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26 August 2013 @ 08:13 pm
30 Days of Blogging - Day Six  
As the rest of the world is probably aware, Australians will be going to the polls next month for the federal election. One of the most contentious issues relates to refugees, "boat people" as they were named back in the late seventies when Vietnamese refugees started arriving by dilapidated, barely seaworthy vessels. Nowadays the asylum seekers originate in Iran, Afghanistan and similar places. They make their way to Indonesia where people smugglers take their money and herd them onto boats for the incredibly dangerous ocean voyage to Christmas Island or the northern coast of Australia.

This issue more than any really stirs up emotion and there is so much misinformation flying around it's incredible. Both major parties claim to have the solution and are trying to one-up each other; it would be funny if it didn't involve people's lives.

Firstly Labor announced a new hardline policy - no asylum-seekers who arrived by boat would be granted residency in Australia. Instead they'd all be sent for processing to Papua New Guinea, where a deal was struck for these people to be resettled. Then the Libs claimed that the policy was unworkable, and that they, if they were elected, would turn all the boats back. Of course Labor stated that turning the boats back wouldn't deter people from scuttling their boats so the Navy would HAVE to rescue them.

A couple of boats arrived, and their occupants were transported to Papua New Guinea. Last I heard, over 50 of the arrivals have since asked to be repatriated back to Iran.

Liberal's latest idea, announced last Friday, is that they will set money aside in the Budget to go to Indonesia and buy all of the dodgy boats from the people smugglers, so that they don't have the vessels to transport the asylum-seekers in.
Yes, I know. Read it again, I'll wait.

I just can't wait to see what the Labor party proposes to counter that.

Of course this ignores the fact that over 70% of illegal (ie queue-jumpers without papers) immigrants arrive via plane and disappear off into the general populace.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Strike while the irony is hot: [EMO] WTF?draycevixen on August 26th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC)

I think my icon says it all.

In the US, they tend to focus on illegal immigrants from Mexico while ignoring the easy stroll across the Canadian border and, like with Australia, how many people arrive by plane on tourist visas and then just "disappear."
Newsy: mad as hellnewsy891 on August 27th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Speaking as someone in the US who is either going to be an immigrant or the spouse of one - yep, the current policy is official racism at its finest, as is the whole "stop the boats" thing. Stopping the boats, like patrolling the Mexican border, isn't about curbing illegal immigration; it's about keeping (fill in "undesirable" race here) away.

I'd like to add, though, my opinion that illegal immigration is so high because legal immigration is cost-prohibitive and/or includes discriminatory roadblocks itself. Not sure where to go with that, but just speaking from personal experience about the massive amounts of bureaucracy and money and potential health-related discrimination that falcadore and I are facing.
Strike while the irony is hot: [DRAYCE] BRISTOLSdraycevixen on August 27th, 2013 04:38 pm (UTC)

I'm an Englishwoman married to an American man. We live in the States. I've had lots of chances to compare green card experiences with people from other countries and I can say, absolutely, it was easier for me than for people I know from South America, for instance.
miwahni: Random Rainbow Earthmiwahni on August 28th, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
New Zealand, our nearest neighbour, has a very relaxed immigration policy, probably because they suffer a net migration loss every year. And you can become a New Zealand citizen after two years' residency there. And Kiwis can hop across the ditch to Australia with no need for a visa, and can live and work here as long as they want.
Just sayin'. I know a couple of Europeans who couldn't get entry to Australia so they upped stakes and moved to New Zealand for a couple of years.
miwahni: Random Rainbow Earthmiwahni on August 28th, 2013 11:01 am (UTC)
*hugs your icon*
In 2008 (the most recent statistics I can find, the illegal immigrants who arrived by plane outnumbered the boat arrivals 32 to 1.
See, Mexican's aren't "like us" and that's why the fuss, while the Canadians I guess aren't seen as "the other".
moonlightmead on August 27th, 2013 07:19 am (UTC)
It took a confusing conversation with a friend from Florida before we realised that his boat people and my boat people were not the same. Britain had the same term as you do; but he thought I was expressing an opinion about Cubans trying to sail to the US!

As for the buying the boats idea, please tell me that you are over-simplifying for purposes of emphasis? No...? Oh dear. I do try not to comment on other countries' politics, but, but... Australia politicians: WTF?
miwahni: Pros Private madnessmiwahni on August 28th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
I'm right there with you expressing WTF-ness.
Even the Indonesians think it's crazy.