When their Pacific gulags on Nauru and Manua Island turned toxic, Australia went looking for another dumping ground for refugees. They ended up cutting a deal with Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the region, and paying them A$55 million to resettle the people Australia didn't want. But that didn't work out, so Australia is looking for a new dumping ground: the Philippines:
Refugees who travelled to Australia by boat could be permanently resettled in the Philippines under a deal being negotiated, but senior government sources fear the premature leaking of the deal to the media could see the proposal scuttled.
The deal, reported to be worth about $150 million, would be similar to the one Australia struck with Cambodia to send refugees processed on Nauru to the impoverished nation. However that deal collapsed with just four refugees opting to resettle there at a cost of $50 million to the Australian taxpayer.
The deal was first reported by News Corp on Thursday, citing Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as saying: "The governments of Australia and the Philippines have long co-operated on irregular migration, people smuggling and human trafficking.
"These issues are important to both countries, and to the region."
Ms Bishop raised the matter with her Philippine counterpart at the United Nations in New York but no final agreement has been struck or signed.
Again, Australia's target is one of the poorest nations in the region, with widespread poverty and a climate of lawlessness and active insurgencies. It is, in short, the sort of place people flee, rather than a suitable place for resettlement. But Australia doesn't care about that - it just wants to dump its problem on someone else and ensure that poor brown people aren't allowed in Australia. And it will waste however much public money it takes to make that happen.