Here in Australia we are told that the idea of making refugees suffer is in the interests of fairness. It is claimed that people who arrive in boats have jumped to the front of the line thereby disadvantaging refugees who have been waiting in camps in other parts of the world for a long time. The punishment of boat arrivals is to discourage people from trying to skip the cue we are told. So that the number of people coming in boats will be less and this seems to be the case in practice. Looks like a lot of Australians are going along with this interpretation. They argue that Australia does take refugees from refugee camps in other parts of the world thereby fulfilling it’s obligations. The issue of how many refugees Australia decides to take overall is a related but distinct issue. I see that as a much bigger issue simply because of the number of refugees in the world desperately needing a home. Concentrating on the disgusting treatment of a small number maybe should not be distracting attention away from the massive dislocations happening now that are caused largely by climate change and the fight over fossil fuels, borders, prestige, and the free flow of trade or restriction thereof. But if this is the real justification for the brutal treatment of boat arriver's maybe we should ask all the refugees in the world how they would like us to treat boat arriver's. If they are the ones being protected by this policy, I would at least ask their opinion. The people of Australia feel obliged to play god in this way and try to manipulate the course of events. I am sure many believe it is the responsible choice. It seems counterintuitive but who is the right authority? The other argument given by some is that we will be swamped by such a large and increasing number of boats that it could present a harder to manage situation for the government in the future. I should know the likelihood of this being a real problem or not. Unfortunately I am shamefully ignorant of the future. But it is not a simple as it first appears.