Friday, July 19, 2013

The huge thorn in Australia's side---refugees, people smugglers and where to put them.

Australia has always been a place where people wish to settle, but like any nation it has a right to have this happen in an orderly and safe manner. That many thousands attempt to jump the queue and enter Australia illegally is hardly Australia's fault but it is it's problem. It has become a political issue; one that Tony Abott shamelessly uses for his own political gain. Such is the nature of politics. Now, Rudd has acted in a manner that many will see as harsh. He has firmly closed Australia's borders to the people smugglers and made strong overtures to his neighbours to seek out a more permanent and humane solution. One can not expect these 'neighbours' to shoulder this responsibility without a great deal of help, both from Australia (and New Zealand) and most definitely the UN. These people smugglers are trading in human misery and the people who pay them out of desperation  are often ripped off and sometimes killed, if some of the stories we hear about what happens to them at sea are correct.
However, Australia's tough new approach must send the message back up the pipeline that simply jumping on a boat will not necessarily get them to Australia.
New Zealand must support all attempts to find a regional response to this terrible issue. Indonesia for its part must also be supported. Yes, no doubt corrupt officials there play their part in gaining from the misery of others, but Indonesia is hardly in a position where it should take all the responsibility for stopping people using it as a base to 'jump to Australia.' There are many thousands of refugees already in Indonesia, and that country has it's own economic problems without having to pay out for more. If Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia (with support from other SEA countries) can make it unattractive for refugees to attempt the difficult journey then maybe that can help. Of course the root to all of this 'people movement' is the lack of stability and poor economic and social conditions in the countries of origin, especially the Middle- East and other parts of Asia. Refugees have always sought greener pastures, but when people smugglers enter the scene, the issue becomes that much more dangerous. Australia is in a difficult position; one that no country would wish for.
Lets take the politics out of the solution and work on a wider scope. I guess we could start with Syria, because we all know that the situation in that country has just turned on another huge tap!
www.authorneilcoleman.com