Borderline: Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers
UNSW Press, $29.95 pb, 229 pp
The year 2001 marks the centenary of the Federation of Australia and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. There are important linkages between these milestones. Australian Federation was driven, among other factors, by the desire to gain sovereign control over immigration. Despite the demise of the White Australia Policy and Australia’s early support for the Refugee Convention, Australia’s present-day treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers shows us to be a nation that is still defined in negative terms, through the exclusion of others.