[The section presently reads Close the detention centres; Full rights for asylum seekers Open the borders, funding for settlement ]
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I think there are real problems with the call for open borders. Unlike other demands in the draft program this one is a maximum demand i.e. its realisation is achievable only under socialism. There is nothing transitional about it in the sense of taking existing levels of working class consciousness as our starting point. It has an all-or-nothing quality that dissolves the need for more considered policies addressing the actual current situation. If we are for open borders then how can we then call for a higher migrant intake, a higher refugee intake? How can we say we are for more family reunions and the abolition of business migration? These are all problems that will have no meaning if the borders are open. But that is a very big "if".
I believe there are serious problems with this demand especially in a section on the rights of refugees. Do the refugees have to wait until we have won a world without borders to come to Australia? In fact refugees have a right to enter Australia even with its borders. The concrete problem we face is that the Australian government is not meeting international human rights obligations that exist under international law, here and now, even in a world with borders. We let the government off the hook completely if we link the entry of refugees to some future utopian condition.
The call for open borders may have some propaganda value in a section on globalisation and the free movement of capital but is out of place in any section where policies are needed that address the pressing needs of some of our potential supporters — migrant workers and refugees.