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After the war: why Sri Lankan refugees continue to come to Australia

In the debate about Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Australia, one question seems to come up again and again. Why, when the bloody twenty-six-year conflict that caused so many to leave their homes has ended…

Their civil war may have ended, but the number of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka are on the increase. EPA/Wisnu Adi

In the debate about Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Australia, one question seems to come up again and again.

Why, when the bloody twenty-six-year conflict that caused so many to leave their homes has ended, do more and more Sri Lankan refugees continue to make the dangerous journey to Australia?

As you might imagine the answer is not a simple one and goes both to the history of the conflict and Colombo’s complicated road to peace.

Winning the war, losing the peace

In 2009, the long Sri Lankan civil war ended with the government forcing a complete defeat for the independence struggle of the Tamil Tigers (known as the LTTE).

The end of the violence evoked both hope and apprehension on all sides: on the one hand, there was the promise of a new era that could draw on the great natural riches of the country. On the other, there was uncertainty about whether all parties could coexist peacefully in the future.

Certainly, the problems to be addressed at the end of the war were daunting. More than 100,000 people were dead, hundreds of thousands had been displaced, large parts of the country — mostly in the Tamil north — were devastated. Families and communities were divided, and there was a legacy of suspicion, resentment and trauma.

At the outset, the government had seen its primary task as that of enforcing control of the north and rebuilding the shattered infrastructure. It set about this task with ruthless efficiency and its efforts were not without success. Impressive outcomes were achieved with respect to economic growth, rebuilding of roads, houses and public buildings, and standards of health and education have been maintained.

On the other hand, the problems that generated the civil war - which go back to the complex legacy of colonialism and the Tamil conviction that their culture and political rights are not protected - remain unresolved.

In addition, with no opposition, the government both inside and outside Sri Lanka, were emboldened. The excesses of the army in occupying the north, extrajudicial abductions, inequities in the reconstruction process and a perceived threat of Sinhala colonisation have been highlighted in the world press. Countries that for decades supported the government’s struggle against the LTTE have become strident critics.

For the Sri Lankan government it is becoming a classic case of winning the war but losing the peace.

The diaspora

There has always been economic emigration from Sri Lanka, and many citizens left the country to escape the seemingly never-ending conflict. In fact, there are around the world about two million Sri Lankan expatriates who send back payments to their home country amounting to about 7%of GDP.

But the recent upsurge of immigration is a new phenomenon. In 2012, more than 6,500 Sri Lankan boat people arrived in Australia — an increase of thirty times over previous years.

After much bitter debate, the Gillard government’s approach, a modified version of John Howard’s “Pacific Solution”, appears to satisfy no-one. Apart from its great expense – the cost of border protection in 2012 is now running at about $10 billion — it appears unable to stem the tide of refugees and will undoubtedly add to their suffering.

It seems obvious that the best way to address the problem would be to remove the reasons for people to take flight in the first place. However, these reasons are complex and the usual simplistic explanations are not enough.

While some boat people are undoubtedly fleeing direct threats of physical violence this does not apply to everyone. Similarly, to label all as “economic” migrants is mistaken. Some are political refugees and a significant proportion — some estimates say up to 20% — are of Sinhala ethnicity. It is also obviously inadequate to blame the phenomenon on “people smugglers”: after all, their trade depends on demand.

Flight after conflict

Part of the complexity is that in addition to fleeing persecution, people also flee the void of meaning that is left when a conflict ends.

In fact, the flow of refugees commonly increases, not decreases, after the end of a conflict. This happened after the wars in Vietnam and Bosnia-Herzegovina, after conflicts across Africa and South America, and even after the First and Second World Wars.

The million or so people who left South-east Asia after the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were not fleeing straightforward oppression: they were leaving behind sites of trauma and despair that had become too painful.

The flight of Sri Lankan citizens — Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim — after the conclusion of the recent civil war largely fits this pattern. The alleged autocratic nature of the regime, continuing human rights abuses and threats to democratic processes, the freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary may well exist, but they are not the reasons why thousands of people are prepared to risk their lives to leave their homeland.

They do not see a future for themselves there. They are leaving because their hope, depleted by decades of conflict, has not been restored by the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of some level of material wealth.

To build confidence in a shared future requires careful and deliberate action across all levels of government and civil society.

A process of reconciliation needed

Sri Lanka today is a place of promise, but also dire challenges. The fighting may have stopped but the work of reconstruction and reconciliation has barely begun.

Provision of material wealth and the proliferation of commodities are not in themselves sufficient to create confidence in the future. The ending of a war does not automatically resolve the conflict that precipitated it. Availability of the bare material goods does not recreate a sense of purpose and value or fill the void of meaning.

These things can be achieved only by drawing together the disparate communities in a spirit of mutual forgiveness. It is time for Sri Lanka to allow itself the possibility of moving along such a path to reconciliation and for the international community to support it in doing so. The end of the conflict has opened a window of opportunity that must not be lost.

Part two of this article will look at how Sri Lanka can move towards reconciliation and what role Australia can play.

Join the conversation

73 Comments sorted by

  1. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    "They do not see a future for themselves there. They are leaving because their hope, depleted by decades of conflict, has not been restored by the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of some level of material wealth."

    That encapsulates what is happening in a nutshell and though they can just head off to another country of their choosing, possibly because advice has been given about how good it will be in Australia, they will find on arrival if they make it that their claims for asylum…

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    1. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Greg North

      You forgot the Sea Viking saga, they went to Canada.The whole arrival of Tamils here is done from funds from Australia. I am sure one of the authors may like to enlighten us on this. They get the PEEERRRR and go bact to Sri Lanka to get married to professionals or ones with lots of money and bring them here. Look at the Tamil reugees who have setteld here and Somalian refugees.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      You would need to see Immigration records to see how those on the Sea Viking who blackmailed our weak government into special quick consideration to find out the ultimate outcome.

      About the same time, there was another boat with about 500 people on it which was reported as making its way to Canada.

      Professional people can if meeting eligibility requirements apply for a skilled visa and we've not has Sri Lankans here for that long that too many from the Sea Viking will have already brought spouses to Australia, whatever your PEEERRRR is.

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    3. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Greg North

      Tamils and other Indians do not need advise how good the life in Australia. There were Indian immigrants who came here before the white Australia policy. There were clothes wallas roaming the cities like Melb, Ballarat etc.
      Most of the Tamils who came here as refugees in the eighties have businesses between the two coubtries and have lavish wedding ceremonies of their offsprings in plush hotels in Sri Lanka.

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    4. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      Your incessant cruel rantings have no basis in fact ever.

      The fact is that even under our own brutal assessments 75% of Sri Lankans are accepted as refugees before they ever get to a court so they are not just running away to get a better job.

      But tell me this Greg. If you were trapped in a place with no hope of survival would you stay and die or leave and try to find a place where it is possible to hope again.

      Your total lack of empathy for fellow human beings must be a sad and lonely place to be.

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    5. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      If you are trapped in a plasce with fifty thousand dollars and there is a five million dollar prize what will you do. As you say the chance of winning is 75%.
      I will put my $50,000.
      (Note, it cost about about $50,000 maximum to get on a boat. The new enterprenuers visa 8888 cost $ 5,000,000)
      Your total lack of empathy for fellow human beings of forty million refugees world wide compared to a few thousands of Tamil refugees raises some questions.
      (I have been told after some refugee asylum seeker business meetings the members go for dinner. An Indian Fijian lady pays the total bill . Most of the refugee and asylum seeker business enterprenuers comes from the Socialist lot)

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      I sometimes wonder about your thoughts too Marilyn for of course survival instinct will kick in and people will do what they can to survive if threatened, I myself being no different and yet I would still be cognisant of the broader scene, to take what I would hope be the best path, be it fleeing or joining a resistant group if that were an option.

      If I had the money, I would certainly use it for whatever advantage it could offer me and any family and I would likely do so without thinking too…

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    7. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Greg North

      "Any that get to the Cocos Keeling Islands should not be flown to Christmas Island but straight back to Sri Lanka".
      We should let Afgans and Iraqis to stay until we fix their problems @ home. If Sri Lanka does not accept them let us barter them with Inndia for a bit of our U2.

      Tamils and other Indians from Sri Lanka are the first to exploit Australian immigration and human rights laws arising from internatuional conventions. They did it in the eightees and I am sure about 30,000 Tamils arrived…

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    8. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg North

      The bloody government also needs to stop damn well bribing them to leave.

      As with terrorists, paying a 'ransom' only encourages the perpetrators to do more of the same.

      They should not be paid to leave and they should not be loaded on to damn planes!

      They should be loaded on leased cargo ships and returned to Sri Lanka immediately - no exceptions!

      We cannot allow an illegal immigration 'free for all', from Sri Lanka or any where else in the world, to grow!

      For the sake of of our own…

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  2. Daily Sledge

    Unemployed

    The war ended May 2009 an increase in asylum seekers was noted almost immediately and has continued to increase since then. Australia is a first world nation ranked highly on most global indexes for liveability this ensures Australia is a desired destination for anyone in the region seeking a better life for themselves and their children, no border policy such as 'turning back the boats' would have worked, the Sri Lankan Navy could be doing this now but judging by the high numbers of Tamils arriving their Navy is having little success.

    The next wave of refugees arriving by boat maybe the Myanmar Rohingya, an ethnic moslem minority who could be forced from Myanmar by ethnic unrest, they are unwanted in the near region, Australia offers a beacon of hope for them also, we should have forward planning in place for this possible eventuality.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Daily Sledge

      While you're getting off on having your daily sledge, it is quite possible that some in Sri Lanka including their navy are somewhat content to see some good numbers making attemptsand even leaving Sri Lankan shores.

      Whether it be from Myanmar or even the east coast of the African continent, sure as hell the more the generous welfare flag is flown, the more will come and the current Australian government just makes a rod for the back of us all by being a very generous local UNHCR provider.

      There will become a time when your unemployment benefits will be cut drastically to accomodate more being on welfare unless refugee camps do get established to the same standard as the UNHCR provides.
      With that being done, you might just see many less irregular boat arrivals, less death at sea and true refugees using UNHCR camps much closer to their homelands.

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    2. Daily Sledge

      Unemployed

      In reply to Greg North

      Cuts in welfare benefits will have no effect on me as I'm not entitled to any, any major cuts in benefits will encourage civil war which is the very reason welfare benefits are paid.

      The belief welfare benefits are the drawcard for refugees is possible but highly unlikely, UNHCR camps do not offer what Australia as a first world nation can offer them, we could end our relationship with UNHCR but that would have little effect they would just keep coming, we are a popular destination offering a great lifestyle.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Daily Sledge

      " The belief welfare benefits are the drawcard for refugees is possible but highly unlikely, "
      Do not kid yourself for compared to what is on offer elsewhere, what you will find is happening is that the economic refugees on community release will already be pitching in with one another so as to minimise expenses and save money to send to family members or repay smuggling fees etc.

      It has already been reported by charity organisations that many asylum seeker people are turning up to free food…

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    4. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Daily Sledge

      What we neede is to do what other countries do. Set up refugee camps and let UNHCR run them. We just have to make a contribution to UNHCR to run them.
      Then take refugees in an orderly manner from where real refugees are like in some parts of Africa. The rouge refugees who come here like the Tamils from Ceylon can go to India where there are more than seventy million Tamils in Tamil Nadu.
      I bet there wont be any more boats carrying Tamils here.

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Daily Sledge

      Here is a tip. WE cannot do that except to stop building all the worthless racist prisons and simply accept that it is a legal right for them to go wherever they can be safe.

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    6. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      The UNHCR can only have camps in other countries if those countries cannot protect refugees.

      We can protect refugees so why on earth would the UNHCR do our job for us?

      It doesn't work that way and never has so why do we always think we are so special that we alone can come up with this sort of rot.

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    7. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Greg North

      So what? People are allowed to eat you know. And why do we have to lock up refugees at all? No-one else does it.

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    8. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Daily Sledge

      Tamils claiming refuge came here long before 2009. In July 1983 the Indian terrorist outfit killed 13 unarmed sinhala police officers.
      Then they set fire to their business premises and houses and claimed that they are being killed and burned and went to Australia and Canada nad Europe. Baroness Thatcher did not allow a single Tamil to land on British soil during that time. In Australia Indian agents, working mainly in the press' Indian academics from Latrobe and Deakin, Socialists, few Labour MPs with questionable characters, and some socialist church men provided mis information and support to the so called Tamil refugees. The only people to challenge them were history professor @ Melb Uni and the RSL.

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    9. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      We have a legal right to send them back. The laws can be interpreted in lot of ways and process can be set in place to achive an targeted result.
      So set up some camps with made in China tents and let UNHCR run them. I bet they will sleep outside the tents and be safe for ever.

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    10. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      You can but there is a lot who cannot.

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    11. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Whrer are thes

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    12. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      There are no rfugees locked up here, unless they go around in academic halls trying to rape female students.

      Like we have human rights conventions we have other legal conventions about criminals and terrorists. I am sue we are signatory to those conventions.
      So what you are saying is it is only the Human Rights of Rouge Refugees sacred.

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    13. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      We don't give a rats what everyone else does Marilyn!

      We will not accept open borders for so called asylum seekers and if that means we put them in prison with a view to deporting them, then so be it!

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  3. Steve Hindle

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    "They do not see a future for themselves there. They are leaving because their hope, depleted by decades of conflict, has not been restored by the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of some level of material wealth."
    This neatly explains the reason so many leave their country of origin for a better life (it could also have been applied to many early settlers in Australia). In the case of Sri Lanka there may also be varying levels of genuine persecution.
    One factor not covered is the feed back from having many Sri Lankans already in Australia. It would be much easier packing up your life and shifting to a foreign country if you already have family there providing advice and feed back. Mobile phones and the Internet have become game changes. Who is going to stay in Sri Lanka when your cousins are sending back pictures of their new life in Aus. This is a compounding effect which may help explain the exponential growth in the numbers arriving from Sri Lanka.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Steve Hindle

      All of us are here because our ancestors merely wanted a better life or as with the Silesians in the 1800's an escape from persecution by the Prussians.

      Most of my ancestors are Welsh and Cornish and come here in the 1880's when the tin wheals were flooded and closed down.

      Are they criminals for doing so? They ended up farming and growing food here for many towns and regions, are they criminals who should have stayed home and starved while Wales and Cornwall were in dire straights.?

      Should…

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    2. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      We are here because the locals did not have guns and ammunition.
      Now we get invaders coming with their non-violent aggression and oppression.
      Those tin miners who mined Tin in Tasmania after arrival here had no loals left to help them mine.

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  4. Jules Begg

    logged in via Facebook

    Great article,
    Perhaps a analogy is the "migration" of people to new "beginnings" after loss of treasured experiences eg marriage, jobs. So many people if possible relocate to new social and geographical areas after such losses, even if it is to the next suburb.
    Well done in identifying internal motivators.

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  5. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Thanks for a thoughtful article that sets out some of the "push" factors that motivate people to flee their homelands.

    Some of the comments in response to this article seem concerned with what they see as "pull" factors that might cause refugees to "target" Australia; I therefore wonder how practicable the following Australian policy response might be?

    1) Any and every asylum seeker that participates in people smuggling is designated "never to enter Australia under any circumstances for the…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Arthur

      Running a trading system will never likely be agreed to by the UN and is likely by courts to be considered against our acceptance of the UN convention if it was set up in 1951 for different times.

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to David Arthur

      But they are not being smuggled anywhere, and even if they were it is not legal to punish them for it.

      UNHCR Summary Position on the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime
      1.      UNHCR has followed with interest the recent adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, including…

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    3. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to David Arthur

      It has been updated a number of times and the last time it was updated on the 60th anniversary Australia guaranteed to the UNHC
      R global conference that we would defend and uphold the convention.

      It is not the convention that is the problem, it is still the best humanitarian treaty in history.

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    4. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      And what a disaster the UNHCR and the Refugee Convention have become.
      These drowners, killers all, have set in play a regime for organised crime and criminals to flourish, to prosper and to dictate who comes to Australia and the circumstances by which they do so.
      Signing onto these conventions has encouraged the development of a fifth column in Australia and other foolish western nations - who would stop at nothing to overpopulate the place at any cost - tying up the courts, our police and reducing…

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    5. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Frank Moore

      What on earth are you talking about? The refugee convention has helped to save millions of people from dozens of wars and persecution over the last 60 years so why the hatred.

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Frank Moore

      With any due respect, Mr Moore, the course you propose is anti-human in every sense of the word. My suggestion, on the other hand, is both humane and would function to wipe out people smuggling as an industry.

      If you're so mad keen on border control, then perhaps you could better devote yourself to halting imports of cheap low quality, possibly contaminated, foodstuffs by our major supermarket chains.

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Thanks Ms Shepherd,

      Regrettably, we've diverged from the topic of the article, which is why Sri Lankans choose to seek asylum overseas in the first place, a deviation to which I've contributed.

      That said, my proposal is superior to these UN conventions in that as well as being humane, it also eliminates the motive to pay someone to arrange one's unauthorised transport to Australia, and therefore decreases criminal activity. When are people going to get it through their thick skulls that people…

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    8. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Yep Marilyn, and we've had a flood of boats over ? - how many of those fifty years. And the so called hatred? The only hatred i feel are for the conglomerate of fruit-loops who have created this debacle. Hatred, frustration and pity, for so many morons sucked in so severely...

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    9. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Arthur

      So David, the upshot of my proposal is to end people smuggling, and end the drownings.
      Others on these pages are quite happy to drown children as a byproduct of their search for self satisfaction. I'm not.
      Your suggestion - if I read it correctly - is sensible.
      You don't need to do anything other than a direct and immediate repatriation of the smugglers to their point of origin - or any other country willing to take them. (North Korea perhaps?)
      Would any of these smugglers end up in dire straits…

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    10. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Frank Moore

      The difference between our proposals, Mr Moore, seems to be that my proposal is humanitarian and involves no exercise of brute military force, whereas your proposal is inhumane and involves exercise of brute military force.

      Beyond that, I note that most of your comment concerns refugees once they are in Australkia, rather than the push factors forcing them to flee Sri Lanka.

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    11. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Arthur

      Just to be clear David Arthur: No policy position would cruel the business model of people smugglers than guaranteed repatriation.
      You'd only need to do this for a short time - and the boats will stop - and the people smugglers would return "home" to Australia - to spend their ill gotten gains.
      What so many on these pages seem determined to not understand was the gap between policy intent and policy outcomes that led to the inhumanity of children drowning at sea.
      Kevin Rudd and Julia Gilliard…

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    12. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Mr Moore writes: "Just to be clear David Arthur: No policy position would cruel the business model of people smugglers than guaranteed repatriation."

      Balderdash, Mr Moore: my suggestion "cruels the business model of people smugglers", because the people smugglers' paying passengers will NEVER be permitted to set foot in Australia. What part of this do you not understand?

      Under my proposal, Mr Moore, the people who pay Indonesian people smugglers to convey them to Australia are transferred to some other UNHCR camp, a long long way from Australia - Lebanon, say, of Sardinia.

      The difference between us, Mr Moore, is that under my proposal, they are NOT delivered back up to whichever brutal regime they fled - they don't ever get to Australia, yet nor are they returned to the depredations of their blighted homelands.

      On that basis, my proposal wins hands down over your brutal scheme.

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    13. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Arthur

      You don't get it Dave! Under my proposal, no customer of a people smuggler would ever think about Australia as a destination on their itinerary. Why? Because world headlines would show jumbo jets dropping off these customers to their country of origin - or any nation that would have them.
      Two weeks of this resolve should shut the trade down completely.
      Complicated arrangements/policy lines cannot be sold.
      Witness the Sri Lankan debacle. Based on a form of words offered during interview, a Sri…

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    14. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to David Arthur

      There is also another idea that has been floated today to deal with illegal Sri Lanken immigrants.

      Australia could deport Sri Lankens upon arrival but set up a specific federal government aid program in Sri Lanka to provide them with opportunities in their own country and pressure the Sri Lanken government to clean up its act if there is indeed any evidence that there is discrimination against Tamils.

      It would also be a perfect opportunity to introduce free contraception and family planning and to encourage average Sri Lankens to stop breeding themselves and their country into anarchy.

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    15. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Frank, I do get your proposal: your proposal is all about further victimising people who already are victims, the sort of idea that would be developed by the subject of Denis Leary's hit song of 1993.

      It's you who doesn't get my proposal: no customer of a people smuggler would pay to be taken to Australia, because Australia is the one nation to which they would never gain entry.

      I repeat, this article is all about factors compelling people to flee Sri Lanka. Your response is, frankly, sadistic, whereas my response achieves the same end - destroying demand for people-smuggling services - but does so humanely.

      What part of this don't you get? You write that "Complicated arrangements/policy lines cannot be sold." Well, for God's sake man! There's only two steps to my policy recommendation. You mean to tell us a two step solution is too complex for you?

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    16. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Thanks Greg.

      Perhaps we'd need to convince the Sri Lankan government that Australia is not behaving paternalistically, perhaps even obtain their permission before such intervention in their internal affairs?

      Contraception and health care are sought the world over, whenever and wherever women are accorded rights, particularly education. No need for the Australian government to go all Big Brother on that one.

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    17. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to David Arthur

      I doubt the Sri Lanken government would knock back foreign aid from Australia and, if they do accept it, then, as they say, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

      And Australia should take as much advantage of such a scenario as possible to advance our own national interests in stemming the flow of illegal immigrants from that country, both through development and fertility control.

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  6. Dalit Prawasi

    Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

    We have to look at things in a different perspective to undersatnd all these issues. British empire had three stages. First the British (English, Welsh, Scots,and Irish) Then the North American British Empire built by British with African slaves. The last Brtish Empire Built with British and Indian Sepoys and Coolies. The last one is the worst form of invasions in the human history. The British-Indian Empire extended from Fiji to West Indies. British did not take Indians to where the weather suited them, like Australia, Canada, Falklanda or Newzealad but took Indians and they remained the absentee land lords. Nazis and the Risng Sun took down the British flag but the Indians did not leave their new found lands.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      You may wish to include NI in the BE but I'd not go discussing with any Irish folk how they are part of the BE.

      Reference to the BE is rather irrelevant to what is happening this century.

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    2. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Greg North

      There were a lot of irish land holdings in the former British-Indian Empire now the Indian Empire. I think there is some kind of a referendum going in Scotland these days and I am sure it is happening in this century.
      The BE is the cause of the suffering of most of the people around the world today. The British used violent aggression and oppression while the Indians used non-violent aggression and oppression.

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Greg North

      "Reference to the BE is rather irrelevant to what is happening this century." Au contraire - perhaps historical wrongs and the perception thereof could account for the majority of ethnic conflicts around the world.

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    4. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      "The last one is the worst form of invasions in the human history."
      ROFL. Talk to the Dravidians invaded from the north by the world's first and longest-lasting racists - Aryan Hindu Brahmins.

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    5. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to David Thompson

      Aryans came by them selves. They were not parasites who went on a carrier. Indian parasites were carried by the British carrier or should I say Indian parasites had a ride on British. Parasites cause more damage than the carrier.

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  7. Chris Pratt

    Retired

    Contributions to this debate which fail to distinguish between Sinhalese and Tamil asylum seekers must lack some credibility.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Chris Pratt

      Maybe, but not all Sinhala are safe just because they are part of the ruling mob. Many dissent and they are not safe.

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    2. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      No one is safe, Hon PM Julia Gillard. Tamils in Sydney has thretned they will not vote labour. The Greens will get their vote as it is part of their policy pallette.

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  8. Dalit Prawasi

    Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

    If you want to see peace in Sri lanka keep out of it and they will look after themselves in the same manner they won the war against the Tamil terrorists who were in fact the Indian terrorist outfit. This Indian terrorist outfit was trained, armed, financed and managed by the India.
    The Indian intelligence service 'Third Eye" trained Tamils in Palestinian refugee camps in 1979 and 1980. They traine them in Tamil Nadu in India. The Tamil women terrorist were trained in Arunachal Pradesh according to Niromi De Zoyza who calims she received trainig from these Tamil women. She said that it @ the Adelaide writes Fsetival. Niromi lives in Australia and claims she was Tamil rebel; it must have helped her with her refugee application.
    Indian hedgemony "jadawadaya' has to stop; but it may not, like the British, it is the British invasions that kept peace at home. In the same manner India needs overseas conflicts to keep peace at home.

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    1. Colin MacGillivray

      Architect, retired, Sarawak

      In reply to Dalit Prawasi

      Hi Dalit
      What are the ramifications of Sri Lankan Tamils going back to India? Could the UN or Australia finance the creation of a township there for them?

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    2. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Colin MacGillivray

      In the eighties (Labour here & Canada) more than half a million (Suresh may be one of them) Tamils and Indians went to India and then went to Canada and Australia mainly through Eastern Europe. The whole scheme was oraganised by the Third Eye. With the change of Govt here about a one hundred thousand got stuck in India and they are still there. Before that under the "Sirima-Shatri Pact" about 75,000 Tamils and Indians were returnrd to India. India settled them there with some help from Sri Lanka. After independence from the British, Ceylon introduced the Immigration Ordinance and tens of thosands returned back to India. Indians in Sri Lanka should give up their baggage and be part of the island nation. There are lots of lessons for us with our small population the same as Sri Lanka and being in Asia with our backside in the Indian pond.

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  9. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Missing in action/conspicuous by their absence in this piece was the international influences.... who ordered the evacuation of the UN presence at such a critical time before the completion of the massacre. Who armed the SL government? Why was Australia required to declare the Tamils a terrorist organisation for instance in line with the "coalition of the willing" "partners" political bloc? Did that have any bearing on refugee intake responsibility?

    "Reconciliation" sounds like pie in the sky…

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    1. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Thanks Pat; There was no UN military presence there . “Massacre”? Combatants died with any shields in between like horses or other non combatants caught between the cross fire, collateral damage. SL govt armed itself like any other govt and India armed its terrorist outfit. Tamils or any Tamil org is not banned as terrorist in OZ. No partner of the "coalition of the willing" was directly or indirectly took part in the conflict; so there is no obligation for Oz to take any refugees claiming to be…

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  10. Robert Fernando

    Engineer

    Sri Lankan burghers are the first to migrate to Australia. Soon after the British left Sri Lanka the burghers realised there is no future for minorities in Sri Lanka and migrated to UK & Australia using their european descent. Now the minority tamils doing the same, of course as refugees.

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    1. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Robert Fernando

      Sri lankan Burghrers like the Anglo Indians and Anglo Burmese, Afrikaner etc came to Australia like all other non British migrants after the WWII. It had nothing to do with being the minority and of course they came under the white Australia policy. A Burgher friend of mine told me about an incident that happened about forty five years ago. He met met a Tamil academic from Malaysia who managed to get a job in a brand new Australian University (not Moanas or RMITU). The guy was very critical of the…

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  11. David Wright

    Electrician

    Let's see:

    Australia should play NO role, because we have NOTHING to do with their sectarian struggle, nor do we have any economic interest in their country, except for when we want to tour Sri Lanka for the cricket. We have absolutely no stake in this.

    I would suggest the amount of remittances from Sri Lankan refugees should be seen as equivalent to an extractive form of colonialism.

    I suggest to the authors, could you kindly shut up about this, and if you feel strongly enough, you could always set up an orphanage or two over there with your own funds.

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    1. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to David Wright

      Thanks Mathew, in a way this type of misleading article is good as we can challenge their lies. After more than two centuries, we are realizing that the OZ is in Asia and our backside is in the Indian pond. Geopolitics and Geo-economics are changing faster than the climate change and we should try and understand statics and dynamics affecting the changes, otherwise the current majority will end up the minority like Aborigines. The people will push their own barrows and we should be vigilant as it may be a cyanide capsule, a vest with static explosives or may be someone standing in your shoe. Authors can set up orphanages for Tamil refugees in Andaman & Nicobar Islands where local Bo people are museum pieces for the Indian tourists from the mainland.

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  12. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    What makes a Professor of Medicine and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry experts on this topic?

    Their listed associations seem to be of more relevance.

    Aren't we supposed to be reading articles by academics that are devoid of spin?

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  13. Dalit Prawasi

    Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

    REQUEST TO AUTHORS OF THIS ARTCLE AND SIMILAR ARTICLES.

    PLEASE ORGANISE SOME DISCUSSIONS, SEMINARS, TALKS IN YOUR EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS ABOUT THESE ISSUES AND RELATED ISSUES. AND I WILL JOIN YOU.

    I am sure fellow commentators would agree. I hope conversation administration consider my request and extend it to other topics.

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  14. Ralph Bennett

    Geologist

    The whole asylum seeker issue. has become a nightmare.

    There is at least 200 million people who can meet the criiteria .

    Time for a total rethink of the UN Convention.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Ralph Bennett

      "Time for a total rethink of the UN Convention."

      Damn right! The UN refugee convention was designed for a different time and a different world and is no longer relevant in its current form in an over populated third world brimming with illegal economic immigrants and people smugglers.

      And now it is simply being used by the bleeding heart lobby in Australia as a means to blackmail the Aus government into opening our borders and expanding Australia's population with so called asylum seekers.

      This is something that the vast majority of Australians, including many non-anglo Australians will simply not accept.

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    2. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Ralph Bennett

      Exactly right Ralph!
      The UN is an industry in itself and notoriously corrupt.
      And the greater their success in creating refugee flows (rather than encouraging the disaffected to stay and fight) the greater their bureaucratic empires grow.

      The greatest example Australia can lend to the rest of the world is how quickly and directly we can restrict our population to a sustainable level.

      Sustainable in terms of economics should include a single test: Would this potential migrant spend their entire…

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  15. Brendan Smith

    Masters of Sustainability student at Monash Universiy

    To all people on this comment section-
    You all make valid points BUT for myself there are far reaching long term consequences if the issues of refugees are not resolved. I myself am an unemployed student who has a bachelors degree and am currently undertaking a masters because I cannot find any entry level work both in the low and middle sections of the employment market. I believe in the egalitarian principle, that we must all work together for the sake of humanity however,

    Taking more refugees…

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