TPVs work – its one of the reasons they are objectionable and should only be used with extreme policy care

Various claims are made about the policy effectiveness of TPVs. The data (by year) does not support the claims by Jane McAdam published in The Age 5th Dec 2013. Specifically “the evidence shows TPVs do not have a deterrent effect”. Nonsense.

By contemplation – McAdam is attempting to argue that changing the possible outcomes from boat arrival asylum seekers will have no deterrent effect?

By statistics – in a period in which global refugees numbered 9.5M +-1M the chart attached shows Australian boat arrivals, and persons arriving by boat (irregularly) to Australia. That is, while the “push” factors are not changing massively, arrivals are changing significantly.

The issue is complex, and the motivations and deterrences are diverse, but the stats don’t support “do not have a deterrent effect” TPVs were implemented Oct 1999 (Howard) and withdrawn Aug 2008 (Rudd1.0).

“Indeed, the ineffectiveness of TPVs was the reason the Rudd government abolished them.” Let me simply say this is ludicrously far from any reality on multiple levels. The Rudd government commenced with the 6 years of very low arrival rates, and believed that abolishing TPVs would have no impact on that rate. There is no public record of any government minister ever arguing “ineffective” McAdam is simply making things up. By the time of Rudd2.0 the government was re-establishing a number of policy elements of the Howard Government. Indeed former Rudd Ministers, now in opposition, have claimed that the reduction in boat arrivals now is a function of those changes implmented late in the Rudd2.0 term of government.

Final comment “Under international law, temporary protection is an exceptional measure generally only applied in situations of mass movements of asylum seekers, when individual refugee status determination is impracticable because of those large numbers.” This is a impressive and complex sentence actually devoid of any substantial meaning whatsoever, but capable of being understood to say that TPVs are not a legitimate policy option, and somehow in breach of international law – this is false.

TPVs are legal, they are compatible with the UN Convention on Refugees, and it is reasonable to assume by contemplation and observation of effect that they have had and do have a deterrent effect.


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