Sunday, July 21, 2002

The very lovely Jason Soon is able to keep his temper in check far better than I can, and gives One Cheer for Mandatory Detention.

I have to say I think Jason has missed one fundamental point in his “defence of queue jumpers”. He says
Try observing bureaucratic protocol when your family is being slaughtered some time, not that there was any 'queue' to begin with so that one could comply with a protocol

and he’s partly right. But partly wrong.

Every person who comes here illegally by boat is travelling from a safe destination, to a safer one. Australia does not give refugee status to people fleeing Indonesia. We, and the UN, consider it to be a safe destination We also consider Pakistan to be a safe destination, which is why the Feds will give the Bhaktiari family the boot any day. Following the people smuggling pipeline, we have Malaysia, which plays their part in the whole sorry mess by winking at Muslim “holiday” visas that allow illegals to transit the country on the understanding that they not stay. We don’t take refugees from Malaysia, because like the UN, we consider Malaysia to be a safe destination.

If someone is on a boat heading for Australia, we can assume they didn’t teleport on board. They passed through at least one, probably two and possibly three safe destinations, each time choosing to upgrade of their own free will. Each subsequent move was made to improve on safety, not establish it.

Comparing fleeing Afghans with fleeing Jews is emotive, and not especially accurate. In shameful episodes in the past, Jews were turned away, to their deaths. Today, no-one is turned away until we KNOW they are not genuine refugees. If a few get planted on Nauru for a few months, so what? Isn’t their aim supposed to be getting somewhere safe? Nauru is safe, and they don’t have to stay there forever. The point of shifting them to Pacific Islands is to prevent the subversion of immigration procedures, by legal means or illegal. Recent past events prove that for a certain type of zealot, there are no illegal immigrants, there are no borders, and any form of immigration control is a priori racism. For these types, what matters is securing the outcome they have decided is proper. Or if you like, first we declare you a refugee, then we examine your claim.

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