Conservative politicians like Tony Abbott and Steven Fielding who widely promote the use of “temporary protection visas” and that boat people are “jumping the queue”, are in fact giving people smugglers a product to sell to desperate refugees.
(Abbott, 18 March 2010)
Temporary protection visas encourage refugees to not integrate into multicultural Australia, but rather to stay within their own ethnic and language groups. Abbott’s policy of TPVs would simply exacerbate social problems.
By saying he will reintroduce TPVs, Abbott is telling immigrants and refugees that they don’t need to learn and adopt Australian values, or integrate into our multicultural community. Abbott is telling them that they can continue to hold their foreign values, because they only have a “temporary” visa, so should feel no loyalty or connection to Australia. Refugees on TPVs find it difficult to learn English (there was little support under Howard for English-language lessons) because they can’t access support and have no local English-speaking ties to the community.
Similarly, talk of “jumping the queue”, by the likes of Steven Fielding, simply gives people smugglers a product to sell to refugees.
Family First Senator Steve Fielding says the Federal Government should consider sending asylum seekers who arrive by boat to refugee camps in other countries because they are “jumping the queue”.
(Fielding, 11 March 2010)
In fact, there is no queue, and refugees arriving by boat does not disadvantage a person applying for asylum overseas.
However, people smugglers are able to use the hysteria of the likes of the Liberal Party and Fielding, to convince desperate refugees that they can some how get admitted to Australia earlier than if they went through the UNHCR.
By constantly carping about a “queue” in the media, the Liberals and other conservatives are doing the marketing for people smugglers. People smugglers can point to conservative politicians to demonstrate that their service can help refugees “jump the queue”.This completely undermines the strong message that the Rudd Government sends out about a tough line on people smugglers.
Tony Abbott always goes on about “people dying on the high seas”, but he needs to look at his own role in contributing to the so-called “pull factors”.