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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pass the people

Hypocritical for Australia to be acting like Indonesia as regards a 'boat people' issue isn't it? Don't the Aussies get pissed off with the Indonesian authorities because they encourage boat people to embark on dangerous journeys from their shores to Australia? Now the Australian authorities are facilitating boat people... to us. Canberra has become the people smugglers.

RNZ: A veteran sailor says 10 Chinese asylum seekers in northern Australia should abandon their plans to set sail for New Zealand.

The group arrived in Darwin last week after a month long boat journey from Malaysia, and have been given temporary visas by the Australian government so they can stock up for the voyage.

Their yacht is described as a sturdy-looking traditional Malaysian fishing boat, about eight metres long.

Simon Gundry, who has sailed across the Tasman Sea half a dozen times, says it's irresponsible to allow the 5000km journey in that sort of boat.

The Australian government says it can't stop the voyage because the group is not asking for asylum there and their boat is seaworthy.

Good luck to them, they'll need it.

It seems to be alright in the Australian thinking as long as Australia itself isn't at the end of this refugee-migrant pass-the-parcel exercise. Keep the music playing and wait for NZ to take it.

If any group is in transit with a declared intent to refugee-ise themselves in a third country the rule when they arrive in port is to let them pass? Nothing to do with us...

I don't think the Aussies would accept this sort of country shopping as being a legitimate refugee avenue of entry when the final destination is Australia. They would seek to deter it and have in the past - most resolutely and notoriously in the Tampa case. The Australian authorities were insistant that the ship turn back to its last port and drop the refugee-migrants back in Indonesia. Why would Australia think what is unacceptable to itself is acceptable to NZ? They know we have a weak foreign policy and that Wellington will meekly adhere, ineptly unable to reciprocate.

Australia tries to ensnare NZ - successfully in the Tampa case - into a policy of spreading the influx of boat people to them across the region (and particularly out of Australia). This is perhaps the best way for them to achieve that objective: a group that would otherwise stay in Australia will be moved and settled in NZ under their own sail.

Does the Australian government consider it has the same level of responsibility that it usually attaches to the negligent and corrupt Indonesian authorities should misfortune befall this small vessel and the souls on board?


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