Monday, 15 July 2013

Tow back not working in the US and won't work here

The Coalition have been citing the US practice of "turning back" boats as justification for their turn back policy. In an opinion piece, Abbott's copycat tow-back plan won't stop the boats, Azadeh Dastyari explains that the US policy breaks international law and doesn't work.
Finally, as the Coalition has itself acknowledged, the US practice of trying to stop sea vessels has been going on for more than 30 years. Had the boats stopped as a result of the policy, the US would not need to continue this costly practice. After more than 30 years of ''tow back'', the US is no closer to stopping people from taking to the sea in an attempt to enter the country. Nor has the practice of ''tow back'' prevented thousands of people from reaching the US every year. In other words, the US practice has not achieved what the Coalition hopes to achieve. There is nothing to indicate the Coalition would have any more success at stopping the boats than does the US government.

What the US experience has shown is that there is no quick and easy solution to the problem of asylum seekers who are escaping persecution. A bad copy of a ''tow back'' policy that has not worked and is unlawful in the US context, is not going to be the silver bullet the Coalition is looking for.

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