Discussion in 'Oceania Discussion Boards' started by jediguy, Aug 29, 2001.
This is such a tricky situation, you have to feel sorry for such desparate people but we can't just take all the ones trying to do it illegaly, Woomera is packed as it is. Personally I think we should be taking more legal refugees. But that doesn't help this situation. It's at a real impasse.
While I support the governement's decision to refuse the latest ship of boat people to land on Australian shores, I do understand the flip-side of the coin. But let's all remember that they're entering another country illegally. The key word there, of course, is "illegal". And we can't allow it continue, or we'll become a dumping ground for these people (some of who may be refugees, others could possibly be criminals). The government had to take a stand eventually and now it's finally happened.
There IS a way of immigrating to Australia LEGALLY (however slow it may be). That's why our country has so many diverse cultures, we're a country full of people from so many different ethnic backgrounds. If these people want to live in Australia, that's fine. Just do it the right way.
EDIT: I thought I was the first person to reply.
Yeah, this is a complex issue. Some points should be clarified however, and if you focus on them you'll agree with the govt.
1. These boat people (they are not refugees, yet) were rescued by a Norweigan ship. They should have, under international law, have been taken to the nearest port, which was in Indonesia. They convinced the captain to take them a greater distance to Chritsmas Isl. (There was some speculation that this could be construed as piracy, depending on how the crew were 'convinced')
Australia and Indonesia are signaturies of the same refugee treaties, and should, under those treaties, be given the same treatment in either country. The boatpeople have no choice under any law, as to which of the two countries they should seek refugees status. They should return to Indonesia and claim refugee status from the country to which legally, they should have been taken.
From a humanitarium perspective we must provide these people with all their medical, clothing and feeding needs, and escort them to an Indonesian port.
As for the new bill (The emergency protection bill) being passed tonight, it is not about the refugees themselves, but to allow troops to take command of ships in this type of situation.
Further reasons to send these people away is that when the SAS troops boarded they reported suspicion that many of these people were not from Afghanistan, that many may have been Pakistanis, who would not be refugees, but merely illegal immigrants seeking a better economic status. Such people have no right to be in Australian territorial waters (or in any Australian territory) under Australian law.
These people came into Australian waters in defiance of International Maritime Law and Australian law, they have committed and illegal act, and should be removed.
In terms of boat people in general, some people have suggested that we are targeting these people unfairly. Boat people are a massive threat to the security and economic welfare of Australia. How? Well from my point of view (I'm a peasant farmboy) the greatest risk is disease. When these ships arrive they often carry domestic livestock (eg. pigs, even buffoloe) which they are a vector for every disease from foot and mouth (which is prevalent in places like Afghanistan). If this one disease got into Australia it would cost the nation literally billions of dollars (estimated cost over 5 year was 7-10bil). Coming from countries with strife and econoimic deprivation means that these people have a much higher rate of infectious diseases such as TB. We must question how much these few people's welfare is worth compared to our own?
I hope that I don't come across as a red-necked idiot, but I think that sometimes the conservative and hard line approach must be taken, and I think this is one such situation.
I agree with Ki. One can't help feeling sorry for these people, understand where they're coming from. But that is no reason to break there law. While it may be slow, it's not like we have a 'no immigration' sign hanging on our front door.
We are a country that prides itself on our diversity and multicultrualist attitude. That attitude was gained from mixing with people that came here legally, following the right procedures.
You also have to wonder...these people have shown a blatant disregard for our laws in doing what they have done. If we allowed them into our country, would they chose to disregard other laws as well?
I have to agree with the government's decision on the matter. (Unfair) Comparisons have been made to a similar situation in 1939 where both Cuba and the US rejected a boatload of German Jews who ended up returning to Germany and suffering in the concentration camps. The situation these boat people are in is hardly the same.
Unfortunately, the way I interpret the current situation is that both Australia and Indonesia are violating international laws on the subject, as well as maritime laws. Any legislation passed to allow military forces to board and take control of foreign flagged vessels could be deemed as piracy, which becomes an act of war.
The bottom line is, our Prime Minister, forget the politics of it, the leader of our nation, has decreed that no more foreign boats shall enter our nation illegally.
I think Sith summed it up pretty neatly
The bill didn't get through which depending on your point of view, is either good or bad.
But I support the government on this one very rare occasion, I imagine the people of christmas island are very annoyed at how many people keep knocking on the door and stretching the islands resources,
I agree that this is a difficult situation and that we should have the right to protect our maritime borders from any incursions. But in my opinion we should be bringing in more refugees. These people, assuming they're from Afghanistan, are likely coming from an incredibly difficult situation, escaping from an impoverished nation and an oppressive government and I just feel that it is our duty to let these people in.
There is virtually no way that these people will be able to attain refugee status without breaking some law in some country.
I'm not to sure about those refugee treaties but I think that legally they have to claim refugee status in the first country they escape to, these people have probably come through Pakistan and then Indonesia. Pakistan has tens of thousands of refugees continually flooding its borders so its unreasonable to ezpect a third world country take that burden without assistance. And theres probably little chance of anyone claiming refugee status in Indonesia and having it accepted.
If you're worried about the diseases I'm sure that we'll be able to quarantine and check them for anything dangerous if we let these people in.
Hmmmm yeah comming to Australia on a boat. Not really a new concept is it. Sigh.
Regardless of what happens to those unfortuante people being made an example of on that boat, i think Australia's immigration policies are at best a joke, and at worst inhumane.
We've been "the lucky" country for too long. It's time to start looking at things from a more global perspective. This problem isn't going to go away. Desparate times afford desparate measures.
We also should remember that this is only ONE boatload that is being turned away, other boatpeople will not face the same treatment.
Personally I think that becuase so much media attention has been turned onto this particular group we should send them away to give a hardline view to the rest of the world, which hopefully will reduce the volume of boatpeople who are illegal immigrants.
I aggree that Australia will benifit from immigration (up to a sustainable level) but that it would be more approriate to be more selective; discourage refugees and encourage more skilled or wealthy immigrants. It's a harsh thing to say but Australia cannot solve the worlds problems, and a large scale increase in immigration (especially of underskilled/undercapitalized refugees) would strain our natural resources, our social infrastructure and risk a decline in our standard of living. If you are prepared to accept that, then you should encourage such migrations, if not then dont.....
I"m not sure that bringing in underskillled refugees is that great a strain on resources. I'm sure from some peoples point of view any nonwhite immigrants will be a strain on our social infrastructure. We're not letting that many refugees in anyway, the last three years the australian government has failed to satisfy its refugee quota....
I say send them back. For once our Prime Minister has pulled his finger out and taken some affirmative action against this. We have been taking illegal boat people for far too long and supporting them.
I don't feel sorry for these people at all.
Send them back
They should go through the legal procedures which everyone else has to if they want to come here. Since they are coming here illegally, they're probably hiding something.
I'm really torn here. Half of me really thinks that these people should be turned away as an example to the rest of the boats about to sail here. Part of me thinks how lucky I am to have been born in such a great country, which really is just pure luck. A little bit of me wonders if I ever fled my homecountry due to violence and oppression, that some other country would take me in.
Too hard basket.
now our prime minister says she might let them come over here.
I don't know about that, but I do support her idea that if NZ decides to take them in they will be 'detained' until the issue is sorted.
I think that race should not be an issue in immigration, that we should let any ethnic group come in, so long as thos people are either skilled or wealthy.
Coming from the bush I would personally like to see a few more such people (esp. doctors, engineers, ect) being encouraged into rural communities. It would allow a real intergration, would reduce the formation of ghetto or race-defined areas in the large cities, and provide skills and investment in areas that really need it, leading to growth.
We don't need unskilled or uneducated people in such areas (we have enough uneducated and stupid people out here, how else could One Nation get a vote)
I agree. Many of the new immigrants should be sent to the bush. It would help Australians assimilate.
We should confiscate the Norwegian ship like we do with all the other boats that bring people in from Indonesia.
Then next time we say don't enter our territorial waters people may listen to us.
I feel sorry for legitimate refugees but I don't believe that many of these boat people are legitimate refugees. If someone can afford to pay large sums of money to enter our country illegally, then they're not likely to be people with no other alternative. Australia's not exactly a short trip for these people. There are dozens of other countries that are a lot closer and easier for these people to get to. They're literally going out of their way to get here and why not? There's been nothing to discourage them.
I think our country should take in refugees but not the illegal ones. In all the world there are thousands of people far more deserving of our support than the ones who do the wrong thing.
I spent a lot of time 2 years ago with the refugees at the army barracks in Fremantle. They were legitimate refugees. They came from the middle of a brutal war. Our country was kind enough to take them in and once things settled down, no-one complained about them being sent back to their war-torn homes. I think they are far more deserving that the ones that have come by the boatload in recent times.
So the deal now is that the boat people are going to be transported to Nauru and New Zealand for processing. They'll sort out the refugee's from the criminals and the refugee's may be allowed to immagrate legally to Australia.
I think the more serious issue here is Indonesia's unwillingness to accept this situation as a problem. The original boat sailed from Indonesia and their Government has flat out ignored any attempt to hold them responsible. Clearly someone in Indonesia put these people on that boat for a large sum of money. And they're going to continue doing it: these criminals couldn't give a toss if the refugee's drown halfway to Christmas Is.
What is the Indonesian Government willing to do stop this trade in human cargo at their end? Obviously nothing
Uruk-hai: "We should confiscate the Norwegian ship like we do with all the other boats that bring people in from Indonesia.
Then next time we say don't enter our territorial waters people may listen to us."
Or maybe next time we ask some foreign cargo ship to rescue a sinking boat with hundreds of people on it they'll ignore us and let them drown.
soneil: "If someone can afford to pay large sums of money to enter our country illegally, then they're not likely to be people with no other alternative."
I guess the same thing can be siad for the thousands of jews who paid to come here from nazi germany before world war 2.
Just because a person has the money to pay the people smugglers who are the real criminals does not mean that they are not legitimate refugees.
I agree that the unwillingness of Indonesia to help us with this situation is a problem and in my opinion is a symptom of the poor relations we have with them that the amateuristim of the Howard government in respect to foreign affairs has contributed to.
Yeah nice idea, lets confiscate the Norwegian ship. For what? Because they did something that not many people here seem to be able to do - show compassion for people in need. Stop looking at these refugees as bad people. They are human beings just like us, who are in a desperate situation.
To quote Ternian "I don't feel sorry for these people at all. "
Then i feel truly sorry for you. I would love for you to spend even 5 minutes on that ship and meet these people, especially the small children. I'd bet my life that you would change your tune pretty quickly, and i hope you realise just how horrble your statement makes you look to my eyes.
Bob Marley - German laws prior to the commencement of WW2 required Jews to pay massive departure taxes before they were allowed to leave - they were effectively prisoners in their own country unless they paid that money to their own legally elected government. That did not in any way guarantee them refugee status upon arrival in another country, which is possibly the same as these curretn illegals, but the difference ends there.
Take for example the case of the SS St Louis - when she arrived in American waters in 1939 carrying around 1000 German Jews, they were refused entry. Cuba also refused entry to them. The ship ended up returning to Germany with those Jews still on board. Britain allowed about 200 of them to enter as refugees, while virtually all of the rest perished in Nazi concentration camps. They may have paid money to get out, but they ended up with nothing in return. Were they treated fairly? No, and all three nations involved in that affair were wrong.
The difference between that case and the present situation is that almost everyone seems to be ignoring is that the illegals on the MV Tampa virtually hijacked that ship and demanded to be taken to Christmas Island. That is, in my book anyway, piracy, which is one of the most serious serious crime that can be committed on the high seas. Thus, they (or the ringleaders who made the demands) are criminals and should be treated as such.
GOC - The voyage of the damned has been thrown around all week by the media as a comparison and I agree that there are many differences with the current situation, I was just using the jews to highlight a simple point that just because an asylum seeker has some money doesn't mean that they are not an refugee.
I'm not sure that the Tampa was virtually hijacked, there is little evidence to support this. It was the captain's decision to head for christmas island and the captain's decision to enter australian territorial waters. His decisions were likely affected by his concern for the boat people in that they threatened to jump ship if he headed for indonesia other than that I don't think they had much to do with his decisons.
In my opinion the action of the government was much more serious. Ignoring the tampas humanitarian concerns for the people on board and boarding the ship with heavily armed sas troops for entering our waters after it sent a distress signal is pretty sad and as you said it "could be deemed as piracy".
When this is all over I wonder whether we can look back and say that we treated these people fairly and whether we've done anything wrong.