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Just two years ago, Australians were told that “push factors,” not our government’s policies, were responsible for the increase in refugee boats arriving on our shores. Fortunately, the Australian people elected a new government with new policies designed to “Stop the Boats.” The results are to your right. And no, 2014 and 2015 aren’t lacking data: they properly indicate that there were, in effect, no more boats.
To give you some background, a significant number of boats carrying “asylum seekers” began arriving in Australia in 1999. Concerned, John Howard’s government instituted a policy of immediately detaining all unauthorised arrivals before transferring them to Australian-run detention centers in nearby nations (the “Pacific Solution”), as well as creating a new visa category for those already here that could not be converted into permanent residence status. Along with a high profile detention effort (The Tampa Affair) in 2001, the message got out and the arrivals dried up. In 2002, there was just one boat with one person.
Over the next few years, the smugglers occasionally probed. Six boats arrived with 60 people in 2006. But the policy was controversial. We were turning our backs on asylum seekers (of course, very few had come directly from their place of alleged persecution).