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SIX-and-a-half years and close to $300 million later, the Howard government’s Pacific Solution has been set adrift.
Our Airline flight 351 carrying 21 Sri Lankan asylum seekers from Nauru landed in Brisbane at 1.30pm (AEST) today, effectively marking the end of the controversial policy.
The group, now approved as refugees, have been held on Nauru since March last year and were the last occupants of the detention centre built by Australia in the tiny Pacific island nation.
They are expected to make their homes in Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne.
The controversial policy of keeping asylum seekers in foreign camps was designed to stop them being processed in Australia.
New Immigration Minister Chris Evans welcomed the end of the policy.
“The Pacific solution was a cynical, costly and ultimately unsuccessful exercise introduced on the eve of a federal election (in 2001) by the Howard government,” Senator Evans said.
He said the department had spent $289 million between September 2001 and June 2007 to run the Nauru and Manus centres.
Mark Getchell, from the International Organisation for Migration, which ran the Nauru facility, said there were now no asylum seekers left on Nauru.
“It is the end of an era,” Mr Getchell said.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed the end of the policy.
“Many bona fide refugees caught by the policy spent long periods of isolation, mental hardship and uncertainty — and prolonged separation from their families,” UNHCR’s Richard Towle said.
“This . . . goes a long way to show Australia as a humane society and in keeping with its international obligations.”
The Pacific Solution was formulated after the Norwegian freighter Tampa reached Australia’s Christmas Island in August 2001 carrying more than 400 mainly Afghan asylum seekers it had rescued at sea.
Then prime minister John Howard refused to let the group enter Australia, and went into a November election campaigning strongly on the issue.
Offshore processing centres were set up on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, the world’s smallest republic.
The Manus Island detention centre has been mothballed since the last asylum seeker left in 2004.
More than 1300 people were held at the Nauru facility, of whom 543 were found to be genuine refugees.
“Resilient and strong”
Robert Lachowicz, the coordinator of the Brisbane-based Refugee and Immigration Legal Service which has worked with Nauru detainees, said resettlement was extremely difficult.
“There are some good support services in Australia, but still there is the mental anguish you have suffered because of the detention and the difficulties you had that made you flee in the first place,” Mr Lachowicz said.
“You’ve got the uncertainty of your new life, usually a new culture and new laws.
“And you’ve got often another long wait to try and bring your close family over to join you if you are here on a permanent protection visa.
“But most of them are extremely resilient and strong.”
The Australian Government is to hold talks with the Nauru and Papua New Guinea governments about the future of the Nauru and Manus facilities and possible aid and development programs.
(Posted on February 8, 2008)
Meanwhile, over in New Zealand, where they’ve opened the flood gates for Somali “refugees” to settle there (like this is New Zealand’s responsibility?), a Somali woman on welfare and with a police record a mile long just barged into the pilots compartment of a New Zealand airline commuter flight and stabbed the two pilots:
Note her efforts to bring in 14 more of her extended family into New Zealand.
And what is the probability when you have the first time only incident like this in New Zealand, and it just happens to be one of these Africans they’ve been bringing into what was once a paradise nation. Just coincident, I’m sure. Africans don’t cause ANY more problems than other races.
Posted by at 10:26 PM on February 8
The sun is setting on Australia . Most especially if they slide back into their prior state of mind . I had been under the impression they had finally awakened from their egalitarian stupor . What has happened ?
Posted by at 9:30 AM on February 9
Reminds me of a chat I had recently with 3 of my old mates from Down Under, all 3 of them engineers taking an online language course with me. I was surprised to learn that one of them was moving to Denmark next year, the other two to different places in Germany to get a business going. When I asked why, one of ‘em said to the agreement of the others: “Two words: Kevin Rudd.”
The new Labour Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, is little more than a Down Under version of the ridiculously ruinous British Labour pair of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — and on immigration policy, Rudd has adopted the same nation-destruction policy as Blair has already used to virtually destroy the UK beyond repair. (Blair and Brown, of course, have their own antecedent in Bill Clinton, so all of you Americans reading this — you must fight furiously to make sure that the Clintons do not get anywhere close to the Oval Office again in 2008, fight as your life might depend on it because it does, the death of the UK and the demise of Australia are exhibits A and B of the ultimate result of international Clintonism!)
What’s extremely frustrating is that Rudd’s predecessor, John Howard, had a more sensible policy in most respects, but even he ultimately flung the door open to massive influxes of Somalis, Filipinos, Sudanese, Turks and Vietnamese, to the point that Sydney and Melbourne are no longer recognisable as cities of the West.
Now, Kevin Rudd, in time-honoured UK/Australian Labourite fashion, feels he must “react” to the perceived (though not actual) immigration restrictionism of Howard, such that Australia’s doors are now being flung open even further to hundreds of thousands more people from India, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Even as this extremely dry, almost barren island Continent rapidly exceeds its realistic capacity of perhaps 25 million inhabitants, tops.
Then, just as in the UK, the Labour party in Australia has millions of freshly-minted, Labour-supporting newcomers who provide it with a permanent majority as the country hurtles toward the demise of its Western civilisation. In fact, Australia is therefore heading down the same path as the UK, Canada and the USA, just perhaps one decade behind the others — it too will very soon be a non-Western country.
Any compassionate human being can naturally sympathise with the plight of the Afghan refugees considering the awful state of their country, but the solution is not to import them en masse into Australia, which does nothing to solve the underlying problem in Afghanistan and only strains the resources of Australia and similar countries to help. The proper approach is to help provide some sort of protection for the internally displaced within Afghanistan, while encouraging the country’s neighbors to help in the efforts — they after all, have a much greater cultural affinity with the Afghans and for that reason alone can provide a lot more help. But such a sensible solution wouldn’t yield the obvious political advantages that Rudd’s party savours, so of course we won’t be seeing it.
Posted by Outbacker at 11:20 AM on February 9
Call it what you want but it worked. It will be interesting to see the tide turn on the new government once the boat people start flowing into Australia again.
Posted by Kurt at 11:44 AM on February 9
The sun setting on Australia won’t be Rudd’s fault, it will be the voting folks that put him in office.
Just like here, whites are to blame.
Posted by GetBackJack at 9:47 PM on February 10
>>>Then, just as in the UK, the Labour party in Australia has millions of freshly-minted, Labour-supporting newcomers who provide it with a permanent majority as the country hurtles toward the demise of its Western civilisation. In fact, Australia is therefore heading down the same path as the UK, Canada and the USA, just perhaps one decade behind the others — it too will very soon be a non-Western country.
Yes Outbacker, there does seem to be a trend with Socialists and their ilk to import votes.Nothing like a boatload of dependent welfare seekers to build a solid voting block. As for the rest of the masses, their relentless attempts to keep ‘em poor and dependent on government handouts continues, as do their plans to restrict education to what is considered politically correct and downgrade it so that the ‘newcomers’ don’t feel like underachievers. They continue to berate achievement,tradition, competitiveness and nationalism, to replace traditional religion with eco/veggie/polar bear worshipping mysticism and till they’ve got themselves a lifetimes supply of voting shills.
How sad that of all the Western nations Australia had the best chance of remaining a haven for White folks. Another one tanking out I fear.
Posted by Arcadian at 10:00 PM on February 10
“He said the department had spent $289 million between September 2001 and June 2007 to run the Nauru and Manus centres.”
I have a brilliant solution that will save the Australians $289 million AND a lot of grief.
First, you make a rule that says AUSTRALIA IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING THIRD-WORLD “REFUGEES”!
And then you enforce that rule.
Posted by The Incredible Shrinking White Man at 1:55 PM on February 11