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Asylum Boats – Opinion

July 27, 2012

When it comes to political issues, I would class myself as left of centre for both social issues and economic policies. In other words I prefer less control of government in many social matters, while see the benefit of the government having influence in the economic guidelines, including the safety , socialised medical help etc.

One major topic of conversation and debate is the matter of ‘asylum boats’ arriving illegally, and what Australia should do. My current view on the topic would put me over onto the other more conservative side.

It appears that the government is currently in a gridlock about what to do with asylum seekers.  The two major parties and the Greens can’t agree what to do with the boats that arrive and require processing. What is true is that the number of asylum seekers has rapidly increases recently.

My opinion has been that majority of the boats that arrive are not refugees in immediate need of protection, but rather poor people that are seeking a better life, but are doing so through the illegal way of trying to reach Australia that to them offers opportunities.

What adds weight to my opinion that these people are not in some immediate danger are the tactics they have learnt to employ to get to Australia. One example just hit the news today of an asylum boat reporting distress in Indonesian waters, but upon finding out that an Indonesian vessel is coordinating the rescue as opposed to Australia, they paniced saying “no, no, no, no”, wanting an Australian boat.  It seems every boat heading to Australia now experiences some problem requiring a rescue.

Secondly many of the countries are not at war, eliminating actual immediate dangers to their lives.

I understand that these people might be extremely poor and desperate for a better life. But the reality is that there are millions if not billions of people on Earth who are way below the standard that a first world country offers. Compassion is important, but there cannot be an open gate policy for a country to welcome everyone who wishes to come there. It’s just not sustainable, and feasible. If there was no detention at all, I would guarantee that the number of asylum boats arriving would explode, it comes down to incentives. Secondly why should some people who wish for a better life get ahead of all the others just because they managed to get it illegally? There is a process for entering Australia, with many immigrants entering it every year.

So what would I want done? I do not hold a definite answer, but I believe the answer lies in eliminating the incentive of an easy journey to Australia. There should be a way to separate actual refugees from those just wishing asylum, because they see it as an easy way to improve a life without abiding by the set rules. Then anyone who is not in an immediate danger should be sent back.

Finally when it comes to compassion, I see current Australian policies of delivering aid money to those countries that need it as well as specific development programs with our close neighbours as the best way to help those people. The answer is to collectively raise them up from poverty instead of  rewarding the few who managed to score a deal with a ‘peoples smuggler’.

If you disagree I would love to hear why.  I haven’t paid attention to this issue until recently when the topic has been constantly doing the news rounds.

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