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Best of 2023: How Australia's asylum seeker policy has evolved over thirty years

  • 04 January 2024
As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. Refugee definition article 1A, Refugee Convention 1951 Compassion must be extended to genuine refugees, but temporary refuge need not extend to long-term permanent settlement in Australia … One Nation believes in providing temporary refuge until the danger in the refugee’s country is resolved. There is no assumption of automatic permanent residence in Australia. One Nation Immigration, Population and Social Cohesion Policy, 1 July 1998 What One Nation would be saying is that [refugees] have no place in Australia; they are only to be here temporarily. The people you bring are very much likely to have been tortured, traumatised, and in need of support for rebuilding a new life. Can you imagine what temporary entry would do in terms of giving people a chance? Former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, Quoted in Southern Cross Anglican Diocese Sydney Newspaper, September 1998   ‘It makes no sense — economically or socially — to keep them in limbo’ Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, February 2023 ‘Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. …To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that have become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary.  Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. Winston Smith explaining Doublethink in George Orwell’s 1984, Penguin  Asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia, without a visa, have long been politically demonised and subjected to increasingly harsh and punitive laws. In the last three decades, there have been nearly 50 legislative amendments to Australia’s asylum seeker laws , of which only one can be considered of true benefit to