In the last of the Trilogy of posts relating to the Boat People to Australia issue, I will address the wholly misplaced idea of this establishment of the JWG with Australia to discuss the whole issue of people getting on a boat to Australia.
What a farce the whole thing is? This is nothing more than an excuse for a junket so that next year a whole bunch of Sri Lankans will get a free trip to Australia at someone’s expense to talk about how successful or not they have been in stopping this smuggling. I cannot think of a more wasteful way to spend money.
If the Australians, IMMEDIATELY deport any asylum seeker back to SL upon arrival and the word spreads that there are NO exceptions, then this will STOP. The people smugglers who have made a packet, many of whom have links to the Govt. so they can find some protection, will evaporate and go out of business.
What is the use of a JWG? The most important issue, that should have been addressed but lies untouched, is the huge benefit to Australia (as it is a one way deal, no Australians migrate to Sri Lanka) from the legal migrants. Technically they can take as many as they want, and there would easily be 200,000 who may wish to go there, only about 10,000 of the best qualified are taken.
There has to some way of acknowledging the huge level of assistance given by Sri Lanka to Australia from these migrants who contribute immensely to their economy. They DO NOT remit money back to Sri Lanka, and in that respect are distinctly different to the workers who go to the Middle East, Singapore, and Korea who remit funds monthly to their families back home. The latter are on fixed term contracts, whereas the migrants to Australia go to live permanently.
As is normal this Government to Government tamasha, did not address this most important of issues, namely the value of this benefit to Australia and some way for the state to obtain relief in the form of a payment for the value of the Human Resource that the Australians receive. Whilst I have valued it at US$500M, even an annual payment of US$100M would be fine. However as the Govt. of Australia will not bribe any Sri Lankan govt. official who wishes to instigate this demand, there is no effort on the part of Sri Lanka to rectify this huge anomaly.
I therefore challenge the Government to put aside personal gain, and put the Country forward, by insisting that the Australian Government recognize and compensate for the value of the Human Resource it takes annually from Sri Lanka.