Deterrence policy not working: Milne

December 02, 2012

Photo Courtesy: Herald Sun

GREENS leader Christine Milne says the federal government’s hardline policy of deterring asylum seekers has led to people drowning at sea and should be abandoned.

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Senator Milne says the government and the coalition have decided to work together on a deterrence strategy that will not work.

“It was a failure from the minute that they opened their mouths in Canberra and this rush to say ‘we have got to do something’, and ‘aren’t we good because we did something’, we have had a record number of people risking their lives at sea,” she told ABC Television on Sunday.

“I haven’t seen people going back to either Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard and accusing them (of) facilitating people drowning at sea. That is in fact the outcome of this absolutely botched attempt and they should go back to square one and abandon what is an awful policy of deterrence.”

Following the report of the expert panel on asylum seekers headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, the government resumed offshore processing and adopted a “no advantage” test for those arriving by boat.

Senator Milne says the recommendation for a return to offshore processing is completely inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations.

She says she isn’t telling the government “it’s my way or the highway” in opposing the panel recommendations.

“We went to the government and argued strongly for an increased humanitarian intake, more money to go into Indonesia to accelerate regional assessment, we talked about safety of lives at sea, encoding that in legislation,” she said.

“Deterrence never works. We actually have to go get people out of Indonesia and give them a safe passage to Australia in the context of our international obligations.”




Filed under Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution

2 responses to “Deterrence policy not working: Milne

  1. Refugee therapist/counsellor.

    Milne is right. The more punitive you make detention the more people will travel to comfort the hurting family member. That is the biological attachment drive. You would do anything to save your hurting child wouldn’t you? It ain’t rocket science. Hurt her baby and a Tamil or Afghani mother will send another son or the father will travel. Give them a job for goodness sake. Save the estimated $15 billion it will take to fund Nauru and Manus Is. and get them working for the economy instead. Imagine how many hospitals, schools and playgrounds the Western suburbs of Sydney could have for that amount of money? We could re-invent our health system for a start. For every person we hurt in detention another will travel to comfort the one we are destroying in detention, work on a TPV in community and send money home. Deterrence never works and people smugglers made the ocean safe by using satellite calls and operating under Maritime Law with swift recorded response times. It must be hard to admit that they beat politicians on making the ocean safe.
    This country is ripe for an intelligent and humane policy before election.

  2. Indeed it is shameful to play with the lives of innocent asylum seekers by applying the detterance policy to contain the flow of asylum seekers. This policy is responsible for the killing/ missing of 95 asylum seekers when their boat capsized in Sunda strait on August 29, 2012. Among 54 rescued, one narrated the story of sad incident.
    According to him in morning boat engine developed fault and the two crew members, on settelite phone informed human smugglar agent Ghulam,and Australian/Indonesian rescue authorities about the problem. However after six hours Ghulam sent them another boat and all 150 asylum seekers were shifted but neither Australian nor Indonesian authorities responded to their destress call.
    Most of the asylum seekers were demanding return to the nearest Island but Ghulam asked the crerw to move forward towards christma Island. After hardly two hours journey Water pump in the boat failed to work further. Again crew members called Australian and Indonesian authorities for help but again these champions oh human rights did not respond and in early morning boat began sinking.
    According to him when there was no hope of water pump recovery an Afghan lady on the boat with her baby, distributed all her dry fruits among all on the boat which she was taking along for some relatives and personal consumption as at least this may help some one in coming starvation in the water. Later same lady and her kid were the first to lose which badly shaken their moral but dspite this all were floating,reciting holy verses and chanting slogans.
    From morning till evening all were together waiting for rescue teams. In the night, storm in the water dispersed all of them and next morning he saw only two Afghans Hazaras arround him. Again whole day they were in water (36 hours) and many ships were passing near by them but none helped.
    It was a pre planned because Australian and Indonesian authorities had decided to use this incident as deterence for the other asylum seekers in thousands waiting in Indonesia. Today, 95 family members have been made to pay for the dirty game being played by these big one of the world.
    Above facts leave no doubt that detention center at CHRISTMAS ISLAND is in fact Australian death trap for asylum seekers where yearly 1000 0r more are as usual killed to detter the waiting asylum seekers in Indonesia when they see the flow more then their yearly conceived quota.
    Unfortunately my son, a nephew and two cousins and 21 others from FATA were among the missing one in same boat and I have thoroughly investigated during last three months. I see no doubt that this criminal negligence on the part pf Australian and Indonesian authorities in this particular incidents is pre planned which is clearly a crime against humanity under International law.
    However we are poor we cannot go to international court of justice but will pray to God for justice and punishment for those playing with the lives of innocents.

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