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Byron Shire
April 20, 2024

Refugees can be an asset to Australia

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Isn’t it time to look at the refugee issue from a new angle? As global diplomacy further and further deteriorates we keep on creating more and more refugees. Currently we see them as an impost. Why don’t we look at them as an asset to Australia?

They have obviously shown that they have the drive and initiative to get away from a dangerous and hopeless position and look for safety and a better life. I expect the last thing they would want is to be a burden on their new country.

I bet they would be willing to work in the most menial positions and in the most remote places as long as they can feed their family.

At this same time Australia experiences a shortage of almost every skill, especially the lower paid manual jobs. It is not only our wages structure but also this skill shortage that drives our industry offshore.

So, instead of exporting our industry to be performed by lowly paid workers overseas, wouldn’t it be smarter if we imported the workers, kept our industry and produced these goods here?

Not only would it save our foreign exchange currency, it would also help rebuild our skill base and be an investment for our future.

Surely, offering the refugees this chance would move them from being a cost, both financial for the detention and a cost our world status as a free and caring nation, to a taxpaying asset to Australia.

We have done it before, think of the post WWII migration, the building of the Snowy Scheme and, back 200 years, to the arrival of the first boat people.

Once the process is in place we could look at processing them for refugee status closer to their home country and thus save them the dangerous sea journey.

Certainly, we can’t take all refugees but once we show the world how we managed this issue there will be an outcry for settlers from every country. We may even end up with a situation where there is a shortage of potential settlers.

 Harald Ehrlich, Suffolk Park


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  1. It’s difficult to reply to a letter such as above because it displays [an] ignorance of the history of European settlement in Australia & the reasons that Australia still has the most egalitarian society on the face of the earth. I would start by suggesting that Mr. Ehrlich read the full 6 volume History of Australia by Manning Clarke & then a selection of the papers of Dr. Bob Birrell of Monash Universities Centre of Population Studies. He might then be in a better position to comment on Australia’s Immigration Policies.
    His letter seems to be suggesting that an open door Immigration Programme would lead to low paid workers enthusiastically embracing menial positions in remote areas of Australia whereas the studies of Dr. Birrell prove exactly the opposite, that is new immigrants of poor English speaking standards are congregating in selected areas of our major cities to the extent that in areas of Melbourne & Sydney English is the 2nd language taught in schools. Given that the latest UNHCR figures suggest that there are now some 50 million refugees world wide then Australia’s post WW2 ” populate or perish ” immigration push should now be more correctly labelled ” populate & perish.”


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