The Pacific Solution Essay

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The Pacific Solution was the name given to the Australian government policy (2001–2007) of transporting asylum seekers to detention centres on small island nations in the Pacific Ocean, rather than allowing them to land on the Australian mainland. It had bipartisan support from both the Liberal-National government and Labor opposition at the time. The Pacific Solution consisted of three central strategies. Firstly, thousands of islands were excised from Australia’s migration zone or Australian territory. Secondly, the Australian Defence Force commenced Operation Relex to interdict vessels carrying asylum seekers. Finally, these asylum seekers were removed to third countries in order to determine their refugee status. There were a number of pieces of legislation supporting this policy. The policy was developed by the Howard government in response to the 2001 Tampa affair and was implemented by then Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock. Asylum seekers were intercepted at sea while sailing from Indonesia and moved using Australian naval vessels. Detention centres were set up on Christmas Island, Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, and on the tiny island nation of Nauru. Some were also accepted for processing by New Zealand. Most of the asylum seekers came from Afghanistan (largely of the Hazara ethnic group), Iraq, Iran, China, and Vietnam. The last asylum seekers to be detained on Nauru before the end of the policy had come from Sri Lanka and Myanmar.[1] Under the Pacific solution, 30 percent were sent home, 43 per cent of asylum seekers resettled from Nauru and Manus Island ended up in Australia. The remaining were settled in other countries.[2] The policy was abandoned by the Australian Labor Party government of Kevin Rudd following its election in 2007. [edit] Case for the Pacific Solution The Pacific Solution was introduced as a deterrent to asylum

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