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. (1150)