Why 71% of Australians want boats pushed back


'Abbott's refugee spin' by Chris Johnston shows Abbott 'selling' images of terrorists and an overcrowded Australia to ordinary people with their backs to a detention centreIn the lead up to Refugee Week the attitudes of Australians to people who come by boat to seek protection made sober reading. According to a Lowy poll 71 per cent of Australians believed Australia should turn back asylum seeker boats. That figure was far higher even than the Prime Minister's disapproval rating.

People drew different conclusions about its significance. Some would say that 71 per cent of Australians can't be wrong. At Eureka Street we have never been persuaded that majorities always have truth on their side. In this case there are solid reasons, frequently rehearsed here, for believing that they are wrong.

It has also been suggested that the poll figures reflect increasing levels of xenophobia and racism in Australia. The accounts given by many sports persons and immigrants of their own experiences of racist prejudice and the opinions expressed in social media might support this argument. But it ignores other evidence for increasing rejection of racism, and the surprisingly high support in the poll for processing asylum seekers in Australia.

Although most xenophobic and racist people might be expected to support turning back the boats, it would be unjustifiable to conclude that most people who want to turn back the boats are racist.

The poll figures almost certainly reflect the bipartisan practice of describing people who come by boat to seek protection in pejorative terms as a problem. They have been described as illegals, as queue jumpers, and as the willing pawns of people smugglers.

This rhetoric and the brutal treatment of asylum seekers on arrival have certainly intensified public anxiety and resentment. But they did not create these responses. Whenever people have come by boat to seek asylum they have aroused popular fear. Politicians have only fed and fed on public rancour.

But the political response to asylum seekers certainly persuaded people that Australia faced a vast problem to which pushing asylum seekers back and installing all the horrors of Manus Island and Nauru were the only solution. Part of the significance of the poll figures lies in the strength of that popular judgment.

For those who believe that offering protection to people who come to us in flight from persecution is ethically binding and the mark of a humane society, the poll figures indict their failure to persuade their fellow Australians. It is the latest of a history of failures: to repeal mandatory detention, to abandon the Pacific Solution and to commend a better way.

Some will see this due to a failure to endorse and cooperate with less draconian policies while they were on the table; others will see it as a failure to which any principled defence of the weak in strident times is liable.

The deeper significance of the poll figures, however, is that they point to a simple human reality that has failed to engage the imagination of Australians.

They have not met people who seek protection and shared their food; they have not known of the gifts they bring and could share for our benefit; they have not seen shoulders straight and eyes bright shortly after completing the most momentous and dangerous journeys, and the same eyes opaque and body slack with depression after years in detention; they have never held photographs of the women and children in ruined villages and camps, whom their husband and father may never hold or help again; they have never sat with young men in community detention in fear of their 18th birthday when they are liable to be sent back into detention centres; they have not tasted the terrors of Manus Island.

If we saw, heard and tasted these things in the lives of our families and friends, they would surely keep us awake at night. Documented and transmuted into art by a Solzhenitsyn these things might tell a cautionary tale of a society gone awry. That as a nation we simply move on is a marker, not of our wickedness or of our necessities, but of a failure of our imagination.

The heart of Refugee Week lies in welcoming refugees into our imagination. 

Andrew HamiltonAndrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street.

Topic tags: Andrew Hamilton, Refugee Week, Jesuit Refugee Service



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Existing comments

I don't consider myself a racist but (what a horrible way to start) I dont want the boats coming here for the simple reason that there have been people in refugee camps throughout the world doing the right thing for years in the hope of coming to this country and they miss out because of the queue jumpers. The asylum seeker killed on Manus island was not, according to his mother, a humanitarian refugee but an economic refugee. That said i dont like the way they are being dealt with.
John | 13 June 2014

Andrew again provokes the question for me about what sort of nation we are creating. How can we ever sustain our democracy if we do not uphold the value of the individual person? It seems to me that closing the door on the vulnerable weakens the very foundation on which our society is built, The danger we face is that of becoming a closed society - one where we increasingly feed off each other; one where in protecting ourselves we loose our vitality and weaken our potential.
Jane Anderson | 13 June 2014

Thank you for re-awakening my imagination
Name eggy Stroud | 13 June 2014

This whole notion of "economic refugees" vs refugee camp refugees is a furphy. The international refugee agreements are meant to protect human rights regardless of whether someone had the "luxury" to rot for years in a refugee camp. When someone arrives by boat, Australia has signed an agreement to respect their right to seek asylum if it's found by our process that they have a valid fear of persecution in their home country. Ironically, if they are found to be economic refugees, they now fear being persecuted by our country.
AURELIUS | 14 June 2014

John, we don't allow anyone from camps to come here but if we did it would take 7,000 years to be accepted. And we have zero obligation under any law or treaty to allow any of them to come here for further protection. The only people we have a legal obligation to are those who arrive here, just as all 148 nations who ratified the refugee convention do. No other nation on earth tortures one group of people on the basis that others are suffering. Let's not be too cretinous and let's stop reporting on the silly opinions of 1000 people.
Marilyn | 14 June 2014

this idea of "right way " or "wrong way " is a load of rubbish the right way is "anyway you can" , that's the nature of asylum seeking , there is no queue .
david hill | 14 June 2014

I had 30 years in PNG as a teacher and priest. They have a system called" pay back" and they do. Not a place for vunerable people.
Frank Fuchs | 15 June 2014

I don't want refugees coming by boat to Australia because I don't want them to drown. I also don't want them paying criminals who don't care less about their safety, but only about making money. I don't want refugees being encouraged to come by boat because that would make us responsible for their fate. (which the Labor Greens did during their term of govt. their 'come one, come all' "non-border protection" policy drew many people to their deaths.) Because I care about refugees I want a system that protects them - not places them in danger of death. I believe border protection is not so much about keeping refugees out, but keeping them alive. The silence by the political 'left' about the deaths at sea under the Labor/Greens non-border protection policy, shows how blinding partisan politics has become in this country. In my opinion the Labor/Greens policy was infinitely more cruel than anything the present Government has done. Border protection is not an inherently evil concept - as many refugee zealots would have us believe. People who care about refugees want better border protection - for their sake.
Cath | 15 June 2014

Andy, thoroughly agreed. Our imagination has become dulled and limited. Hope is dependent upon a lively and creative imagination.
Clare | 16 June 2014

Thank you Andrew. I was relieved to read you article this morning. The issues is about how we imagine. I think the results of the Lowey survey on democracy are also telling us something about the deep disconnection that is rife, not only in Australia, but around the world. I suspect many are not only becoming disillusioned, but are beginning to see though the illusion of belief in ‘one vote for all’, and ‘representative democracy’. The sad fact is that we lose touch with our humanity as we bow to the market. Not too many years ago, the stock market report was not at all prominent in our lexicon. Today we think of our homes, not as abodes, but as commercial next eggs. Is it any wonder that we see not the suffering of others when a non rational fear of poverty is injected with the fanciful fear of invasion by those most wretched. Might we, at this point in history, imagine what may have gone through the hearts of our indigenous brothers and sisters as they saw those billowing white clouds on the waters as strangers approached their shore? But then again, their history would have told them something different to what our past has to tell us.
VicO’Callaghan | 16 June 2014

Thank you Andrew for your as usual insightful and powerful piece. It is the policies that render people as nameless faceless object-non persons- that is so frightening to me. We used to speak about Vietnamese boat people recognising the some refugees from Vietnam came here by boat and look what wonderful Australian citizens the majority of them have become! Stopping the boats seems to be a way of trying not to face a worldwide reality, that people all over the world are fleeing their homes in terror and at great peril because they want to find a safe place for their families. Cannot we provide a place of safety for the small minority that come here?
Penny | 16 June 2014

Dear Andy, Visiting people in refugee camps around the world. would also engage our imagination. Let us give more aid to refugees and accept more through a workable process. Open access and self selection is totally unworkable and inherently unfair.
Peter | 16 June 2014

Cath, it is good that you care about refugees. Now, I'm wondering what is the next step for all of us here in Australia who care for refugees and don't want them drowning, or rotting and suffering in concentration camps. Perhaps we could put some of the millions (?billions) we spend on detention centres on offering more people in refugee camps a safe and efficient way to come here to live.
Janet | 16 June 2014

Both political parties have framed the issue as one that limits compassion. Countries in Europe have far bigger problems because they are far closer to trouble spots that cause people to flee. We should be taking a lead in strengthening international arrangements for resettling asylum seekers whoever they are and wherever they are. Thank you for a humane and compassionate article.
Bob Smith | 16 June 2014

In the late 70's I formed a group to settle Laotian refugees in our town. I also worked with other centres to follow. This weekend in celebrating refugee week, we enjoyed the company of Laos, Bhutanese, Africans, post WW11 Europeans and others. Australia does welcome refugees (I was born in Singapore as the Japanese advanced and celebrated my first birthday in Australia: being British and white probably helped). All, those I mention came through a government plan. What Eureka Street and the left wing crowd call refugees ignores those who have come via refugee camps and have been, and still are, welcomed. The refugees you favour are self-selected by a reverse means test: they can afford air fares to Indonesia, bribes and boat passage. That doesn't rule them out as true refugees, but it does ignore the needs of families languishing in Thai camps or elsewhere who do not have the economic clout to "jump the queue". That is what stirs the 71%
Name | 16 June 2014

No-one ever seems to ask why there are any refugees anywhere in the world. Until the world asks that question, determines the cause and eliminates that cause in the name of humanity we will get nowhere - might as well stop worrying and creating whole new job descriptions while we fail to stop the cause. The cause stands out like a light in the night and when the free world tries to sort it out, that attracts even more criticism than the cause itself and creates a whole lot more jobs for the concerned of the world.
john frawley | 16 June 2014

Thanks Andrew. A great article, especially the concluding paragraphs. I have met people in detention centres, have seen the light of hope in their eyes when they arrived, and saw that diminish as time went on. I would say to Cath - get to know some refugees/asylum seekers, hear their stories and 'try to stand in their shoes'. I would also ask the question of the 71% who think our government should turn back the boats - if these were people from America, Canada, or any other western country would they have the same attitude?
Mary Wood | 16 June 2014

Yes, that 71% support for turning the boats back is certainly a problem for the asylum-seeker lobby isn’t it?. Can nearly three quarters of Australians be racist xenophobes lacking compassion or ignorant fools mislead by demagogic conservatives? Perhaps the average Australian clearly realises that most of these asylum seekers are mere economic migrants who are not fleeing from persecution; that we should be aiding refugees who really need our help in Lebanon and Jorden etc over these mostly pseudo refugees; that 1200 of them have died trying to get to Australia because the asylum-seeker lobby encouraged them to “have a go”. Why do most Australians recognize these unpleasant realities but the AS lobby doesn’t and bitterly resents it when such truths are pointed out to it? What explains such delusional and hypocritical thinking? The AS lobby agonises over the death on Manus Island of one asylum seeker while ignoring the tens of thousands of genuine refugees who desperately need our help. The moral confusion of this lobby never ceases to astound me. .
dennis | 16 June 2014

Janet, incarceration of refugees is a moral dilemma - that is true, but you must surely realise that any way we 'reward' refugees who take the huge risk of getting on a leaky boat, sends a message to others - an incentive to do the same, or a disincentive to not follow suit. The other issue I see is that in being uber-compassionate towards refugees, refugee advocates seem to never doubt the authenticity of a refugee's claim. Never ever. One article I read reported that a large proportion of Sri Lankan refugees return home within the first 12 months to visit family. It wouldn't be too hard-hearted to wonder whether such people were seriously in danger in their homeland. I also have taught refugee students who have come from Africa. They didn't have the option of getting on a boat. They had to wait for due process to take place. (waiting for years in refugee camps) Perhaps that also iinfluences my opinion about boat arrivals. As with any zealots, what I see and read from refugee zealots is that they see themselves as holding the moral high ground. No other way but their way. Thinking people would ruminate over why 71% of Australians continue to be against boat arrivals. 71% of Australians are NOT cruel racists.
Cath | 16 June 2014

Thank you as always, Andrew for your thoughtful and compassionate article.I hope all those who agree with the present treatment of asylum seekers look at the photo of the remarkable woman Ali Nesha on the front page of The Age and try to imagine, what a year in detention means for such people.
Maryrose Dennehy | 16 June 2014

No respondent so far has mentioned the "Elephant-in-the-room"; namely the high proportion of Muslims in the boats, and the very close association of Muslims with much of the terrorism reported every day in the news. Most of the victims of terrorism are in fact Muslims, but naturally no one wants to import terrorists, or even lay the basis for home-grown terrorists. It would be interesting to find out what proportion of the motivation that tips the scales of the 'anti-boat people' is the fear of importing terrorists.
Robert Liddy | 16 June 2014

Until refugee activists start apologising for calling Australians rednecks and racists they will not be listened to. Working class Australians resented toffs saying that about them and they will not forget that abuse.
angela | 16 June 2014

This was one of the most disgusting articles ever written in Eureka Street. By writing “It has also been suggested that the poll figures reflect increasing levels of xenophobia and racism in Australia” and similar slur and slander demonstrates that Andrew Hamilton has become a rude, narrow minded hate monger. Most Australians support a fair and reasonable immigration policy which provides help to true refugees. Most Australians do not support an industry which makes its riches from selecting fare paying asylum seekers to sneak them through the back door. Most Australians are fair minded people and I have not heard a racist comment by anybody for well over two decades. Slogans like racism, xenophobia etc. are ALWAYS used by narrow minded people.
Beat Odermatt | 16 June 2014

Australia has taken refugees approx 1 quarter of the whole population since WW11, (Because our beautiful sons did not return from fighting yur wars) 6 million refugees, it seems that refugees who feel other refugees should grace our shores without question, to the point of putting down the very people/country that has looked after them and their families for the last 60 years. We fought so hard for womens rights in this country and I for one will never accept guilt by blackmail by those with agendas or those who feel their culture is more important then a womens or childrens safety ( No Child Marriage)...Convict stock !!! we stand tall and the exploitation of our families is why you have what you have today. Yes, we are still HERE so stop ur demeaning/ denial of Australia dark history as it is not yours to have demands.
V Alberighi | 16 June 2014

"most of these asylum seekers are mere economic migrants " wrong again, Dennis. The people who get here went through a process which found that the great majority were genuine refugees - the others we sent back. Look at the people who come: Hazaras - we know they are persecuted, Tamils - how come it isn't the other ethnic group from Sri Lanka? and so on. Queues? In many places there aren't queues, or they are so long as to meaningless. Our government wasn't responsible for drownings because the people knew the risks but were determined to take that risk. We don't see the suicides that come from the despair when people find that they will never reach that safe place where they can build a new life (no easy thing). We weren't responsible for the drownings, but we may well be responsible for the suicides. Beat Odermatt's name-calling violates any code of civilised discussion and should be removed.
Russell | 16 June 2014

To make accusations of racism to those who either favour a "turn back the boats" policy or favour off-shore processing simplifies an extremely complex issue and does the topic no justice whatsoever. The Australian Bishops’ statement, accusing Australians of harbouring a “latent” racism and compared this to a return of the “White Australia Policy” was incredibly unhelpful and rightly did not get any meaningful media coverage. As Catholics, there is a severe concern that the “pull factors“ encouraged by on-shore processing which lures genuine and economic refugees here, amounts to both formal cooperation with the evil of people smugglers and will invariably lead asylum seekers to a cruel deaths at sea. We do not want to be responsible for that. People have adopted informed positions based on the testimony of the independent panel comprising of Angus Houston, Michael L’Estrange and Paris Aristotle- hardly rednecks and all of whom favour off-shore processing. People have made informed decisions about the necessity for “off-shore processing” by seeing the conversation of notable members of the ALP left, like Doug Cameron and Stephen Jones, whose only quibble is about the poor implementation of such processing in Nauru and Manus Island.
Name | 16 June 2014

Thanks Andrew. There is also a tragic lack of imagination among church leaders. The Australian bishops recently wrote a very strong letter about asylum seekers but have done little to promote it. Where are the educational programs and prayer vigils in parishes and cathedrals? Why is that letter not mandatory reading from every pulpit in the country? Why are the bishops not travelling to Manus Island for a Mass of lamentation and solidarity, as the Pope did at Lampedusa? Some years ago when the Latham government proposed redistributing education funding, the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne joined forces, for the first time in history, to publicly speak out opposing this. Where are they now? Much of the public hostility to asylum seekers has been fed by political leaders. It must be exposed and opposed by other powerful leaders, who can also educate the public. Where, oh where, are the bishops when our country really needs them??? Time for real moral leadership - beyond the usual stuff about same-sex marriage, or about reproductive issues. If the bishops don't take courageous, daring moral leadership - beyond writing a letter - concerning Australia's concentration camps, then what use are they?
Michael B Kelly | 16 June 2014

Australia has always had a fear of the godless horde to the north. From the Chinese of the gold rushes, the Russians in the 19nth century, the yellow peril, the red peril, boat people and in finiteness. All have been exploited by politicians. The fear has been constantly encouraged and reinforced.
C.F. | 16 June 2014

What is even more sad is the fact that a great number in that 71% were refugees of some sort many years ago. Just what is the difference between an "economic" and a "humanitarian" refugee ? We have plenty of "legal" "economic" refugees in this country and yet just because they decide to come by a different means of transport we do not welcome them.
nick agocs | 16 June 2014

Russell : It was Andrew Hamilton who slandered and slurred the good name of good Australians. I think it is disgusting and it gutter licking type of journalism. Most Australians are good honest people and not racists. A despicable article.
Beat Odermatt | 16 June 2014

My problem with people coming by boat is the price they pay to get on a boat they could fly directly here and seek asylum they have to get on a plane and get to Indonesia is it that they know that they will not get a visa to get in this country. I am not racist at all I am all for people coming to this country to make a new life for themselves so why can they not do it the right way they have the money so that is not a problem. As i see it they are in a country (Indonesia) that they can seek asylum in and they have by passed numerous countries to seek asylum in and they choose not to so i say send them back don't bother with detention centres put them on the first plane back as they have no documents to prove who they are so we do not know if what type of person they are and time has shown that those who have been let out have committed crimes they should automatically be sent back as it shows they really don't care about this country.
Narelle | 16 June 2014

It saddens me that so many Australians have accepted the myths about "queue jumpers" and "illegals" and that we are ignoring our legal obligations as a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Refugee Convention and Convention on the Rights of the Child. It seems all we want to do is outsource our legal and moral responsibilities to other countries. I did not vote for this government and they are not acting in my name.
Jenny Brown | 16 June 2014

The number of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia is very, very minor. It is less than1.5% of new migrants and is ridiculously small in comparison to other boat arrivals on the coasts of, say, Italy, Spain, Malta & Greece. Past figures show that 70-97% of all boat arrivals are found to be genuine refugees. The concept of an orderly queue does not accord with the reality of the asylum process. According to the UNHCR less than 1% of the world's refugees may be re-settled in any given year. So in other words, refugees (in camps) do not have an automatic right to be re-settled (hence no queue) and under the UN Refugee Convention, signatory states are not obliged (but can volunteer) to offer protection to Asylum Seekers not within their territory. Australia only has a population of 20M - America 300M. We are one of the richest nations on this earth and are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention (signed by Liberal Govt). This turning back the boats malarkey is costly and Offshore detention is making people & pacific countries billions thanks to the Australian tax payer by the vote of the 71%.
Name | 17 June 2014

No Russell, you are wrong to say that “the great majority were refugees”. Bob Carr when Foreign Minister admitted last year that 80-90% of asylum seekers were economic migrants. I mean, he would know wouldn’t he, being a senior minister in the then Labor Government dealing with the AS mess. Second: yes it’s true that 90% of ASs do eventually get classified as genuine refugees by Australian Immigration. But that’s more for administrative convenience, according to an interview with an Immigration official who processed ASs - reported in The Australian (yes, I know hiss boo) some months ago. His superiors just wanted him to process them as quickly as possible, only holding back obvious criminals and terrorists. To do otherwise would result numerous rejected ASs appealing all the way to the High Court – a process that the AS lobby/industry eagerly aids at every turn. When too many do this a huge processing delays occur and also results in hundreds unprocessed ASs spending much longer in detention! And officers who allowed this to happen irked their superiors. Third, genuine refugees can easily seek refuge in several countries between here and Australia. The Sri Lankan Tamils can simply head for Tamil Nadu in India 100kms away where 60 million Tamils live and where most would have kin.
dennis | 17 June 2014

To continue this dialogue, I thank you Cath for your point of view, and good on you for teaching refugee students and learning about their situation. The part of your post that really worries me is this idea that we should not “reward” asylum seekers who come by boat. So, accepting them as asylum seekers and allowing them to live in the community as their claims are processed is “reward”. Now, the opposite of that, they way our government defines it, is truly horrible. We punish, brutally. I have heard that on Manus Island the locals do not want this asylum seeker concentration camp, the asylum seekers have to bribe guards to get fruit, there is a high likelihood of being raped/thrown into deep depression/becoming suicidal or self-harming. In the early days of the colony in NSW, convicts were brutally whipped for the slightest misdemeanour. That was so that disobedience would not be “rewarded” I suppose. Seems we have a long history of this sort of thing. Sad.
Janet | 17 June 2014

Thank you for your postings on this article, which are rightly full of passion. Two comments. First, whatever our judgments of what should be done, it is important to work from the evidence we have and not to try to twist the evidence to fit our views. The fact is that a very large proportion of the people who have sought protection in Australia have consistently been found to be fleeing from persecution and unable to find protection in their own nations. That proportion may be lesser over the last year or two, but we have no evidence for that. To attribute the statistics to a lack of integrity on the part of immigration officials or review panel members is wishful thinking. So the fact is that a high proportion of people who come by boat seeking protection are in fact fleeing from persecution. Our approval or disapproval of Australian policy must take that into account. Second, Beat I am puzzled by your disgust at my article. In it I considered many explanations for the strong approval of the Government's policy. Some people have attributed it to racism. As is appropriate in argument, I looked at evidence that might support the claim, found contrary evidence, and concluded that 'it would be unjustifiable to conclude that most people who want to turn back the boats are racist.' I still believe that to be a reasonable conclusion and one which ought not disgust a reasonable reader.
andy hamilton | 17 June 2014

Andrew, there is one other aspect - anecodotal evidence only (though what is an anecdote but data with a soul) - of why you can say that 71% of Australians are not simply racist. And that is that almost all Australians are kind to neighbours of different races, refugees or not; very few Australians have any problems these days with being treated by doctors of different races - and there are a lot of them in our hospitals etc. etc. I think that these personal interactions contradict attitudes (expressed in poll results like these) which can be put down to the type of information which people are surrounded by. Good on you for offfering other explanations and viewpoints, supported by evidence.
Russell | 17 June 2014

Your last 3 paragraphs nail it, of course, and outline the well thought out policies of "out of sight…" Many of the comments demonstrate the success of this calculated strategy. I was going to Tweet as heads up to "AS Lobby" (thanks for that someone) but just too many comments below make me ashamed to be Australian.
Ross | 17 June 2014

I am always bewildered by the number of people who think that refugees paying their own way makes them unworthy bludgers while refugees whose fares we pay aren't. The fact remains that we don't own the ocean and cannot dictate who sails anywhere on it, even to here.
Marilyn | 18 June 2014

The failure in compassion and common human decency in our teatment of asylum seekers is quite simply a failureof leadership. Malcolm Fraser demonstrated how political leaders can shape community responses to migration that was initially opposed. It is time our leaders did the same and time for ALL clergy to speak out in all pulpits every Sunday, not just in refugee week
Juliet Fleesch | 20 June 2014

Arguments against the boat mode of arrival: it kills asylum seekers; it forces them to engage with criminals; it directs attention away from the most vulnerable of refugees; it is for those determined to reach a certain country, not just any country. Now that boat arrivals are diminishing, the opportunity for more compassionate and far reaching support for refugees arises. Camps in Syria, people in Somalia, those languishing in wretched camps around the world. This is where a compassionate society might look to and draw refugees from. Most of these people will not have the money to pay people smugglers and many would argue they are far more deserving. All of the points in Andrew's second last paragraph are true and heartfelt but there are many who have never had the opportunity to come to the table because of their miserable circumstances. Now that this inequitable trade is coming to an end, there are now opportunities to engage the imagination of Australians with refugees who could never before countenance coming to Australia by paying money to illegal boat smugglers.
Don | 20 June 2014

Yet I have never seen anyone having a problem with those they work with based on their mode of arrival.
Luke Weyland | 26 June 2014

They should all go back to where they came from. It`s not the rest of the worlds fault about any of this. Canada doesn`t want them either. They will bring terrorism, disease, social and economic unrest. Send them all back or leave them on the boats. This is not the worlds fault or problem. I don`t blame Australia for doing this. They are looking to be freeloaders. Go back to where you came from and fix your own country.
Amanda | 17 May 2015

We can't afford anymore refugees, think about all our homeless. Our govnment is right to refuse all illegal refugees
Raff | 23 May 2015

There is no right or wrong.
john | 05 February 2016

I am fed up with the pollis of our country Backing the boat people there is more needs to be done for Austrians if you want refuges don't get the ones who can pay to come here get the ones who cannot.. but look after our people first
Mike Martin | 10 May 2016

I don't consider myself a racist but (what a horrible way to start) I dont want the boats coming here for the simple reason that there have been people in refugee camps throughout the world doing the right thing for years in the hope of coming to this country and they miss out because of the queue jumpers. The asylum seeker killed on Manus island was not, according to his mother, a humanitarian refugee but an economic refugee. That said i don't like the way they are being dealt with. So yeah.
Idiot | 15 March 2017


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