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Re "Go back to where you came from" - what about the NON-asylum seekers?

During the high immigration Howard era- the fuss about the boats was a smokescreen for the fact that we were getting a lot of extra government induced totally legal non- refugee immigration which was putting pressure on absolutely everything- environment, roads, housing etc. . Howard was a high population PM whist pretending to be jealously protecting Australia’s borders. This hypocrisy and the same game still goes on with Julia Gillard although without “children overboard”.

In their second series of Go back to where you came from SBS Television convey the message that a large section of Australian society are really worried about asylum seekers, notably 'boat people' flooding Australia. It seems that those same Australians do not have a clue as to the real flood, which consists of hundreds of thousands of economic migrants and their families. It appears (from what Mr Reith said on Insight on Friday 31 August 2012) that governments believe that Australians are pacified simply by the being told by governments that immigrants are 'legal' and that the immigration stream is properly managed.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Truth about immigration in Australia

During the high immigration Howard era, the fuss about the boats was a smokescreen for the fact that we were getting a lot of extra government induced totally legal non-refugee immigration which was putting pressure on absolutely everything: environment, roads, housing etc. . Howard was a high population PM whist pretending to be jealously protecting Australia’s borders. This hypocrisy and the same game still goes on with Julia Gillard although without “children overboard”.

Asylum Seekers - Onshore or Offshore Processing; that is the question

The asylum seekers have the right to seek asylum. They are not “illegals” as Tony Abbott calls them. Whether their claims should be processed on or offshore is the main question. The numbers of people who arrive by boat are very low compared with the numbers of people who come in as immigrants under our skilled migrations scheme. The numbers the government plan to admit as permanent entries in the non-refugee "planned" migration stream this coming year is 190,000 up from 185,000 in the year 2011-12.

Think of all the additional houses, roads, cars, schools, teachers, doctors, hospitals needed for this extra population!

Australia brings in about 14,000 people under its humanitarian program and any successful applicants amongst the boat arrivals are included in this quota. I think the government has just recently increased this to 20,000.

Numbers in Australia

The ultimate carrying capacity for Australia is, I believe (from my reading of books and Internet) quite low. The Aborigines numbered less than one million when Europeans arrived. Australia now carries more than 20 times that number of people largely because fossil fuels enable our very infertile and intermittently watered soils to produce far more than they would without this assistance.

Australia is already overpopulated: immigration is now costing more than money

Australia is already overpopulated. This is clear from all the environmental indicators. See for instance, the 2008 State of the Environment Report for Victoria. All indicators are declining because of population pressures. These include waterways coastal areas, biodiversity...

Australia really needs to stabilise its population as soon as possible and then allow it to reduce. With no immigration at all Australia’s population would increase by about 150,000 p.a. for the next few decades due to the number of women of childbearing age in our population. Until there are fewer women in their child bearing years, as the population ages, without high immigration, the growth rate would remain around half what it is now, which would still be quite high.

See the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for 2011 at

In other words- I do not get too worried about asylum seekers as a component of Australia's population growth when governments are significantly undermining our lives, our future and unraveling our environment through huge numbers of invited and economic immigrants, whether asylum seekers come or not.

I find it strange and somewhat alarming that apparently so many viewers of SBS do not have a clue about the problem of the growing numbers in the planned immigration stream. Why didn't SBS even mention this in their four nights of program on the subject of fear of asylum seeker floods?

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The program Insight on Friday 31st interviewed after 6 months the crew who were in "Go back to where you came".
If our government is committed to being a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, they why are these asylum seekers, presumably genuine, being forced to risk their lives coming to Australia in leaky and overcrowded fishing boats? Why aren't there ordered queues bringing our quota here safely? Why be part of the UN convention but then try their best to lethally deter these desperate people? It makes mockery of any intention of assisting them.

Peter Reith was one of the crew. He was part of the Howard government's Pacific Solution. There's a plan to increase our humanitarian intake by double over the next 5 years. He said he supports our strong immigration program on the basis that we are a "nation of immigrants" and that it is good for our economy to have skilled migrants. Apparently, we have a lot of "resources". I wondered, just what "resources" do we have? Already population growth is leaving our States in shortfalls of funds, housing is unaffordable, we have desalination plants in our capital cities, an indication of ecological overshoot, rising costs of living and homelessness.

As for natural resources, we have poor, infertile soils and just 6% of arable land, plus irregular rainfall. Many local food-bowls are being threatened by urban obesity, and growers are warning us not to be complacent about food security.

Peter Reith and others see our big landscape and image it has great potential for a growing population, when we are actually a small nation in a big continent.

The fact that we are already at saturation point with legal economic immigration was not mentioned, and chronic shortages of public housing will mean refugees will make the queues even longer as they would get priority over locals.

I agree that the government has been very good at distracting people from the huge numbers of legal migrants by diverting the media to "boat people". Leaky boats far out to sea are far more dramatic than well dressed people calmly stepping off a 747.

But to take things a little off-topic, I'd like to ask just what is the point of "Go Back to Where you Came From?". Yes most "boat people" are decent people who have had hard lives. Yes many Australians perhaps are a bit racist. This doesn't change the fact that Australia simply cannot afford to take in more than a tiny fraction of the worlds refugees, no matter how narrowly you define the term. There are just so many worldwide.

Vivienne above writes:

"If our government is committed to being a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, they why are these asylum seekers, presumably genuine, being forced to risk their lives coming to Australia in leaky and overcrowded fishing boats? Why aren't there ordered queues bringing our quota here safely?"

This relates to my argument about "Go Back to Where You Came From". We already bring in a fair few safely, in ordered queues. You could argue its too small a number, although relative to our population size our intake of refugees isn't that small. But I still agree we should increase this. However, no matter how high we raise our intake people will continue to take to boats. There are just so many refugees worldwide, genuine or otherwise, we cannot take in more than a tiny fraction.

So given that there will always be refugee boats, no matter how many refugees we accept through legal channels, we need to deal with these boats. If we just accept them with welcome arms that will just encourage more, until we are dealing with dozens or even hundreds of boats a day. Can't the producers of "Go Back to Where You Came From" see that?

The program showed disorderly refugee camps, lack of adequate processing of the many people in some of them, plus in Insight, that some countries do not provide any processing or lack treaties with us/the UN Convention, so the idea of orderly 'queues' is pretty moot.

Reith's counter was reasonable. He said something to the effect that Australia takes a finite number of refugees, from which any boat-arrivals accepted as refugees is deducted. The implication was that Australia goes to these horrible refugee camps and selects refugees each year and that these camps contain the longest waiting, most patient cases living in the most misery. The argument would then be - presumably - that every refugee needs to make their way to a refugee camp that is signatory to the Geneva convention. If you finish up as a refugee in Indonesia, which is not a signatory, then you only have the asylum-seeker option (which can be via boat or aeroplane).

Correct me if I have misunderstood. There will probably be another article on this matter (at least) but we have a huge ... um... queue of articles for cdb at the moment as well as books that need editing.
More comments and more articles - from all sources - welcome on this issue.

Oh, also, I seem to recollect that Australia is the only country - or one of few countries - to have a number of places set aside for refugees, and to go and select them from source. Do most other countries therefore just react to the asylum-seeker on the door-step? My impression is that some refugees do get consideration by writing to countries seeking asylum, but I think that you generally have to be well-known or well-connected.

I would appreciate more info on this to save me the time of looking it up again.

Thanks for sharing such interesting information on how prospective economic migrants vastly outnumber those claiming to be refugees.

Another problem is that most of the asylum seekers are Muslim. While most of them are no doubt moderate, there is little evidence of them integrating. Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved. Western nations largely take religious liberty for granted. Unfortunately, people of faith, especially Christians, face far more restrictions and suffer persecution.

Islamic community leader and Imam of the local mosque, Sheik Taj al-Din Hilaly, demanded that a Muslim candidate be automatically given electoral preselection over his opponent in the Labor Party, rather than submit to the normal ballot process. The then premier Bob Carr instantly rebuffed this demand, stating that preselection was a democratic process and was not decided upon ethnic or religious criteria. However, it is only a matter of time until seats in parliament are won by Muslims, whose voting will not be governed by the requirements of their electorates, but most probably by the demands of their local mosques.

In France, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Britain and many other secular western nations, Muslims use their growing numbers to intimidate non-Muslims.

In 1996 the unemployment rate of Muslims in Australia was 25 per cent, compared to eight per cent for United Kingdom and Irish-born, and nine per cent for the Australian-born and national total. This is in spite of the fact that the Muslims' skill levels were almost equivalent both to the Australian-born and the national total.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils wants Muslims to be able to marry, divorce and conduct financial transactions under the principles of sharia law. Latest research has found that while polygamy is unlawful, mainstream law accommodates men who arrive in Australia with multiple wives and gives some legal standing to multiple partnerships that originate in Australia.

A bitter dispute between siblings came before the ACT Supreme Court in Canberra this year, when a daughter of a devout Muslim woman demanded she receive the same inheritance as her brothers. The citizenship pledge makes clear that becoming a citizen means obeying Australian laws and upholding Australian values. A sheik and Muslim leaders said sharia was already being used to end hundreds of marriages a year. Sharia is also being used by imams in cases of business disputes and neighbourhood fights.

During a visit to Australia in August last year, British-based anti-sharia law campaigner Maryam Namazie said Australia should learn from Britain's mistake in extending a form of legal recognition to tribunals that use sharia law, not British law, to decide disputes.

It needs to be said that the majority of our asylum seekers and refugees come from countries where we are participating in or backing illegal wars that are causing the very conditions these people flee. Why the refugee advocate lobby does not join with peace activists to try to point this out is beyond me.

Everything else flows from this.

Most women in Australia, including a lot of Muslim women, would be horrified at the idea of the introduction of Sharia law to Australia. Most non-theists would be concerned about the introduction of any religious law over state laws.

But it seems that the wars we are involved with all back hard-line Islamicism over secular states, as Syrian Girl Partisan points out. Our leaders do not represent us here or overseas. They don't give a stuff about women's or democratic rights here.

Syrian Girl Partisan on sectarianism and foreign intervention