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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 19:48 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 19:48 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Rudd, SBY and those boats II



12 July 2013 11:25

Hugh Wyndham responds to this reader riposte:

It never fails to puzzle me that the discussion of this issue almost never goes deep enough to consider what a solution might look like. I wonder how many people speaking or writing about this subject have actually met an asylum seeker who came here through Indonesia and Christmas Island.

In the last 2-3 years, I have interviewed about 200 and think I have a pretty good idea as to why they came here. Some were entitled to protection; some were not. But very few of those who were not came here for purely economic reasons. They had reasons for hating the life they led where they were – and I would, too, if I had to live there, unless I was one of the privileged few.

So, if we manage to 'stop the boats', is that going to stop the outflow from the source countries? The answer is clearly 'no', unless the conditions change for the better in their countries of origin. It is like trying to stop water flowing downhill. You can block a channel, but, if water continues to flow, it will find or dig another.

Finally, the great majority of asylum seekers who arrive are found to require protection, after a very thorough process involving anything from 6-10 hours of interviews, sometimes more. What do we think they should do? How? Please don't talk to me about queues. There are no queues for most of them. Even where there are, the speed of resettlement out of refugee camps is such that a new arrival today will be lucky ever to leave, unless he or she has relatives in a county of resettlement (of which there are only three of any consequence).

If you and your family were in that position, what would you do?

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