Four years ago, the Australian government sparked criticism after it ran an advertisement aimed at discouraging asylum seekers from traveling illegally to the country. “No Way”, the poster read. “You will not make Australia home. If you get on a boat without a visa, you will not end up in Australia. Any vessel seeking illegally to enter Australia will be intercepted and safely removed beyond Australian waters”.
It was an extremely tough message, but it worked. “Australia’s migration rate is the lowest it’s been in 10 years”, said Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister. Speaking last week on the Today Show, Dutton added that the drop was about “restoring integrity to our border”. The Australians are apparently happy about that. A new poll just revealed that 72% of voters support Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s immigration policy. Australia, a Western democracy, has for years, tried to deal with a migration crisis from the sea.
“Europeans think it’s easy in Australia to control our borders, but they’re just making up excuses for doing nothing themselves,” said retired major general Jim Molan, co-author of Australia’s asylum policy.
In 2013, Tony Abbott was elected Prime Minister under the slogan “Stop the boats”. “Stop the boats” is now also the slogan of the new Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who, since the formation of a new government last month, has been totally focused on curbing immigration from “the world’s most lethal” route: across the Mediterranean.