Every now and then a hopelessly overcrowded little boat arrives at Darwin. Jammed with refugees, it has made the hazardous voyage from Viet Nam with inadequate supplies, often with nothing more than a compass and a page torn from a school atlas as navigational aids. Typically the boat has far too many people in it for even reasonable comfort as the people scramble for places in the boat that they hope will bring them to a new life. More often than not the boat is in pretty poor shape. The refugees must know that there is a good chance that they will not survive (it has been estimated that at least half the ships sink on the way). The little boats were not designed for long ocean voyages and they are usually not in the best of shape to start with.

But still they come. Despite the dangers and the hardships they keep coming. The refugees may not know all the hazards into which they are thrusting themselves but they do know what they are fleeing from. So they continue to make the effort.

So far those who have reached Australia have been allowed to stay and efforts have been made to find jobs and places in the community for them. But there have also been voices raised in protest. Unemployment in this country is high so some ask, Why should we allow these people to come in and take jobs away from native-born Australians? Others point to recognized immigration procedures and ask why these people should be allowed to jump the queue. There have been allegations that some who arrive in the little boats are not really refugees, destitute and friendless, but wealthy people who choose this way of getting away from their problems in their own land and starting afresh in this one.

In our world there are many groups of refugees and no real ...

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