On Repeat? The continuation of Australia’s Offshore Detention Policies

Ms Meg Randolph1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

In the wake of the MV Tampa crisis and the perceived threat of irregular migration – Australia deployed its first iteration of offshore detention, which became a defining element of the Pacific Solution. Despite the dissolution of the Pacific Solution in 2007, the legal precedent for offshore detention remained, permitting it to be reintroduced by following governments. This was evident with the reopening of offshore detention centres of Nauru and Manus Island in 2012 under the Labor Government, and the subsequent use of these centres in the current policy Operation Sovereign Borders developed by the Abbott Coalition Government in 2013. To explore the continuation of offshore detention within Australia, an innovative theoretical framework has been created – the policy movement framework. This approach explores the spatio-temporal dynamics of policy movement to provide a new and insightful way to examine the spread of policy ideas. This framework will explore the patterns of policy movement within Australia to illuminate the mechanisms that have permitted for the reappearance of offshore detention.


Meg Randolph is a doctoral candidate at Monash University working in the field of border criminology. Her research explores Australia’s offshore detention policies and their influence within the Global North.


Dec 08 2021