Articles on Refugees

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The suffering of the Iranian people is a moral and an economic issue that Australia can help to solve. Image from shutterstock.com

Signs of hope in Iran, but can Australia be part of the solution?

Over recent months, Iran has become the largest source of asylum seekers arriving in Australia, with more than 5,000 having arrived this year, amounting to about one-third of the total. While the debate…
Each adult Australian citizen would have the right to sponsor one person selected from the register every five years. DFID UK Department for International Development

Asylum Solutions: we need a sponsorship register for refugees

The people of Armidale, a NSW country town which benefits from the cosmopolitanism associated with the presence of the University of New England, are tolerant and open-hearted. They might well appear as…
Rather than mandatory detention of asylum seekers, Australia could save money by allowing more in and asking them to fill jobs in Australia that need doing. AAP/DIAC

Asylum Solutions: saving money with a more humane response

The major political parties in Australia are engaged in a competition to outdo each other in their promises to mistreat boat people. The theory is that this will deter others from seeking protection here…
As long as push factors such as ongoing civil war in Syria continue, asylum seeker issues will plague Australian politics. EPA / STR

Asylum Solutions: temporary visas with a difference

Anyone who wants to design a solution to the asylum seeker dilemma needs to start by understanding it’s not the product of a single phenomenon: there are five issues, all connected. To create a workable…
People die trying to come to Australia to join our society. Have we lost sight of what we value most? AAP/Dan Peled

Barry Jones: asylum is the greatest moral challenge of our time

We are never completely contemporaneous with our present. History advances in disguise; it appears on stage wearing the mask of the preceding scene, and we tend to lose the meaning of the play. Each time…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott and immigration spokesman Scott Morrison hope Australian voters prefer their policy. AAP/Dan Peled

Tough guys: Operation Sovereign Borders vs the PNG Solution

Just when you thought being “tough on borders” couldn’t get any more serious, along comes the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders. It’s got all the right elements of a plan: it’s an operation (with…
Do people smugglers actually have a business model that can be broken? EPA/Made Nagi

The myth of the people smugglers’ ‘business model’

The people smugglers business model is phrase that has entered the Australian political lexicon if only through sheer repetition. It has barely left the lips of prime minister Kevin Rudd or immigration…
Where does the Australian ‘fear’ of asylum seekers arriving by boat come from? AAP/Scott Fisher

Drowning mercy: why we fear the boats

There’s a Latin word: misericordia. It’s usually translated “mercy” or “pity”. Thomas Aquinas took misericordia to be a kind of grief at the suffering of others as if that suffering were our own. Alasdair…
Governments face many competing demands when trying to create practical, effective asylum seeker policy. EPA/Tubagus

Asylum seekers: effective policy is based on evidence, not emotion

Many of us want to believe that there is a just and moral solution to the asylum seekers issue. For two decades arguments based on a variety of interpretations of what justice and morality may involve…
Kevin Rudd’s asylum seeker policy will resettle refugees in PNG. So what will their life actually be like? AAP/George Curry

What life can a resettled refugee expect in PNG?

Prime minister Kevin Rudd’s plan to resettle asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea is already being compared to John Howard’s hard line on the Tampa, which won Howard the election in 2001. It might be good…
Can Rudd’s asylum seeker policy be considered a ‘success’ if it only speaks to Australian self-interest? EPA/Tubagus

Defining ‘success’ in the asylum seeker debate

If prime minister Kevin Rudd’s recent decision to process and then resettle all onshore asylum seekers in PNG is to be considered in any way a “success”, then it raises the question of what constitutes…
Kevin Rudd could look to the processes in Europe for a properly regional solution to asylum seekers. EPA/Adrian Elang

What would a truly regional asylum arrangement look like?

The recently-signed deal between Australia and Papua New Guinea on refugees is being promoted by the Australian government as a “regional settlement arrangement”. But it is really? And how does it compare…
Will Kevin Rudd’s PNG plan be the ‘silver bullet’ to end the people smuggling trade, allegedly practised by the likes of Afghan national Sayed Abbas? AAP/Karlis Salna

How will people smugglers react to the new Rudd asylum plan?

The empirical test of the Australian government’s refugee resettlement agreement with Papua New Guinea will be whether there…
Kevin Rudd’s agreement with PNG on asylum seekers binds Australia to Peter O'Neill’s government, rather than being a true regional solution. AAP/Dan Peled

Rudd’s PNG deal is a co-dependency, not a ‘regional solution’

The precise details of the refugee resettlement deal struck between Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and his Papua New Guinean counterpart Peter O'Neill are yet to be revealed. But what we do know…
Kevin Rudd has announced sweeping changes to asylum policy, headlined by refugees who arrive by boat will no longer be resettled in Australia. AAP

No more asylum in Australia for those arriving by boat: Rudd

Asylum seekers who arrive in Australian waters by boat will no longer have the chance to be settled in Australia under new policies announced by prime minister Kevin Rudd. Instead, asylum seekers arriving…
Kevin Rudd reportedly plans to revisit the UN’s Refugee Convention as the numbers of asylum seekers arriving by boat continue daily. EPA/Tubagus

Explainer: Australia’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention

Prime minister Kevin Rudd has indicated that he would like to revisit Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. We are yet to learn what this may mean…

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