I WISH to comment on the article “Few wins from boats policy” (Gazette, 24 July). Firstly, the New Guinea policy announced by Kevin Rudd shows that he knows that the people arriving illegally by boat, or most of them, are not refugees fleeing from persecution in their own countries. If they were genuine refugees, they would be happy to settle anywhere away from their own countries.
Secondly, Russell Broadbent is concerned that “we have to trash some human rights issues” by sending them to New Guinea. But Australia is not directly responsible for these people coming here in the first place – they are themselves, and the large number arriving is responsible for creating the supposed “hellhole”. If they thought their human rights were being compromised, they wouldn’t come in the first place, or they would catch a boat back to Indonesia.
Four questions need to be answered. First, is it right that the Federal Government abandons its responsibility to select immigrants and hands it over to Indonesian boat captains? Second, is it right that Australia’s policy encourages people to risk their lives at sea, with the consequent drowning of at least 1100 people? Thirdly, is it right that Australia accepts people who can pay for flights to Indonesia then the boat trip to Australia in preference to real refugees who have nothing and have been waiting in refugee camps, some for as long as 10 years? Fourthly, is it right that we accept anyone who arrives here with a suitable story rather than people who are likely to respect and accept our values? Many of whom the government accepts are implacably opposed to our values and will therefore be a problem in the future.
If the answer to even one of these questions is “no”, then the policy should be changed to prevent the arrival of these people. The politicians are not serious about stopping this human trafficking – if they were, they would arrest the boat captains as they arrive in Australian waters and jail them for 10 years. This would stop the problem overnight.