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A Practical Discussion of Australias Role in Ethical Policy Formation: The debate regarding asylum seekers and refugees - Essay Example

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For those in global and domestic society that aspire to sustaining human rights, the debate regarding the moral and ethical constructs associated with establishing policy to allow asylum seekers to be sheltered by Australian government is paramount…
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A Practical Discussion of Australias Role in Ethical Policy Formation: The debate regarding asylum seekers and refugees
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Download file to see previous pages The rationale for seeking asylum or selecting Australia as a migrant destination differ widely depending on socio-demographics in a foreign country, personal needs for security against public sources or government, or generalized personal welfare for establishment of a lifestyle in a nation that promotes justice and liberty. Whatever the rationale for asylum seekers and refugees, the acceptability of establishing government-mandated permissions and tolerance for these activities have conflicting social, political and moral concerns. A 2011 Lowy Institute poll of Australian voters in a randomized sample identified that 86 percent of respondents believed that refugees arriving in Australia by boat represented a significant security threat to the nation (Soutphommasane 2011; Hanson 2011; Perera 2010). According to one critical academic: “secreted in the crevices and dark, invisible spaces of these illegalised bodies and intruding small craft lurk the invading germs and threatening microorganisms of the tropics” (Soutphommasane 2011, p.3). There are few that could legitimately argue against the practical rationale for suggesting that some individuals seeking protection in Australia pose legitimate health risks to Australian citizens and also serve to potentially strain political relationships with foreign governments by establishing policies that tolerate and consent to refugee placement in Australia. However, outside of the pragmatic view of potential security risks and the aforementioned majority opinion supporting security concerns, there are broader moral and ethical constructs that range far beyond simply public opinion which have global implications. It is necessary to engage in discussion about the different schools of thought in ethics and morality in order to determine the magnitude of international implications for establishing tolerant policies toward the refugee and asylum seeker. Utilitarianism, Rawls’ Theory of Justice, Kantian Deontology, ethical relativism, and an argument of human rights must be identified and deconstructed to add support or refute arguments that asylum seekers or refugees should be turned away from Australia as a form of self-protectionism. These theories of moral and ethical function lay the foundation toward determining the acceptability and best practice standards related to social, political, security, and cultural implications of tolerance. Theories of Ethics and Morality Believers in the utilitarianism doctrine define the moral value of an action only by achievement of the most desired outcome of the action (Hume 2002). Utilitarianism seeks to identify the most pleasurable and desired outcome, where the ends will justify the means if the greatest utility has been achieved through a decision process or action. Hume (2002, p.52) refers to the “consequence of public utility” that should be the fundamental principle that guides government policy formation concerned with utility as the ultimate “bounds of duty” in order to achieve the genuine interests of public constituency. Utilitarianism maintains practical reasoning similar to the concept of hedonism, seeking maximum pursuit of self-serving pleasure, an action or belief that trumps benevolence and egalitarianism to assure maximum self-welfare and utility (Mees and Schmitt 2008; Lemos 2004; Overskeid 2002; Edwards 1979). Thus, under this principle, the argument against tolerating and permitting asylum seeking and refugee placement in Australia as it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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