“Lankan boat people are economic refugees,” says Don Randall Aussie MP

Manjula Fernando, in Sunday Observer, 21 October 2012, with title “Aussie MP commends Sri Lanka Navy”  … see below for Web Editor’s Comments

Australian parliamentarian Don Randall has commended the role played by the Sri Lanka Navy to intercept boats carrying prospective illegal immigrants to Australia. Following a recent trip to Sri Lanka, he has written in his personal blog, “The Sri Lankan Navy is doing an outstanding job of returning these boats to where they depart from and we should expect similar assistance from Indonesia,” echoing what he said in a statement to Parliament.

He has also written that he was astounded to hear that the Sri Lankan migrants were in fact not fleeing persecution or threat of violence but ‘were keen to attain higher paying jobs’ in his ‘lucky country’. “I spoke to dozens of attempted asylum seekers who spoke very frankly with me about their circumstances and reasons for travelling to Australia,” he wrote adding that following those one-on-one meetings he was left in no doubt that those attempting to make the dangerous journey to Australia were not genuine asylum seekers but in fact economic refugees.

Randall, Member for Canning, has blamed the state’s current weak migration policies for the continued flow of boat people to his country. “I admire and love Sri Lanka and the beauty of both the country and the people that make it such a special place. I also understand why Sri Lankans would try and take advantage of our current weak migration policies and forge a better life for themselves and their families in Australia”. But he had emphasised that ‘Australia’s asylum seeker program is designed to provide refuge for the most vulnerable, the most persecuted, the most alienated and defenceless refugees across the world.’

Randall, Member for Canning, has blamed the state’s current weak migration policies for the continued flow of boat people to his country. “I admire and love Sri Lanka and the beauty of both the country and the people that make it such a special place. I also understand why Sri Lankans would try and take advantage of our current weak migration policies and forge a better life for themselves and their families in Australia”.

But he had emphasised that ‘Australia’s asylum seeker program is designed to provide refuge for the most vulnerable, the most persecuted, the most alienated and defenceless refugees across the world.’ He has criticised the ‘broken system’ that offers limited placements for those arriving after paying several thousands of dollars to people smugglers but denies assistance to those ‘desperately’ in need.

According to him last weekend alone, there had been 500 arrivals of people by boat. This Monday, four boats had arrived carrying over 300 people. Since announcing the reopening of Nauru processing centre, just two months ago, 70 boats have arrived carrying over 4,600 people. He said that since Labour won the 2007 election, there had been 27,192 arrivals. The Australian MP has called on the Government to ‘implement the full suite of policies that were so effective under the Howard government’ to curb illegal migration to Australia.

Web Editor: 1] It is quite astonishing that Randall is astounded. This dimension of migration from Sri Lanka, by legal or illegal means, has been a major factor for decades. 2] Though one must also beware of sweeping generalisations and attend to the force of political pressures in the context of war (including LTTE conscription) in the period 1983-2009; and 3] attend to the sense of alienation among some Tamils NOW which can contribute to efforts to migrate, 4] That said, RANDALL from West Australia must be commended for his attentiveness to SL voices and his readiness to visit Lanka and learn for himself. He is a far cry from spokespersons such as Senator Lee Rhiannon and Dr Damien Kingsbury and reporter Chris Slee who simply swallow exaggerated tales spoonfed into their gullible mouths by Tamil propagandists. Kingsbury and Slee recently spoke of 40,000 deaths in 2009 as a fact and referred to “white vanning” as if it was a weekly occurrence. If one requires an epitome of a CLOSED MIND, it is Kingsbury who probably has not visited Lanka even once in recent times. 5] Sri Lanka has suffered from Sinhala and Tamil chauvinist extremists for decades; and still does. So it is with some chagrin that I contemplate Australia’s moral crusading extremists and the LIES and exaggerations they adhere to and spread so readily

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Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, economic processes, island economy, life stories, LTTE, population, propaganda, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

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