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Reader riposte: The Malaysia deal

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15 July 2011 09:09

Jack Smit from Project SafeCom writes:

I have an awesome respect for Khalid Koser and admire his work and research a great deal.

There are two considerable factual errors in his latest piece at The Interpreter (also posted at Crikey). I want to share them with you. He's a great 'expert' on the nature of 'people smuggling' (my post-graduate university research topic since 2009), but it's obvious he's not well briefed. I blame it on his location: being a 'Geneva Expert' doesn't make you an insider in Australian national politics or policies per se.

1. 'Second, the arrival of a further 4000 refugees would increase by about 50% Australia's 2010 resettlement quota, taking it past Canada to be the second largest refugee resettlement country in the world.'

This error is probably the result of his assumption that Australia will resettle 4000 refugees PER YEAR. Instead, as announced by Bowen, we take in 4000 over four years — that's a thousand a year. In addition, Bowen has been adamant that the annual humanitarian intake quota will NOT be increased from the current number of 13,750.

2. 'For sure Australians want the boats stopped, but probably not at the risk of human rights abuse in detention centres in Malaysia.'

Incorrect. The 800 we 'export' to Malaysia (a sickening proposal, I think) are not 'detained' as far as I know, once they arrive. The Australian government is still negotiating 'work rights' for them, while they will be in the care of the International Organisation for Migration.

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