IF there is a perfect policy on asylum seekers, it's yet to see the light of day. The ones on offer are either inhumane, patently ineffective, or both.
Elizabeth Alves (August 3) makes several good points, particularly those relating to the Greens obduracy, and the preferential treatment given to the asylum seekers arriving by boat, compared to the hundreds of thousands of equally desperate asylum seekers in camps, waiting for resettlement.
In comparing the three policies ie. Greens, Labor, and the Coalition, it's important to note that all three seek to stop people risking their lives in boats.
Let's look at their respective effectiveness.
The Greens would have us believe that taking 5000 of the 3,000,000 currently seeking asylum in South East Asia would stop people getting on boats. Yeah, right.
Labor would return 800 people arriving by boat to Malaysia, and in return, take 4000 from Malaysia.
The Coalition's policy is to return to the Pacific Solution. It says, "It worked in the past it will work again". That's true, it did work, for several reasons. The main reason is that the worst maritime disaster (the loss of SIEV X and 353 people on board) occurred while the Pacific Solution was operating, and, it was a new and untried process.
If the Pacific Solution was operating today, the people smuggler's pitch to asylum seekers would be a simple one; pay me, get on the boat, you'll be taken to an island, and if you're a genuine refugee, you're almost certain to get a visa for either Australia or New Zealand. How would that stop the boats?
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's insistence on the observance of human rights in respect of the Malaysian Solution is as transparent as one of Salome's veils. Above all, he can not let it be shown that Labor's policy would be more successful than his.
Now to address the "people swap" deal that Elizabeth Alves questioned: Imagine you are an asylum seekers that has just been returned to Malaysia blowing your $8000-10,000 and your friendly smuggler addresses your group with, "Hands up all those who want to pay me again to have another try". Would you do it?.
I'd suggest not.
Information gets around rapidly among asylum seekers, and the word would be, don't try it.
If this seems to you like a reasonable scenario, perhaps the first 800 quota would never be filled.
Is it compassionate? No. Does it break the UN Convention on Refugees? Yes. Will it prevent people drowning at sea?. Very likely.
The question is, which consideration should take precedence?
B. Judd, Birkdale