While it is debatable whether moving detention centres offshore will have any effect on boat arrival numbers (“Boat influx must be stopped”, The Australian, 19/3), it is certainly false that detainee uprisings will be ameliorated by doing so. The latter have one simple cause: mandatory detention. When innocent people are imprisoned indefinitely without charge, in crowded camps run by private security companies, violence is almost inevitable. The further the camps are removed from public scrutiny, the worse it will be.
The Australian’s support for punitive visa rejections for demonstrators should be tempered by the fact that previous attempts to prosecute escaped detainees have failed, as the courts have ruled they were not legally detained in the first place. This primary flaw in both major parties’ refugee policy won’t be fixed by fiddling with its location, unless by doing so we hope to evade our own laws.