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Boat people economics 101: exposing the flawed logic of asylum seeker policy

ABC’s Life Matters recently treated its listeners to something quite rare: a discussion of the economic assumptions implicit in the discourse surrounding boat people. Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, who…

Accommodation on Manus Island, part of a system created by economic mythology around asylum seekers. PNG

ABC’s Life Matters recently treated its listeners to something quite rare: a discussion of the economic assumptions implicit in the discourse surrounding boat people.

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, who had outlined his views on The Conversation the day before, pried the discussion open to reveal some startling facts about how the problem has been conceived at a national level. He outlined how a specific vocabulary, combined with knee-jerk style policies, has contributed to a convincing economic mythology.

When we employ such terms as “business model”, and argue that the stated aim of border protection policy is to “dismantle” that model, making the “product” less “attractive” and thereby undermining people smugglers’ source of “profit”, we are complicit in placing this issue within an unusually specific, economically inspired framework.

Jakubowicz draws attention to other features of the discussion that bear decisively economic imprints. He argues that we have perhaps unwittingly applied rational choice theory to our understanding of boat people, their problems and their behaviour.

That is to say, we’ve assumed they are rational agents making decisions in contexts of limited resources and information. I agree with his identification of the economic dimension that pervades here, but I think precisely the opposite argument is true.

In fact, the very analysis you’d expect of boat people from neo-liberal, market-minded and even market-friendly Labor governments (the analysis Jakubowicz alleges has been sanctioned in the national debate) is the one we haven’t had.

If we had really assumed that boat people were rational actors, deciding after appropriate cost-benefit analysis to get on a leaky vessel headed to Australia via the Indian Ocean, we would have respected their autonomy in engaging that calculus, and conceded that they acted in a rational manner given the information they had at their disposal (economic privation, war, persecution, and so on).

As it turns out, however, we haven’t made any such concession. Instead we’ve assumed a paternalistic posture that says, “You’re not rationally acting in your best interests, you don’t know what’s good for you, we’re going to make it as tough as possible for you to get on that leaky vessel, and it’s for your own good. We simply can’t bear the thought of any more of you dying at sea.”

This is an inversion of the rational choice expectation.

There have, of course, been dead giveaway signs in this debate, obvious to anyone who recalls its basic history, that such economic verbiage is a smokescreen for far deeper motivations than a concern to drive people smugglers out of business.

We need only recall the infamous cry of John Howard soon after the Tampa affair – “we will decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come” – to realise that the debate never had much to do with concern for business models, or the unscrupulous profiteering of people smugglers who take advantage of people’s desperation by selling a life-threatening product.

The undertone of indignation that Australia’s sovereignty was being somehow infringed has not ceased to ring from Howard’s words through the variously worded formulations of the problem these past 11 years. Tony Abbott’s references to the supposedly exploited generosity of the Australian people tap into that reserve of indignation.

And yet at the same time the nation as a whole has slipped into a new form of self-delusion that needs to be recognised. We tell ourselves we’re trying to stop deaths at sea because it makes us feel better about our punitive policies.

But the sad fact is, we haven’t done much more than change our language.

Join the conversation

156 Comments sorted by

  1. John Coochey

    Mr

    I find this article extremely poorly written and essentially irrelevant. "Asylum Seekers" should read asylum shoppers as we have no civil war or unrest on our borders or near them. Every asylum seeker who enters our maritime zone has had to come through or past numerous countries which could provide safe haven but Australia has a higher standard of living and generous social security. From memory eighty per cent of Afghans are still on social security five years after receiving residency. For those who do not advocate open borders they must say how many we will accept and what happens when that quota is filled and another boat arrives. It is clear that those seeking asylum are schooled in what to say and when. The recent scandal featuring Captain Amed and his family, all of which are still in state housing in the ACT although he himself fled, is an irrefutable example.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Coochey

      Why do you endlessly repeat the same drivel John? Asylum seekers are not fleeing civil war generally, they are fleeing persecution.

      They are entitled to do so under the law and when they arrive here are entitled to be treated with decency and respect regardless of final outcomes for them.

      We do not have a quota for asylum seekers even though we pretend we do.

      There cannot be such a thing as a quota for asylum seekers because everyone has the right to seek asylum.

      WE just try to pretend…

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    2. George Greenwood

      Retired

      In reply to John Coochey

      I also find the argument poorly made. The whole eco-system of facilitators is ignored and why is there such a gender bias in the number of illegal immigrants? Also the issue of missing documents needs to be explained. How did the "immigrants" get to their intermediate waystations without documents or who coached them to dispose of them or, more probably, stole their documents? Was their handover part of the price of providing the risky transportation and furthering the objectives of the facilitators…

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      John,

      As an economic immigrant to our shores, it ill-behoves you to be telling us to shut others out of the same opportunities we Australians have offered you. That's not even touching on the refugee issue John, not that you believe there are any genuine refugees anywhere by the look of it.

      I still reckon we should be sending these English racialists back home myself.

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    4. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Coochey

      Thanks, John. Well said. It is a shame hat you have to put up with the villifivcation provided by Peter ormonde and marylin shepherd.

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Coochey

      @Peter O. I really wish you would get off your white guilt industry platform Peter - It is beyond tiresome and driven by a particularly twisted historical perspective.

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    6. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Coochey

      @Marylin - please start taking your medication again or at least come up with an affordable intake of refugees, illegal immigrants, visa overstayers or whatever the hell else you want to call them. Otherwise just shut up.

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  2. Robin Bell

    Research Academic Public Health, at University of Newcastle

    Have to agree. A shallow entirely biased article based on a presumption of self rightousness. Not even an attempt of reasoned arguement.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Robin Bell

      Just like your response, not a hint of reasoned argument.

      And stop calling asylum seekers boat people, it is dehumanising, debasing and deranged.

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  3. John Coochey

    Mr

    Well Marylin's position is as always open doors so can't argue with that except to say that Australia will not stand for it. Actually you have no right to choose your place of asylum, international law encapsulated in the Dublin Convention is that you make your applications in or from the first country of asylum, you have no right to swan around the world getting the best deal you can. This was illustrated by the ridiculous "Go Back to Where You Came From" where the contestants were taken into the home of a previously illegal immigrant who had entered Australia from Germany, previously via Romania from Somalia, given hospitality to cause affinity and embarrassment. The character in question had left Germany because they were cracking down on illegals and had decided to come to Australia to claim refugee status. He had no qualms about going back to Somalia and visit his relatives who were all hale and hearty and not subject to any discernable oppression.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to John Coochey

      For god's sake, will you shut up? WE have to have open borders for refugees, it is what we signed up for.

      And for the last time there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant in Australia.

      Hasn't been since 1992 so just get over your hate, spite and abuse of people who have not harmed you in any way.

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  4. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    John suggests:

    "We’ve assumed a paternalistic posture that says, “You’re not rationally acting in your best interests, you don’t know what’s good for you, we’re going to make it as tough as possible for you to get on that leaky vessel, and it’s for your own good."

    No-one - Labor or Liberal - has argued this. Both parties assume asylum seekers are acting in their own interest - to 'jump the queue'. The tougher policies are designed to make potential asylum seekers weigh up options and decide the risks outweigh the benefits.

    This argument has internal consistency, even if the premise is wrong.

    The whole 'for your own good' hypothesis doesn't stand up.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Can we also discuss asylum seekers jumping over the moon - about as possible as jumping an effectively non-existent queue...

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  5. John Coochey

    Mr

    So Marylin not only believes in open borders but that entering Australia with forged documents as did the Somali who came from Germany (exactly what was he being oppressed with there?) is not illegal. As for Peter's normal ad hominum invective (having no arguments as usual) I will treat it with the contempt it deserves.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Coochey

      Excellent. Can I get a certificate or somesuch...

      This is to certify that ( insert ethnicity, "race", creed, gender, organisation, profession or disciple here)

      is held in contempt by Mr John Coochey.

      It's a noble club I'm joining - everything from climate scientists to biologists not to mention a large slab of the world's population. Wouldn't have it any other way.

      No pangs to return home yet John?

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    2. Tim Niven
      Tim Niven is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Student at Tzu Chi University

      In reply to John Coochey

      If we're doing certificates of contempt can I get one too? I'm broadly aligned with Peter. It seems some people google the names of commenters, if you did something like this for me I think you'll validate my suitability for the award.

      I arrived by boat from NZ, economic migrant, I was quite nervous not having papers or nothing, but the immigration office took one look at my white face and said, "Nah, you're right mate."

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to John Coochey

      Me too!

      Seeing John and I both live in Canberra, maybe he'd be prepared to present it to me personally.

      It would certainly take pride of place on my study wall.

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  6. Andrew Jakubowicz

    Professor of Sociology and Codirector of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at University of Technology, Sydney

    The model of deterrence used by government and opposition is rational choice based: that is, the evidence of the policy suggests it assumes the decision to bypass the "queue" (non-existent) has to be interfered with by creating disincentives so confronting that any rational actor would decide not to continue to use the "smugglers". My argument is that such a model fails in terms of economic theory and psychological understanding, based as it is on a simplistic and fundamentally flawed economic model…

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    1. John Zerilli

      Tutor in Law and Philosophy, PhD Candidate at Australian National University

      In reply to Andrew Jakubowicz

      I agree that the model of deterrence has (insidious and even cynical) rational-choice based dimensions, but if it does so its objectives can only be achieved at the cost of some self-contradiction. Nevertheless, as you suggest, perhaps the philosophical line is best kept separate at this early stage of what I think is a promising and original mode of analysis.

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  7. Jane Bowman

    Counsellor

    I agree with the article that the aim of both politcal parties is more about reducing future numbers of asylum seekers than preventing more deaths at sea. This is made acceptable by emotive language focusing on the boat deaths.

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  8. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    The reason why current strategies are failing to destroy the business model of people smugglers and failing to stem the rising tide of illegal immigrants is that the labor government is sending mixed messages to would be illegal immigrants.

    On one hand the government says that immigrants will recieve no advantage if they arrive illegally but on the other hand they agian start relasing illegal immigrants into community detention when the numbers overwhelm places in our current detention centres.

    There is only one course of action that will stem the rising side of illegal immigrants!

    Continue our present refugee intake program of 20,000 per year, or whatever it is suppsed to be, but rescind the UN refugee convention and immediately deport all illegal arrivals back to the source countries.

    Nothing less than this can or will break the will of both illegal immigrants and the people smugglers!

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Greg, I suppose it's never occured to you that Australia might be every bit as protected by international law as it is, to a degree, burdened by it.

      The cost of enjoying the protection of the law - whether locally, nationally and internationally - has always been that you have to be willing to obey the law when it doesn't hapen to suit you (and be willing to pay taxes for thing slike police and courts, but that's another issue).

      Glibly suggesting that we rescind the UN refugee convention is as ill-though-out as it is morally bankrupt.

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  9. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: "Glibly suggesting that we rescind the UN refugee convention is as ill-though-out as it is morally bankrupt."

    The UN is largely a toothless tiger. Just look at the US's unilateral action in Iraq etc with absolutely no consequences with respect to international law.

    I believe we have little or nothing to fear from rescinding the UN refugee convention and I am not suggesting this glibly - I am deadly serious about it.

    It is not in our environmental, political or social interests to adhere…

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Sometimes there are situations in life when you must rely on your own intelligence and judgement rather than blindly defering to the 'authorities', who are sometimes just plain ignorant.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Greg, this is the exact rational and moral equivalent of saying that, because some criminals get away with their crimes, we might as well abandon the whole system of laws, police and courts.

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  10. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Peter Ormande and Marilyn Shepard have no real interest in helping asylum seekers.

    If they did they would volunteer for one of the aid providers and spend the rest of their days REALLY helping refugees.

    The only thing they have any real interest in is winning this political fight.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Greg, your second career as a mind-reader isn't looking that promising.

      I think you have to do a bit more than just assert that people think what you want them to think to make it as a professional mentalist.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Grag Boils

      Despite several valiant attempts, you're still having issues with spelling my name properly ... it's a symptom of not actually reading what is on the page.

      Might surprise you to learn that I have been negotiating with the Homestay Network to get a couple of refugee applicants up here with me in the bush. I've had to put together a decent support package because I'm particularly keen to house folks suffering with PTSD - an issue with which I have some experience and understanding. Nice and quiet, lots of space and an excellent local shrink and hospital.

      Hopefully I'll be able to provide a place of sanctuary here on an ongoing and maybe encourage a few neighbours to do likewise.

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  11. John Clark

    Manager

    The most striking comment on the issue comes from the "expert panel" who stated that we could expect 30,000 boat arrivals in 2013. This is an astounding statement by the group whose task it was to stop/drastically reduce the trade. The current groups from Sri Lanka are self acknowledged seekers of a better ife in Australia. They therefore should be more accurately referred to as illegal immigrants and queue jumpers.

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    1. Andrew Jakubowicz

      Professor of Sociology and Codirector of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to John Clark

      The Panel was asked to advise on how to stop people dying at sea. The members were not asked to advise on ending the trade - they assumed the trade would continue and that it had to be better managed, operating as it has in a black and grey zone. As Panel member Paris Aristotle said recently in evidence to a parliamentary Committee, the key agreement between Government and opposition (and to an extent the Greens) had to be to seek a negotiated mid point so that the debate could become less toxic, and the full battery of panel proposals could be implemented. The opposition has smelled blood when the Government gave a bit, and will not budge, pushing for the immiseration and psychic traumatisation of asylum seekers as a critical part of its strategy. The Government has meandered into both these spaces but not demonstrated a clear sense of anything much other than the odour of panic. Standoff and deepening crisis are the inevitable consequences.

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  12. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    I reckon we're dressing this disgraceful business up a bit to suggest there's anything like an economic model underlying the thinking. Bit like putting lipstick on a pig.

    Rather the language - the message - of this whole issue is a word salad of managerial cliches and banal platitudes of consultants, froth dollopers and cloud jugglers. The stuff business consultants splatter against the wall when they think they are dealing with dills.

    And that's really the sad part ... this government and the one before it - are totally pre-occupied with the managerial how rather than the political why. They have "inherited" a situation from Jon Howard and they remain imprisoned in his rhetoric and fear.

    And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, going forward, in the fullness of time, the elephant in the room is still a rouged up porker.

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  13. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Greg, your second career as a mind-reader isn't looking that promising."

    It is not a matter of mind reading Felix, it is a matter of logic.

    If they really cared they would follow the example of Mother Terasa and their Jesus Christ et el.

    Caring by advocating immigration to Australia is 'Claytons' caring......the care you show for asylum seekers when you are not caring about asylum seekers.

    It is highly disingenuous because there are tens of millions of other potential asylum seekers who need help and have no hope of getting to Australia and cannot afford to pay people smugglers. Immigration is a pin prick solution to the problem even if Australia is trashed through hundreds of thousands arriving here illegally.

    And Marilyn is on record in here as saying that 'the asylum seekers that drown trying to get here are beside the point really'.

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  14. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Greg, this is the exact rational and moral equivalent of saying that, because some criminals get away with their crimes, we might as well abandon the whole system of laws, police and courts."

    I think you are some what confused Felix. That is all but what you are clearly advocating.

    I.E. According to you the fact that they are asylum seekers trumps the fact that they have employed the internationally illegal services of people smugglers and means we do not have to bother enforcing international laws against people smuggling!

    The only practical way that those laws can be enforced and a message sent to those who would engage their services is to IMMEDIATLEY deport all asylum seekers who arrive through the services of people smugglers.

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  15. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Might surprise you to learn that I have been negotiating with the Homestay Network to get a couple "

    Well bully for you Peter!

    If Tony Abbott gets in then you might not be doing this for much longer!

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Gerg Biles,

      Earlier on you accused me of not wanting to help refugees and asylum seekers. I'm just clarifying matters for you.

      In like demonstration of your putting effort into your speech, I assume you're out in the shed working on an aerial spray to sterilise Third Worlders as you've advocated. We all help where we can I guess.

      By the way, Gerg fancies himself as a bit of an ecologist, a conservationist and preservationist. He's on a mission to save Australia from plagues of foreigners turning up illegally (arguably we all did in fact).

      There is an assumption about in us chattering classes that at least some of these views would cast him on the greenie lefty alternative end of the political spectrum.

      Not necessarily true if history is any guide. Those interested in the political orientation of hippies in history could do worse than have a squizz at "Wandervogel and Hitler" via google.

      Ignorance, self-interest and "nationalism" ... a volatile mix indeed.

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  16. John C Smith

    Auditor

    John Howard was right to the last letter. He could understand what happened to the Aborigines after more than 40k years. They could not decide who comes here.They live under conditions much worse than what the so called Assylum seekers and Refugees who are smuggled in by bad people smugglers.The conditions that these refugees and assylum seekers live are much better than 40 million or so real refugees around the world.
    As people we have an obligation to all refugees in the world, not just the ones…

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  17. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "In like demonstration of your putting effort into your speech, I assume you're out in the shed working on an aerial spray to sterilise Third Worlders as you've advocated. We all help where we can I guess."

    I am thinking I should administer the aerial spray in suburbs containing high concentrations of bleeding hearts as a matter of priority........you know......do the human race and civilisation a favour!

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  18. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    I wish Professor Jakubowicz well in his plan to redress the balance of opinion on this issue. Some twenty-five years ago, at the height of the Vietnamese asylum-seeker issue, I foolishly took a class of Yr 12 Politics students from my Catholic school to the Perth Town Hall to see what I naively thought would be the policy process being debated, as John Zerilli has insightfully attempted here. The meeting was chaired by Dr Ralph Pervan of the Department of Politics at UWA. Shortly after it had ended…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Hope you're having a cool yule Michael.

      Betnhamite! Mois???? Shocking.

      I do accept your criticism that I have allowed myself to be led into the thicket of of a slanging match. But I find it deeply disappointing and perverse that people (fortunately very few) can couch their jingoistic racialist slogans in the trappings of serious ecology like sustainable population levels. Just here. Us alone. And all that entails. The razor wire future.

      I find the blind selfishness and ignorance…

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  19. Ken Blackman

    activist

    John Z. writes: "If we had really assumed that boat people were rational actors,... we would have ...conceded that they acted in a rational manner given the information they had at their disposal (economic privation, war, persecution, and so on)."
    My interest is in the bracketed sweep of challenges it is suggested that boat people experience tand which prompts their asylum-seeking action.
    A "well-founded fear of persecution" - or the experience of it - is the ONLY reason acceptable in support…

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    1. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to Ken Blackman

      Festive Greetings, All!

      In my view Ken Blackman is the only participant in this blog to have advanced the discourse introduced by John Zerilli.

      Some others, in other 'Conversation' blogs, have advanced a kind of Benthamite idea about the extant policy calculus not accounting for the degree of happiness and contentment derived by us from including the relief we might feel and the global reputation we might earn by doing the right thing.

      However, these speculations, morally and ethically…

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  20. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    " But I find it deeply disappointing and perverse that people (fortunately very few) can couch their jingoistic racialist slogans in the trappings of serious ecology like sustainable population levels. "

    Yeah well Peter there are a lot more of us 'jingoistic racists' out here than there are of you 'open border' imbeciles.

    So I suggest you get over yourself and accept the inevitable of a crack down on so called asylum seekers.

    You just can't help yourself can you Peter? You are a one track record that can't help itself from playing the same racist slur track ad norseum.

    When are you going to understand that your racist slurs DO NOT scare Australians away from publicly expressing a view contrary to your own any more?

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  21. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    Unfortunately these posts have no logical sequence to them and evoke as much concern in those who might wish not to lose sight of the original issue (as laid out by John Zerilli) as desire to keep it an insult-free zone.

    Peter, as much as I share your general sentiments about the plight of asylum seekers, I see no evidence of Greg Boyles being a racist. It doesn't help that you introduce your highly entertaining brand of personal ridicule, when in the end all you do is to egg him and some others…

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Thankyou Michael, this sort of post I can deal with in a non-reactionary level.

      With all due respect, it is rather unfair to describe my position as myopic. You might come to that conclusion based on my reactionay posts to Peter and others who like to hurl around racist slurs etc.

      However, based upon our email exchange, you have acknowledged that I have some legitimate, non racist, concerns about an open border approach to questionable asylum seekers that arrive by boat, many of which you actully…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael,

      Just because we dress something up in the terms borrowed from economics doesn't mean there's anything rational about it at least from our end. As I've pointed out elsewhere here this attachment to a "managerial" conceptual framework just serves as a distraction from what we are actually doing.... neither economically rational nor humane. Not even systematic or consistent.

      As for Greg here - do some reading up on his attitudes and his prescriptions for solving the world's problems…

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  22. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    I respond to Peter and Greg's most recent posts (for which I thank them both). Peter, as a brown-skinned person myself, who has exchanged emails with Greg, I can assure you that he is no racist but is better described as a survivalist. He is also a person, regardless of all else, and therefore undeserving of being made an object of ridicule, which you sometimes heap upon him; even if its terrifically amusing and gives some of us a laugh, its not going to engage or change him.

    I once used to be…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      That's the curious thing Michael. See I'd be a bit of a survivalist myself - growing mostly my own food and living as simple a life as I am consciously able. I am rather pessimistic about our ability to prevent large scale global misery and impoverishment in future.

      I am deeply saddened that John Howard's nazi nanny state gun laws have prevented me from protecting my place when the Gregs come for the bleeding hearts. Fortunately his nazi nanny state immigration laws continue to keep me safe…

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  23. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "They do not qualify as refugees. This does not interest your Gregs of course - they want everyone sent back. And their families. "

    The problem is Peter that you lot are SUCKERS!

    An illegal immigrant only has to turn on the tears and you lot immediately pull out the tissue box and believe every word that they say.

    There are a lot of con artists in the third world as there are in the west who have no compunction in manipulating you to acheive their own immigration ends.

    Therefore I DO NOT trust you people at all to run our immigration and asylum seekers policies.

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  24. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "See as a practical option I reckon we should dispatch a whole team of fear mongers and gate-shutters to correct this silly misinformed notion. Let's send our Tonys and Barnabys and Greg's off on a mission to spread ill-will throughout the region. "

    No Peter, just load them on cargo ships and send them back to Sri Lanka as fast as they arrive illegally here. They will soon get the message that they are not welcome here when they impose themselves on us and at minimal cost to us.

    Regional ill will :-)

    Well there are other ways we can improve their lot in life - increase overseas aid to sri lanka and provide them with free contraception to stop them breeding like field mice!

    Other than that Australians have never been a 'push over' when it comes to pressure from other nationals, and I hope we never become push overs.

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  25. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "But the 700,000 odd kiwis who have entered the country through our CER relationship with NZ is not even mentioned"

    And I have consistently expressed opposition to open borders to New Zealanders, in agreement with Kelvin Thompson, on numerous ocassions Peter among those various posts of mine.

    But you have conveniently ignored this and misrepresented my views about New Zealand immigrants.

    Once again, I don't give a rats ar$e about skin colour, I care about numbers!

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  26. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    Thanks, Peter and Greg, for your response. It raises several interesting issues for me, among the most appropriate to the topic being that there appears to be two narratives that underpin your's and Greg political perspectives.

    Your's reads something like this: our manifestly unequal world is basically unjust and oppressive. In general terms White people have been the exploiters and Black people constitute the exploited. Chattel slavery, child labour, economic inequality, racism, sexism and discrimination…

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      "In this sense he sees no obligation for Australia in the postcolonial context for taking some responsibility for the wrongs that privileged White people have visited upon the largely non-White populations of the world, and in relation to which true democrats would take some responsibility rather than shut the gates and build a Fortress Australia. While there are certainly colour or racial connotations to this, his brand of 'individualist personal-virtue ethicism blinds him to the racial implications…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Michael, thanks for the potted weltenschauung.

      Bit more complex than a par but.

      First up I have great difficulty with the concept of "race" - a quaintly Victorian obsession with categorisation and classification. And rubbish. Like phrenology. Ahistorical. Fails to understand genetics and what it tells about our appalling history of miscegenation. Even with neanderthals. And some of them live amongst us still.

      I usually stick the R-word in quotes or use something a bit more considered…

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  27. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: Peter Ormonde

    "They are beyond redemption, being immune to facts and science. "

    Yes Peter, like your open borders /large population attitude that is ignorant of the scientific fact that the Australian continent lacks the ecological capacity to sustain a population that is much larger than at present for any signficant length of time!

    In fact some ecologists have grave doubts that it can support our present population at its current standard of living for all that much longer.

    I think Tim Flannery is one of them in fact. I believe he has suggested in the past that a population of around 12 million might be more sustainable in the long term for this continent.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      So you are some what of a hypocrit Peter Omonde.

      Especially given that you have opposed Indian students coming to Australia to study.

      Gee wiz Peter, such an attitude sounds rather RACIST to me!

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  28. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    Weltanschauung indeed, dear Peterkin, as Greg himself agrees, now that he realises that has something in common with you! And don't give up on him, by the way, because he's married to a Catholic and educates his children in Catholic schools and therefore cannot be immune from a value system that is more open and tolerant than his own (despite Tony and Barnaby's one-sided presence on the political spectrum).

    My interest here is in why we are so predictable in our politics, especially in terms of…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Yep, that's right Michael - the one thing I can't stand is intolerance. I just won't put up with it - especially when travelling with its usual companions - ignorance and fear.

      Now you might have missed this Michael - but going to mass doesn't seem to ensure that one is moral or virtuous. Saying mass doesn't make one moral or virtuous. Folks go straight from the communion rail to declare war looking for mythical weapons of mass destruction. Or they duck off into the vestry with an altarboy or…

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  29. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Michael the fact that am exposed to Catholic values through the schools we are sending our kids to wont change my view on open borders.

    Let us also get one thing straight here.

    I do not stand against multiculturalism, immigrants and asylum seeker per se.

    I stand against a policy of open borders to asylum seekers and immigrants more generally that will leed to ecologically and socially unsustainable population growth.

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  30. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    As I have said and as confirmed by Peter's comments just now.....

    THERE CAN BE NO compromise on the asylum seekers / open borders issue between the bleeding heart lobby and the rest of Australia.

    The bleeding hearts, as typified by Peter, are not willing to compromise on any point and hence Australia is pretty much in a state of ongoing political civil war.

    The only relief will be when the bleeding hearts become so demoralised that they largely give up on their unwinable fight!

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "Unwinnable"

      Seems funny for a bloke with the purported views below - solely about open borders and the floodgates opening - he don't say a thing - not a squeak - about the ONLY circumstance in which Australia does operate an open door policy - New Zealand - over 650,000 and not a murmur from our Greg here with his concerns over our population - no matter what colour, religion or their method of arrival.

      It's the last bit that get 'em frightened folks - people just turning up here uninvited…

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  31. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Seems funny for a bloke with the purported views below - solely about open borders and the floodgates opening - he don't say a thing - not a squeak - about the ONLY circumstance in which Australia does operate an open door policy - New Zealand - over 650,000 and not a murmur from our Greg here with his concerns over our population - no matter what colour, religion or their method of arrival."

    I have already expressed my opposition to open borders with New Zealand on numerous occasions in posts in here you ignorameous Peter!

    You opposition on Indian students in combination with Marilyn's heartless comment about those refugees who drown at sea not mattering both just prove my point that a signficant proportion of your lobby do not genuinely care about asylum seeker and are only about winning a poltical competition at any cost to Australia and future generations and indeed to the vast number of asylum seekers stuck in UN camps around the globe.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      And as far as you hosting asylum seekers in your home Peter.....

      Well I see no distinction between you doing that and any other politician kissing babies during an election campaign.

      You are simply using the asylum seekers you host as a 'tool' to win a political contest!

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  32. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "It's all very well to go around winding these dumb-arsed folks up - blowing before the wind of Pauline Hanson, trying to out-rabid the frothing rabble that flocked to her - but then to take away the very means of resolving the issue once and for all - Howard squibbed it. Gutless. Like all frightened people. We want our AK-47s back."

    The only 'compromise' you are interested in Peter is total capitulation on open borders and I think it is self evident to most people that IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! At least not in your remaining life time!

    I think Gillard's spectacular back flip on off-shore processing and the decline in support for the Greens is proof enough of that!

    A government that backs any form of opn borders is unellectable in this country.

    Why don't you just FACE IT Peter!

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      And for the record I despised Pauline Hanson as much as you on the grounds that she was a poorly educated brainless twit!

      She would quite happily 'stop the boats' but at the same time open our borders to Britain etc.

      I oppose open borders to ANYONE from ANY COUNTRY

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      What about NZ Greg? They seem to be getting away with it there.

      As "Open border" as you'll ever get. And certainly well beyond anything anyone I have evere come across would be advocating for refugees and folks turning up in boats. There is a difference you know. Most refugee applications turn up from folks arriving on planes. Like heaps of most. (I could look up the stats by that should suffice for the moment).

      You just think everyone - well OK not Kiwis - is coming for a chunk of your…

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  33. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Have you quite finished with your hysterical and erratic little rant Peter!

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      So you can't explain why you'd be found calling for easy PR for full-fee students.

      You can't explain what your promiosed future looks like ... this vision of prosperity and sustainability wrapped up in razor wire... maybe it'll only have you and the handful of folks who feel exactlythe same way - no sooky bleeding hearts.

      Makes one wonder why someone would pledge themselves into "restoring" grasslands in the lanscape while poutring scorn on do-gooders and bleeding hearts.

      I reckon he just ran out of options, myself.

      And Michael here reckons this bloke has any opinion worth hearing?

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  34. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Makes one wonder why someone would pledge themselves into "restoring" grasslands in the lanscape while poutring scorn on do-gooders and bleeding hearts."

    Because one day, if future generations are lucky, morons like you will grow a brain and finally understand that conservation and true sustainability is INCOMPATIBLE with population growth.

    Regarless of whether that population growth results from skilled immigrants or asylum seekers, from British immigrants for Sri Lanken immigrants!

    It is ecology 101 Michael.....perhaps we need to frog march you back to school so that the black hole that is your brain might be filed with some scientific truths!

    "And Michael here reckons this bloke has any opinion worth hearing?"

    Whether or not you think my opinions are worth hearing, you will continue to hear them in here LOUD and CLEAR

    And there are at least a few people who ARE willing to listen to my views and share many of them!

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  35. Michael Leonard Furtado

    Doctor at University of Queensland

    And I had thought that my intervention would pour oil on troubled waters! However, what I hadn't accounted for was that some people here enjoy a fight - one by asserting himself ad nauseum and t'other through use of belittlement and abuse.

    I'm taking off as I'm sorry to say that my intervention, intended to steer the topic back on course, hasn't worked. And yes; its humbling to admit defeat, but the blog has captivated my students and helped them understand the complexities and pitfalls of conflict…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Not all arguments can be settled Michael. Some arguments need to be decided.

      We didn't allow "a bit" of slavery to keep going for "old times sakes" and to keep the Gregs happy. We don't consider "a bit" of domestic violence is acceptgable if the guy's heart is in the right place or he's really really upset and afraid.

      I've asked this fella a string of very direct questions - about 20 of em - not a single answer. I've tried to haul him into other issues like immigration based education system…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Michael Leonard Furtado

      Common ground. That's the key to successful negotiation isn't it?

      So, this Greg is says he's into recovering native grasslands - this is a Good Thing. We have found some common ground.

      And it gets better.

      The most popular line at the local Agricultural Supply outlet here this year is pasture seed for what is a BUMPER YEAR!

      And the most popular seed? Paspalum dilatum. A popular weed from the Amazon. It's better fodder than kikuyu according to the NSW Department of Primary Industry…

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  36. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Michael I will admit that my persuit of the Peters in this forum and others is some what cathartic for me.

    But I mixed up in the political invective I do raise some legitimate criciticisms and points even if I do hold my views with an intensity that makes you uncomfortable.

    Hopefully they get other people, perhaps including some of your students, thinking bit while enjoying the political entertainment :-)

    As for this......

    "nor even of the exponential rise in terminations in developed…

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "nor even of the exponential rise in terminations in developed polities as a form of birth control and the demographic and gendered consequences of it"

      I am assuming of course you mean termination of girls due to dowry culture and general preference for boys.

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  37. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    " massively exaggerated figures (from a few thousand to 'hundreds of millions') are made accountable for this. "

    Look I am sorry Michael, but this is a LEGITIMATE fear expressed by myself and others with respect to this asylum seeker issue.

    Granted current numbers are miniscule compared to our over all immigration.

    But you can provide NO evidence that this will remain the case indefinitely if the Australian government declares 'open borders' to the third world.

    If you offer something for free then large crowds inevitably gather to take advantage of it. And that will self evidently be the case with asylum seekers in the long term.

    I am all for increasing the number of asylum seekers we accept from UN camps AS part of a carefully managed integrated population and immigration policy.

    But I am not and will never be for 'open borders' to boat arrivals.....regardless of how many tears they shed and regardless of what they claim their personal circumstances are.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      And regardless of threats that they will kill themselves if they don't get their way

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      See that's the issue innit - it's them - all them "third worlders" just clammering to get into boats and get themselves over here and on our dole... millions and millions of them.

      There's obviously only two options innit? We must stop them and we must stop them breeding.

      Less so the Kiwis because Australia obviously can have a higher carrying capacity of folks more like us.

      Nah - nothing racial about any of that at all.

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  38. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    It is about time we started getting some facts on the table here.

    How many illegal immigrants are in Indonesia waiting their turn to board a derrelict boat bound for Australia?

    How many new illegal immigrants are arriving in Indonesia with the same intention each year?

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  39. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "See that's the issue innit - it's them - all them "third worlders" just clammering to get into boats and get themselves over here and on our dole... millions and millions of them"

    New Zealanders don't arrive here on boats from Indonesia Peter, people from the third world do.

    But if this article was specifically about open borders with New Zealand then I would be advocating just as strongly to close our borders to them and regulate our intake of New Zealnders.

    But this article is about asylum seekers.

    Peter you just keep hurling your racist slurs to your hearts content. But they are falling on deaf ears!

    And by the way Peter, exactly what was the point of your rant about weeds. Its point is totally lost on me.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      All points are I realise.

      Here we have an invasive species. Already a major issue for folks trying to do something seriously productive. A drain on my economy. And it makes my arms ache pulling these foreign devils out. Worse, these foreign devils are being brought in here by the boatload quite legally by graziers and agribusiness middlemen. They are making a fortune out of it. The seeds are just looking for somewhere fertile and wet to sprout.

      It's the same problem: we are well beyond our carrying capacity for paspalum.

      So what should we do?

      I've tried to apply your shut-the-gate/razor-wire strategy to the problem with a series of spirited and inspiring slogans to uplift the masses and drive them to uplift one heck of a lot of paspalum. Doesn't seem to have worked but. Wonder why?

      One would've thought spraying weeds would be far more acceptable than spraying people.

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  40. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "I've asked this fella a string of very direct questions - "

    The only thing you have done Peter is let loose a serious or irrational rants and false accusations!

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  41. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Here we have an invasive species. Already a major issue for folks trying to do something seriously productive. "

    Geeeez Peter, I think you had better have a bex and a lie down!

    Before you blow an artery in your skull or ticker LOL

    Unfortunately humans are more generally a worse plague for this planet than your pasapallum is an invasive weed for Australia.

    We are collectively vatly more damaging than a plague of rabbits, rats or field mice.

    At the end of the day if there were less…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Precisely Greg - conservation is incompatible with population growth ... couldn't agree more. Especially if the population eats like we do, digs holes like we do and burns stuff like we do.

      But your concern with this trickle of asylum seekers - that we can solve global population growth by turning our backs on the world, by making examples of "illegal kids" - scrapping UN conventions and sending everyone including those who've been declared a refugee "home" is at best misplaced, at worst the…

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  42. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Precisely Greg - conservation is incompatible with population growth ... couldn't agree more. Especially if the population eats like we do, digs holes like we do and burns stuff like we do. But your concern with this trickle of asylum seekers "

    The point that you insist on ignoring is that the current trickle of asylum seekers is likely to turn into an unstoppable torrent if we allow imbeciles like you to declare open borders to illegal immigration!

    NO THNAKS!

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "There is no "going it alone" Greg. Even if we hermetically sealed the entire place off in a bubble and didn't let in a mozzie."

      Declaring open borders to everyone who CLAIMS they are an asylum seeker is hardly a sensible solution to the worlds problems either.

      May be we can't entirely seal Australia off from the rest of the world, but we might manage to limit the damage to what is left of the Australian environment and our unique ecosystems.

      And preserve some seblance of our egalitariansociety for future generations.

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    2. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      One only has to look at the growing gap between rich and poor and at the considerable acrimony over issues such as private and public health, private and public school funding and welfare to realise that our society has become noticeably less egalitarian than it was a few decades ago when our population was some what smaller.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Greg,

      Who is talking about "open borders" ... here, anyone anywhere at all? A single quote will do from anywhere that even remotely suggests abolishing the Department of Immighration and just waiving everyone through at the airports - or in Darwin.

      Open the cupboard where this terrifying straw man of your imagination is hiding... let us see your boggart.

      See that's the trouble with Howard's slogan - just factually wrong.

      We don't determine who will come - we determine who will stay…

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  43. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Who is talking about "open borders" ... here, anyone anywhere at all?"

    YOU ARE PETER!

    According to you we are not permitted, due to the UN refugee convention, to say "no" to anyone who arrives illegally via boat from Indonesia.

    We are obligated to take their word for it that they are asylum seekers and will be persecuted if returned.

    But Peter apparently most Australians are NOT suckers like you.

    Your view ammounts to an open borders policy for illegal maritime arrivals.

    Send them back and they can go to the nearest UN refugee camp and await selection by Australia like all the other asylum seekers.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "There's only 45 million refugees in the world at the moment - lets double it up a few times."
      So once again you proove that you advocate an open borders policy.

      "How much razor wire we gonna need? How many patrol boats?"
      As much as it takes Peter!

      "How many patrol boats?"
      As many as it takes Peter.

      "How many Naurus?"
      As many as it takes Peter to get the message across that they do not have an easy option on gaining entry to Australia!

      "What will saying "NO" to a few million people a year actually look like?"
      It will be ugly but it has to be done for the sake of future generations.

      In the end 'razor wire', patrol boats and Narus will be far cheaper in the long term than the catastrophic cost to Australian society and environment if we just buckle meekly at the knees and open our borders!

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    2. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "What will saying "NO" to a few million people a year actually look like?"
      It will be ugly and undoubtedly so called asylum seekers will continue to have their little 'tanties' on Naru by slashing their arms and attempting to hang themselves.

      TOUGH!

      The answer to them and the general message to would be illegal immigrants still in Indonesia should still be "BLOODY NO".

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      No Greg that is not what I nor the UN are saying, nor the High Court of Australia either.

      What we are saying is that if folks do turn up here claiming to be refugees in need of asylum, we are obliged to assess and investigate their claims. This is what happens Greg.

      And as a result folks do get sent home, have theirapplications rejected and, on appeal, have gotta go.. Folksget accepted as refugees but get sent off to third countries. And some get to stay here - after they've proved a case…

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    4. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      In fact don't bother with Narus at all and then there will be no opportunity for illegal immigrants to have their little tanties on our national news programs.

      Rescind the UN refugee convention and immediately deport illegal arrivals.

      They have their little tanties else where!

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    5. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      But I am betting that, if immediately deported, the vast majority of illegal immigrants will not bother with hunger strikes, arm slashing, lip sowing and attempted hangings without an Australian audience.

      They will just sit in the UN refugee camps and make the best of it like all the rest!

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  44. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "No Greg that is not what I nor the UN are saying, nor the High Court of Australia either."

    Screw the UN and screw the courts. If we rescind the UN refugee convention then the stand off between government and courts will be resolved once and for all.

    Reagrdless of rescinding the UN refugee convention, we can assess their claims for asylum from regional refugee camps without pressure through their self harm tantrums!

    I am also betting that a great many of them will return to Sri Lanka or where ever and make the best of their lives rather than sit in refugee camps.

    On shore processing provides an easy option for entry to Australia and our processing system will be quickly overwhelmed if we give into refugee and UN demands.

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  45. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Can we also discuss asylum seekers jumping over the moon - about as possible as jumping an effectively non-existent queue..."

    We can also discuss the fact that a signficant proportion of them are not genuine asylum seekers but merely seeking an easy immigration route to Australia for economic reasons!

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  46. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Now we're getting somewhere Greg...

    What sort of messages will we have to be sending by then ... attack choppers doing rocket strafes on fishing boats? take out the indonesian fishing villages they come from with a quick surgical hit?

    You spend a lot of time playing TPS and combat games, don't you Greg. It appeals to your world view I suspecty - the them and us of it all.

    See even if you "succeed" Greg and that we have enough razor wire and concrete to encircle the place a few times, and…

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  47. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    You are raving again Peter. Have you had the bex and a lie down yet?????

    "Now we're getting somewhere Greg... What sort of messages will we have to be sending by then ... attack choppers doing rocket strafes on fishing boats? take out the indonesian fishing villages they come from with a quick surgical hit?"

    Noooooo Peter, I don't think that will be necessary.

    Simply deporting them upon their arrival without exception will be more than adequate.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Nah - you wouldn't want to be doing that Greg ... do you have any idea how much it will be costing to fly 50,000 or 500,000 Egyptians, Indians, Fijians back home not to mention those fleeing the Thames Valley or New York - if we could find the fuel and the planes.

      Where would you put them while they awaited deportation - perhaps we could give Serco a contract to operate Queensland or Tasmania?

      Nah deportation is not physically or economically feasible let alone sustainable Greg and besides…

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  48. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "without the oxygen and climate from the Amazon, without a decent armful of the world's great cities and commercial centres, with collapsing "

    Would you mind enlightening us all as to what the hell this has got to do with illegal migration to Australia Peter.

    And while your at it please enlighten us as to how implementing on shore processing, aka open borders, will address deforestation of the amazon and climate change etc.

    Hell please enlighten us as to how onshore processing will signficantly alleviate the global problem of hundreds of millions of asylum seekers and refugees without doing further harm to our local environment and our endangered flora and fauna. E.G. Koalas in SE QLD that are threatened with extinction due to urban sprawl in turn due to regional population growth!

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Sorry Greg, I foolishly assumed you might have reflected on what this future population crisis you are worried about might look like.

      See you are suggesting that your concerns over folks turning up in boats and in planes (mostly) seeking asylum is motivated by a concern over our population - our carrying capacity - like we are now even remotely sustainable or even could be. And be so alone even.

      But you might have considered what unchecked population and extrapolations of current consumption…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      PS

      What do those SE Queensland koaloas taste like?

      The local one's here at Wollibuddha - which is the local totemic name for the koala - taste like inner tube marinaded in eucalyptus lollies or cough syrup.

      This explains why they took so long to discover around Sydney as you'd be aware. The locals thought they were as interesting and useful as a pet furry boulder. Didn't even use the fur or claws. Or make strange things from their noses... like school elephant stamps or little black golf balls.

      Still - once the cupboard looks a bit bare eh?

      Anyway by then they'll be tasting like paspalum - along with everything else.

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  49. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Nah - you wouldn't want to be doing that Greg ... do you have any idea how much it will be costing to fly 50,000 or 500,000 Egyptians, Indians, Fijians back home"

    Easily solved Peter. Rather than fly them home, send them home in bulk via appropriate large ships. It would be far more cost effective than flying them home.

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  50. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    ""There's a few things we can do - but you wouldn't like any of them I'm afraid. They involve helping people, making war and civilian oppression illegal and meaning it."
    That is like trying to climb a slippery slide as long as the population goes on increasing.

    As Isaac Asimov once said, democracy and human decency cannot survive over population.

    "It involves forgiving debt and developing better ways of delivering improvements in living standards and human rights in the Third World countries. Education and economic independence for women is the Big Issue. Aid that works rather than lines the pockets of Indian politicians and Greek freight companies. "
    Sounds like a start to me. So lets redouble our efforts here rather than fu$%ing around with and arguing over illegal immigrants in Australia.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      I.E. Deport illegal immigrants such that the rest give up their attempts to reach our shores illegally!

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  51. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "You are trying to put out a bushfire by piddling on it Greg. "

    So what do you think you will acheive by opening Australia's borders to illegal immigrants??

    That is also piddling on a bushfire Peter.

    Sounds to me like you are a down and out pessimist who holds no hope that Australia and retain its current egalitarian and liberal society in the face of a third world population 'bush fire'.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Again Greg, who is talking about "opening the borders to illegal immigrants"? Only you again and again - immune to denials or explanations. This is called a straw man argument Greg - where one accuses one's adversary of a position he or she doesn't hold and then demolish it or set fire to it.

      For the last time no one here - no one I have ever met aside from a string of Australian trade ministers and Kiwi Prime Ministers - they are usually grinning - is talking about open borders Greg.

      And…

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  52. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Again Greg, who is talking about "opening the borders to illegal immigrants"?"

    Then I take it you have no objection to Sri Lankens being deported when they are found not to be in danger or persecution and not even Tamils????

    "straw man argument "
    Straw man argument huh?

    This one is a doosy:
    "live exporting families of recent and settled asylum seeker families ( another of yours"

    So is this:
    "What did you think of Geert Wilders incidentally? "

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Sri Lankans, Greg.

      Actually I have no problem at all with Singhalese being sent back - none at all - unless they are actually getting rough treatment for some reason. I'm sure that in common with most brutal regimes, the brutality doesn't stay restricted to one group for too long.

      But no Greg if they are not able to demonstrate a reasonable fear of harm then sure - send them back. See - NOT OPEN BORDERS.

      This is, in fact, what we do now - what you actually want to stop. This is what…

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  53. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "But no Greg if they are not able to demonstrate a reasonable fear of harm then sure - send them back. See - NOT OPEN BORDERS. "

    I disagree Peter. Your preferred policy ends up being defacto open borders.

    We have seen it happen already to a small degree and it is the reason the ALP government back flipped on onshore processing.

    1) The Australian government anounces to the world that they are no longer pursuing off-shore processing.

    2) So called asylum seekers see this as an opportunity…

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  54. John Clark

    Manager

    I am highly entertained by the Peter, Michael, Greg correspondence, until I remember the seriousness of the issues. A moralist, a pragmatist and a peacemaker. Peter feels an obligation for us to share our good fortune to be born in this country, and sees any consequential reduction of standard of living as justified. Greg identifies the particular flaw in this argument, viz, it is self defeating, since by definition, there can be no limits. Michael is the voice of reason, trying (unsuccessfully) to find common ground, entreating the proponents (opponents?) to conduct the debate without resorting to terms like "racist". Interestingly, it is Michael who identifies population growth as the root cause,

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Clark

      (Peter) sees any consequential reduction of standard of living as justified. Not justified John - inevitable.

      We cannot continue to have our current levels of consumption and comfort in a world devastated by the consequences of uncontrolled population and economic growth as it is currently practised. We will not be popping down to the shops in the SUV when there is no Amazon, or where he great economies of the world collapse under their own weight.

      This notion - implicit in the idea of…

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    2. Michael Leonard Furtado

      Doctor at University of Queensland

      In reply to John Clark

      My response is to John Clark. I took a break from this slanging match to research some of the assertions that have been made.

      Firstly, you are not incorrect in your assertion, John, that the Houston Report was intended to improve and implicitly resolve some of the problems in asylum seekers policy. I quote from the ABC News Report on the day of its release: 'The report recommends offshore processing but also says Australia's refugee intake should be increased to dissuade asylum seekers from making…

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  55. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: Peter Ormonde

    "We cannot continue to have our current levels of consumption "
    I agree Peter. Not only do we need to set a global example on zero net population growth but also on far more sensible levels of consumption. Reduce waste, increase re-use and recycling, reduce our expectations.

    "But sitting in the corner holding on to this place saying go away - it's mine all mine ... how long would that be a viable approach to a collapsing biosphere?"

    Sitting in the corner and inviting the…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      No one NO ONE is talking about "unregulated immigration" - only you and Alan Jones ... this is in your mind Greg.

      The fact of the matter is that world-wide there are some 42.8 million "displaced persons" at the moment according to the UN. Famines, wars, discrimination and persecution (all of them at once in many cases) or just plain poverty starvation and hopelessness. We do this to each other.

      This figure will - can - only increase as the instability and resource hunger of uncontrolled…

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  56. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "This notion - implicit in the idea of shutting the gate on this trickle "

    Once again Peter, you need to give up this naive assumption of yours that the current trickle of asylum seekers will remain a trickle indefintely if you, by default, issue an invitation to the rest of the world to come on down and share our wealth.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Oh - it's "our wealth" you're worried about then Greg. I thought it was global sustainability and all those cute furry critters we like to shoot. Our carrying capacity as you put it.

      (That's a very agricultural and economic notion incidentally rather than ecological one.)

      But apparently it's our sharing capacity that's at issue. Are you English?

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Sorry wrong button...

      The reason I ask is that I have this theory - more a hunch - that your "logic" on this issue comes from someone who's seen it all before - what happens when you ghettoise a country and swamp your old industrial wasteland cities with foreigners... meanwhile Midsomer Murders continues the idyllic slaughter in the Cotswolds without a single ethnic face - ever.

      Funny place.

      Anyway, that's why I ask. It's an attitude I come across a lot. From English migrants or their kids in particular. Like I say, just a hunch.

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  57. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "No one NO ONE is talking about "unregulated immigration" - only you and Alan Jones ... this is in your mind Greg. "

    You need to acknowledge that YOU are talking about unregulated immigration even if it is not what you intend.

    If you offer something for free Peter then it is INEVITABLE that crowds will gather to take advantage of the free offering, i.e. permanent residency in Australia.

    And there is the real potential for such a 'crowd' to be a signficant proprtion of 45 million displaced persons across the globe. Especially given that Australia is percieved to be economically booming while Europe and the USA are in recession or depression.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      No they will come even if you don't "offer it" Greg. They will come because they have to.

      What you are actually saying is - putting aside the bogeyman of "open borders" - that we should stop accepting genuine cases where people - men, women and children - are fleeing god knows what. We should turn them away and send them back.

      It's as if Orwell and Charles Dickens had had a literary love child this attitude towards other humans. But they're less than humans really aren't they Greg? - less…

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  58. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Oh - it's "our wealth" you're worried about then Greg. I thought it was global sustainability and all those cute furry critters we like to shoot. Our carrying capacity as you put it."

    Another of your childish red herrings Peter.

    I don't think that we Australians should continue with our wasteful and unnecessary consumption nor should we all live like the Hancocks or Packers at the expense of the third world.

    But nor do I think we, or more particularly future generations, should share in the misery of Africa because YOU havd some deluded notion that it is fairer all around!

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  59. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Murders continues the idyllic slaughter in the Cotswolds without a single ethnic face - ever."

    So I take it your view of multiculturalism is that all other ethnicities are allowed to influence Australian society except for anglo-saxons who are not permitted under any circumstances to display their own culture without representation of other cultures.

    I think, Peter, your views are coloured by irrational 'white guilt' mentality.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      You will have to forgive those of us who do not share your guilt over our own ethnic group Peter!

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Mr B - you presume too much .... not one skerrick of Anglo or Saxon in this boy's blood unless it goes back a hell of a long way back when they might have liked each other. Certainly none of that Norman genome - unless by force (it'd have to be wouldn't it?) - unless you count the bit before they invaded England when the Irish were co-mingling with French and Spanish sailors with some abandon by all accounts.

      So is my hunch holding up? Not welsh, not even scottish, like you could be?

      Chances are someone Boyce (or Bois) way back lived near a big French tree by the way... http://www.houseofnames.com/boyce-family-crest

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  60. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "No they will come even if you don't "offer it" Greg. They will come because they have to."

    Well then quite simply Peter we need to massively increase our military presence along our northern shores and ENSURE THAT THEY DO NO SUCCEED in coming to Australia without our invitation!

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  61. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "... Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; "

    And taken to the extreme look at where it has gotten the USA........on the verge of bankruptcy with endemic poverty and gun violence throughout their society!

    Over population feeds lawlessness, violence, poverty and injustice.

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  62. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "not one skerrick of Anglo or Saxon in this boy's blood unless it goes back a hell of a long way back when they might have liked each other. "

    So if you are not of British herritage then what is you problem Peter????

    Do you have a large chip on your shoulder that causes you to seek to punish us anglos by sensoring our culture and diminishing our political control of this continent through immigration????

    Don't laugh people because I have come across one of these sorts on the QandA forum a while ago.

    After a bit of probing it turns out this female was of Italian herritage and was bullied at school by anglo-saxons and hence similarly wanted to see anglo-saxons collectively 'punished' through high immigration.

    After that slipped out we never heard from her again on the forum.....at least not under the same username.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Oooh no ... bog Irish to the bootstraps ... save for the Norse, Spanish, French, Welsh, Cornish, Anglo, Scottish, Danish, Germanic and bits one collects alone the way. Probably a bit of Koori in there and jewish I'd suspect. Maybe some Moore if I'm lucky. Bit of native American - gee they got about - Very hard to know without a full mRNA analysis.

      Just shows what a silly notion "race" is when you come down to it - and that even culturally Anglo-Saxon is anything but an intact or even surviving…

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  63. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Very hard to know without a full mRNA analysis. Just shows what a silly notion "race"

    Peter you are the only person in here framing this debate entirely in terms of 'race'.

    I.E. Anyone who opposes open borders for illegal maritime immigrants is a racist. Anyone who express anglo-saxon culture without representation from other cultrues is a racist. Etc etc etc ........blah blah blah........ad norseum.

    Apart from challenging your accusations of racism I have been framing this debate entirely in terms of number, population level and sustainability etc.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Ah yes all those vikings paddling about sacking and pillaging ad norseum.

      You might be shooting at ad nauseum. You missed.

      Yet when I ask you for a number - the "carrying capacity" of this wide brown land you are silent. When I point out that spraying the Third Wold as a "solution" is pretty ugly, you are silent. When I ask how much razor wire and weaponry you just sloganise "whatever it takes", you favour deporting all refugee arrivals even those successfully settled here - and their families - especially if one commits a crime - that wrong? --- am I quoting the wrong Greg Boyles here?.

      I don't accuse you of being a racialist Greg - you do that. You configure the entire problem as one of us and them ... that they are the problem and we will have to impose the solution. To save ourselves from being overrun. Not our carrying capacity - it's our wealth that's under threat isn't it?

      Not really trying to say your not a racialist are you Greg, seriously?

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  64. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "you favour deporting all refugee arrivals even those successfully settled here - and their families - especially if one commits a crime - that wrong"

    Yet another one of your bull$hit red herrings Peter.

    I here by issue a challenge for you on this point.

    Please post a quote from one of my many posts in here or esle where I have explicitly or implicitly advocated deporting non-white or white immigrants who have already gained permanent residency in Australia.

    I am waiting Peter Ormande!

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  65. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Yet when I ask you for a number - the "carrying capacity" of this wide brown land you are silent. "

    Well Peter, given that we started implementing energy hungry and CO2 intensive desalination plants around the country during the recent severe drought, I would suggest that Australia's population is already beyond this continents long term carrying capacity based on water availability in times of drought.

    The further our population expands the finer the margin is between having sufficient water to keep us going during the inevitable prolonged droughts and running out entirely with the catatrophic economic collapse that this would bring about.

    I would suggest that the long term carrying capacity of this continent, based on water avilability, is perhaps 20 million at the most!

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  66. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    I just watched the documentary Freakonomics.

    One very interesting bit was their dissection of the signficant reduction in crime in the USA during the late 80s to ealry 90s.

    Of course you had the likes of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming credit for this due to the assorted tough on crime approaches. They estimated htis sort of stuff together accounted for perhaps 50% of the crime reduction

    However drilling down the authors found pretty convincing evidence that reduction in crime rate…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      You will never get on top of your spelling by watching TV shows Greg.

      I read Freakonomics a few years backl and enjoyed it - very funny and well-written - but a joke. Correlation becomes causation, statsics are massaged to the point of unconscious delerium.

      Here's an alternative view on their stats - which prompted quite a discussion before sinking from the chat show circuit rather quickly.

      http://isteve.blogspot.com.au/2005/10/new-facts-undermining-freakonomics.html

      Here's a bit on Steve Levitt and his idea on other topics: http://shameproject.com/profile/steven-d-levitt/

      Not that surprised you'd be attracted to a guy like that actually Greg.

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  67. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "Here's an alternative view on their stats - which prompted quite a discussion before sinking from the chat show circuit rather quickly"

    I take it that you are one of these numb skulls who is of the view that third world parents universally love and treasure each and everyone of their children.

    But I think we have seen enough reports form the likes of Four Corners etc where third world parents often sell their excess children to sweat shops, brothels, private armies and as child brides for…

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  68. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Is that all you have in your debating grab bag Peter? I.E. Racist slurs

    Are you really that intellectually defficient that you can't enagage in a debate in any other way????

    Steve Sailer is clearly an US anti-abortinist in which case you must realise that I would never support his views.

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  69. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "In 1999, Levitt co-authored a paper arguing that an increase in abortion rates for black women in the 1970s "

    I did not hear Levitt state or imply that he believed that unwanted pregnancies specifically among black woman were a key cause of US crime.

    I did however take it that he meant unwanted pregnancies particularly among low socio-economic groups.

    But that could include many groups in the US - latinos, blacks, asians AND whites.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Once again your only debating tool is the racist slur.

      You are truly a bigoted and narrow minded person Peter.

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  70. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "I take it that you are one of these numb skulls who is of the view that third world parents universally love and treasure each and everyone of their children."

    Let us not forget that British society collectively exhibited very similar attitudes towards children around the time of the industrial revolution.

    At that time there was also numerous unwanted and unplanned pregnancies resulting in a large exceess of children that could not be adequately cared for and provided for by lower class parents.

    As a result they were often put to work at a very young age in coal mines and textile mills etc.

    So Indian, African and asian societies etc are certainly not different to past British and European societies with respect to child exploitation and abuse.

    The fact is that when fertility is uncontrolled it is children that inevitably suffer the worst of the consequences.

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Fortunately British and European societies have been able to evolve beyond these former primitive states of affairs.

      And if we have any obligations to the third world one of them must be to facilitate those less developed socities to also evolve beyond these undesriable states by providing third world woman the means to control their fertility.

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  71. Ozzy Patriot

    Watermelon interrogator

    Time to enact the 25mm cannon solution. Blow them out of the water!

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  72. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: Michael Leonard Fertado

    Michael I here by challenge your assertion that I have miquoted Tim Flannery and that his views on population and immigration are contrary to my own in any fundamental way.

    Our views on population etc a very similar in a pragmatic way for the simple reason that I have read his book The Future Eaters which has had some influence in shaping my views on the population etc.

    Please refer to the following transcript of an interview with him:

    http://www.abc.net.au/quantum/info/q95-19-5.htm

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      As a highly educated practicing scientist I hope you are not suggesting that Tim believes that a sustainable population for Australia is some where between 6 and 12 million while simultaneously believing that there should be no limits on how many asylum seekers we should accept annually.

      That would be rather insulting to the man's intelligence don't you think?

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  73. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    And I am not a troll Michael.....just fed up and angry with people like Peter who hurl racist slurs at anyone who challenges his 'open borders to asylum seekers' ideology.

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  74. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    I am well aware of Thomas Malthus, of Norman's Borlaug's green revolution and of the argument from the opposing side that the green revolution proved that Thomas Malthus was wrong.

    I agree that the green revolution proved that Thomas Malthus was wrong in detail and timing, but I do not agree that it proves him wrong in principal.

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  75. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Michael, my wife may be a catholic and my children may attend catholic schools.

    BUT I AM NOT CATHOLIC.

    I am in fact athiest.

    I do not hide from my children the fact that I do not believe in god or gods while at the same time agreeing with the general christian principal of "do unto other what you would have them do to you" up to a pragmatic point........just to ensure you don't throw my position on asylum seekers back in my face based on this!

    If you follow the "do unto other what you…

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  76. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "compulsory sterisation views "

    I am rather disappointed that you ahve just engaged in sluring as Peter does.

    I DO NOT HOLD THIS VIEW Michael and I would like an appology from you for falsely attributing it to me.

    1) Compulsory sterilisation is not and would not be cost effective on a global scale.

    2) It has been tried in China and I am not entirely clear exactly how effective it has been outside the cities etc. Or how much it has costed the Chinese government or whether or not those…

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  77. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "compulsory sterisation views "

    Such an expression deliberately invokes a vision of white doctors forcibly strapping black men and woman to an operating table and operating on them.

    In other words a Nazi like scenario and a deliberate slur.

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  78. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    "compulsory sterisation views "

    Of course there is the glaring problem that on the global scale and in the long term humans would be simply incapable of applying this impartially and fairly due to our innate xenophobic tendancies and related politics.

    A biological vector is guarenteed of being impartial and fair across all ethnicities because it would be biolgocally IMPOSSIBLE to design a vector that ONLY infects blacks or ONLY infects asians............

    And once released it could not be withdrawn or excluded form any country in the long term. All countries and all ethncities would share in the burdon of fertility reduction.

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  79. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: Michael Leonard Furtado

    “While it isnt racist it still offends against various other principles, largely voluntary, that must be met before such drastic solutions to the problem of overpopulation are considered.”
    Yeah well standing back and allowing some humans to follow their base instincts to destruction of their own lives and societies through war, genocide starvation and disease ALSO offends against human rights as far as I am concerned Michael.

    We don’t and will never live in an…

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  80. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    Q: How would we control our population?

    Flannery: Well, the main and easiest thing to control really is immigration levels because that is what's contributing to the major population growth at the moment. We're below replacement level as far as births go, but we do have a very large number of baby boomers having children which is causing a temporary increase in numbers. But really, in the long term, it's going to be immigration which will cause the big change.

    Q: Your strong stand on population has earned you the criticism of being a racist. How do you respond to that?

    Flannery: All I can say is that I think there's a place for immigration and always will be in Australia's population policy. I don't care in the least where anyone comes from - it's just total numbers that really worry me. My concern as a scientist is simply to ensure that we have a sustainable future in Australia.

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  81. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Immigration is probably a 10 billion dollar business and this assylum seeker is 2 billion dollars.

    This love for assylum seeker is money driven within Australia. There are a few who do not benefit financially but they are brain washed by the refugee business mob.

    If you are a real assylum seeker you will go and seek assylum in the nearest country.

    Let us send the rouge refugees back to where thre are peoplef the same kind. Like Tamils to Tamil Nadu India.

    We should let Afgans and Iraqis as we are helping their countries.

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  82. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: John C Smith

    "We should let Afgans and Iraqis as we are helping their countries."

    Let us remember that I and many other Australians did not agree with the Australian government involving us in this US misadventure.

    So I see no good reason for those Australians to necessarily wear the immigration consequences of that involvement.

    But never the less I agree with you, up to a pragmatic point.

    However that still does not mean that I agree to an open border policy specifically for Afghan asylum seekers.

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  83. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    RE: human/individual right to reproduction and involuntary fertility control via a biological vector or some sort.

    I agree that some human rights are fundamental, e.g. the right to live free, the right to self determination and sexual equality etc. In the broad sense at least.

    But individual rights have always been relative to time and circumstances.

    A few centuries ago it was regarded as a right to settle a dispute by means of duels. But that ceased to be acceptible a long time ago and…

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    1. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      I will re-iterate that I regard such strategies as an absolute last resort and acknowledge that there are plenty of other fertility reduction strategies we can and should try first, e.g. free contraception provision to the developing world.

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