Fleeing war, one may not get a choice of itineraries

Greg Sheridan is absurdly hyperbolic to describe refugee boat arrivals as “a catastrophic loss of Australian sovereignty”, and to infer that because some refugees do not come directly from their home countries, there is an “illegal immigrant industry” (“ALP goes to water as boats threaten sovereignty”, The Australian, 24/3). This proves only that when fleeing war, one may not get a choice of itineraries.

It is becoming tiresome to have to repeat that it is not illegal to apply for asylum, yet Sheridan uses the word twelve times in as many pars, as if trying to hypnotise the reader into accepting its validity.

Sheridan blindly attributes increased arrivals to Labor policy changes. There is no evidence that the mouse of Australian policy has an effect, relative to the elephant of global events, in terms of applicant numbers. Temporary protection visas rightly earned Australia international condemnation, as mandatory detention continues to do, yet Sheridan ruthlessly slanders its victims by implying their desperate protests are somehow phoney “techniques”.

If he is unable to visit Afghanistan, I advise Sheridan to go to a detention centre and talk to some of the prisoners there. He may then be less willing to use their misfortunes as an aid to frivolous Labor-bashing.

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