Massive increase in asylum seeker numbers prompts former immigration official to urge fresh boat policy
- John Masanauskas
- Herald Sun
- June 06, 2013
A FORMER senior immigration official says Australia must slam the door on boat people as new figures reveal the massive increase in asylum seeker numbers in recent years.
Five years ago there were only 23 applications for asylum from boat arrivals over a 12-month period.
That figure soared to about 7400 applications in 2011-12, according to a new Immigration Department report.
There are now more asylum requests from boat arrivals than from people who fly to Australia, despite the Gillard Government reintroducing offshore processing.
Former immigration first assistant secretary Des Storer said the policy wasn’t working and the Parliament should pass a law stopping people from seeking asylum once they reached Australia.
“If you come here without papers illegally on a boat then you can’t even apply for a visa,’’ he said.
“In my view it would send a stronger signal that this is the only way to really tackle it. It requires really drastic action.”
Mr Storer, who served under and was highly respected by both Labor and Coalition governments, said asylum seekers should be given the choice of returning to their home countries or being sent for processing in a safe area overseas such as a refugee camp.
“Our policy would be we’re not going to apply the refugee convention here because we don’t have the law to be able to do it,’’ he said.
The top boat arrival groups putting in refugee claims last year were Afghanis, Iranians, Iraqis and Sri Lankans.
The report said there was an estimated 61,000 illegal migrants in Australia as of June 30 last year, including 43,500 visitors overstaying their visas and 10,600 foreign students.
There were 35,000 visa cancellations in 2011-12, with the top countries India, UK, US and China.
Some of them are convicted terrorists, and killers:
Labor won’t want to publicly argue the toss over “terrorist” – given the company this boat person kept – butÂ nor should the Coalition call him a convicted murderer:
Sayed Abdellatif, an Egyptian asylum seeker who arrived in Australia in May 2012, has been labelled a “convicted jihadist terrorist” by the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, and in numerous media reports. Last Thursday Australian federal police deputy commissioner Peter Drennan told a Senate estimates committee that Abdellatif had been convicted of premeditated murder and possession of explosives…
The furore over the case has plagued the prime minister over the past week in Canberra, with opposition politicians scathing about the fact that the immigration minister, Brendan O’Connor, was not told that Abdellatif had been housed in low-security detention up until August…
But … Abdellatif’s Cairo lawyer, Muntassir al-Zayyat, said that his client was not accused or convicted of murder or bomb charges at the 1999 trial. ..
“Not at all. The accusations were only joining a secret organisation and being party to a criminal agreement to topple the regime [of Mubarak, who was later overthrown in the 2011 Egyptian uprising]. There was no killing mentioned at all.”…
The court documents … show that Abdellatif was charged in May 1999 for “joining a group that was established against the rules of law [and] held leadership in it”, and “participating in a criminal agreement”. Further documents appear to show that Abdellatif successfully overturned the charges of “criminal agreement” years later. Abdellatif is understood to be challenging his conviction for being a member of an extremist group…
Abdellatif was convicted as a member of “Jihad Tanzim” or Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an Egyptian terror group. On Friday Fairfax media revealed Abdellatif had worked as an accountant for the Kuwait-based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage, an organisation that was blacklisted in 2002 by the US for its links to al-Qaida. Ian Rintoul, an advocate working for Abdellatif in Sydney told Fairfax that Abdellatif had been working for the group years before it was deemed a threat.
Greg Sheridan on how Labor’s boat people disaster is leaving with us with a dangerously unassimilated minority:
This boatpeople phenomenon is essentially a determined Muslim immigration….
The case of convicted Egyptian terrorist Maksoud Abdel Latif illustrates how the security system is overwhelmed by the present numbers, but it is not the key policy question.
Assume that 40,000 of those who have arrived so far are Muslims, mostly low skilled and with limited English. Assume that eventually they will all stay in Australia, which is the only rational assumption if policy doesn’t change radically. Then assume that, on a very conservative basis, each is responsible, eventually, for one family reunion immigrant, whether a spouse, fiance, parent or sibling. That is a cohort, so far, of 80,000 low-skilled Muslims with poor English predominantly from countries that have the most radical and extreme jihadist traditions in the world…
The Immigration Department’s figures, released last year, revealed that five years after arrival the rate of employment – not unemployment but employment – of Afghans was 9 per cent, while 94 per cent of Afghan households received Centrelink payments. From Iraq, 12 per cent were employed while 93 per cent of families received Centrelink payments. Overall, households that came under the humanitarian program had 85 per cent receiving Centrelink payments after five years…
We are allowing, indeed attracting, a huge cohort of unskilled Muslim immigrants who have not been chosen by Australian policy or process. But there are almost no unskilled jobs, which is why we stopped unskilled migration in the 1970s. If it follows even remotely the European pattern,Â this cohort will be characterised by high unemployment, intergenerational welfare dependency, high crime rates, social problems across a broad spectrum and a minority tendency to extremism.
ASIO chief David Irvine told the joint committee on intelligence and security that vetting boatpeople involved a “very, very considerable allocation” of ASIO resources but this was “not a misallocation” since in the past two years it found 58 people who should not be allowed into Australia because of the potential security risk.
ASIO said plane arrivals were time-consuming but they have “a passport and at least they do not have four different dates of birth or three different names.”