Immigration, refugee, asylum, and settlement policies as political issues in Germany and Australia



Hoadley, Stephen

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National Europe Centre (NEC), The Australian National University


This paper calls attention to the influence of politics on German and Australian immigration policies, which by extension include refugee, asylum, and settlement policies. It traces the evolution of German immigration policies, recounts the debates surrounding the SPD-Green government 1998-2002, and with reference also to Australia, draws some conclusions about politics and immigration policies. Germany's refugee policies, traditionally among the most liberal in Europe, were gradually tightened in the 1990s in response to a rising foreigner population, social tensions and political pressures. A vigorous debate in 1999-2000 led to a major study by the Süssmuth Commission and then to policy changes introduced by in the SPD-Green government’s Immigration Act. But questionable passage in the Bundesrat led President Rau to delay his signature and the opposition parties to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court. CDU opposition leader Edmund Stoiber attempted to make immigration an election issue by threatening to annul the Act if his party won the 2002 election. He did not win, but the Act was annulled in December by an adverse Constitutional Court ruling, and the government and opposition are manoeuvring to adjust and resubmit it. Australia too has been riven by controversy, particularly over interception, deflection, and detention of asylum to advocates on the one hand and politicians on the other. Building bridges over the conceptual gap from both sides is the most promising endeavour.



Australia immigration policies, German immigration policies, German refugee policies, foreigner population, asylum seekers, politics and refugees, asylum policy, settlement policy, detention centres




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Open Access

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