With one notable exception, there are many more non-Australians who would like asylum here than there are Australians seeking asylum elsewhere.
As we learnt at the funerals from a previous tragedy, many are pursuing family reunion by other means. They all raise the wherewithal to pay for their passage, many are from functioning societies. Each one costs the tax payer a small fortune, some have sought asylum more than once. They jump the queue of genuine refugees that would otherwise be settled here. The smuggled people are a source of deep division within the Australian community. Surely there is a better system than who dares wins.
The Howard policy worked. Boat arrivals were reduced to a trickle, the newer of the two detention centres was empty when I last visited Christmas Island, it seemed a white elephant. The left chanted in unison that the policy was immoral. The Labor party repealed it. Surprise, surprise … the detention centres are full to overflowing, the tax payer is financing an army of lawyers and public servants, people are drowning, people are languishing in prolonged detention. This is not only immoral, its bloody stupid.
A return to the policy that worked is open to the Labor government. That looks too like defeat for them. They have a Malaysian solution, remember that the High Court has had something to say about that. Labor whines that the opposition prevents them from implementing it. Labor have been able to implement a lot of unpopular policies, indeed they boast about their ability to do so. They are the government, but only when the Greens permit.