What happens next?
There are a number of solutions proposed by different public interest groups. All start with closing the centres on Nauru and Manus Island, PNG. The #Safetyforall campaign is gaining momentum. Please refer to the section on “What action can I take?” for more information.
All agree that the solution to the problem is regional, not local.
All agree that the funds directed to maintaining the centres would be better spent in the region.
All agree that stopping people drowning at sea is a good thing but that locking up innocent people is no solution.
Some support continuing the boat turn back policy as an effective means of stopping boats from arriving in Australia. If Australians are happy for people seeking asylum in Australia to be returned to their home country and to jail, torture or worse, then this policy should continue.
Some suggest that a system of regional cooperation, akin to the process after the Vietnam War, would reduce the need for people to ever get on a boat. There is potential for temporary settlement closer to home that would form part of a pathway back to their home country once conflicts are resolved. It would assist with nation building.
Such a plan merely needs an architect. For that architect to be Australia there would need to be bipartisan agreement and a spirit of cooperation that would last many decades.
Such a plan could be funded with the monies currently spent on detaining people off shore.
It would start by creating a conversation that truly values human life and does not demonise the victim for political gain.
Such a plan would go a long way to regaining our reputation as an honest, law abiding, humane nation that is a good global citizen committed to a positive outcome for all.
At the Edmund Rice Centre, we believe that people can change their world. The situation for transferees on Manus Island, PNG and Nauru is a grave injustice that people (you and me) can change.