refugee resettlements.

    There was racism towards those with less than British-white skin tones but this ended 30 years ago. I wonder why you bring it up now? There is an almost irresistable propensity to identify those such as myself as racists because we urge caution on the size of intakes. I know you don’t think that but that’s the way the discussion always seems to evolve.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Harry, it is unfair now for you to suggest I was making comments that are irrelevant the debate since it was you who introduced the notion: ” we have a refugee/humnanitarian intake that is high as a fraction of the local population (and) is a reflection of the generosity of spirit of the Australian people”.

    There are a number of boners here that smack of propaganda. First the wet statement about the “generosity of spirit of the Australian people”. Until recent times, the refugee issue was a bipartisan one so it hasn’t been tested before the “Australian people”, i.e. as an electoral issue – until Tampa. Policy was made by our betters in Canberra.

    Second point, “high” in relation to what? Contrary to your blustering, our refugee/humanitarian intake is NOT high as a fraction of the population, as compared to the rest of the world, whichever table you use – the figures are admittedly rubbery but they all suggest that Australia’s take up of refugees is not “high”.

    And it is not high as a fraction of the whole migrant intake – which is very high (too high), but that is another debate; one which you ought to frame soon as it is topical and very germane to your expertise – the benefits, or otherwise, of a high migrant intake.

    Third point: I introduced the racist element in decisionmaking about who comes here because Australia did indeed take a high number of post-WWII refugees, as you have pointed out, but they were white Europeans and Australia thought it needed a high migrant intake at that time (it got frightened by the events of the Pacific War when it became patently obvious that with just 7 million people, it wouldn’t have been able to defend itself effectively against a a military invasion: hence, the populist slogan – populate or perish.)

    I do not agree that racialist attitudes towards the composition of migrants ended 30 years ago. This is still an elephant in the room. I am the letters editor and web editor of the newspaper where I work. I have a reasonably good grasp of the anecdotal evidence out there.

    Fourth point. You say: Australia is very generous to refugees/humanitarian migrants. It is our decision to do so – Asian governments, for example, do not – but our decision, not a moral obligation or imperative imposed by God or moralising clergy.” You have forgotten that Australia is one of the 147 signatories of the re-ratified 1967 Convention on Refugees, which removed the geographical and time limits to the original 1954 convention. Australia is obliged under the terms of this convention to accept refugees as defined under it and it has nothing to do with moral urgings of do-gooding parsons in Pymble. Australia can drop out of the convention or put in caveats if it so wishes. It wouldn’t be a good look but if there is an electoral imperative… I’d like to see Tony Abbott test this one before the Australian people.

    Finally, the convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, namely war criminals. Australia, together with Argentina, Spain, Bolivia, Canada and the US accepted big numbers of war criminals after WWII. It was then very tardy (or reluctant) in prosecuting them or even in kicking them out. Most of them died of old age drawing a pension until the end from you as the taxpayer.

    To go to my original point, I agree that Australia should discourage boat people – for a number of reasons. To remedy that I reckon that competently administered temporary protection visas are a good idea.

    However I think that Christmas Island is a very stupid concept. It is incredibly expensive and not worth the money in terms of a deterrent. Mandatory detention is stupid as well and again, costly.

    The two together when combined with the length of a stretch in detention creates a moral obligation to take in the people you have given a hard time to.

  • conrad

    Henry,

    everyone always brings up that refugee convention stuff. But as far as I can, absolutely none of the signatories abide by it. You can read it here if you want and make up your own mind.

    Also, I think there’s a distinction between what Australians want in terms of racial and cultural policies. If it was just Sri Lankans turning up, I don’t think we would have half the problems we do have now. Similarly, Afghanis are a caucasoid racial group, but I very much doubt that’s what bothers people about them.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Well, yes, Conrad, everyone brings up that refugee convention stuff because that is the basis of the obligation to take in refugees, whether we like it, or not, from time to time.

    Certainly as far as Article 21 is concerned, we do not comply it to the letter. I don’t know how other countries deal with the problem of where to put them.

    For me the problem is not of race but acculturation. The Vietnamese have been exemplary. Vietnamese migrants seem to be naturally “Australian”.

    A recent Four Corners program borrowed from the BBC showed the Romanian Gypsies are largely in it for the criminal advantage they can obtain from the host country. As they are not represented among boat people here currently, this is not an issue for us as it is for Spain and France.

    Afghanis as you point out, are cool. Interestingly they have been coming here since the 19th century.

    Tamil Sri Lankan refugees should be on temporary protection visas like the Bosnians and for the same reasons.

  • 2 tanners

    Harry,

    I’m not sure of the basis of the claim that the increase is pull driven, not push driven. Do you have a basis for this? One thing that does appear clear is that the organisers of this trade have managed to price in the loss of the boat, with or without the loss of all lives on board, into their fairly vile trade. I do wonder how many boats sink without a trace. Without some means of increasing the cost to the traffcikers, however, no Australian Government will have a convincing answer to this problem.

    And that ignores the problem of the richer folks who fly in and overstay tourist visas, but who seem to escape the approbation of being classed with boat people.

    On a related topic, we should be screening folks for health and education. Someone who rates reasonably well on both of these, and has proven determination and resourcefulness by getting to Australia, might well be viewed as a fairly good selection for a future citizen. It’s not fair, but it might well benefit Australia, which is the first prioriity of any policy including immigration policy

  • Peter Patton

    Matt

    There is nothing “arbitrary” about Australian sovereignty whatsoever. It has been reaffirmed several times in our history: 1770, 1788, 1901, 1945 (formation of the UN), and 1986 (Australia Act). The source of that sovereignty is “we, the people” and is reaffirmed every time we vote for parliament or a Referendum.

    What I find astonishing is that you, an Australian citizen, champion the government being answerable to unelected, unaccountable foreigners.

    I hardly think that unilateral actions of the executive – on foreign soil – which are neither communicated to, debated by, nor legislated by the parliament, let alone US, constitutes a reason for we, the citizenry, to just roll over!

    The fact is, these “international obligations” have never been sanctioned by the electorate, so the executive has no right to tell us now that “we” must do as we are told!

    I hope your limp-wristed attitude to the popular sovereignty of we the Australian people is not commonly held out there.

  • Sir Henry Casingbrooke @ #6; #9; #14 opined:

    you could be making a rational case based on facts but instead you have chosen to put up a somewhat hysterical argument that relies on propaganda and disinformation.

    Now the following is pure opinion, H. but I reckon that the current paranoia about boat people is purely racist as Australia is anxious about the Sri Lankans and Africans from the Horn of Africa lobbing here.If white Europeans were now to arrive on boats, they’d be treated differently. They are unlikely to do so of course so we will never be able to test this hypothesis.

    I do not agree that racialist attitudes towards the composition of migrants ended 30 years ago. This is still an elephant in the room. I am the letters editor and web editor of the newspaper where I work. I have a reasonably good grasp of the anecdotal evidence out there.

    You’ve got a nerve taking HC to task for his “alleged hysterical argument that relies on propaganda and disinformation”. Your push have been striking fact-free moral poses on this for as long as any one can remember. And it has lost every Culture War argument in this country over the past decade. Starting with ATSIC, Tampa, Bali, Cronulla-the-aftermath, Middle East crime gangs, The Intervention etc. And now the people drownging/smuggling industry.

    Notice a pattern here? Good intentions are not enough. You have to know how the world works.

    Sir Harry your position as “letters editor and web editor” may give you a “reasonably good grasp of the anecdotal evidence out there”, which qualifies you in the position of gossip columnist. However you are way out of your depth when it comes to straight forward statistical analyses, never mind the evidence of one’s own lyin’ eyes.

    The “racialist attitudes towards the composition of migrants” is generally dormant so long as incompetent nincompoops, fatuous moralists and shifty immigration hustlers are not running immigration policy. A condition not satisfied when the friends of Sir Henry are in the drivers seat.

    Your “L/NP wedges the racist Australian red-necks with a dog-whistle” model cannot explain why there was no racist backlash against Howard for ramping up the NESB immigration rate in the post-2000 Olympic era. The facts are in the way of your morality play. Gittins spotted this trend way back in 2003. (I posted on it here and here.)

    Under Howard immigration boomed:

    Bureau of Statistics figures show that, far from falling, net migration has been on an upward trend since the Howard Government’s first year in office, 1996-97.

    In 2000-01 it reached a peak of 136,000 – its highest level in 12 years. The following financial year (the last for which we have figures), it stayed high at 134,000.

    In 2000-01, the Government granted visas to 80,600 settlers under its migration program, plus 13,800 visas under its humanitarian program.

    From fairly low and steady levels until 1991, net long-term arrivals shot up to 56,000 in 1999-2000, then 75,000 and then 93,000 in 2001-02. And in these years, for the first time, net long-term arrivals exceeded net settlers.

    And, guess what, under Howard the NESB ratio of immigrants went UP:

    There isn’t a predominance of white faces. In 2001-02, a third of people came from North-East Asia (particularly China and Hong Kong), 17 per cent came from South-East Asia (particularly Malaysia and Indonesia), 8 per cent from South Asia (particularly India) and 5 per cent from the Middle East (particularly Lebanon and Turkey). That’s the best part of two-thirds.

    This is not exactly a closely guarded secret. Anyone walking the streets of the CBD or the campuses of most unis can see the with their own lyin’ eyes the sudden prevalence of non-Caucasian faces under the racist regime of rotten Johnny Howard.

    But wait, theres more!

    Under Howard, not only did immigration policy become more liberal, so did immigration politics – Left-liberal dog-whistle myths to the contrary. The general populus were “relaxed and comfortable” with the influx of diverse races, so long as the process was properly regulated in the national interest. This Age poll (2002) reports a steady liberalisation of public sentiment over immigration over the Howard decade, late nineties through early noughties:

    Australians are far more supportive of immigration than they were a decade ago, but the dwindling pool of people who reject a higher intake are increasingly likely to cite social tension as a key reason.

    Two near-identical surveys taken more than 10 years apart by pollster Saulwick point to a rise in support for immigration – despite an increase in Australia’s official intake and the political debate sparked by the war on terror and last year’s Tampa affair.

    The poll of 1002 people taken this month found 19 per cent supported higher immigration, while 42 per cent said the intake was too high and should be cut.

    In contrast, the 1991 poll found only 9 per cent supported more immigration, while 73 per cent called for less.

    And Howard won election after election by promising to play straight on immigration. Neither stoking nativist xenophobia or caving into multiculturalist fantasises. Although you wouldn’t know it by reading Left-liberal Ozblogs or MSM, whose heads remained firmly planted in the same places they had lodged sometime around Farrago (c) 1979.

    So to recap: under Howard immigration policy became more liberal, but better regulated. And immigration politics became more liberal, providing the L/NP were in power to oversee the regulation.

    If this sounds like “we will decide who comes here and the circumstances under which they come” then you would be dead right. Amittedly it is not striaght out of the media-academia-GREEN playbook. We tried that under Fraser. Remind me again, how did that work out?

    And, most importantly, Howard’s alien intake policy was moral. It was a good-faith effort to reconcile our obligation to take in properly authorised foreigners with the national interest that we do not over-crowd our land with its parched reservoirs, stripped top-soil, carbon-choked air and flaming forrested cities. Not to mention endless queues and jams for every kind of human service.

    In particular, people smuggling is immoral in the same way that speeding in an un-roadworthy, unregistered car with an unlicensed driver is immoral, even if one is on the way to the hospital. An overly liberal people smuggling policy encouraged the assylum seeker trickle to turn into a flood. With predictable consequences as unseaworthy boats started to founder with many drowned or burned.

    Now what happened when the parties of the Centre-Left got their hands on policy? They rapidly reverted to their bad-old ways which lead to things stuffing up, big time.

    First off the ALP turned it on on the immigration spiggot full bore. Sheehan, as ever sound on this issue, blew the whistle in AUG 2008:

    Under the Rudd Government, Australia’s net immigration intake is now larger than Britain’s, even though it has almost three times the population of Australia. To put all this in perspective, the immigration program in the Rudd Government’s first year is 150 per cent bigger than it was in the Howard government’s first year. The immigration intake is running almost 60 per cent higher than it was three years ago.

    Which causes predictable chaos and misery for citizens already cramped, queued and cranky with too many people.

    So immigration politics went predictably “illiberal” (or “corporal”) as harassed and fed-up-with-it citizens decide they want the state to pull up the draw-bridge. This Age poll (APR 2010) showed that opposition to high rates of immigration is now a majority sentiment, despite overwhelming elite support:

    Amid the recent vigorous debate about population and the migrant intake, and Kevin Rudd’s appointment of a minister for population, the proportion of Australians saying immigration is too high has jumped 11 points to 54 per cent since November.

    There is no “racism” to speak of here on the part of (mainstream) citizens or (L/NP) state. Merely a concern that liberal hustlers and luvvies dont stuff up yet another aspect of cultural administration as they have done with indigenes, multiculturalism, terrorism, “the Yartz” etc.

    Those of a Hegelian cast of mind can see a “cross-wired” dialectic at work here. The AUS polity prefers the “illiberal” party to implement opposite facets of “liberal” policy. ALP administers economic liberal reforms (Keating’s financial liberalisation) to keep the Right-liberal crazies at bay. The L/NP admisters cultural liberal reforms (Howard’s immigration liberalisation) to keep the Left-liberal crazies at bay.

    Sheehans parting shots deserve to be aimed at those, like Sir Henry, who have learned nothing and forgotten much about the past 30 years:

    The hysterics in the refugee and mandatory detention debates have always thrown around words like “shame” and “gulags” and engaged in moral relativism, comparing Howard to Saddam Hussein, while refusing to recognise that there are real consequences of failures of immigration policy. Thousands of Australian have paid a heavy price for the failed refugee-vetting processes in the 1970s and 1980s, when many people who should never have been allowed into the country were approved. We are still paying the price.

    The fundamentals have not changed because they cannot change. The electorate holds dear the principle that people cannot determine when and how they will move to a new country, bypassing immigration controls or refugee programs. This is elementary to a nation’s sovereignty.

    Give up Sir Henry, the games up. Your post-seventies liberal Arts education was a waste of time when it comes to figuring out who and how many should be here. And dont bother trying to buy time by playing the “racist” card. That dodge grows old fast.

  • Amy

    Sir Henry, Most of the references you provide are interesting but not relevant to the point you make about Australia’s contribution to refugee efforts. Yes refugees are a small part of the migrant intake – they are less sought than skilled migrants and family reunion migrants. Yes they are a declining fraction of the Australian intake – because other components have grown so strongly under Howard/Rudd. Yes, illegal migrants have been a small fraction of the total but attention focuses on the first-derivative of such numbers – it is exploding. Those who do make it here establish a chain migration base and a knowledge base for others.

    The third last reference is the key one – it shows that Bosnia’s refugee intake was 27% of its population size while Germany’s was 1.6% and Australia’s was only 0.3%! I assume these figures reflect arrivals not those resettled. It is difficult to say since the ‘definition’ accompanying the table is worthless. These figures do not reflect refugee resettlements.

    There was racism towards those with less than British-white skin tones but this ended 30 years ago. I wonder why you bring it up now? There is an almost irresistable propensity to identify those such as myself as racists because we urge caution on the size of intakes. I know you don’t think that but that’s the way the discussion always seems to evolve.

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