Working Paper

Deterring the "Boat People": Explaining the Australian Government’s People Swap Response to Asylum Seekers

Published 1 January 2013 / By Reza Hasmath

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This paper explains why the Australian government has taken a tough stance on ‘boat people’, through an analysis of the People Swap response. The findings support the view that Australia’s asylum seeker policy agenda is driven by populism, wedge politics and a culture of control. The paper further argues that these political pressures, in sum, hold numerous negative implications for the tone of Australia’s political debate, the quality of policy formulation, as well as for asylum seekers and refugees themselves.


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