Manus Island – Refugees

Colin Smith writes to the Age – Apr 6, 2014
We are the problem!

”100 days without a boat” reads the headline (30/3). Problem solved.

But what was the problem? They were ”illegal”?
No. What is illegal is our failure to honour the Refugee Convention.

Asylum Seeker returned to Indonesia. Photo: Achmad Ibrahim

They are all ”economic refugees”?
No. Nobody would take such risks merely to better themselves. More than 90 per cent are found to be genuine refugees.

They will be a burden?
No. The burden is the huge cost of indefinite detention. And by getting here they have proved their courage and character.

But they may be terrorists?
Hardly. They are fleeing terrorists.

We must save them from drowning?
But if we were worried about that we would listen to the Greens: process people over there, determine who is genuine and fly them here – as Malcolm Fraser did with the Vietnamese.

But then we will be swamped?
No. There will be a queue at last. We will, indeed, be deciding who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

So there’s no problem?
No. There’s a terrible problem. It is what we are doing – to them and to ourselves.

Colin Smith, St Kilda


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