The Gillard Government does finally seem determined to address the “people smuggling” issue. The deal is to send the next 800 illegal migrants (almost all “queue-jumpers” seeking a better lifestyle) to Malaysia in exchange for accepting – over the next 4 years – 4000 refugees from Burma currently held in Malaysia. These Burmese refugees will be accepted even if 800 queue-jumpers are not sent to Malaysia. The cost of implementing this policy will be $292 million or $365,000 per illegal immigrant. The Burmese immigrants accepted will raise Australia’s refugee intake to 14,750 which is the highest since 1996.
I agree with Tony Abbott on this one. This deal is a good one for Malaysia and a lousy, expensive one for Australia. Australia is a nation populated by the people of Australia. It is not international common property or a policy instrument of the United Nations – Australians should determine who comprise the Australian Nation and if that involves repudiating UN agreements so be it. Almost all queue jumpers should be given a one-way ticket home. As it stands almost all now gain refugee status at the expense of those who seek legal resettlement. This motivates the illegal flows and the people smugglers. (149)