Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Morrison Government is puckering its lips to blow on a dog whistle or two?

Ever since Scott Morrison - as then Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection - imposed a complete media blackout on asylum seekers arriving by sea, voters have never been quite sure how to take the Liberal-Nationals boast that they had “stopped the boats".

Every so often an inconvenient highly visible landing on our shores revealed that the boats had never stopped coming.

Now faced with increasing pressure to close Manus and Nauru as offshore detention sites, Prime Minister Morrison and his political cronies have to once again hype up the threat of ravening hoardes of undocumented immigrants by drawing out attention back to those boats.

The Australian, 24 October 2018, p.6:

....Operation Sovereign Borders has prevented more than 3300 asylum-seekers coming to Australia by turning back 33 boats and successfully disrupting ­nearly 80 people-smuggling ventures in the past five years.

The Australian can reveal that since September 2013, at least 2525 people have been stopped from boarding boats to Australia because of co-operation with neighbouring countries which has led to the disruption of 78 people-smuggling operations.

In addition, 33 boats trying to ferry just over 800 asylum-­seekers to Australia were stopped on the high seas or turned back.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton yesterday told parliament that advice from the Operation Sovereign Borders agency heads was that the “threat of people-smuggling has certainly not gone away”....

According to the Refugee Council of Australia on 3 August 2018 there were:

3,127 people have been sent to Nauru or PNG as part of offshore processing arrangements

An estimated 1,534 people are still on Nauru or PNG as of 29 July 2018, and as of 30 June 2018 219 are still in Nauru Regional Processing Centre

947 people have left ‘voluntarily’, including through resettlement, as of 29 July 2018, and since September 2012 to May 2018  646 people have left Manus and 165 from Nauru ‘voluntarily’ to their country of origin, and 20 people were forcibly removed from Manus

494 people have been transferred to Australia for medical treatment, and 460 of them were still in Australia as of 21 May 2018 (based on official information that 294 people had left for the US as of 30 April 2018 and reports of another 121 people resettling in the US since then)

7 people had left for Cambodia, as of 30 April 2018

372 people have been accepted by the US (including those who have left), and 121 have been refused by the US, as of 21 May 2018

By far the largest number of those refused are from Iran (70), although 15 Iranians have been accepted

There are 170 families on Nauru, including 99 families which have 158 minors, as of 26 February 2018

There are at least 100 children who have been born to people subject to offshore processing, as of 23 October 2017

There are nine nuclear family units split between Australia and offshore processing, as of 23 October 2017

There are 583 recognised refugees left in PNG, and 821 recognised refugees on Nauru, as of 21 May 2018.

Australia also holds people in onshore immigration detention and as of 31 July 2018:

Numbers of people in held detention: 1,345 with key sites being Villawood (502), Christmas Island (173), and Yongah Hill (262) 

Average length of detention: 446 days, with 267 people having spent more than 730 days in detention

Numbers of people held in detention because they came seeking asylum by boat: 315

Number of children: in detention facilities including ‘Alternative Places of Detention’: 5, in Nauru Regional Processing Centre: 12, in community detention: 176, and in the community on a bridging visa E: 2,835

Number of people in community detention: 386, from Iran (221), stateless (46) or from Sri Lanka (36), with 245 people having spent more than 730 days in community detention

Key nationalities of people in detention: New Zealand (174), Vietnam (104), Sri Lanka (89), and Iran (103).

To date there are reportedly 200 asylum seeker children and their parents in legal limbo in Australia with no clear path to either Australian citizenship or the full protection under international law, because although government sources are allegedly saying to the media that these children will never be returned to Manus or Nauru there are no guarantees in place.

As of 29 October 2018 50 children remain on Nauru.

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