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back to article Oz opposition says to stop hackers first stop refugee boats

Australia's federal opposition has pledged more money for the nation's security agencies, and more online activity, and tied the latter increase to freeing up resources currently going towards dealing with “irregular maritime arrivals”. Speaking yesterday at CeBIT Australia, Senator George Brandis said he is alarmed by the …

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

Over the period from 2002 to 2008, the average number of “irregular maritime arrivals" was 64 per year. Last year the number was 25,000. The cost of this has blown out by more than $3.2 billion since the government's February forecast, as immigration minister Brendan O'Connor admitted the record rate of boat arrivals "is not acceptable in terms of the risks to human life, or the budget".

Sure seems out of control to me.

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Re: Really?

Really? Miranda Devine? I actually lol'd.

Let's clear up a few things. One way to reduce the amount of "irregular maritime arrivals" is to not let the refugee boats reach the shore. That is Liberal Party policy.

You'd have to lived under a rock for years to not know how that works. Let the boats sink with huge loss of life such as SIEV-X with 353 dead. Or maybe lie to the nation about refugees threatening to throw children overboard. Or ignore established maritime law. And so on.

Compared to many other countries Australia has very few asylum seekers* arriving by boat but we still bang them up in what amount to concentration camps.

* I use asylum seekers in the true and legal sense, not the Daily Mail frenzy of racism sense.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mahatma Coat (Re: Really?)

Obviously I pressed a button, since your response addresses points that I did not make, and fails to address the single point that I did make - that "irregular maritime arrivals" are out of control. Are you familiar with the term "straw man"?

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Re: Really?

I love that people have the notion that worldwide refugee numbers are somehow determined solely by the immigration policy of Australia, and not external factors such as war, famine, racial prejudice, etc.

Immigration ministers seem to have a habit of admitting their policies don't do very much, on both sides of politics:

"The former Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Evans, has argued, along with many refugee advocates and journalists, that the introduction of TPVs was ineffective in reducing the number of unauthorised boat arrivals"

The Howard government saw a massive spike on the introduction of their TPV's, similar to today's numbers - I'm surprised the Daily Telegraph used 2002 figures - if they went back just one more year they'd have seen numbers similar to recent years. I guess they were "out of control" from 1999-2001 as well? Or does the term only apply when a party you don't like is in power?

(http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/BoatArrivals#_Toc285178607)

Obviously deterrents to the immigrants themselves don't work (and why would they? they're not coming here for a holiday, they're risking their lives because they'll lose them if they stay) - perhaps if that 3.2 billion was put into helping rectify issues in other countries we'd have less boat people? But of course such a move would be political suicide; the FUD surrounding "sending billions offshore" would be pounced on by Abbott et al regardless of the effect it would have on stopping the boats. 3.2 billion spent is the result of years of boat people being a political football. Make no mistake, this is an election issue because it determines votes, not because it affects the lives of anyone in Australia.

It's quite damning that Australia is happy for "international waters" to be controlled by Australia when legal (according to international law) whaling vessels travel into those waters, but when a boat full of people moves in on the same waters we want nothing to do with them because they're in "international waters".

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Re: @Mahatma Coat (Really?)

Obviously I pressed a button

Yes, you did. I am a migrant to Australia.

Are you familiar with the term "straw man"?

Are you familiar with the phrase "quoting Miranda Devine isn't a smart way to win a debate"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Mahatma Coat (Really?)

Are you familiar with the phrase "quoting Miranda Devine isn't a smart way to win a debate"?

Are you familiar with the phrase "attacking the messenger"?

The link to Miranda Devine was intended to provide a source for the numbers I quoted. Those numbers are established fact. I could possibly have provided another, less divisive source for the same data, but that would not have altered the numbers. In any case, that was the first link that popped up. The link was not an implied endorsement of her opinions. You responded by attacking Miranda Devine, without challenging the numbers.

That was not logical, as it in no way addressed the point that I made.

You seem to let emotion overrule logic. That is quite common. Hopefully you don't write software.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Mahatma Coat (Really?)

I too am a migrant to Australia. I however chose to come here legally rather than arrive on a boat and claim refugee status despite having travelled thousands of miles thus making Australia not the first safe port of call, paid middle men along the way and in all reality being an economic migrant who knows they won't get in otherwise.

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Re: @Anon 2:38

How far you travel doesn't determine your eligibility for refugee status. People don't come here on sinking boats because it's "easier" to get in - it's because it the only option they have.

Mind if I ask which war-torn country you came from? And what atrocities you were escaping?

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Re: @Mahatma Coat (Really?)

"I however chose to come here legally rather than arrive on a boat and claim refugee status"

Lucky you!

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Re: @Anon 2:38

"How far you travel doesn't determine your eligibility for refugee status. People don't come here on sinking boats because it's "easier" to get in - it's because it the only option they have."

No, it doesn't.

However it should. If you've passed through several countries willing to take you in and offer you safety, you realistically cease to be a refugee. You become an immigrant as your life is no longer in danger!

Just because you chose to step on a leaky boat to try and get somewhere better doesn't give you a right to go there.

Beggars can't be choosers and all that jazz...

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Re: Really?

Miranda Devine!?

FFS

Nasty, 2 dimensional, sock puppet.

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Re: @Mahatma Coat (Really?)

While claiming NIMBY status instead?

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Re: @Veldan

*sigh*

How many countries you've passed through doesn't determine how *far* you've travelled either. Nice strawman though.

The definition of "take you in" and "safety" varies from country to country as well - Australia is surrounded by small developing nations that have enough trouble caring for their own people, let alone "taking in" refugees.

People seem to think Australia is surrounded by tourist resorts, and that they're qualified to comment on how "great" conditions are in those countries simply because they own an Bintang singlet.

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Re: @Veldan

I'll grant that it is was a slight strawman, but I'll try to justify it by saying that Australia is in almost all cases farther away than other countries that are willing to take people in, unless there is a war in New Guinea, New Zealand or Indonesia perhaps...

The fact you're missing is that whether or not it is a developing country, they are no longer in danger. They don't get to jump from war zone to first world country. They get to go from war zone to "not a war zone". It is an opportunity to remove themselves from harm.

If they want to then follow on to a first world country, well they can damn well apply like everyone else!

I don't think we're surrounded by tourist resorts, most of our close neighbours are not post industrial societies, some struggle to even be industrial.

I just fail to see how that should change anything if they're willing to harbour them?

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Re: @Anon 2:38

"If you've passed through several countries willing to take you in and offer you safety, you realistically cease to be a refugee."

Go on then - name the countries between here and Sri Lanka or Afghanistan that offer safe refuge to Sri Lankan or Afghan asylum seekers. There's a reason why people go to so much trouble to arrive in Australia instead of staying in Thailand or Indonesia, and it's not the Air Miles.

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Re: @Anon 2:38

So I guess Malaysia is no longer a country? As they offer asylum and are closer...

Indonesia does offer asylum as well, additionally Bali will take in seekers and unlike Indonesia is predominately Buddhist and Hindu (I realise it is "owned" by Indonesia but they do conduct most of their own affairs).

The Phillipines is just as far as Australia and also accepts asylum seekers, the passage is also easier to navigate (in terms of sea conditions, which matter in crappy boats).

Also Pakistan and Iran also host refugees and they are also closer...

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nothing like old fashioned racism

Well we all know the game in play with "asylum seekers".

The pure unadulterated racism is disgusting. The Leader of the Opposition (who is not a fool) randomly mixes up the term "asylum seeker" and "illegal". The government is in a spin and has been for since 2001 when it let its hard men overtake any sense of humanity in the Tampa affair and revealed a moral bankruptcy that was astounding.

The obsession with the boats is costing $3.2 BILLION!!! This is plain lunacy!! How many "boat people" could we have resettled, how many refugees could we have helped with that money instead of operating prison camps (and because I defy anyone to say they are not!).

The current policies of both major parties are just disgusting and inhuman no matter what spin they wrap them in.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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Anonymous Coward

Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

I'm sure that for many people there is a racist aspect. Others are appalled at the waste of money. It seems to me that the least objectionable solution would be to let asylum seekers obtain jobs and pay taxes while their claims are assessed, but the union movement is opposed to that, so it won't happen. Also, that would increase the number of asylum seekers by an order of magnitude, and that is unlikely to be accepted by the general population.

The opposition approach is to attempt to wind back the clock by being sufficiently nasty to remove the incentive to come here. This seems to be the approach favoured by a large number of Australians, and the one most likely to attract votes. It does however damage our international reputation, and is unacceptable to many on moral grounds.

All of this brings me back to my original point, made earlier, that the current situation is out of control. I think that much is self evident since it is damaging the economy and getting worse every year.

Pretending that it is not a problem is not rational.

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Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

"for many people there is a racist aspect. Others are appalled at the waste of money."

Or, in my case, both.

MW, as you say, there is a problem, But, until there is some political will to deal with it sensibly and humanely, we are stuck with the opposition's "stop the boats!" mantra (and a government that is completely unable to respond effectively to this BS).

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Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

"The obsession with the boats is costing $3.2 BILLION!!! This is plain lunacy!!"

We all know that Labor couldn't manage a PUIAB but it's pretty impressive that the Coalition (who supposedly espouse small government and Australian jobs) are also so keen for a system which shovels quite so much Australian money outside Australia and provides quite so much employment for foreigners.

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Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

I downvoted you because of your cry of racism - a cry used all too often to silence debate on what has become a serious issue.

First off, you should know that while Australia is big, it's also inhospitable. That vast tract of land you see spanning half the southern hemisphere is fucking desert. We might be the size of the continental US, but we have only a tenth of the fresh water, so we can support only a tenth of the population. Consequently, our government has a responsibility to ensure that population growth doesn't get out of hand. And our current growth is being maintained by immigration as it is.

The problem with "boat people" is that they arrive here with no credentials, no passports or any means of identification. They are not vaccinated, and may be carrying a host of diseases which we are very lucky not to have in Australia. We have no malaria, no rabies, no polio, no yellow fever, all of which these illegal arrivals have been found carrying. We also have a vast and diverse range of unique animal and plant species, found nowhere else in the world, which are extremely vulnerable to imported diseases and invasive species that are carried in on the boats. Our strict quarantine and vaccination laws are in place for a very good reason.

Without identification, how do we know they aren't criminals or terrorists fleeing justice, or Islamist nutjobs like the bastards that murder people in broad daylight on your city streets? We need to be able to check their backgrounds, establish identity, and prevent such violent thugs from entering our country and ruining the very way of life that everyone wants to come here for. Of course not all boat people are terrorists or disease carriers, but we need to be able to confirm this for each one. Once we can confirm it, we let them in, no problem.

It takes time, effort and money to complete background checks on these refugees, to make sure that they can support themselves in Australia, and to make sure they are vaccinated and not carrying any disease. But they're flooding in faster than we can complete these processes, so what are we to supposed to do? Just let them all in willy-nilly and hope the bad ones don't start murdering people in the streets and infecting our kids with malaria and polio? The only thing we can do is keep them somewhere while we sort them out and get them through as best we can.

I'm sorry if these facts offend your delicate liberal sensitivities, but we have a fucking right to protect ourselves, our kids, our wildlife and our way of life from murdering fanatical thugs, deadly tropical diseases and invasive feral species.

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Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

No-one so far has claimed that they don't need to be processed. But the sky might not be falling quite as quickly as you'd have people believe.

People coming from France could potentially be carrying measles too - yet there's no cries to stop them coming here. In fact the number of people vaccinated *within* Australia is dropping - at least boat people can be intercepted and vaccinated as they're processed - if, as you say, they're disease risk, why are we not rounding up unvaccinated citizens and vaccinating them too?! It seems somewhat hypocritical that we're subjecting immigrants to vaccinations because "they spread disease" but our own citizens are free to travel overseas, unvaccinated, and return with whatever they've brought back with them.

The terrorism argument has been thrown around for years. 9/11 attacks were carried out by people on tourism or study visas (can't remember which) - point is, they were here "legitimately", the London bombers were citizens, as was Timothy McVae - all the large terror attacks have been carried out not by people who were "illegals" but by those who were able to arouse the least suspicion from the "citizens=good, immigrants=bad" camp. Ultimately, if someone wants to commit a terrorist attack, they don't get on a leaky boat for 2 months, with little chance of survival, in the hope that they get picked up by the Australian Military.

You can regurgitate the "Australian way of life" horseshit for as long as you like - the fact is that you don't need "delicate liberal sensibilities" to see the need for a humanitarian solution to what is a humanitarian problem. Yes, they need processing. Yes, it takes time. But "turning back boats" does nothing but cause a humanitariam disaster, and makes Australia look backwards to every other developed nation, and unless the problem is addressed at the source (ie the countries they're coming from, or neighbouring countries dealing with people smugglers themselves) then their numbers won't drop.

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Vulture South getting tired...

...and running out of idea? The only difference between the article's title and what is generally a funnier sub-title is the change from "Oz" to "Australian".

I want my funny sub-titles back!!

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Anonymous Coward

No Customs/Immigration Officers at Airports

"More “irregular” arrivals come by plane"

So we're letting people in through immigration with no passports now? Last time I looked the Federal Police had quite a strong presence at Australian airports, and incorrectly documented people got very short shrift indeed.

Maybe the the words you're looking for are "visa overstayers" - although, in contrast to the maritime arrivals, these people all had valid entry visas in the first place.

Muppet (or possibly Green voter, since this is the smokescreen they seem to use most in their bleeding-heart rants)

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There is no way in hell you would come to Australia by boat from Indonesia or India unless you are truly desperate.

The risk of dying at see with your family is very real.

We open our arms for arrivals by plane and up until recently by ship (I'm one of the infamous 10 pound poms).

So the line is if you have the money to afford the flight - your welcome.

If your a true refugee the Liberals don't have really care if you die at sea.

The whole "boat people" debate makes me ashamed to be an Australian - no wonder we are often thought of as red neck racists around the world.

Whilst the cost is blowing out, we have a responsibility to take on refugees and treat the humanely.

Compared to most developed countries we have next to no refugees as we are surrounded by a bloody big ocean in the middle of nowhere!

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Stop

I am an Australian, and thus would like to ask the following questions:

For all those of you non-Australians decrying Aus.Gov's handling of the Refugees... may I ask what *your* country's share of Refugee intake is? I'm specifically looking at you, USA.

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A downvote, but no reply. And yet, I am curious for an answer. It seems to me that the most vocal proponent of the you-must-take-in-refugees-regardless point of view seem to be mostly from countries that do not have such a high Refugee problem (and I'm not talking about people simply crossing a border without a passport, a la USA's Mexico problem).

But, as I said, it *seems* to be such - so I was trying to get a feel for the facts - does *your* country practice what you preach? Instead, I get an anonymous downvote. I guess that's an answer in itself.

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It's fairly similar to all the Asian countries (India, China, Japan, Korea, etc) that complain whenever we consider lowering our immigration rate.

Yet ask any of those countries what their immigration rate is....

Almost 0!

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Anonymous Coward

As John Howard said, "Australians should decide who is eligible to come to Australia, and we will decide under what circumstances they arrive.

It's that simple people. No racism, just common sense.

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