RCSS Lecture on ‘Australian Asylum Seeker Policy: Sound Policy or Smart Politics?’

3 September 2013 – 3 September 2013 |  RCSS, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Asia Foundation Lanka Corps Fellow and RCSS intern Charles Aruliah analysed the recent ‘u-turn’ in Australian asylum seeker policy. He argued that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s decision to resettle all refugees in Papua New Guinea was a political calculation which willingly played on several public misconceptions for political gain. By overlooking factors such as Australia’s asylum capacity vis-a-vis other industrialized countries or the stories of genuine distress in which smuggled asylum seekers arrive, Rudd’s government was able to justify a policy which would, for all intents and purposes, remove Australia as a place of refuge, leaving its neighbours to pick up the pieces.