Features Australia

Asylum accessories

7 September 2019

9:00 AM

7 September 2019

9:00 AM

Alan Jones is wrong. The case of the Sri Lankan family whose deportation has been stalled illustrates what people smugglers have known all along. It is extremely difficult to get rid of any asylum seeker once they set foot in Western countries like Australia. The task is even tougher if children are involved. The entire smuggling industry is premised upon this knowledge, which is why over a million wannabes from Africa board boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe.

The extensive appeal mechanisms in our legal system, combined with the empathy inferno removing children sparks, is exactly why the camps in Nauru and Manus were necessary in the first place. The judge who granted a last-minute injunction on the spurious grounds that one of the children’s cases had not been assessed is part of a human rights cabal that repeatedly upend the decisions of democratically-elected governments.

The government’s lawyers have called the claims of the Tamil family, previously based in the Queensland town of Biloela, ‘manifestly hopeless.’ The Sri Lankan civil war ended 10 years ago and the father visited the country three times during the conflict.

They have lost every appeal in the ensuing seven years. Given the thoroughly established practice of arriving without documents and with a good story, it is an especially illegitimate case that gets thrown out at every stage. The couple were also told not to have children, but did so anyway. Who can blame them? If they didn’t know how to play the system, I bet they learnt pretty quickly.

I have no doubt I would do exactly what Priya and Nadesalingam did if I was in their situation, especially when considering the future of the children. To their credit, they have contributed to their local community, acquired employment and are well liked by their neighbours.

But Peter Dutton has made it clear that Australia does not owe them protection. He is being opposed by an unusual alliance from all sides of politics, from Kristina Kenneally appealing to the Prime Minister’s Christian conscience to Barnaby Joyce believing their case warrants compassion.

It is exactly these kinds of scenarios that empower the white nationalists and the so-called Far Right. The integrity of our immigration program is rendered weaker. It is difficult not to feel cynical about those seeking asylum, casting suspicion upon others who have more legitimate cases. We can only evaluate the moral case of those who have already arrived on our shores. The longer their stay, which it is easy to extend via appeals, the stronger their moral case will always seem.

It is perhaps not the world’s greatest injustice if the family is allowed to stay, but you can bet it will anger many of the quiet Australians who are too fearful to express their disdain for the way refugee advocates treat our immigration laws.

I am uncomfortable that in this case I am to the right of Alan Jones, but his position appears to be premised on the fact the family settled in a regional area.

‘The Prime Minister needs to understand that we should be encouraging refugees like Priya and Nades to move to regional centres where you can’t easily find workers. Let them stay,’ he said.

So according to Alan it appears your case for settlement can be complete bollocks, but if you move to a regional town and work, we can forgive it all. He even calls the family refugees despite the fact their cases were thoroughly disproven. Perhaps Mr Jones is feeling the heat from his clash with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and feels a compassion shift may help.

While his opponents are unlikely to agree, I can guarantee this type of intervention will do more to whip up anti-refugee sentiment than any of his past statements about race and immigration.

British researcher Eric Kaufmann writes exactly as much in his book WhiteShift, which records the growth in European anti-immigration parties in direct proportion to the rise in asylum seekers, especially when later research reveals many to have arrived via questionable claims.

Parties in Sweden and Germany have the fastest rising support because they have accepted the highest number of asylum seekers per capita.

If Greta Thunberg isn’t enough, Sweden is also the country from where protester Elin Ersson refused to take her plane seat in protest against the removal of an Afghan asylum seeker who bashed his wife and was a convicted criminal.

Now NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong is attempting a campaign against the airline Skytrak, used by the government to transport the family, emulating Ersson. Activists will undertake any kind of chicanery, convinced of their moral righteousness. My question to refugee advocates is whether there is any situation where it is acceptable to deport an asylum seeker?

If refugee activists were serious about their claims to support those in need of protection, they would have greater legitimacy if they opposed those who had the weakest claims. If this Tamil family were allowed to be smoothly deported, there would be greater mainstream support for our refugee and asylum seeker policies. The majority may even be open to an increased intake, as both the Greens and Labor have proposed.

The Tamil deportation fiasco is also why the Medevac laws need to be repealed. While the case is not directly related, there is not a single asylum seeker transferred to the mainland for treatment who has been sent back.

The vast majority of the seventy two asylum seekers that have been transferred since the legislation was passed, were for mental health reasons, despite hundreds of Australian-trained mental health workers being based in Nauru.

Much like refugee advocates, if doctors who supported the Medevac laws also supported the swift transfer of asylum seekers back to Nauru after receiving the appropriate treatment, the argument that the Medevac legislation is about treatment and not undermining border protection would hold greater sway.

But the reality is more transparent. The stance is about supporting open borders and signalling virtue, one in which asylum seekers are accessories to moral status-seeking.

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