Mood shift

Has John Howard misjudged the Australian population in his latest policy towards refugees?

John Howard’s plan to appease Indonesia by relocating West Papuan asylum seekers overseas was in tatters last night after Nauru refused to co-operate and a poll showed the plan lacked public support.

In an exclusive interview with The West Australian, Nauru’s president declared that his country would not take Australia’s unwanted refugees.

It is believed that neither New Zealand, Papua New Guinea nor Fiji is likely to agree to accept refugees found to be genuine after they are processed in Australian-run offshore detention centres.

And a survey of West Australians this week has found that the Prime Minister could have misjudged the public mood, with most not supporting the Government’s so-called Pacific Solution, under which asylum seekers would be processed offshore.

An overwhelming 83 per cent of respondents to the latest Westpoll thought Australia should accept genuine refugees from the Indonesian province of West Papua, with just 13 per cent against.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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