I have posted repeatedly in the past on the foolishness of the Labor Government’s solution to the asylum seeker problem and the virtue of the Howard Government’s “Pacific Solution” which meant almost no illegal arrivals (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and particularly here, here etc). For my troubles I have been labeled a racist (and worse) and been told that my concerns over the “trickle” of illegal migrants lacked balance. But it is no longer a trickle – over the last 8 weeks 7,500 asylum seekers have arrived. This is about half the legal annual refugee and humanitarian migration intake in recent years and, admitting these queue jumpers, will displace those seeking legal resettlement. It is grossly unfair outcome to the citizens of Australia (who have the right to determine who comprises their population) and to those seeking legal resettlement.
The problem is “moral hazard” there are millions seeking resettlement somewhere and “soft” past Labor policies have encouraged more to take the plunge. While current policies are close to those of the Howard Government expectations have changed. Offshore processing is now failing - in fact now asylum seekers will be placed on bridging visas in Australia for periods of up to 5 years. During this period they will not be permitted to work and will draw Australian social security benefits. What a mess!
Whatever other problems the Gillard Government – they are severe – this will destroy any possibility of their re-election in 2013. The refugee and humanitarian lobby in Australia that have repeatedly urged the Government to soften its stance do not reflect the views of more than a tiny minority of Australians.
Those who said “ignore this problem, it is inconsequential” were wrong. A manageable difficulty has been turned, through poorly thought through policies and glib responses, to a policy disaster. The policy panic is obvious in the Labor Government itself. (1970)