Offshore Processing: assessing the success of Australia's offshore processing of asylum seekers in terms of policy objectives

Author: Ahmad Entizami

Entizami, Ahmad, 2017 Offshore Processing: assessing the success of Australia's offshore processing of asylum seekers in terms of policy objectives, Flinders University, School of History and International Relations

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Seeking asylum is not a new phenomenon as people have been seeking asylum throughout history. However, the reasons for seeking asylum have varied throughout history, from country to country and for individuals. At least three things changed since the Westphalia Treaty. One is the notion of the nation state and the principle of state sovereignty within border lines drawn between countries. Second is the magnitude of people movements around the world. Lastly, people are able to move not only to neighbouring countries but to far more distant countries like Australia, Canada and the United States of America due to cheaper and more accessible transportation facilities. Destination countries, like Australia, have tried different measures to deter people from randomly coming to their shores or borders from time to time. Since the early 1990s, Australia has taken many measures to stop people from coming by boat without valid visa. The most recent measure is to take them to Pacific countries in order to process their claims for protection. This thesis will argue that the government’s main objective of its various deterrence measures is to control the flow of refugees. The costs are also analysed in terms of the treatment of asylum seekers, the health issues developed by asylum seekers, and the financial burden, which leads to the Australian taxpayers having to foot the bills. The thesis explores whether the ‘Offshore Processing’ policy has been successful in serving its objectives or whether it has failed to meet those objectives. In answering this question, the thesis endeavours to test ‘Offshore Processing’ policy objectives against the current literature, commentary, newspapers, the Parliamentary Hansard and general knowledge of past experiences. The thesis will conclude that the policy failed to meet its objectives in its entirety but has been successful stopping the boats from coming to Australia.

Keywords: Offshore Processing policy, asylum seekers, refugees, Nauru, Manus Island, boat people, irregular maritime arrivals and illegal maritime arrivals

Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of History and International Relations
Supervisor: Professor Susanne Schech