What if we pay you to go back where you came from?

Remember in 2002 when the Howard government offered detainees in our state of the art detention facilities $2000 to go back to Iran and Afghanistan?

Always short of ideas and policies of his own, Abbott has revitalised the concept, considered inflation and taken the offer to up to five times the 2002 amount (not a bad increase in just 12 years). Now we hear http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-offers-iraqi-asylum-seekers-6k-to-return-home-20140624-3aqsh.html  the Abbott government is offering Iraqi and Syrian asylum seekers up to $10,000 to return to the warzones they fled.

In 2002……

“Woomera’s Afghan detainees signed a pact to reject a repatriation deal between the Howard government and the Karzai administration in Kabul. Under the agreement, refugees who fled Afghanistan’s war, repression and poverty are now threatened with forcible return. The Howard government, which is determined to exclude nearly all Afghani refugees, has declared that it will deport those who do not accept an offer of $A2,000 and a flight to Afghanistan.

Returning Afghans would be at risk of their lives in a country where US-led military forces continue to bomb and kill civilians in the name of the “global war on terrorism.” Basic infrastructure has been devastated and ethnic conflict and persecution continues. Canberra’s hypocrisy is exposed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s warning to Australian citizens not to visit Afghanistan because of the extreme dangers posed by the country’s ongoing conflicts.” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/07/refu-j10.html

Yet the Age informs us that “just last week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced $5 million in assistance to support Iraqis fleeing the country.” No information was made available about what that money was intended to do.

Obviously it wasn’t to help them pay smugglers so they had some chance of avoiding a probable more than 10 years stint in a refugee camp awaiting the improbable assistance of UNHCR

So what advice would the Department of Foreign affairs give to anyone thinking of travelling to Syria?

Advice             Issue date              Region                Alert Level

Syria 13/05/2014 Middle East Do not travel

and for good measure, here’s the current DFAT warning for Iraq

Iraq 24/06/2014 Middle East Do not travel


We have a saying that explains the dilemma this ‘offer’ puts the refugees in… “Caught between the Devil and the deep Blue Sea”

In Arabic the saying goes something like… “The choice between death and ……..lose everything and die” ….seems more apt as the deep blue sea got them here in the first place.

1 Comment

  1. The people running Australia’s Immigration Policy are a joke, thinking youj can pay people to go back to a place, which they have fled! The people that should be in charge of Australian Immigration policy and program should be the Refugees and put the Politicians in detention or perhaps send them back to where they have come? The Belgians may like our Finance Minister!


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