Aug 17 2013
AUSTRALIA: Liberal (= Conservative down under) opposition leader, Tony Abbott, evokes popular former Prime Minister John Howard’s tough-as-nails policies on illegal alien arrivals
Tony Abbott declared that “this is our country and we determine who comes here” as he unveiled sweeping plans to fast-track the deportation of failed asylum seekers. Refugees would be denied permanent residency under the opposition coalition’s plan to ‘determine who comes here.’
*John Howard was Australia’s 25th Prime Minister from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. Notice the striking drop in illegal alien boat arrivals after his policies were put in place in 2002. And the steep rise when he left office.
ABC News (h/t Colin W) Last month the Coalition announced its so-called Operation Sovereign Borders plan, which is aimed at preventing new asylum seeker arrivals. Today Mr Abbott and his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison revealed their proposals to deal with the backlog of cases yet to be processed by the Government.
Under the Coalition’s policy, around 30,000 people currently waiting for their refugee claims to be finalised in Australia would be denied permanent residency. Those who are deemed to be refugees would instead be placed on temporary protection visas (TPVs), while those whose claims are rejected would be denied the right to appeal.
Revealing details of the plan, the Opposition Leader said he believed the proposals would reduce the number of boats trying to reach Australia to three per year by the end of his first term. TPVs were a feature of the Howard government’s asylum policy and Mr Abbott referenced the former prime minister’s own words during his announcement today.
The Age The crackdown on asylum seekers already in Australia has outraged the Greens and refugee advocates, with Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young likening it to an ”arms race on who can be the cruelest”.
As part of the toughened policy, a Coalition government will scrap the right of asylum seekers to appeal to the courts, which in the March quarter brought the number of asylum seekers who were granted refugee status from 65.3 per cent to more than 90 per cent.
Mr Morrison and Mr Abbott said on Friday that a Coalition government would deny them the right to ever settle in Australia, creating a crucial point of difference between the two parties, now united on stopping the boats. ”The key points of difference are that Labor would give them permanent visas, but we’ll give them temporary visas,” Mr Morrison said.
The Coalition Leader said he wanted to get back to the ”effectiveness” of border protection that operated during the Howard years. During the last five years of the Howard government, there were on average, three boats a year, he said. ”I will regard myself as having succeeded very well if we can get back to a situation of having three boats a year,” he said, adding that the ”ideal” would be zero boats.
Mr Abbott said that he was ”confident” that the Coalition would reach the three-boats-per-year level by the time it was ”well into” a first term of government. Mr Abbott praised Mr Morrison, saying he had showed ”tremendous strength” and ”a touch of compassion” in the shadow immigration portfolio.
Mr Morrison said he wanted to end the ”tick and flick” approach of Labor, ”which is seeing nine out of 10 people found to be refugees”. Mr Morrison said that this did not match what the Coalition was seeing in other parts of the world. In a tough-talking press conference in Melbourne, the immigration spokesman said that the 30,000 people who are in the processing system at the moment would be the ”most enthusiastic” about a Labor victory.
He said that those already in the system had the opportunity of a permanent visa under Labor but not under the Coalition. ”Kevin Rudd wants you to pretend that those 30,000 people are not here,” he said. The Howard government introduced temporary protection visas [TPVs] for refugees in 1999.