A Country Too Far

Writings on Asylum Seekers

A Country Too Far

A Country Too Far: Writings on Asylum Seekers

edited by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally

Viking, $29.99 pb, 260 pp, 9780670077465

Australia is a country that will not be intimidated by its own decency. On 28 August 2001, as a detail of Special Air Services soldiers was dispatched to MV Tampa, Prime Minister John Howard spoke about the 438 people – mostly Afghan Hazaras – who languished aboard the freighter. ‘We are humane people,’ he told Mike Munro. ‘[B]ut on the other hand, I have to worry and my colleagues have to worry about the flow of people coming into this country. Now we have decided in relation to this particular vessel to take a stand.’ There is a blunt art to Canberra’s politics on immigration: it consists of assuring voters that asylum seekers’ detention and removal from our shores are the exception to the ‘national character’ – unfortunate, yes, invidious even – but essential in preserving this lone island as our own.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in March 2014 no. 359
Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Alex O’Brien is a Melbourne reviewer.

More in this issue « Outcrop Heterodox peas »