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Asylum seekers and boat people are a world wide problem. People smuggling is the third biggest illegal earner after drugs and weapons on this planet.
Therefore it should not be the boat people that we declare war on but the smugglers.
Howard used this issue and the plight of the persecuted as a political football and it thereby became a public issue, as opposed to one of law enforcement.
Who we should crack down on is the criminal and corrupt element in Indonesia, from fishermen to government officials, who line their pockets by carrying people to Australia.
Both parties have failed on that and Julias "Timor solution" will turn out to be the worst blunder made in this election campaign.

Difficult to address the issue of Asylum seekers by aiming at smugglers when the vast majority of asylum seekers arrive in Australia via the airport.

Sorry Exford, but the people arriving on airplanes are mainly illegal immigrants.
Some industries do love them. :)

About 10% of our humanitarian immigration program is attributed to asylum seekers arriving by boat. 90% arrive through other means (can only think of one other way to go about it to be honest...).

Also, nothing illegal under Australian law in arriving in Australia (under whatever means) and claiming political asylum. Generally, we catch those out who are not genuine (roughly 10% under Howard's Pacific Solution) and send them home, and the rest settle in Australia and by and large contribute to their new home just as much as anyone else. The politicising of human traffic in this sense is despicable by both sides of politics. I read in the New York Times in 2001 that that election was essentially a battle between Omo and Rinso as to who can deliver the whiter Australia, after Abbott's protestations about the "influx" of boat people, I fear the same this time around....

Thanks for the comments, folks. There should now be feedback on the piece over at ninemsn.

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