Rights and wrongs of Australian government asylum seeker policy

Heywood, Philip R. & Stanley, Hannah (2015) Rights and wrongs of Australian government asylum seeker policy. [Working Paper] (Unpublished)


Worldwide, no fewer than 50 million people a year are now fleeing dangerous and often life threatening situations in their countries of origin (UNHCR, 2014c). As one part of this movement, thousands risk journeys through dangerous waters hoping to obtain asylum in Australia. However, Australian Government policies adopted since 2013 aim to ensure that no asylum seeker nor any of the 3,500 detainees held in offshore detention centres will ever be settled on the mainland. To this has now been added a declaration that none of the recent refugees or 6200 asylum seekers waiting in Indonesia in centres run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will gain entry (Whyte, 2014a). These immigration policies differ dramatically from those adopted in earlier decades that produced the country’s decidedly multicultural identity. This article reviews these changing perspectives of Australian governments and communities within the context of international obligations and expectations; the experiences of those directly involved in border policing practices and in detention centres; and the attitudes of national media. Relations and conflicts among the interests of the different parties are discussed and the scope for less punitive responses to the plight of asylum seekers is examined. The authors then focus on alternative processes to better address the interests and objectives of legitimately interested parties by processes which successively examine, optimise and reconcile the concerns of each. In so doing, they aim to demonstrate that such methods of sequential problem solving can respond effectively to the multiple concerns of the many significant stakeholders involved in increasingly significant global issues, whereas recourse to such single-goal, top-down programs as are expressed in the government’s current determination to “Stop the boats” at all costs are unlikely to prove sustainable.

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ID Code: 88021
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Asylum seekers, Migration policy, Planning Methods, Problem solving
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Phil Heywood & Hannah Stanley
Copyright Statement: The rights to be acknowledged as the authors and owners of the intellectual property of this article are asserted by Phil Heywood & Hannah Stanley
Deposited On: 06 Oct 2015 01:16
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 03:20

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