Andrew Bolt, Malcolm Turnbull, and The Herald Sun have gotten it completely wrong. They confuse and combine the issue of border protection with the humane treatment of asylum seekers. The “Pacific Solution” simply made the victims – refugees seeking asylum – suffer, rather than addressing the root cause of the issue, which is why these people put their lives at risk to try to lead a better life. It may have slowed the number of people trying to get into Australia by boat, but didn’t actually reduce the number of people seeking asylum. And, 95 per cent of those who were shipped off to distant islands were found to be genuine refugees.
Punishing refugees who come by boat as a means to stop people trying to seek asylum in Australia, is like putting a person in jail for the possession of marijuana, and assuming that the global drug trade will die out. Turnbull’s call for the return of temporary protection visas, again, is simply punishing victims, rather than solving the problem.
To put it in perspective, this is hardly an “invasion” – according to the UNHCR, Greece, with a population half that of Australia received 19,980 applications for asylum in 2008, Australia received 4,750 (and 95 per cent of them came by plane). The number of boat arrivals have been 270 this year compared to 164 people last year.
Yes, there is an increase, but that’s 270 desperate people coming by boat in a world where we have over 30 million asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people. Bolt, Turnbull, the Liberal party, and The Herald-Sun need to get some perspective.