Dear Prime Minister,
I followed with some interest the speeches on Australia’s approach to the refugee crisis that you gave this week in New York. Given you have commended Australia’s approach to the rest of the world, I have a few questions I would like to ask.
1. If every country adopted Australia’s approach, where would refugees go? Australia’s approach is built on the foundation that we will not accept any refugees who arrive on our borders without a visa. If other nations adopted the same approach where would those who are persecuted and unable to access visas go? Would that mean their only option would be to stay in their home country and get executed, tortured or imprisoned?
2. You proudly declare that your party has stopped the boats. Is this just shorthand for saying we have stopped the boats coming to Australia? Given those who previously arrived were driven by desperation to make the dangerous journey from Indonesia to Australia, am I not right to assume that that same desperation will now drive refugees to seek safety somewhere else? I assume the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has done some research on this and could tell me the destinations that refugees who would have come to Australia are now pursuing?
3. What do you plan to do about the refugees detained on Manus Island and Nauru? Report after report has shown that these refugees, who have committed no crime, are being subject to violence, degraded treatment, and a complete crushing of the spirit. I remain perplexed that a champion of liberalism can tolerate this, and can only assume that you’re doing everything in your power to resolve the situation. So I‘m wondering what your plan is?