Here we go again: the asylum seeker debate

Most of us know of the ensuing battle between left and right relating to the issue of asylum seekers. Unavoidably. Obviously. But do we really understand the issue? It’s all too complex isn’t it? It’s too time consuming to plough through various political legislations and International agreements. It’s too irritating to read articles that are really all about political spin.

Well, take two minutes, read 200 words, get engaged:

On 29 August 2012 Australia and Nauru signed an agreement allowing the government to implement the ‘Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional processing and Other Measures) Act 2012’.  Now, don’t get put off by the wordy, political jargon. Simply, the legislation allows Australia the “capacity to process refugee claims on Nauru and PNG in ways consistent with the international law responsibilities of Australia and the host country” (Inside Story 2012).

Well, there is a new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, between Nauru and us, namely, it’s what the above legislation is based around. Basically, it’s objectives are:

Nauru has acknowledged that combating People Smuggling and Irregular Migration in our region is a shared issue.

Australia will foot the bill for Nauru’s Regional Processing Centre.

Australia will transfer ‘transferees’ to Nauru. Subsequently, Nauru will accept such ‘transferees’.

At present, when speaking of ‘transferees’, I mean, and the MOM means; “those who have travelled irregularly to Australia by sea, those who have been intercepted at sea by Australian authorities, those who have been rescued in such an attempt.” All people who fall under the above facets are required by Australian law to be transferred to Nauru (Ministry of Immigration Media Release 2012).

The features of this agreement trail on an on. But be reassured, the welfare of the above individuals is safeguarded by International laws. Additionally, individuals may not be returned to a country that poses imminent violence or political danger.

Also, it is on Nauru where an individual will be granted or denied the official status of ‘refugee’. This will be determined in correlation to the classification of Refugee in Article 1A of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as amended by the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (Ministry of Immigration Media Release 2012). 

Just the facts. See it’s not so bad. Is it?


Ministry of Immigration, 2012, Media Release 2012

Taylor, S. 2012, The Devil’s in the Detail, Inside Story, sourced online: of Immigration, 2012, Media Release


2 thoughts on “Here we go again: the asylum seeker debate

  1. Interesting post! But what about the treatment of asylum seekers in Nauru or the conditions of the facilities? I’ve heard that there has recently been cases of self-harm at the processing centre.

  2. Welfare of individuals is safeguarded by international laws. Regarding self-harm, it is difficult to surmise that it occurs directly as a result of off-shore processing. We need to remember that there are various societal factors that asylum seekers bring with them that may prompt this behaviour. Additionally, the mental status of various individuals is often compromised. It is a very complex issue i think. So, would you oppose Nauru? I’d like to hear your opinions.

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