The votes haven’t been counted for Saturday’s federal election, but the boats are already on their way.
Illegal immigration used to be a huge problem for Australia, as migrants paid people smugglers in Asia to bring them to the ‘promised land’ of welfare funded by (increasingly poor) Australians.
In the post-Covid years of financial ruin – staring down a possible recession – the last thing Australia needs is a fresh wave of illegal migrants to further strain the system that can barely handle its citizens. This is what appears to be on the horizon, as a boat is stopped by Sri Lankan authorities today headed to a ‘foreign country’ (almost certainly Australia).
In pursuit of the soft activist vote, Labor has proved itself willing to sacrifice border security in the name of virtue signalling. People smugglers know that, and have set their trade back into action in preparation for a Labor win.
This time, a fishing boat and two dinghies were stopped by authorities containing 40 people.
The Liberal Party got a lot of things wrong during its term, but when it came to stopping the boats – its consistent policy regarding illegal immigration all-but shut down the people smuggling trade. Karen Andrews, the Minister for Home Affairs, recently warned that boats would be back on the agenda if a Labor government was elected this weekend.
Despite Anthony Albanese promising to keep Operation Sovereign Borders and offshore processing, Labor’s ranks are full of open-border activists while the Greens (who wish to de-Carbonise the military), would rather stick a ‘Welcome’ sign in the sand. It seems people smugglers are confident that if they arrive, public pressure from activists will quickly force Labor to flip on their election promises.
Not that Liberal voters would be happy if they saw the government figures for approved refugees (which rose in the absence of boats).
Julia Gillard’s refugee intake between 2010-13 was 21,790, 23,423, 30,061, and 34,285 (for each year). Abbott’s run between 2014-15 was 35,565 and 36,917 which continued under Malcolm Turbull to 42,187, 48,480, and 56,934. Those figures continued to climb under Scott Morrison until the global Covid pandemic saw borders closed. Still, refugees were being accepted while Australian citizens were locked in their homes and prevented from travelling.
Generosity is one thing, but Australians are concerned about the stresses put on capital city infrastructure while country towns are furious about the government putting thousands of people ill-suited for rural living into tiny, close-knit shires.
In an election dominated by the sentiment of ‘bad’ v. ‘worse’ – there is no doubt that Albanese will be ‘worse’ when it comes to the people smuggling trade.
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