We gots a situation here that your faithful reporter is rather torn about!
BUT, that doesn't mean that refugees a la 'Mediterranean boat people' are finding it easy to get into Oz:
Australia has diverted and detained more than 1,200 sea-borne migrants, leaving these asylum seekers in limbo, and Australians with a big problem!
So now, in an election campaign in which both main parties agree on the blanket rejection policy, politicians have been casting around for an international solution, a distant place to unload the wretched of Nauru and Manus, as if to say, “If we will not be misty-eyed, then who might?”Enter Justin Trudeau, dewy-eyed heartthrob of geopolitics, who has been busy telegraphing his benevolence toward refugees since long before his election. As one Australian parliamentarian put it, he is the “obvious” choice. (They think Trudeau is a patsy, folks!)
It is as if the Canadian PM appears to Australians like the poet Emma Lazarus’s famous Mother of Exiles, better known as the Statue of Liberty, who urges the world’s ancient lands to keep their “storied pomp,” and instead to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”But the very idea of that Canada would take Australia’s asylum seekers is “nonsense,” a “mean-minded” dodge of moral responsibility that suggests Australia is just trying to play a “naive” new prime minister for a “sucker,” said Colin Campbell, emeritus professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, and an expert in the comparative study of Australian and Canadian politics.
Margaret Perrott, a doctor who coordinates the Refugee Action Committee in Wollongong, south of Sydney, said she was moved to tears when she saw Trudeau standing in Toronto’s airport in December, welcoming refugees himself.
“I thought it was absolutely wonderful,” said Perrott, who lived in suburban Montreal as a child, so is well aware of the Trudeau brand. “I felt it would be nice to be a Canadian.”
This reputation — an extreme and specific version of the cloying, stereotypical niceness Canadians are saddled with when they go abroad — is why Trudeau leaped to the Australian mind, Perrott said. He offered a convenient way for Australia to dodge its moral duty and legal responsibility under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
There may also be tactical domestic considerations at play. Shipping a few planeloads of refugees to Canada would address Australia’s current legal crisis in PNG, he said. “But is also would show that Canada has its limits. They’d only take 10,000 or something like that, (to which Australia could reply), ‘See? They’re just as stingy as we are!’ ”The issue for Australian politicians then, is less about finding the refugees a new home in a nice socially democratic place like Canada, but in solving their own refugee crisis without actually letting them live in Australia. On this view, any country would do.
“Australians are bloody pig-headed and just impossible in the area of refugees,” Campbell went on. “They would build a wall around the continent if they could. This is part of the history of Australia, it just makes you want to retch. This whole state was started as a penal colony. It’s been exclusive ever since.”
“I’m not sure of the degree to which the suggestion that Australia might approach Canada to resettle some of these asylum seekers is, then, specifically about Canada under Justin Trudeau, or more about a policy that mandates settlement other than in Australia,” said Benjamin Authers of the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra, and a coordinator of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand.Other countries have also been proposed, Authers noted. One of them is New Zealand, but Perrot is convinced that idea is a non-starter because it is seen as a foothold to Australia, just as many migrants in Europe go to France but really want to get to Britain.