Critics’ Reviews

Future Seekers II is the ideal book for the concerned citizen wanting to know if Australia now strikes the right balance between compassion and national interest in our treatment of asylum seekers arriving without visas. Like its predecessor Future Seekers, this book is user friendly with chapter summaries of key points and statistics which put Australia’s concerns and responsibilities in a global context. Written by legal academics able to communicate with a broad public, this book provides a comprehensive, reliable over­view of Australian law and policy. – Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO

Future Seekers II cuts through the media hysteria to present the facts. Facts that will surprise many readers. Who are the refugees? How many of them are there? What are Australia’s obligations under the relevant international conventions? What has been the effect of the radical new immigration laws introduced since Tampa? What has it cost Australia, both in financial and moral terms? Where do we go now?

The authors of the book are legal academics and, as the title implies, this is their second work on the subject. It goes into more depth than the first – providing a detailed history of the ‘irregular migration’ into Australia since the 1970s, and analysis of the legislation and case law governing every aspect of the asylum seeker process – from entry into the country to final appeal before the High Court and beyond.

However the text has been made user-friendly with chapter summaries of key points, break-out boxes with heartbreaking personal testimony from the refugees and a clean direct style.

The authors, for the most part, avoid moralising and simply state the facts – and this is the strength of the book. The facts are so strong they leap off the page. … – Civil Liberty, September 2006

… recommended for reading by every Australian

Future Seekers II is a book that every Australian could, and probably should, read in order to make sense of the complex, but very human, topic of the law affecting asylum seekers and refugees. Developing an informed understanding is sometimes due to media hype and political rhetoric … This text is therefore a valuable resource, providing a comprehensive overview of Australia’s response to refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migration.

This is not to say that the text is a dispassionate and dry account of the key cases, legislation and government policy. It is immediately apparent that the authors are not supportive of recent government policy that is described variously as unconscionable, harsh and punitive. They unflinchingly document the problems and negative impact these policies have created on those seeking asylum and on the Australian community at large. However this does not detract from the careful analysis of the relevant statistical information, case law, legislation and government policy. The authors are well qualified to tackle the topic. All three come from different universities, with a large body of published works on refugee issues, and all actively involved in a wide range of human rights and international law organisations.

… Some of the most interesting topics are covered in Part 3, in which the authors review some of the world’s best practice examples in handling asylum seekers. They note how other countries, while shouldering a far greater burden in terms of numbers of asylum seekers, use a wider definition of “refugee” than Australia, and manage their obligations without recourse to mandatory detention. – Australian Law Librarian, Vol 15 No 1, 2007

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