| You could wonder just what the "Pacific
Solution" has been worth. The
Daily Telegraph reported on 7-3-2003 that nearly half the asylum
seekers on the Siev 4 of the "children overboard" scandal have
been resettled in Australia anyway, despite assurances by the Federal
Government that would not happen. 100 Iraqis of the 219 asylum seekers on
the vessel have been granted temporary humanitarian visas as genuine
The Telegraph quotes Prime Minister John Howard saying at the time that
he didn't want "people of that type" in Australia. Interviewed
on the ABC, Immigration Minister Ruddock said
"It certainly became apparent later that in relation to this particular group, an element of what was happening off Christmas Island was found to be untrue, but the other circumstances remained.
They sought to come to Australia unlawfully, they endeavoured to put us under duress in relation to requiring us to take them and we put in place arrangements, which was the off shore processing, which has achieved a very important outcome.
I think the most important story associated with all of this is that since October 2001, we have not had people seeking to reach Australia, who have done so and been processed in Australia, through their efforts to arrive clandestinely, and we've had for fourteen months no unauthorised boat arrivals."
(Speaking to Mark
Colvin, Link Live 7-3-2003)
So I guess that's what it's been worth. They've
stopped people coming. Even if they did not manage to keep out the
Siev 4 people. "Not at all - all of those measures were taken to contain people smuggling and those efforts have been successful," Mr Ruddock said.
What it really means is that refugees who might have found a measure of
safety in Australia, have not been able to get here. And so we have
avoided our obligations as international citizens, let alone shown any
What I find so offensive is the comments like "they sought to come to Australia unlawfully, they endeavoured to put us under duress in relation to requiring us to take them..."
by Ruddock. It is not illegal or unlawful to be a refugee. This is
the government's constant big lie. As Phillip Adams said, I think,
if they had been a shipload of good Presbyterians fleeing the Falklands
during that war we would have accepted them without hesitation. The
racial overtones of our attitude to refugees is obvious. Use of Nicholson's cartoons is
free in a nonprofit situation. Please see his website http://www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au
The cost of the Pacific Solution alone has been more than a billon
dollars. The detention centres cost many millions. And yet
refugees can be a positive economic asset! The
Australian reported recently that Afghan
refugees working in Young, NSW had saved the Federal Government 1.5
million dollars and had injected at least $2.5 million into the
town's economy. Sydney University economics lecturer Frank Stilwell
is quoted as saying it was clear the refugees had made a huge contribution
to Young at both an economic and social level. The figure of 1.5
million is calculated from the saving the government has made on social
security payments by letting people work, and the 2.5 million from wages
injected into the economy. Again, one can only wonder why the
government is so afraid of refugees.