September 11, 2011
The government could stop the asylum seeker rort within weeks
Greg Sheridan in The Australian (10/9) is way off the mark in saying that Tony Abbott is making the biggest policy mistake of his life in not supporting the Malaysian “solution”.
Abbott is absolutely correct in insisting on a destination-specific solution which must include Nauru. Just because the Malaysians saw Ms Gillard coming is no reason to jump on that bandwagon.
All of the demonstratively effective Howard tools which Rudd and Gillard so foolishly destroyed should be reintroduced. In particular, Christmas Island should be excised from the migration zone and Temporary Protection Visas should be reintroduced.
There is of course no guarantee that in the current climate these will work as well as they did in the past. And of course the generously taxpayer funded migration lawyers will work to overthrow this in the courts. (This must really irritate rank-and-file Australians whose chances of having their legal bills paid by the taxpayer is rather remote.)
There are two additional actions which commonsense suggests the parliament should adopt. First, the asylum seeker must come with clean hands. Arriving in the country without identity documents is almost always a clear indication that a deal has been done with criminal elements to get into the country. Australians realises this. That's because they are well endowed with common sense. Only human rights lawyers would come to a different conclusion.
Arriving without identity documents, documents which they would have had to have had to fly into Indonesia, should be sufficient to stamp the file “Application Rejected”.
The second thing, additional to reinstating the Howard tools, is that we should do away with the ridiculous proposition that "Once a refugee always a refugee.”
Clearly when those refugees who fled for their lives from the communists in Vietnam landed on Australian soil, they were still refugees and should have been received with open arms.
But if you fly into Indonesia these days as a tourist, surely you have lost your status as a refugee. Commonsense would tell you that this person, who may or may not have been a refugee, is now a tourist seeking to emigrate to Australia. Our migration law should say so.
Of course some lawyers – and some people who are not lawyers – will scream that this breaches the Refugee Convention. It doesn't.
It is for Australia to interpret the provisions of the Refugee Convention as they apply to this country. The Migration Act should be amended to require that asylum seekers satisfy the Minister that they have come directly from the place of persecution. Without that, the file should again be stamped “Application Rejected”.
Australia has long been a generous and open country. We are now being taken for a ride, a ride which continues well beyond the granting of residence through the drain on welfare and housing.
Ordinary Australians have sufficient commonsense to see this. Why can't the government? Imagine if the people had the right to initiate legislation. A petition to do that would be supported massively and I would think in the subsequent referendum.
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