Asylum Policy, Boat People and Political Discourse: Boats, Votes and Asylum in Australia and Italy

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9781349703968: Asylum Policy, Boat People and Political Discourse: Boats, Votes and Asylum in Australia and Italy

This book compares the policies of Australia and Italy towards boat people who have arrived in the two countries since the early 1990s. While the regular and varied inflow of immigrants arriving at national airports, ferry terminals and train stations is seldom witnessed by the public, the arrival of boat people is often played out in the media and consequently attracts disproportionate political and public attention. Both Australia and Italy  faced similar dilemmas, but the nature of political debate on the issue, the types of strategies introduced, and the effects that policy changes had on boat people diverged considerably. This book argues that contrasting migration path dependencies, disparate political values within the Left, and varying international obligations best explain the different approaches taken by the two countries to boat people.

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About the Author:

Irial Glynn completed his PhD in history at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He subsequently taught at University College Dublin, Ireland, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at University College Cork, Ireland, and held a Marie Curie Fellowship at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is currently a lecturer in the Institute for History at Leiden University, the Netherlands.


“A significant contribution to public policy research and to our understanding of varying governmental policies to important regional refugee crises. The different policies adopted to boat refugees by Australia and Italy is a consequence of different migration histories, divergent political values and the different regional and international obligations of the two countries.” (Professor Gil Loescher, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK)

“Irial Glynn, in this urgently relevant analysis, enquires why there are similar and different responses [to immigration] in these two [Italy and Australia] between 1989 and today ... .  No similar contrasts have been researched and presented by others. His challenging analysis places electoral and party politics at the centre of reactions by these two democracies with rather different political histories ... . Australia, with its highly organised immigration system, emerges as tighter and more repressive than Italy, even though the full impact of recent arrivals has affected Italy more severely ... .” (Dr. James Jupp, School of Demography, Australian National University)

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