Saturday, June 9, 2012

Refugees in Austrlaia are a political hot potato!

Call them what you wish--- but refugees, boat people, people smugglers and politicians are inextricably linked, and the reality is that no one has an answer to the issues.
Nearly every week we hear of another boatload of people being taken to Christmas Island. No doubt some of these people are fleeing from lives that few of us can imagine how bad it has been for them. There are also people simply trying to jump the immigration queue and these sometimes pay unscrupulous people smugglers, who don’t give a damn for anything other than the money they collect off their unfortunate customers.
Australia is placed in a geographically sensitive area, in that many refuges head their way, in a series of ‘hops’ until they arrive in Australian waters or nearby islands. It is a never ending struggle for Australia and its nearby neighbour (Indonesia) to stem the flow. I feel for Indonesia too, as they are not well placed economically (although there are signs that they are next emerging Tiger in Asia) to deal with this tide.
For those genuine refugees there has to be a better way; not one that is a political football for the two main parties in Australia. Claims and counter-claims are made as to what the solution may be. It is easier of course to make such policy statements when in opposition, but no one has so far come up with an effective and humane policy to handle the issue of refugees.
There will always be a line-up of people striving to circumvent Australia’s immigration policy and when desperation rules, there will also be creeps who will take advantage of these people.
I do not blame Australia for wishing to stop the illegal entry. It is becoming a huge drain on their resources and goodwill. New Zealand is fortunate (so far) in that we are a good deal more distant from the source of the human flow, and we have a dangerous ocean for them to negotiate. This may not always the case as the smugglers use boats that are capable of making the journey.
The nations of South East Asia, including Australia and New Zealand need to handle this difficult problem together. Yes we will all need to take some of these genuine people, but we must also stand firm and not allow our borders to be transgressed.
Mr Abbott, stop making claims that you have no way of bringing into fruition without totally distancing yourself from the opinions of the rest of the world. This is an issue that is beyond politicians and their silly squabbling. It needs an approach based on consensus between the nations of the area.