Let’s look at some facts. This year Australia will provide 6,000 places to refugees, under the United Nations' refugee agency, and 7,750 people under our special humanitarian program. The queue jumping myth is just that, a myth. People who arrive in Australia on boats are not queue jumpers. They can’t be. The UN agency makes a list of those claiming refugee status, but our own government sets the intake, and has complete discretion as to who we’ll accept. Arriving by rickety boat from a war-torn country in no way guarantees you’ll be chosen over anyone else claiming to be a refugee. The government, in this instance, already has the power.
It seems like there are more and more boats arriving on our shores these days than ever before. This is true, and not. It’s important to ask why, and looking at the facts, the increase in boat people has little to do with a lack of hard line “stop the boats” policies. In 2001, before the American-led invasion of Afghanistan , there was a peak in boat arrivals: 43 boats and 5,516 people. Most of these people were escaping the Taliban. After the invasion, the numbers dropped again, as the Taliban’s position was weakened. This year, we’re up to almost 3,000 arrivals by boat. The defeat of the Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan government has caused many Tamils to flee here, to Australia. Simply, increases in asylum seekers are usually due to violence in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Sri Lanka, and have little to do with political policy. Read more on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website here.
|Afghan asylum seekers off the coast of WA|