If I could just say a few words on border protection. The Rudd Government has completely lost control of our borders. We’ve had more than 100 boats, we’ve had over four thousand unauthorised arrivals. Before Mr Rudd changed the Government’s policy, there were three boats a year. Now we are getting three boats a week.
Keeping people in detention, turning around boats, holding people overseas and denying refugees permanent residency are hardly high-minded polices but they might be necessary to prevent a form of peaceful invasion.
Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition
The fear of a “peaceful invasion” by ‘boat people’ is unsupported.
In 2008-09, there were 13 507 visas granted under Australia’s refugee and humanitarian program. According to the DIAC, “[t]he vast majority of these people came to Australia on valid visas as part of our dedicated offshore refugee resettlement program or were proposed as special humanitarian program entrants – largely, they were not asylum seekers onshore in Australia or irregular maritime arrivals.”
The rate of arrival of ‘boat people’ is a mere trickle compared to the “tsunami” forecast by some. At the current rate of arrival, it would take 30 years to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground with asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Furthermore, the Australian government strictly controls the number of refugees it accepts from UNHCR for resettlement. The overwhelming majority of people who arrive in Australia by boat are assessed as legitimate refugees and are therefore incorporated into Australia’s annual refugee quota of 13,750.
The number of asylum applications lodged in Australia remains incredibly small in comparison to other industrialised countries. Of the 377 160 asylum applications received in 2009 across 44 industrialised countries analysed by the UNHCR, Australia received 6 170 applications (1.6 per cent). This number is small in comparison to the USA (49 000), France (42 000) and Canada (33 300). Of the countries in the study, “Australia was ranked 16th overall and was 21st on a per capita basis.”
The largest number of new asylum seekers between 2005 and 2009 were received by the USA, France, the UK Canada and Sweden. The first three of these countries received one-third of all asylum requests. By region, Europe has consistently received the largest number of asylum claims (286 700 in 2009) followed by the USA and Canada (82 300 in 2009). Australia and New Zealand received only 6 500 claims combined in 2009. These figures indicate that due to the geographical position of the region the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia and New Zealand will always be small compared with refugee migration in other parts of the world.
 Tony Smith MP, Interview with Tony Abbott (Joint Doorstep Interview on “CCTV cameras and crime; Kevin Rudd’s failed border protection policies”, 31 March 2010).
 Tony Abbott, The Australian Peaceful Asylum Invasion (16 October 2009) [Blog] <http://www.tonyabbott.com.au/LatestNews/Blog/tabid/91/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/7140/THE-AUSTRALIAN-PEACEFUL-ASYLUM-INVASION.aspx> at 14 August 2010.
 Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Annual Report 2008-09 (2010) 85 <http://www.immi.gov.au/about/reports/annual/2008-09/pdf/outcome1.pdf> at 14 August 2010.
 Email from Cian Manton (National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship) to Sashka Koloff (Journalist, ABC) (22 October 2009).
 Leigh Sales, Interview with Joe Hockey (Television Interview, 13 July 2010).
 Julian Burnside, ‘Abbott ignorant on boat arrivals’, The Age (Melbourne), 9 April 2010.
 Peter Van Onselen, Who’s afraid of 4500 boatpeople? (3 April 2010) The Australian <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/whos-afraid-of-4500-boatpeople/story-e6frg6zo-1225849056560> at 14 August 2010; Mary Crock et al, Future Seekers II: Refugees and Irregular Migration in Australia (2006), p. 63 note that “In 1999-2000, for example, 84% of primary application for protection by those in detention were successful. In contrast, only 5% of people who sought refugee status from within the community – these are people who arrived in Australia on a valid visa – succeeded in their primary claims.”
 Janet Phillips, Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts? (2010) Parliament of Australia: Parliamentary Library <http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/BN/sp/AsylumFacts.htm#_Toc260732952> at 2 August 2010.
 UNHCR, Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialised Countries 2009: Statistical Overview of Asylum Applications Lodged in Europe and Selected Non-European Countries (23 March 2010), < http://www.unhcr.org/49c796572.html >
 Refugee Council of Australia, ‘Australia Makes Modest Contribution to Protecting Victims of Persecution’ (Media Release, 24 March 2010) < http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/docs/releases/2010/100324%20RCOA%20response%20to%20UNHCR%20stats.pdf >
 UNHCR, Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialised Countries 2009: Statistical Overview of Asylum Applications Lodged in Europe and Selected Non-European Countries (23 March 2010) < http://www.unhcr.org/49c796572.html >