Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Malaysia Solution deterrence with teeth

“Most asylum-seekers processed in Nauru wound up in Australia,” writes Cassandra Wilkinson today in The Australian, “which suggests in all likelihood those processed in Malaysia would too.”

That statement seems based on a common misconception about the government’s ‘Malaysia Solution’, which is that it simply substitutes Malaysia for Nauru as the site for off-shore processing of unauthorised boat arrivals.

But that is not the case. The point of the Malaysia Solution is that unauthorised arrivals sent there would not only go to “the back of the queue” in Malaysia, but would eventually be re-settled in a third country. In other words, those who have the temerity to come here by boat would ultimately never be re-settled in Australia.

This is why the government’s Malaysia plan would likely represent a powerful deterrence for those contemplating unauthorised travel to Australia as their preferred destination.

And that’s why the Coalition opposes the Malaysia Solution.

Not because they’re particularly wedded to the idea of humanitarian protections for asylum seekers — their repugnant tow-back policy exposes that conceit — but because they’re terrified the Malaysia Solution might just work in the government’s favour.

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