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The Forum > Article Comments > Off loading our problems off shore > Comments

Off loading our problems off shore : Comments

By Susan Metcalfe, published 13/3/2007

We have an imperfect but fully functioning system for processing asylum seekers here in Australia.

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Wouldn't India be the first port of call for genuine refugees from Sri Lanka? If they have bypassed India then they are not genuine refugees or asylum seekers. They are asylum shoppers.
Posted by Sage, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 10:30:11 AM
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Governance is an issue for all Australians.

It is about dealing with PEOPLE!

I think that rather than projecting the policies at oversea's nations Australia needs to look at these polices itself. I.e. Infrastructure in rural isolated communities. Equal Opportunities and Equity. Education through the Media. Protocols that build capacity, that build nations through socio-economic inter-relations. Civic Empowerment can not be achieved anywhere unless you understand JUSTICE is the first principal in SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

I believe the Humanitarian issues that are left unattended in Australian communities are not much different to the issues that are occurring overseas.

We, I believe, breed a culture of fear and distrust.

Apathy is not about LOVE it is about HATE!

Until we become more aware of JUST HOW these problems arise, at ground levels, we will not be able to see through the maze of problems that are being experienced in other cultures.

Our gaze is too one-eyed. Goodwill is not just mediating, it is about doing something constructive, at the causal level.

Learning about peoples, who are caught up in discomfort, fear, conflict and poverty, would be a start.

We need urgently to get this right.

With war and conflict (everywhere) and major issues in climate change looming, the baby boomers crisis all occurring in an over-populated world... locking people up... for what ever reason... is too easy and does not address the long term phenomena facing people everywhere, either now or over the next decades.

This is why our own foreign efforts fail.

It seems to me that Fair Go Australia has lost its cultural spine.

Australia is not fair about anything to do with human rights be it inside this country or understanding the claims of those who need our assistance (from) overseas.

I know this does not address your essay exactly Susan. I will come back to you on this issue.

Posted by miacat, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 12:54:20 PM
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You rightly say that current policy on illegal immigration is formulated in the context of domestic politics. Isn't this called democracy? Do you expect the federal government to follow a policy on illegal immigration strongly opposed by a large majority of electors? If it did would you expect it to stay in office?

The sad fact is that Australia cannot save the world. The main underlying problem causing all this trouble is burgeoning world population. This is never mentioned, possibly because the only policy on which the Vatican and the muslim world agree is that nothing must be done to reduce the increase in world population. Unfortuately, nature is controlling it in its usual brutal way, with the four horsemen of the apocalypse (War, Famine, Pestilence and Death). This situation is one for which we bear no responsibility and cannot solve.

Most Australians feel that things are going to get much worse in the next few decades, as an increasing world population confronts diminishing resources, particularly oil, and that we are likely to be threatened by hordes of desperate starving refugees attempting to land here.

If this situation occurs, they will be prevented from landing by the armed forces of the Commonwealth.

How many years will it be before the Navy is using immigrant boats for target practice?
Posted by plerdsus, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 4:53:31 PM
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All this PC crap is really getting to me. How long will these journalists be allowed to lie to the Australian people. The vast majority of these refugees are just looking to take advantage of a wealthy country. My wife came from wartorn Vietnam 16 years ago. Then refugees were really refugees and she tells me that they were thankful to any country who let them in. They didnt pick and choose. Now she tells me she would not trust the vast majority of them. Remeber this is coming from someone who has actually been there, done that. They simply want all the benefits of living in an advanced western country, including unemployment benefits which must appear like winning the lottery to them.

I read a story from Norway recently. The police are trying to bring in a law to prevent asylum seekers from returning home. The police are finding many of them catching planes home for a holiday within weeks of them successfully receiving asylum from Norway for persecution at home. Why would you go back to the same place yoru being persecuted. The real reason is their just after social benefits from the richest country on earth. Norway's most popular political party is now the anti-immigrantion People's party.

Wake up Australia, this article by Susan is PC crap.
Posted by knopfler, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 8:42:49 PM
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On-shore .. Off-shore processing - sometimes you have to compromise. I, like Susan, have visited Nauru on many occassions over the last few years and have also seen the 'pacific solution' process in action.
Australia commissioned the Swiss based "International Organization for Migration" (IOM) to administer the off-shore processing.
IOM have established an infrastructure in Nauru that has been inspected by government representitives from all parts of the world including several visits by the UNHCR. All of these visitors have expressed some form of praise for the concept, structure and operation of the project. While in Nauru these people are housed in air conditioned accomodation. They are provided with clothing, personal toiletry items and spending money. They are provided with professionaly prepared buffet style meals, 24 hour access to medical attention, free access to international telephone services and the internet, and they have access to education services - if they want it. All this in addition to participating in a processing system facilitated by an internationally recognised organisation, can be compared to "refugee camps" in other parts of the world run by international bodies like IRC and UNHCR where they are lucky to recieve food let alone be fed.
Not all these people are genuine refugees. The ones found to be genuine are offered protection by Australia and by other friendly countries who subscribe to IOM and UNHCR services. The others are offered a variety of solutions including assisted re-settlement in thier country of origin.
Over and above all of this, the Republic of Nauru is a tiny nation struggling to survive and to some degree Austrailia has contributed to the destiny of the nation. Using Nauru as a processing centre allows Australia to provide many infrastructure and social services to the nation, that would not normally arise under the usual realm of international aid and funding.
The on-shore vs off-shore argument could go on forever but in this situation particularly in the case if Nauru, I believe it is fair and equitable, and the best available option at this time.
Posted by LunaEclipse, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 11:15:36 PM
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In response to the posting by LunaEclipse, I would like to remind the poster that the so called "Pacific Solution" was never praised by the UNHCR. I would also remind the poster that the UNHCR's Regional Representative in Canberra called the situation of the pacific solution after his visit to Nauru in April 2005 as "completely unacceptable." More than one of the Psychiatrists who worked with the IOM called the situation there as a "Psychiatric Nightmare." So I believe it's really SHAMFUL to lie in behalf of the UNHCR trying to justify stealing people's life as a "humanitarian action." It can be any thing but humanitarian.
If the person has really visited Nauru several times, I must have met him/her since I was the last one to leave Nauru (Feb this year). So please do not tell about any one praises the "pacific solution" except the Australian government itself!
I also believe that what I call "human rights atrocities" committed by the Australian Government against the detainees in the phase 1 of the so called pacific solution during more than 5 years must be made public.

Mohammed Sagar
the last refugee left Nauru
Posted by The Islander, Wednesday, 14 March 2007 11:29:51 AM
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