Australia has had a long history of receiving individuals and groups who are seeking asylum as well as unfortunately a long history of turning those away who are perceived as different. (McKay,Thomas & Blood 2011).Even though the white Australia policy was abandoned decades ago it still lives on as a strong resonance in the conservative right of politics (Westoby & Ingamells, 2010). Community fear about Australia’s border seem easily triggered, which has prompted the term ‘paranoid nationalism’ to be used to describe the heightened refugee politics of the Howard years linked to discrimination and maltreatment of asylum seekers which still lives on today (Westoby & Ingamells, 2010). This paper will use the term asylum seeker to identify
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This wave was quite significant compared to the previous waves as it involved organised links with ‘people smuggling’ syndicates from Southeast Asia (McKay, Thomas & Blood, 2011). The Howard Government’s ‘Pacific Solution’ to the third wave of asylum seekers was to place them in remote offshore detention facilities for an indefinite period of time while their cases were determined, rather than allowing them onto the Australian mainland where they would have access to Australian immigration laws (McKay, Thomas & Blood, 2011). At the same time as this off shore method of detention, news media and public hostility towards asylum seekers intensified dramatically. This heightened hostility was fuelled by the news media, in error, labelling the arrivals as ‘queue jumpers’ ‘illegal asylum seekers’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ and therefore asylum seekers were seen by many as a threat to Australian national identity ( Bessant, 2002; McKay, Thomas & Blood, 2011; Pickering, 2001).
The third wave of arrivals peaked with three key events in 2001. In September 2001, the Howard Government refused entry to the Norwegian freighter, the MV Tampa, after the ship rescued 438 Afghani asylum seekers from a sinking Indonesian ship. The Howard Government created a number of excuses through the news media to justify their reasons for not allowing the Tampa entry to Australian