Debate on Australian Treatment of Boat People
Carina Hoang » Media » Debate on Australian Treatment of Boat People

History’s judgement will be to vindicate our treatment of ‘boat people’.
There are millions of people fleeing the depredations of war, oppression and persecution. In their search for safety many choose to make the hazardous journey to far off lands – crossing perilous seas where too many have lost their lives. Governments around the world are struggling to develop policies that achieve the proper balance needed to meet humanitarian concerns, legal obligations and political realities. Australia’s government came to power in 2013 vowing that it would ‘stop the boats’. It seems likely to succeed – and in doing so will, at least, have prevented avoidable deaths from drowning. However, the Australian Government’s means for doing so have been subject to sustained criticism – not least from those who argue that offshore processing and mandatory detention are, by their very nature, inconsistent with the duties owed to asylum seekers. In the midst of this debate, other nations are weighing up their options in response to this global challenge. So, how will history judge the quality and character of our response?

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