Explainer 153: Why is Australia so worried about refugees?
Uh-huh. Jordan Howard had already led the liberal national coalition to victory twice by two thousand one and he intended to do. So again, the leader of Australia's liberal party. Which is a strategy is conservative party carried a reputation for being a masterful mediator between factions? But there were signs of a shift in the electorate rising, petrol prices and the unpopular goods and services tax had helped lead to a slump in the polls, a wind of political change was blowing and it was coming from the right? I believe we are in danger from being spent by agents, they have their own culture and religion on get and do not simply action that I brought the how'd government to power in nineteen ninety six at also unleashed a new political firebrand upon the electorate. Pauline Hanson arrived on the public stage with a uniquely divisive brand of politics. And though she was dismissed by many a senseless provocateur from the fringes. Her message proved remarkably effective, even if she was often, not entirely control. I use in a phobic. Please. Explain is ineffective, you Maine's of fear of all things foreign no, I don't. No, I don't I am switchboards of talk back radio lit up with fears of migrants taking over and so called illegal arrivals threatening of stray Leah's national security, Prime Minister, John Howard, took characterizing asylum-seekers as 'queue-jumpers. Australia. Didn't operate an embassy in Afghanistan, all Iraq? The idea of a cue was a myth Australia's laws allow people to see asylum too. So they weren't illegal. And there was no indication that the relatively small number of boat arrivals represented a security threat. But with the opposition labor party echoing the governments of calls to strengthen Boorda policies. The debate quickly moved beyond facts and reason national securities they for about proper response to terrorism. It's also about having farsighted strong well-thought-out defense policy. It is also about having an uncompromising view about the funding. Mental right of this country to protected borders. Australia's government had successfully created a sense of crisis laws were tightened messaging was toughened. But it had also said itself a trap if the boats kept coming they'd carry the blame. Then only twenty fourth of August two thousand and one everything changed. A small Indonesian fishing boat had run into trouble in international waters about one hundred and forty kilometers north of Christmas Island and Australian coastwatch plane spotted the dangerously overcrowded Vom, but the government quickly decided that none of before one hundred thirty three asylum-seekers onboard. The vessel would ever be allowed to set foot? One a stray leeann soil the bird was left to whether a violent storm as a strategy considered. Its next move one of those on board would later tell these d- Morning Herald of a pack that he'd made with his fellow travelers if the boat began to sink, they join hands, and if they drowned they drown together eventually help did arrive not from stray Leah, but from Norway the MVP Tampa onto the direction of the strand, the Maritime Safety Authority was cleared to rescue all those on board the Palo Vom, captain on Renan was then to continue to the Indonesian port city of Nara. The nearest point at which a ship. The size of the Tampa could safely dock. But when the asylum-seekers realized what was happening they demanded it to be taken to a stray Leo or another western nation. A group ended the ship's bridge to confront captain Renan some had threatened to commit suicide. Remember, they said we have nothing to lose two days went by as captain Renan continued to request assistance from the strength government without success. Even went as far as sending out a mayday signal. Still nothing then around midday only twenty nine th of August. The captain decided to coal cameras bluff and proceed into a strean waters. Authorities told him that he was in flagrant breach of a stray Lian law that if he continued he could be charged with people's modeling, and that special as of troops would soon intercept the freighter, captain Renan did turn his ship around twice in fact, but h time he feared that the anger and deteriorating health. Among those onboard presented too much danger. The Tampa continued towards Christmas Island an external. Australian territory despite continued warnings from astray Leo as the ship approached the shore SAS officers, finally stormed the vessel. What a record my gratitude to the main of these striding, Finch fools who are involved in this operation. So is important on like this to remain. The main Engelman of fools are exposed to potential danger reports of an elite security force storming the Tampa delighted those who saw the missile as an illegal invasion of a stray Lian territory and the prime minister was quick to betray it as a successful mission. Peter Tinley was second in command be SAS counter terrorism squad when he spoke to ABC television, he recalled the incident in rather different terms when I spoke to the gods kind back off the boarding pilots. How did you find the group, and they said well bunch of refugees on not sure if I thought about the tread varmint in more. Dave that could have just sent vessel or Santa customers. It was such thing in the area, but I can't help. But feel that the Prime Minister John Howard viewed the SIS as something that would resonate politically to the message of border security. You can't amp it up more in the public's mind than saying, we're going to send in this IS will show you how tough we are on border security, Australia, reached out to Fiji Kiribati, and even the newly independent east team all in search of a country willing to accept the asylum seekers eventually the tiny island nation of now Rupe? What it's hand up in exchange for a payment of sixteen point five million trillion dollars six days after the rescue at sea. The Tampa affair was finally over. But Australian politics would never be the same. We have a proud record of welcoming table from one hundred forty different nations. But. We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come. The two thousand and one elections or John Howard's government, increase its majority. It was an astonishing turnaround for a party that had months earlier being questioning its future. It was partly timing voting took place, just two months after the nine eleven attacks in New York. What might have been a dreary election dominated by tax and budgets had erupted into a frightening debate refugees and terrorism. But even pulling Hanson see that prime minister Howard's victory something to her box of tricks, and as a stray Leah's days down this election that books of tricks as looking remarkably similar polling Hanson is back this time as a Senator and much like John Howard's unpopular goods and services tax, the recent World Commission into the banking sector had set the scene for what many thought would be vote on financial legislature. Then came the medieval. Bill a law designed to ensure that those held in offshore detention centers like now rue are able to receive vital medical care. The prime minister Scott Morrison says it will weaken stray Leah's Boorda's and encourage the people smuggling racket it's a line that worked for John Howard in two thousand and one whether it cuts through today remains to be seen. The Tampere affair may have led to a radical shift in Australia's attitude towards silence acres, but they're now hints that voters are increasingly questioning the policy of indefinite detention. The tricky thing about border protection is that most of the time people only talk about it, Wayne it's not working, but the policy is working as well as the government intends to work anyway. And yet voters are talking about it a wind of political change is blowing once again, and there may be no turning back. Monocle? I'm Ben Ryland.