The Race Issue in Australia’s 2001 Election: A Creation of Politicians or the Press?

By Paul Kelly

A paper by Paul Kelly, spring 2002 fellow, tells the story of the Tampa, of Australia’s new and punitive refugee policy in 2001, of the reaction and role of the country’s leading newspapers to this event, and their complex connections. This transformation in Australian policy was the most dramatic by a democracy to combat the ever-increasing flow of asylum-seekers that began a decade ago. As right-wing anti-immigration sentiment gains influence across Europe, and the United States moves towards tougher policies against asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants as part of its new war against terrorism, the Australian experience offers a template of how intricate new forces may well play out. Kelly draws an urgent conclusion: Democracies need a deeper, more informed public debate to balance border protection with human rights.

Download the paper (PDF).