Boatpeople bogeyman running amok over Australia’s electoral landscape

 Untitled 2         An’ so they left their native land

In spite of their devotion,

An’ so they came, or  they stole,

Were sent across the ocean.

 An’ came out to Australia.

       With the boat people bogeyman running amok over Australia’s electoral landscape the Australian Federal Government has turned to a pair of Sri Lankan cricket stars in attempt to stop the flow of asylum seeker boats from the country.

Retired Test great Muttiah Muralitharan and Twenty20 star Lasith Malinga each appear in short videos aimed at Sri Lankans living in Australia.

English and non-English versions of the video have been recorded, with the cricketers urging people not to encourage family members in Sri Lanka to seek asylum on risky boat journeys with people smuggle

The politics of people smuggling is hardly ever only about the people being trafficked and those exploiting their desperation. Because of its hysterical attitude to those seeking asylum, Australia has potentially walked into the trap of being held hostage by any authoritarian regime that colludes in people smuggling. The currency they will demand is a blind-eye to human rights violations, favourable diplomatic attention and security partnerships.

The Australian government introduced the practice of forced repatriations of people it claims are not refugees, these people are returned within 72 hours of arrival, and with “screening” taking place offshore. The Australian government is now constructing permanent facilities in Nauru to detain boat migrants, and also runs a detention camp in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

Harsh measures for dealing with people arriving by boat are nothing new in Australia. The Howard government set the tone in 2001 by mobilising Special Forces to seize the Norwegian freighter “MV Tampa” after it rescued more than 400 refugees from a sinking vessel and brought them into Australian waters. The “Pacific solution” was then introduced, whereby outer islands were excised from the Australian territory for the purpose of migration and judicial review. Refugee claimants arriving by boat at excised territories were mandatorily detained and transported to harsh offshore camps administered by Australia in countries such as Nauru – a practice stopped in 2008, but reactivated last August.

Australia’s extreme measures have been prompted by a curious surge in the number of people arriving by boat from Sri Lanka. In 2012 around 6,500 people made this arduous journey. In the previous year the number of Sri Lankan arrivals was a mere 211. Department of Immigration statistics indicate that 5,215 of the 2012 arrivals were Tamil, and 1,027 Sinhalese.

With the boatpeople bogeyman running amok over Australia’s electoral landscape the Australian Federal Government has turned to a pair of Sri Lankan cricket stars in attempt to stop the flow of asylum seeker boats from the country.

Retired Test great Muttiah Muralitharan and Twenty20 star Lasith Malinga each appear in short videos aimed at Sri Lankans living in Australia.

English and non-English versions of the video have been recorded, with the cricketers urging people not to encourage family members in Sri Lanka to seek asylum on risky boat journeys with people smuggle

The politics of people smuggling is hardly ever only about the people being trafficked and those exploiting their desperation. Because of its hysterical attitude to those seeking asylum, Australia has potentially walked into the trap of being held hostage by any authoritarian regime that colludes in people smuggling. The currency they will demand is a blind-eye to human rights violations, favourable diplomatic attention and security partnerships.

The Australian government introduced the practice of forced repatriations of people it claims are not refugees, these people are returned within 72 hours of arrival, and with “screening” taking place offshore. The Australian government is now constructing permanent facilities in Nauru to detain boat migrants, and also runs a detention camp in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

Harsh measures for dealing with people arriving by boat are nothing new in Australia. The Howard government set the tone in 2001 by mobilising Special Forces to seize the Norwegian freighter “MV Tampa” after it rescued more than 400 refugees from a sinking vessel and brought them into Australian waters. The “Pacific solution” was then introduced, whereby outer islands were excised from the Australian territory for the purpose of migration and judicial review. Refugee claimants arriving by boat at excised territories were mandatorily detained and transported to harsh offshore camps administered by Australia in countries such as Nauru – a practice stopped in 2008, but reactivated last August.

Australia’s extreme measures have been prompted by a curious surge in the number of people arriving by boat from Sri Lanka. In 2012 around 6,500 people made this arduous journey. In the previous year the number of Sri Lankan arrivals was a mere 211. Department of Immigration statistics indicate that 5,215 of the 2012 arrivals were Tamil, and 1,027 Sinhalese.

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