Smugglers offer alternatives to boat travel
A secretly recorded conversation with an Indonesian people smuggler details the new products being offered to transport asylum seekers.PT5M26S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2w81n 620 349 October 26, 2013
''Tony Abbott makes a beeline in my arse,'' says people smuggler Reza Kord on a secretly recorded phone call recently.
It's a particularly rude piece of idiom in the Farsi language, apparently, but just one of the unkind things being said about the new Australian Prime Minister among people smugglers and asylum seekers in Indonesia.
If Australia's aim was, in Julia Gillard's words, to ''smash the people smugglers' business model'', then the recent policy changes have done the job.
Smashing the model has fragmented it into a series of complex and expensive alternative options, proposals and pipedreams, which, even if they are possible, will never see the huge volume of people hitting Australia as we've seen in the past.
In Cisarua, it's Abbott copping the blame.
''All Australian prime ministers have been chosen for two terms,'' one people smuggler was recorded saying recently. ''Two terms means six years. Without any doubt, for six years, Australia's door will be shut for asylum seekers.''
The irony here is that it's not Abbott's policies, but Kevin Rudd's uncompromising final stand - the Papua New Guinea and Nauru options - as well as Indonesia's decision (under pressure from Labor) to stop Iranians using visas-on-arrival to get to Indonesia, that have stopped the people traffic in its tracks.
So, why is Abbott being accused of making the beeline? Because his tough talk - known in the finance industry as ''jawboning'' - has almost fully convinced the people smugglers and their customers that this time Australia means it.
Labor's frequent policy reversals encouraged the impression that asylum seekers merely had to wait and the door would inch back open.
Of Abbott they hold no such hope.
So, now, in desperation, they are casting around for alternatives.