Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

The problem with asylum seekers

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-28


Checking out the latest UNHCR statistics on applications for asylum, I’m having a problem understanding hairy-chested pronouncements from Canberra, the failure of the mainstream media to inform the public, and the majority opinion.

If Australia has a problem with a flood of asylum seekers, Abbott that should be giving congratulations to Julia and KRudd for cutting applications from the peak when Abbott’s mob ran the joint in 2000 – when numbers were 50% higher than today.

It’s also worth comparing Australia to Sweden, which had approximately the same percentage increase in applications last year.

The real wonder is why so few refugees are attracted to our society… if we are such lovely people as we claim.

Australia, population 22.3 million, got 8250 applications, or 0.37 applications per thousand Australians.  Sweden, population 9.3 million, got 31800 applications, or 3.4 applications per thousand Swedes.

Yes, numbers are increasing, about 30% in a year in both countries in 2010 compared to 2009, however Sweden, unlike Australia, is surrounded by civilized developed nations – hardly the nearest safe haven for a refugee from just about anywhere (unless hordes of Norwegians are fleeing the risk of being trampled by rampant reindeer or thousands of Danes are fleeing floods of British soccer hooligans).

8250? About the only way 8250 people would cause a problem is if you stuck them all in the toilets in the MCG at half time during a sellout match.

If we wanted to decrease the burden of 8250 troublemakers, we could send a fair proportion of politicians, backroom operators and staffers to Antarctica.

Now we do have more asylum applications than New Zealand.  Surprise!

It is primarily in Australia that the increase occurred with 8,250 claims, up 33% from 2009. However, despite the fact that figures have gone up for the sixth consecutive year, asylum levels in Australia remain not only below those observed in 2000 (13,100 claims) and 2001 (12,400 claims) but also below those recorded by many other industrialized and non-industrialized countries. 

UNHCR 2010 report

Our politicians mislead, say mountains need to be moved when there are molehills, and small ones at that.  The press report the hairy-chest competition, not the nature or extent of the issue.

May the gods help us if the pollies and press are similarly misleading on important issues, including the economy and environment.

Ummm…. errrrrr…

May the gods help us if the pollies and press are misdirecting our focus and their efforts in other areas – concentrating on the trivial and avoiding work on the important stuff.

Ummm…. errrrrr…

May the gods help our tourist industry if so few people want to come here.

Ummm…. errrrrr…

…. oh bugger.


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