Boat People and Australia

According to the Australia Parliamentary Library, the first boat people to arrive in Australia arrived in April 1976 at Darwin, with five Indochinese men.

In the four years 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 Australia received a total of 143 Boat people, or an average of 37 per year.

In 2008-2009 it was 1,033 boat people arrivals for the year (about 3 per day)

In the first 11 days of 2009-2010 it was 73. (about 6 per day)


Boat people

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A term used in the media and elsewhere to describe asylum seekers who arrive by boat or attempt to arrive by boat without authority to enter Australia.
DIAC uses the term ??unauthorised boat arrivals’ or ??unlawful boat arrivals’.

Boat people arrivals 1999-2009

Financial Year Boat people Arrivals
1999 ??00 4,175
2000 ??01 4,137
2001 ??02 3,039
2002 ??03
2003 ??04 82
2004 ??05
2005 ??06 61
2006 ??07 133
2007 ??08 25
2008 ??09 1,033
2009 ??10 5,609
2010 ??11 4,940

The change in 2002-2003, with the massive drop in numbers, came about following the Pacific Solution that was brought into effect during 2001-2002, following the increasing numbers of these arrivals from 1999.

The Pacific Solution was the system of transporting all asylum seekers to detention camps on a number of island nations in the Pacific Ocean, such as Nauru, and not allowing them to land on the Australian mainland.

Both the Liberal-National government and the Labor opposition of the time agreed on this plan when put forward in parliament. Source

This action resulted in many boat people choosing to stay in places such as Indonesia, rather than risk the crossing only to be held in a camp while they are processed.

The Pacific Solution was discontinued in 2008.

2010 Update:

A form of this Pacific Solution is being proposed by the current ALP Government, but using different islands to the previous Liberal government.
This seems to have come about for the same reason as the original “Pacific Solution”: an increasing number of Boat people arrivals.

Year 2009 Asylum claims

from the UN Refugee Agency Report at:

Country Group Population Asylum Claims 1 Asylum claim per x of population
Europe 731,000,000 286,700 2,550
USA/Canada 341,058,550 82,300 4,144
Australia/New Zealand 26,652,171 6,500 4,100
Japan/rep of Korea 175,886,369 1,700 103,463

A Morgan poll was carried out in July 2010, with regard to the question of Asylum seekers, and the specific question of those arriving by boat.


The question was:

Should asylum seekers arriving by boat be allowed to apply for immigration as now, or should they all be returned and told to apply through normal refugee channels?

The answers were:

64% Be returned and apply via normal refugee channels.
26% Stay as now
5% Other
5% Can’t Say

0 0 votes
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