While door-knocking in different demographic areas we asked people on both sides of politics about asylum seekers. The biggest benefit we found was after agreeing on a way to deal with the issue, it split up the issue into its multiple parts and allowed people to respond to each without getting emotionally stuck in the overall issue. After agreeing on a process people were much more relaxed to talk about how many do we accept.
1. The global issue
We described the global issue. War zone's we have contributed to starting, eg: the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, have created moral justifications for others to start war and instability. This has increased asylum seekers. Asylum seekers travel through countless countries to find asylum, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, before coming to Australia. In the asylum centres in Indonesia and Malaysia the conditions are not up to International Human Rights standards.
During the Vietnam War close to 60,000 Vietnamese asylum seekers were accepted.
2. What we all accept
We asked what can we all accept in the asylum seeker debate.
2.1 The overwhelming majority agreed that stopping the boats with the navy and putting a wall around Australia is not a long term solution - as history as shown.
2.2 We must discuss with and come to an agreement with our neighbours such as, Indonesia and Malaysia on a collaborative approach.
Now that we had things we could all agree on we had to confront the things we didn't agree on.
3. Suggestions that the majority agreed on
We made suggestions that the majority may agree. These are the suggestions the majority seemed to agree on:
3.1 Use some of the money we use for border security to increase the human rights in asylum centres in countries such as, Indonesia and Malaysia to International Human Rights standards.
Benefit: We are increasing human rights in the countries around us and starting dialogue with our neighbours to collaboratively address the issue and create a regional and possibly global solution that will benefit everyone.
3.2 Anyone who comes by boat has to go to the asylum centres in partner countries to apply for asylum.
Benefit: It stops the boats because people are not going to get on a boat when they have to go to a centre possibly up the road from where the boat is instead. It will stop deaths at sea because people will not be getting on unseaworthy boats. The centres have been increased to International Human Rights standards so the conditions are good.
3.3 Consider the people who have been waiting in asylum centres for a long time for asylum. Some asylum seekers in centres in Indonesia and Malaysia have been waiting for asylum for a long time and therefore may be more unlikely to be economic asylum seekers.
Benefit: Helping people in need.
3.4 Now that we agree on a process how many do we accept?
Benefit: It split the issue into its multiple parts and when people had agreed on a process, how many do we accept became a much more enthusiastic thing to discuss. In our interpretation it seemed people were more relaxed to accept more. During the Vietnam War close to 60,000 Vietnamese asylum seekers were accepted.
This solution may not be perfect but it may be developed collaboratively by the people creating a long term solution with other benefits such as increased human rights in the countries around us. It may establish the groundwork for a more improved solution in the future using parts or all of the suggestions, as we learn from the impacts of this solution.