Border security

Australia’s border control dilemma is a double-edged sword.
It’s easily arguable that keeping refugees locked up indefinitely on isolated islands with limited services is inhumane.
The conditions in Australia’s off-shore detention centers have long drawn criticism, with reports that even children have attempted suicide.
But on the other side of the coin, the Federal Government’s hard-line policy on border control has, in all probability, saved the lives of hundreds of people who could otherwise have perished at sea attempting to reach Australia in leaky boats.
It’s fundamental the Government maintains tight control of our borders and carefully scrutinises the claims of those who seek asylum. The issue of border control divided the nation for many years and was only repaired after the Coalition took a hard line stance to fix the debacle which had developed under Labor, with that party eventually agreeing to prevent maritime arrivals from reaching the mainland.
Now, again, border control seems set to become an election issue. Politics is being played.
Despite the fact that 34 boats have been turned back since 2014, any boat that attempts to enter our waters from now will be heralded by the Government as evidence of “weakened” borders.
In the midst of such political games, it is important to remember that the changes made last week are, on the whole, minor.
The nation’s resolve to keep boat arrivals from ever obtaining permanent residency has not moved.
However, the other edge of the sword is that the new legislation does raise some unanswered questions.
Since the introduction of the Liberal Party’s Sovereign Borders, the nation’s hard-line approach to boat arrivals has shifted ever so slightly – firstly when the Government removed all children from Nauru and Manus, and last week through the medivac Bill.
It could be suggested that this indicates a willingness by some in Parliament to – ever so slowly – compromise the hard-line Sovereign Borders policy.
Parliament made it clear that denying appropriate medical care to off-shore detainees is unacceptable.
That could raise the question, if the boats do start again, will the next step be to extend the medivac legislation to all new arrivals and if so, what comes next?

1 Comment on "Border security"

  1. People only flee in leaky boats when there are utterly desperate, they do not want to die at sea but they also did not want to die in their country. Put yourself in the refugees shoes, just for a moment.
    Do we know that the occupants of the 34 boats turned back by the government, all survived? Is this a humane and effective strategy?
    The proposition that it is important for the government to maintain tight control of those who seek asylum seems to be weakened by the knowledge that I n the last 4 years 64, 000 people arrived by air and applied for asylum .
    In the government’s terms,this is the equivalent of one boat a week . Government has said nothing? Managenent strategies coping?
    Fact check: Parliamentary Papers: Labor and the Coalition are in general agreement on many of the key measures in place to deal with these issues, such as mandatory detention for unauthorised boat arrivals and offshore processing arrangements in the Pacific. Given the level of bi-partisan support, it could be argued that the policy differences between the two major parties are minimal.
    This government contested the removal of the majority of sick children from Nauru in the High Court and it was only when they were forced to,that they allowed sick children to come to Australia. It cannot claim this as a success, it has been a travesty of humanity to detain children.
    Sensationalising issues, lieing about facts and fearmongering brings what is a critical debate about humanity to the lowest common denominator.

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