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Australia: boats, drownings and refugee policy

While Europe is facing an immigration crisis, with unprecedented numbers of refugees being shipped by people smugglers on rickety boats across the Mediterranean – with many drowning – Australia is at the opposite end of the curve, having stemmed the flow of boat people in the last two years. However, the debate rages on around issues of ethics.

Peter Riddell, Vice Principal (Academic) at the Melbourne School of Theology, and is a senior fellow of Kairos Journal.

Figure Image
Refugee boat | photo: paulwallis.net

The 15 years since the turn of the millennium have seen the refugee pendulum swing wildly. In 2000, the Conservative Coalition Government led by Prime Minister John Howard faced increasing numbers of refugee boats reaching Australia’s shores without government approval.