Boat people: another view (letter)by Guy CaruanaNews Weekly
, June 1, 2002
Dr Michael Barr (NW
, May 18, 2002) challenged News Weekly
to articulate a cohesive policy on refugees. To develop a position on anything, one starts by classifying the priorities, eliminating all illegal options.
In the April 20 issue, Dr Barr focused on the "children overboard" affair, even though the incident is a clear case where one can make "highly selective use of the known hard facts to give a false impression" ... to use his own words. For this reason, Dr I.C.F. Spry's reply (May 4) failed to satisfy him.
For my part, the most serious aspect of the new wave of "boat people" is that they are being brought here illegally by "people smugglers", as a hard fact.
Therefore, the Government is entitled to do whatever it deems necessary to destroy the smuggling networks.
Some adverse consequences will be inevitable: on the boats, in the water and on the land, but the evidence suggests that the networks are collapsing. So the Government is on the right track.
Moreover, I have not heard of any alternative proposal - so the Government can safely continue with its policy.
Now, we can blow the smoke-screens away and start thinking about our own preferred positions on refugees and asylum seekers.Guy Caruana,