Illegal Immigration Idiocy

August 14, 2006

Today’s Your Say inThe Age has an interesting discussion on Australia’s new immigration policy.  Family First Senator Steve Fielding has an interesting article on the Pacific Solution of offshore detention centres for asylum seekers and refugees.  The brunt of the issue is that Australia is treating these refugees with particular disdain, criminalising them and not letting them into the country, in order to curry favour with Indonesia. 

I harp on quite a lot about focusing on issues, rather than the messenger, and while I disagree with Fielding on a lot of issues, and indeed his reasoning behind being against the government’s policy on this issue, I do concur that we should be treating asylum seekers with more dignity and humanity.

For brevity’s sake, I’ll paste here what I wrote as an initial response:

Leaving aside the images of po-faced children saying grace, and beige-clad adults grimly counting the number of swear words on TV that the name “Family First” conjures up, I have to say that I agree with the principle of Steve Fielding’s article.

Whether one classifies humanitarian treatment as being by ‘The Rules’ or not, I find it quite outrageous that the government sees fit to devalue human lives in this way. I like to apply the universality test to policies such as this; switch the people in the situation around and see if it stills seems okay. This is purely hypothetical, by the way – just to pre-empt all those who’ll try to deconstruct my examples.

If Australian citizens fleeing persecution tried to seek refuge in New Zealand, but NZ authorities kicked them out in order to appease the Chinese government, would that be okay?

Or if French asylum seekers tried to get into Switzerland, but the USA threatened to stop trading with them, and so the Swiss shut their doors.

Whatever you way envision it, to deny people their basic rights in this way would be horrendous, and as Fielding points out, could throw the world into chaos.

 Comments?  Join the forums to enter into the debate.

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