It seems yet another boatload of people has faced the possibility of sinking in Indonesian waters but, with the distinctive features that: (i) The attempted sinking (it seems) was engineered by those on board and; (ii) that those on board had the foresight to have satellite phones with the phone number of the Australian Federal Police (not the police in Indonesia) on board and made ‘emergency’ calls to the latter to have themselves ‘rescued’ by Australian vessels.
What we can expect I assume are for the legions of lachrymose Australian politicians and refugee advocates to wail and moan about the moral culpability of Australia for creating this contrived situation! It is obviously no such thing. However, as a consequence of their actions and the prompt Australian naval response, those on this boat who didn’t drown will now jump to the front of the queue for consideration of their refugee status to Australia. This is a destructive and inefficient instance of moral hazard in public policy.
The hysterical and hypocritical views of Australian politicians (and their lachrymose wailings) are driving this situation that creates costs for Australia, unwanted arrivals and deaths among those seeking to manipulate public policy in this way. People who engage in such behaviour should never be considered for settlement in Australia and Australia should only agree to rescue them if they agree to be immediately returned to Indonesia who also needs two agree to accept them.
Being tough here and demanding due process for Australian entry means that it is Australia who determines who comes here as a refugee – an absolutely central consequence of our legitimate status as a nation state – it also saves the lives of those who engage in such manipulative schemes. (2011)