Top 5 signs your country’s refugee policy is a disaster

Australia’s Minister for Saying-We’ve-Stopped-the-Boats – one Mr Peter ‘PDuddy’ Dutton – was out and about this morning defending what he and his government believe is the best and most successful immigration policy EVER.

I decided to check out PDuddy’s claim against the following officialesque list…

The Top 5 signs your Refugee Policy is a disaster

Number Five: Refugees would rather return to possible death in a war-zone

than stay in the Refugee Centres your country provides

The Australian government has worked hard to convince as many refugees as it can to return to their home countries, despite the considerable potential risk to those refugees that doing so entails.

One Syrian refugee – Eyad – elected to return to probable death in Syria a few months ago, saying he would prefer to die with his family in Syria rather than stay on Manus island. On arriving in Syria he was arrested and tortured for 20 days. Following his release, he was allowed to return to his former home village where he was subsequently hit by shrapnel and saw his father die before him.

Number Four: You put refugees in the care of a government that has made

money from selling passports to terrorists & money-laundering

The way that Peter Dutton pontificates about ‘smashing’ the business of people-smugglers, you’d think he’d donned a cape and mask and turned into a one-man regional crime-fighting machine.

What PDuddy conveniently forgets to mention, when boasting of his crime-fighting achievements, is that the Australian government is propping up the Nauru government with our Refugee policy – and that the Nauru government is so beleaguered by corruption claims that the New Zealand government recently cut off aid to them.  PDuddy also leaves out the fact that this same government was previously heavily sanctioned by the international community for selling Nauruan passports to terrorists and laundering money for the Russian Mafia.

Number Three: Your Refugee Centres make it onto the UNHRC’s torture list

In March this year, the UN Human Rights Commission released its report on torture, naming Australia as a country who had breached the UN Convention against Torture in our Refugee camps.

Of course our government raced to immediately set up a Royal Commission to investigate the issues raised by the UN. Oh wait – no,  that was a Royal Commission into the unions. What our government actually did in response to the UN report was to say that it was sick of being lectured.

Number Two: You are spending more on your Refugee Policy than the

combined GDP of 9 small countries

In 2015, the Australian government spent at least 4 billion on its Refugee Policy – of which 3 billion was to look after offshore refugees (including just under 1600 refugees on Nauru and Manus Island).

This is the equivalent of the combined GDP in 2014 for Tonga, Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Sao Tome and Principe, Dominica and Comoros.

By way of contrast, the UN has a budget of $157 million USD for 2015 to look after over 200,000 refugees in South-East Asia.

Number One: A country in the Axis-of-Evil thinks you’ve gone too far

Over 110 countries lined up at the UN this week to comment on Australia’s refugee policies. In fact, so many countries wanted to raise issues at the periodic UN review, that each was given a time limit of just over a minute to speak. Between them they still managed to raise over 300 concerns in just that space of time.

Among their number was long-term member of Bush’s ‘Axis-of-evil’ – North Korea – who said that they:

have serious concerns at the continued reports of … violence against refugees and asylum seekers“.

It’s official – Australia’s refugee policy is a disaster…

In all seriousness – our refugee policy really IS a disaster. It is pure propaganda  – truthiness at its finest – to suggest otherwise.

And still Peter Dutton keeps a straight face while he claims that Australia’s Refugee policy:

  • has saved lives – this is doubtful at best;
  • has stopped people smugglers – if this were true, who exactly are they paying to turn around?
  • to be the most generous in the world – this is actually an insult to countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan who lay true claim to this title. We are literally nowhere near.
  • to have protected our borders – from who exactly? From victims of war, terrorism, torture and persecution, who, if they had the funds to arrive here by plane would be allowed to stay? When did we start needing protection from victims? The reality is that these are the world’s most vulnerable people being used as political pawns. They aren’t terrorists. Or economic migrants. They are people with no safe place to call home.

It doesn’t matter what measure you pick…

  • financial
  • humanitarian
  • doing our bit globally
  • stopping crime in the region
  • making our country more secure, or
  • just plain common decency.

…there is not a single measure that doesn’t point at our government’s Refugee Policy as being at best an abject failure, and at worst a complete disaster that will haunt us in years to come.



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  • Thanks for your article. I could probably list a few more reasons Australia’s refugee policy is a disaster, but your top 5 are pretty good to be going on with.

    A brief comment, if I may, on this sentence: “[protected our borders] from victims of war, terrorism, torture and persecution, who, if they had the funds to arrive here by plane would be allowed to stay?”.

    What is not widely known is that having the funds to buy an air ticket is sometimes not enough to get one. That’s because the airlines of the world refuse to issue you a ticket unless you have a valid visa (the penalties are too steep for airlines to risk); and because if you are deemed by the Australian government to be “an asylum risk” (i.e. you might turn up at an Australian airport and quite justifiably claim asylum under the UN Refugee Convention to which we have been a signatory since 1954), the Australian government’s diplomatic staff will simply refuse to grant you a visa.

    So, for example, if you are of Hazara or Rohingya ethnicity, to mention just a couple, you can’t, no matter how much money you’re able and willing to pay, get a visa to fly here. Which reduces your options somewhat, given that our lack of and borders eliminates the ability to drive or walk here.

    It turns out there are four categories of wealth for persecuted people in this dirty business:

    (1) Very rich. You can afford the going rate for a professionally forged passport and possibly visa, which is very variable but probably around $50,000 to $60,000. You arrive at an Australian airport having (understandably) falsified your reason for travel (business, tourism, study, whatever, anything but intention to claim refugee status), claim asylum on arrival, the government processes your claim, and the Australian public never get to hear about their government’s hypocrisy (there’s no electoral advantage in demonising plane-people like there is for boat-people).

    (2) Able to scrape up the $10,000 to $15,000 for a people smuggler by selling your family business, pooling all your family resources, borrowing off your mates, and risking all on a rickety boat. You have a 96 percent chance of not drowning. If you don’t drown you may, if you’re lucky, finish up on one of Australia’s mid-Pacific gulags, or back in Indonesia having blown your dough if Australia chooses to bribe the crew of your boat.

    (3) Able to pay the $1,000 or $2,000 for an air ticket. You won’t get one, because you can’t get a visa. Come back when you can make either of categories (1) or (2).

    (4) Got no money at all. Sorry, you will just have to get killed, or rot in fear or frustration where you are, waiting until Australia cherry-picks you out of some dismal refugee camp, about 20 years hence, to become one of the few qualifiers for our “most generous in the world” humanitarian resettlement programme.

    Australian politicians constantly fulminate about “rich, self-selecting, queue-jumping forum-shoppers” but their policies actively favour those who are able to use their wealth to buy forged documents, and discriminate against those they always claim to favour.

    Liked by 1 person

  • That should be “land borders” not “and borders”.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Pingback: Dutton or Dudster? Here’s a quick guide to the many personas of Australia’s wannabe PM. | Progressive Conversation

  • National suicide or genocide…. take your pick Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison, put your hand up in the sky and pray hard for a miracle. You are going to need one.


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