Stop the boats – it’s cheaper to fly

By the numbers

Forget for a moment that asylum seekers are actually people with hopes and dreams just like us. Let’s focus purely on the numbers. Take your humanity out of the equation and let’s see if we can find a more cost effective way of dealing with asylum seekers.

The cost of detention

According to the Sydney Morning Herald the cost of keeping asylum seekers in detention has hit 1 billion dollars. The past financial year, Manus Island has cost taxpayers $632.3 million to “accomodate” 1060 asylum seekers ($596,500 per person). Nauru comes in slightly cheaper at $582.4 million for the 1167 asylum seekers ($499,000 per person). An average of $545,442 spent on each asylum seeker per year.

Let’s consider a best case scenario where the average cost of detention is lowered to $400,000 per person. Here’s what we could do with that money instead.


1) Buy asylum seekers a first class ticket to Melbourne ($5,000)

Stop the boats lets fly asylum seekers here test 2

2) Provide a chauffer driven stretch Limousine from the Airport to the CBD @$230 per hour ($700)


3) A bottle of Penfolds, 1959 Grange as a welcome gift ($4,850)

Penfolds Grange 1959


4) A new Commodore SV6 Storm on arrival ($40,839)


5) A year long stay at the Langham Hotel in the Grand Classic Room for $280 per night ($102,200)


6) Including daily buffet breakfast, $30 per day ($10,950)


7) Fuel to cover a years driving, $1.40 per litre. 15,530km @ 10L/100km ($2,174)

PETROL RELIEF: Petrol prices have fallen slightly following the opening of the new Coffs Harbour United Petroleum service station.


8) A sample of 365 different lunch venues across Melbourne @ $20 per day ($7,300)

Cheap, tasty, filling, food, restaurant, delicious, cheap meal deals, Melbourne, inexpensive, café, lunch, dinner, breakfast


9) A four course dinner each night ($120) at Melbourne’s newest 3 Hat restaurant, the ‘Flower Drum’ ($43,800)

Pickle selection


10) Front row seats to a weekly broadway show $200 ($10,400)


11) No dirty laundry with fresh underwear daily ($4000)


12) A years supply of bamboo socks ($2855)

Bamboo socks


13) A Mirrogram tee for every day of the year ($12,775)

Asylum seeker tees male and female


14) And a new pair of designer jeans each week ($285 x 52 = $14,820)


15) Footwear package from Armani. Includes; high tops, driving shoes, sneakers, heels, boots, business and casual shoes. ($3,710)

Armani shoes


16) Daily Vinyasa Yoga classes at Loving all of you holistic health ($16 x 365 = $5,840)

Loving all of you yoga


17) Weekly therapy sessions with private Psychologist ($150 x 52 = $7800)

Psychologist Listening


18) Weekly, private hour long golf lessons at the state of the art Golf Science Centre ($120 x 52 = $6,240)


19) Scholarship for full time study at the University of Melbourne ($35,912)


20) Why use a tap like a nobody when you can brush your teeth with bottled water? ($730)

thankyou water


21) And buy an iPhone to fit in skinny jeans right up to trackies ($4,000)


22) A Teacup Chihuahua ($4,000)

Tea Cup Chihuahua


23) And designer handbag for said Chihuahua ($6,440)…


Okay, we’ll stop short of buying a pet Chimpanzee and add up what we’ve spent so far (see table below).

Costs for hosting asylum seekers

With $62,655 left to spend it turns out we can afford that pet Chimpanzee after all!

Do what’s best for Australia (and you)

What’s more ridiculous than the above list is that we would actually SAVE money by welcoming asylum seekers to Australia in this way. Yes, SAVE money. The savings exceed $200,000 per person when you consider families of asylum seekers would share a hotel room (saving $102,200 per person) and a car (saving another $40,839 per person).

Replacing the current detention centres with these harsh measures provides an estimated tax saving of $445 million dollars. Roughly $25 for every tax payer in Australia.

One more tiny thing to consider

Stop and take a closer look.
Asylum seeker not just numbers female reflected

Asylum seekers are not just numbers, they’re people.

-Stop and Reflect-


The trouble with changing the world is…

Ever wanted to change the world?

I have. I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to. I’ve learned, I’m learning and I’m yet to learn many things (as you will see).

This blog is intended to be a honest discussion about what changing the world might look like. In it you’ll find creative experiments, challenges to take action, thought provoking stories and experiences that will inspire you in your own journey to change the world.

This blog is for world changers.


The trouble with changing the world is…

The trouble with changing the world is, acting with good intentions is not enough. Sometimes our efforts can do more harm than good. Here’s an example of what I mean.


Harmful “help”.

As a Physical Educator I’m aware that between 6th-8th grade the FMS (Fundamental Motor Skills) of the average female will decline. Despite two years of Pysical Education the overarm throw and vertical leap of the average female will actually go backward! There are a number of factors that contribute to this but none of them have to do with ability.

When I hear boys (heaven forbid even girls) using “you play like a girl” as an insult it makes my blood boil. When boys exclude girls from games or refuse to pass to them it makes me furious because I know what it all adds up to. Girls participation drops and becuase of this their skills don’t improve. The myth that girls aren’t capable is reinforced and the cycle continues.

I had to do something about it.

Talking with the class wasn’t enough. Neither was the t-shirt below or the video of incredible female athletes that pops up when you scan it.


Like a girl - Like a boss


I really wanted to drive home the point so I set up a tug-of-war competition, confident of the result, knowing most girls have easily outgrown boys by grades 5 and 6.

The tug-of-war match began and I stood back to enjoy the inevitable result, giving myself a pat on the back as I watched the girls win easily. The boys reactions ranged from shock and embarassement to making excuses and name calling. I must admit, I took a little pleasure in this.


Lessons from a Grade 6.

The next week I stopped the class again to point out some things that females generally do better than their male counterparts. At this point a wise young lady asked me to “Stop comparing us with the boys”. I was too busy mounting my high horse to really listen. It was only after class when I thought back to what she had said that I realised what she meant.

My intention was to show how capable girls really are, but these intentions had left a bunch boys feeling humiliated and embarassed. Prejudice hadn’t disappeared, it had switched sides. Not only that, I had inadvertantly created an atmosphere of competition and comparison rather than collaboration and fun.

This wise grade six student reminded me of the importance of thinking before you unleash your good intentions on somebody else.


Intentional actions, unintended consequences

This has happened more than I would like to admit. Being there for a friend can turn into dependency which leaves them feeling powerless to change their own situation. Offering money to someone (who told me they’re not a charity case) can rob them of the dignity of earning it themselves. Heading overseas for two weeks believing you can fly in and change the world reinforces the idea that you have all the answers. While we’re busy patting ourselves on the back I wonder what those we’re “helping” think.


The key to changing the world

How can we be sure our efforts are actually addressing the needs of others? By listening. It’s that simple.

How do you want to change the world and how might taking more time to listen help?

-Stop and reflect-