Friday, 27 May 2016

"Australia's Offshore Cruelty" May 23

Letter to International New York Times:
Roger Cohen bemoans Australia's migrant policy, specifically that of sending "boat people" to offshore holding camps. ("Australia's Offshore Cruelty", May 23)
In this criticism he is joined by many -- perhaps most -- of my fellow Australians.
But the solution is not to process those in the offshore camps to see if they are eligible for migration to Australia either as economic migrants or refugees. Reverting to that policy will only reintroduce the "pull factor". (The "push factors" are economic and war conditions in the source countries).
European leaders now admit that they underestimated the power of pull factors -- like the "refugees welcome" signs tweeted and Facebooked throughout the Middle East.
Australia recognised the danger of pull factors earlier than Europe and so stopped the lethal human trafficking.
Australia is a generous recipient of migrants and refugees. Whatever changes are made to our current imperfect system they must not be along Cohen's lines. That would only worsen things for Australians and migrants alike.
Peter F