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Showing posts from May, 2016

Why stop the boats?

I don't want to spend this whole election campaign writing angry posts about refugee policy. There are so many more interesting, and less repetitively awful, things to think about. But... you've gotta have at least one. So here we go.

There is no border protection rationale for the Pacific Solution, or Operation Sovereign Borders, or whatever we're now calling it. At the absolute peak of boat arrivals, the numbers were around 30 000 a year. (In no year did that many actually arrive, but nearly 15 000 people arrived on boats in the first six months of 2013.) In that year, net migration to Australia was 235 000. It's declined since, but is still comfortably clear of 150 000. And those are the net numbers, so the number of new immigrants arriving is higher than that. So the number of asylum seekers is much too small to have any real impact on unemployment, or welfare budgets, or culture, or really anything. You might want to have some short detention period for security r…