'Logisitical nightmare': The Navy is assisting in the transfer of casualities.
One of my favourite conservative bloggers is arguing that “Illegal migration demands surge with Rudd Government policy failure.” The Howardian approach to asylum seekers – ‘the boat people’ – was to subvert the claim to asylum by determining that arrival here without proper authority is a criminal act. Additional deterrence was offered through prolonged incarceration and the odd dubious repatriation. It is not illegal, however, to seek asylum.
Whether or not the Afghans are seeking permanent resident status, as Harry claims, they are first and foremost exercising their human right to seek political asylum. Are conservatives saying that breaking an immigration law cancels out any legitimate claim to asylum? That to seek asylum in Australia is illegal unless the proper paperwork is done first?
What would Harry do with these people? Suggest they form an orderly queue at the Australian Embassy in Kabul and submit paperwork seeking asylum?? Lock them up for five years once they get here for breaking our immigration laws and then pay the cost of mental illness and social dysfunction resulting therefrom?
We have a tough immigration regime, as Harry is tacitly acknowledging, so where is the evidence for a softening, such as it will encourage asylum seekers? People on whose behalf we are fighting a war risk everything – property, family, imprisonment – to get to Australia, undertaking a tortuous and clandestine journey across Asia to finally sail in a leaky boat to Ashmore reef. I’d suggest we have to seriously consider that they are in fact refugees seeking political asylum! Hell, people with such grit and determination should at least be given a chance to put their case. And if their cause is genuine, then let them add to our common wealth. I’m sure they’ll do well, just like the rest of us immigrants have.
Tell us Harry. How would you make it tougher? How would you deal with the current wave of asylum seekers? How would you turn all this around? Or how would Malcolm Turnbull, for that matter. The ‘get tough’ message might have worked a treat for Howard, but these are different times. I suspect the masses recognise the moral hypocrisy of fighting and dying in a war for Iraqis/Afghans and then branding as criminals of suspect character those Iraqi/Afghan refugees who have the temerity to risk everything, including life itself, to turn up on our doorstep seeking shelter and compassion.
Filed under: Australian values, Howardians, Iraq, Law, Politics