Thursday, 1 September 2011

So the "Malaysian solution" did not

I never believed that the Australian government's plans to send 800 boat arrivals to Malaysia and take in 4000 "genuine refugees" would work as a means of deterring boat arrivals. The High Court has told the government that they cannot do it.
At some point I will read the judgments and find out what their reasoning was. I have no doubt it puts an end to most "off-shore processing" of "asylum claims". This will just further encourage "people smugglers". There is a lot of money to be made in this business.
We did have a drop in boat arrivals at one time. It had nothing to do with the state of internal conflict in some countries, indeed the situation was far worse in some areas than it is now. One of the main reasons for the drop was something called a "temporary protection visa" or TPV. A TPV allows someone to stay in another country until the situation in their own improves to a point where it is deemed (relatively) safe for the person to return home.
There are arguments against these, the chief being that it leaves people in a state of uncertainty and unable to make plans for their future. There is something in that but is that sufficient reason to drop the idea?
I rather like the idea of TPVs. It does not stop asylum being granted to anyone who has a genuine fear of persecution but it does reduce the number of people permanently removing much needed assets and skills from their country of origin. A country like Australia could lose a few doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers etc and still manage. Most people would not even notice they had gone. It is a different story in some troubled areas where there can be one doctor for a vast area and far more potential patients than anyone could hope to handle or where a teacher has a class of well over one hundred (and only boys at that). Losing one doctor and one teacher in those circumstances has a massive impact on the population.
If we make it easy for people with those qualifications to come to Australia then we are doing the troubled country a great disservice. We are not "helping refugees" we are hindering development and inviting an increase in an already massive problem. We are draining countries of the very resources they need in order to try and recover.
I know there is much more to it than that but I look at some of the people I know who go and give a few weeks service every year. They tell me of how great the need is and how some of the most skilled, educated people have simply left the country and sought asylum elsewhere. Of course a number of them fear for their safety and have genuine cause to leave but many others simply want a better life elsewhere. I would want that too.
We could also assist those on TPVs who have no skills to gain skills or others to upgrade their skills so they can use them on their return. The cost would be no more than keeping someone in detention for a number of years and the end result would be a good deal more useful.
I doubt the present government will even consider the idea. It was the idea of a previous government and therefore unacceptable to them. We are in the present mess for the same reason. It is going to go on being a mess and it means that some of those patiently waiting in border camps will go on waiting. They will die there and their grandchildren, even great-grandchildren will be born there. I wish we could accept some of them.
Rant over - but I do care about people risking their lives and others who have been waiting for years.


Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Government decisions can be pretty mind bloggling, can't they?

Anonymous said...

Yes, TPVs Cat. You and I both know that this is the answer if some of those countries are ever going to get on their collective feet. Thanks for your help this week - so very much appreciated. David

JO said...

We have a comparable illegal immigration problem in the UK - with no read idea how many people are under the government radar.

There is much emphasis, here, on trying to exclude people, with so little understanding of the poverty and conflict that drove them to travel across continents in the back of lorries to get here. But if we invested in their countries - to support economic growth, to help establish peace (with the help of the UN if needed) then maybe our pavements would look less gold-plated. People (mainly young men) could stay at home, support their families there - and there might then be more sympathy for refugees who simply have nowhere else to go.

catdownunder said...

Hello Donna - our government has made some very strange decisions lately!
Jo - I would love to see our government training some of these young men with a view to helping them to return to rebuild their countries. It seems so logical to me. Teach them English and train them in the skills their own countries need, help those with skills to update them. We seem to have given up.

Donna Hosie said...

I despair of this Government, cat. They seem to lurch from one idiot idea to another.

These are people's lives.

catdownunder said...

I despair of them too Donna - indeed I despair of all politicians, especially on this issue.