From 2001, the Australian government has justified a hard-line approach to asylum-seekers on the basis of the need to preserve its sovereignty. This article critically evaluates this justification, arguing that the conception of sovereignty as the ‘right to exclude’ involves a denial of responsibility to the most vulnerable in global politics. We particularly focus here on the ways in which the Australian government has attempted to create support for this conception of sovereignty and ethical responsibility at the domestic level, through marginalising alternative voices and emphasising the ‘otherness’ of asylum-seekers and refugees. We conclude by suggesting what this might mean for the treatment of asylum-seekers in global politics and for statist approaches to global ethics
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