02 December 2012

Andrew Farran to Scott Morrison MP

Guest post by Andrew Farran

On 20th Nov. 2012 I received a copy of a press release issued by the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison MP (see below). As will be apparent from my letter to the Australian Financial Review (published 20.9.2011 – see Andrew Farran to AFR on asylum policy), now over a year ago, I am no fan of the Government's policy on Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Neither am I a fan of the Coalition's policy, notwithstanding that I am a member of the Liberal Party.

As an international lawyer the press release prompted me to offer the following comments to Mr Morrison: 

1.         It is a distortion of language to group all these people as "illegal arrivals". That is rabble rousing stuff. If these people are legitimate asylum seekers or refugees, as most are, it is prejudging matters to describe them as 'illegals'.

2.         The point about having a foreign policy more focussed on Jakarta than Geneva is an implicit rejection of international law. Geneva is of course identified as a seat of international institutions and international good practice aspirations, and has been so since 1919. I need not say more. 

3.         To engage the navy in activity designed to deny internationally protected persons their legitimate rights at sea is an abuse of naval practice and tradition. To go too far in this direction is to risk extreme breaches of international law and practice - with consequences.

Are these really Liberal values and aspirations? 

Andrew Farran
Beaumaris, Victoria

On 20/11/2012, at 6:48 PM, Scott Morrison MP emailed:


The latest two illegal boats to have arrived in Australia, brings the total number of illegal arrivals to more than 30,000 people under the Rudd/Gillard government.

This is more illegal arrivals than the entire populations of centres like Warrnambool (29,286), the Blue Mountains (29,770), Albany (26,644). Mount Gambier (25,200), Alice Springs (24,210) Devonport (22,770) or Mount Isa (20,569).

More than half of these illegal arrivals have occurred during this year alone and Labor’s failure on our borders is worsening by the month, with an average of 2,000 now turning up every month.

The 30,000 people that have arrived illegally by boat under Labor compares to less than 300 during the last six years of the Howard government. That’s more than a one hundred fold increase.

It is clear that Labor doesn’t have a plan to stop the boats, just like they don’t have a plan to grow the economy.

It’s hard to have confidence in a government when it doesn’t keep the borders safe and secure. Labor just can’t stop the boats.

The Coalition has a plan to make our borders safe and secure again.   We will:

  • Give the Navy instructions to turn the boats around where safe to do so.  Just like they did under the Howard Government;
  • We will re-introduce Temporary Protection Visas and deprive the people smugglers of their business model, by denying them a product to sell – permanent visas with family reunion;
  • Work more effectively with Indonesia to stop people coming into our region, by having a foreign policy that is more focussed on Jakarta than Geneva, with Tony Abbott visiting Indonesia within a week of an election;
  • Support Sri Lanka to stop people leaving their shores and returning those coming on boats from Sri Lanka before they reach our waters; and
  • We will abandon Labor’s half-hearted approach to border security and restore the proven resolve of the Howard Government.

After more than 30,000 illegal arrivals, Australians want safe and secure borders again.

The Coalition will restore the successful border security policies and proven resolve of the Howard Government.

Policies and resolve that stopped the boats.


Scott Morrison MP
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

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