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REFUGEE POLICY August 15, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Human Rights, Humankind/Planet Earth.
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So what is orchestrating the absurd refugee asylum policy? The obvious thing to do would be to conduct the processing of refugees in Indonesia before they got on a boat to head to Christmas Island.

There should have been policies in place with strategic vision. We should have anticipated that the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka might create refugees. Australia was and is involved in some of those situations through the imperial ties we have not been able to shake off, despite the carnage of the imperial wars in which we have been participants.

The post-Vietnam refugee policy seems in retrospect to have been successful with no need for onshore or off shore processing centres. Markia Dobbin in The Sydney Morning Herald quotes former PM Malcolm Fraser:

”I think the impact (amending legislation to allow off shore processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea) will be tougher than Howard’s Pacific Solution because there is no time limit on how long people will be in these detention centres, it’s indefinite,” he said.

He said children held in detention would be worse off under the recommendations.
”The minister will no longer be guardian of children, so the convention on the rights of the child, which we’ve agreed to, suddenly means nothing.”
Mr Fraser said the amendments would not stop the boats and that more people would be at risk of drowning.

”The Liberals and others say that Howard stopped the boats, but if you look overall at what happened, the Taliban fell. The numbers of refugees going to Europe fell just as dramatically at the same time and no country in Europe had yet introduced the punitive measures that Australia introduced.”

Mr Fraser said the sensible alternative was to have large processing centres, in Malaysia or Indonesia, with the commitment that those recognised as genuine refugees would come to Australia.

More than 246,000 refugees, mostly from IndoChina, came to Australia under the Fraser government. The current humanitarian intake is 13,750 per year.

Mr Fraser said that very few boats landed in Australia during his time because there was an organised alternative.

The refugee policy as expounded by one of the panel (I can’t now find the reference) sounded to me like the COIN Strategy that proposed in Afghanistan with its’ intriguing proposition of “government in a box”. I think they lost the box and killed people in the process, and the government and the box was sent down the memory hole. There is a similarity with military strategy with an emphasis on game theory and behaviorist psychology. In this scheme negative reinforcement and violence, the prerogative of the State is emphasized over positive reinforcement.

Refugees, so it seems, are fair game for punitive treatment “The compromise” that the Prime Minister speaks of is for perceived short term domestic political advantage and is devoid of morality, such as recognition of the international agreements that have been signed or the ruling of the High Court, and appreciation of history or of what the future is likely to hold with the progress of the climate and ecological crisis.

Indonesia is not really equipped it seems to patrol it waters to stop the boats, which begs the question as to what was done to prevent the boardings in first place – although some suggestions might come to mind.

ELSEWHERE

Ken Parish reviews the numbers of the potential refugees compared to the proposed intake. That and the fact he has read the report probably helps. He comments on the constitutional problems of which the PM and Minister are probably aware.

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